Challenge: How can we create a new way to connect Spanish-language independent journalism talent with media organizations in Latin America and the U.S.?
At Stanford, I researched the relationships between independent journalists and existing media organizations, in light of the many challenges facing the industry. Specifically, I analyzed the reality for the exploding number of freelance journalists in Latin America and in Hispanic media in the United States. The first quarter, I created a free online workshop, “Where are my people?” to give experienced Spanish-language speakers training to write for U.S. publications and sites. The second quarter, I launched the first census of Spanish-language freelance journalists, CensoFreelance.org, with help from the JSK Fellowships and several departments of Stanford. After one month, more than 1,200 journalists had answered the survey. That large response pointed to a new reality that has not been well understood: the growing community of Spanish-language freelance journalists who have not had a voice in the important conversation on the future of media.
About Juan Pablo
Juan Pablo Meneses is founder of the School of Portable Journalism, an online platform he started in 2009 in Buenos Aires to host narrative writing workshops and help young writers with Latin American news publishers. The idea sprang from his own experiences as a young writer trying to find work as a full-time journalist. After a few years of juggling other jobs with writing, and dreaming of being a traveling reporter, Meneses in 2000 won a magazine writing contest. He used the $5,000 award to buy a laptop, a camera and a one-way ticket to Spain. He studied journalism at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and began working on his first book. After moving to Buenos Aires a few years later, he participated in workshops led by prominent Latin American journalists and writers. In time, he was asked to lead workshops and that prompted his creation of the School of Portable Journalism. More than 500 students around the world have been through the program, and Meneses has built alliances with several top Latin American news publishers.