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Putting a megaphone to the lips of Pa.’s Latinos

PA Post's Report for America fellow introduces himself and his mission

  • Anthony Orozco/PA Post
PA Post's Report for America fellow, Anthony Orozco, will cover Latino communities in Berks County and elsewhere.

Courtesy Valois joubert

PA Post's Report for America fellow, Anthony Orozco, will cover Latino communities in Berks County and elsewhere.

Courtesy Valois joubert

PA Post’s Report for America fellow, Anthony Orozco, will cover Latino communities in Berks County and elsewhere.

Hello, I’m Anthony Orozco, PA Post’s reporter covering Latino communities in Berks County and across Pennsylvania.

As I begin this new role, I can’t help but note the cyclical nature of time. Once again, I am throwing myself to the news business, regardless of its ups and downs, long days and tight deadlines. Once again, I find myself hopeful I will make a difference in someone’s life through the noble profession of journalism.

This position is exciting because I am not only trusted to tell the stories of the communities I love, but I am also tasked with working hands-on with the next generation of Latino reporters who will one day fill my shoes when I’m finally sick of trying to remember new usernames and passwords for newsroom software.

It’s been little more than a year since I’ve worked in a newsroom. In the last 12 months, I was a rostered artist with the state of Pennsylvania, worked to transform spaces through the arts, published poetry and became a freelance researcher on long-term projects for nonprofits. While I was more active than ever in the community, it was not lost on me that I left a void behind me when I left my position as the Reading Eagel’s Latino beat reporter.

It wasn’t long after leaving the Eagle that I watched that newspaper go through bankruptcy, be bought by a Wall Street hedge fund, and begin a round of newsroom layoffs. That has made me more aware of the importance of journalism, particularly when it comes to telling the stories of our state’s growing Latino population.

I join PA Post as a Report For America fellow, part of the GroundTruth Project’s ongoing efforts to promote journalistic inclusivity, to combat the issues arising from shrinking local newsrooms and to counteract lack of diversity in those newsrooms. At WITF, PA Post’s parent organization, Alanna Elder also joins as an RFA fellow, similarly tasked with covering Latino communities.

But beyond bringing a Latino perspective to PA Post, I will put a megaphone to the lips of those who do not speak English — the undocumented, those on the frontlines as essential workers and those who all too often go unseen by society at large.

For the past eight years I have dedicated my career to telling the stories of my Latino community in Berks County. As a journalist and community organizer, I have seen firsthand the power of storytelling and its potential to empower people, inspire action and change people’s lives.

As part of my Report For America fellowship, I am planning to train young Latinos on how to responsibly and effectively tell their own stories. Regardless of their local news outlets’ willingness or ability to tell their stories, I hope to inspire a new cohort of storytellers because I know that when people control their narratives, they gain control of their destinies.

I moved to Berks County in 2012 not knowing a soul here, after graduating from the University of Cincinnati. I left the Reading Eagle newspaper last spring, ready to grow as an artist. And now this spring, I am ready to start a new chapter again. The way time spins almost makes me dizzy, but it is also beginning to feel familiar.

Before I go, please know that I want your ideas to shape my work. Even though the coronavirus may prevent us from meeting in person, I’d love to talk via video conferencing, by email (aorozco@papost.org) or even on social media (I’m @AnthonyOrozco20 on Twitter, and Alanna is @alanna_s_elder).

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