Champion of Change: Maria Hinojosa

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Maria Hinojosa, founder and president of Futuro Media Group – an independent nonprofit organization that provides a critical voice to the diverse American experience – is a renowned journalist who has authored two books and won dozens of awards. Ironically, working in media is nothing she foresaw for herself when she was young. “I was a Mexican immigrant kid growing up in Chicago during the civil rights era,” Maria says. “I never saw journalists that looked like me. We all consumed English-language media and our stories were never told.”

Prior to founding her own media company, Maria worked at a range of mainstream news organizations, including PBS, CBS, WNBC, CNN and NPR – often being the first Latina to have ever served in those newsrooms. During her tenure, she sought to report on news that she felt wasn’t getting enough attention. As a reporter for NPR, she was among the first to cover youth violence in urban communities on a national scale. And while at CNN, she exposed viewers to urban communities rarely shown on television. However, Maria felt there was still an audience whose stories weren’t being told. “There aren’t many newsrooms that have national coverage run by women and dominated by people of color,” Maria says, pointing to Futuro as an exception to this. “We wanted to add other voices to the conversation.”

Maria sees leading in practice rather than in words is what makes Futuro successful. “Having a minority- and women-run company results in a stronger product,” she says. “We’re talking about the issues. We’re talking about them because we live with them.”

Maria is one of the many inspiring people selected as part of our Champions of Change campaign, which honors individuals who have made a difference in the lives of women and girls in the Metro New York area or globally.

Mikki Brammer