Journalist Gabriela Martínez joins WITF through Report for America program

  • Tim Lambert

While working as a news assistant at PBS NewHour, Gabriela Martínez traveled to Puerto Rico to report on how a ban on cockfighting would impact communities throughout the island nation.

Born and raised in San Juan, she was well aware of the culture surrounding the blood sport. So, Martínez visited cockfighting rings and rooster farms to gather different voices and perspectives — from those who profit from it to the animal rights advocates who oppose it to the issues of federal regulation without representation.

As WITF’s newest journalist, Martínez brings a unique set of skills to her beat, covering the intersection of race and identity in Central Pennsylvania. She joins the public media organization through the Report for America (RFA) program — a national service effort that places journalists in newsrooms across the country to report on under-covered topics and communities.

“We are thrilled to add a journalist of Gabriela’s caliber,” said WITF Multimedia News Director Tim Lambert. “As news departments find themselves with fewer boots on the ground, the Report for America program allows us to not only expand, but strengthen efforts to explore underreported issues that matter to the region.”

Fluent in English, Spanish and Russian, Martínez will focus on engaging with community members to learn what issues matter to them.

“I am very excited to begin my role at WITF, where I will have the opportunity to listen and amplify the stories of the region’s ever-growing Latino communities and to highlight how communities of color are exercising political power in their cities,” she said. “In our current polarized national political landscape, regional news has become an essential lifeline and a tool for understanding communities that do not get enough media attention.”

Martínez will join Anthony Orozco, another RFA Fellow at WITF who has covered the Latino communities along the Route 222 corridor for the past year.

They are part of some 300 journalists, based at more than 200 organizations, who are part of the 2021 Report for America reporting corps.

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