Premier Hispanic and Spanish-language publications across the country welcomed the Latino college students and recent grads chosen to participate in the NAHJ/NHPF Ford Blue Oval Journalism Internship last week. The internship was developed by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and the National Hispanic Press Foundation (NHPF), and is sponsored by Ford Motor Company Fund to support Latino students interested in pursuing a career in journalism.

The students will complete the 11-week summer internship at Spanish-language or bilingual (English and Spanish) publications in the following cities: Washington, D.C.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Miami; San Diego; Atlanta; Chicago and Phoenix. The interns will also participate in a training program at the 29th Annual NAHJ Multimedia Convention & Career Expo in Orlando, from June 15 through18, 2011, where they will brush up on their online skills on everything from podcasting and live webcasting to blogging and how to stand out as a backpack journalist.

The chosen interns’ backgrounds are as varied as the personal stories that motivated them to become journalists, ranging from a student whose grandmother helped shape her dream by watching the news together every day, to one from a poor region close to the Texas-Mexico border who was the first in his family to move away for college and one of the few to attend college at all from his high school.

These interns are eager to find the real stories about Latinos in the U.S. and become the next generation of Latino journalists.

Alejandra Cruz

California State University, Northridge (Graduated May 2011)

Growing up in El Salvador, Alejandra watched the news twice a day with her grandmother, who taught her which news she should really pay attention to, never knowing she was shaping what her granddaughter would aspire to be one day – a reporter seeking the truth and working hard to inform people about what’s going on in their communities and the world. She has experience in various forms of media, having worked for her local Telemundo affiliate station, El Nuevo Sol where she contributed articles for both the print and online versions of the paper, and as a field reporter for KCSN 88.5 FM.

Shahrazad Encinias

California State University, Northridge (Graduated May 2011)

“I am the voice of the voiceless” is Shahrazad’s personal motto and what drives her to apply a social awareness into her style of journalism and to vow to always tell the truth in her writing. Her admirable dream of becoming a foreign correspondent and making a documentary film has driven her to hone her journalistic skills while writing for publications such as El Nuevo Sol, 944 Magazine, The Daily Sundial, North County Times, and the Telescope Newspaper.

Melvin Felix

New York University (Expected Graduation: May 2012)

While the media in his native country of Puerto Rico displays the whole spectrum of Latino life, Melvin is tired of seeing Latino coverage in U.S. media revolve around the same stereotypical issues of immigration, lack of education and underrepresentation, and is ready to find the real stories of the Latino community living in the United States. He has worked at Scripps Howard Foundation Wire, Washington Square News and NYU Local. His story “NYU, NYTimes Launch Hyper-Local News Blog for East Village,” was linked to by Politico, Gawker and Media Bistro, and made the front page of MediaGazer.

Shaira Frias

Brooklyn College, CUNY (Graduated June 2011)

Eager to become a part of the next generation of Latino journalists, Shaira is committed to providing a strong voice in the newsroom and to represent her community genuinely. She endured a difficult childhood to emerge on the other side accepting that her personal success was not only an option, but a means of survival. She was a writer and general news intern at NY1 and Fox News Latino, where she helped launch the network’s online site,


Brenda Medina

University of South Florida, Tampa (Graduated December 2010)

After an editor raised concern about her choosing to interview two Latinas for an article, Brenda, originally from the Dominican Republic, realized the need to strengthen the voice of Latinos in newsrooms to more accurately represent Latinos and change the way they’re often portrayed in the media. Deeply involved in her school and community, Brenda has worked as a correspondent for The Oracle, and as Editor-in-chief and Managing Editor of The Hawkeye and TRIAD Magazine.


Erik Reyna

University of Texas, Austin (Graduated May 2010)

As a first-generation Mexican-American from a one of the poorest regions in the United States, close to the Texas-Mexico border, Erik was the first in his family to move away for college and one of the few who went to college at all from his high school. Incredibly talented in multiple mediums, Erik graduated with a photojournalism degree and has worked at a Public Relations firm, Guatosa Inc., has worked as a photography intern at the Victoria Advocate and KUT, the local NPR affiliate, and was the Associate Managing Editor for Multimedia for The Daily Texan.


Rossana Sándigo

University of Arizona, Tucson (Expected Graduation: August 2011)

Motivated by the prospect of starting a long career in journalism, Rossana embraces the opportunity to meet and talk to people, earning the trust of her sources as she strives to report accurate and moving stories. She worked in the Arizona Daily Star apprenticeship program, during which she reported for La Estrella, and also served as the Spanish Editor of El Independiente, a newspaper produced by university students for the city of south Tucson.

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