Expanding opportunities — and representation — in the media
FOPEA (Foro de Periodismo Argentino, or Argentine Journalism Forum) is no stranger to working with young aspiring journalists and preparing them for a successful future in media. However, the organization has traditionally had trouble reaching youth from more diverse and often under-represented backgrounds. So ex-FOPEA president, Fernando Ruiz, reached out to communications professor and FOPEA member María José Muller in 2021 with an idea to build an outreach program. The goal would be to help young journalists from what are known as “barrios populares” have access to the same resources as those from more affluent areas. +Miradas, or “More Voices,” would arm these youth with access to professional training and opportunities.
Muller wanted to build a project team that was made up of young professionals like the ones it would serve. She reached out to Celina Díaz Melo, from the suburbs of Buenos Aires, and Fernando Maldonado, from Buenos Aires’s Villa 21-24, a neighborhood where homes don’t have legal addresses and opportunities to thrive beyond the every-day struggle are limited. Having these young journalists on the project would ensure that those recruited to join +Miradas could see themselves in the program and believe in its mission.
“We found a lot of young people with potential who really wanted to study but didn’t have the opportunity or contacts to access a university,” Maldonado says. “There are many talented young people that can greatly benefit from this program.” The first cohort of 20 participants ran in 2022.