Arizona State University students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication will soon have a new digital Spanish-language platform for reporting issues critical to Arizonans thanks to an investment from the Raza Development Fund (RDF).
As part of the investment, the Cronkite School is receiving Mixed Voces, one of Arizona’s top Spanish language news websites, and $100,000 from RDF, the largest Latino community development financial institution dedicated to generating economic growth and opportunities for Latino and poor families around the country.
The Mixed Voces website, MixedVoces.com, will serve as the Cronkite School’s digital platform for student-created Spanish-language content that focuses on issues important to Arizona’s Latino community. RDF’s $100,000 investment will be used to hire a professional editor to support the website and mentor students.
“Mixed Voces has provided an important service to Spanish-speaking Arizonans,” said Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School. “We sincerely appreciate the Raza Development Fund for giving us the opportunity to continue deploying Mixed Voces to the benefit of the community and to offer our students important bilingual reporting experiences.”
RDF launched MixedVoces.com in September 2014 as a pilot project for providing news and information to Arizona’s Spanish-speaking community with support from State Farm Insurance Initiative. Since then, the project has succeeded in bringing 35,000 monthly visitors to MixedVoces.com.
With the two-year pilot project nearing completion, the Cronkite School will create a new version of MixedVoces.com that will provide in-depth reporting on issues such as the economy, education, sustainability, immigration and other issues important to the region’s Latino communities. Previous Mixed Voces content will still be accessible through an archived version of the current site.
“We are very proud and honored to be a part of this historical moment in the Arizona Latino media,” said Tommy Espinoza, president and CEO of the Raza Development Fund. “We thank founders Elvira Espinoza for her vision on the creation of MixedVoces.com, Marco Arreortúa and Sam Murillo’s tireless dedication in providing honest and professional information to Latino families and the Spanish speaking community. Their journalism legacy will live through the students educated at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. I want to personally thank Chris Callahan for his leadership and commitment to bilingual education.”
Mixed Voces is part of a growing constellation of classes and immersive professional experiences available to Cronkite students interested in Latino and borderlands issues.
Cronkite News, the student-staffed, professionally led news division of Arizona PBS, features a Borderlands Bureau in which students cover border and immigration issues under the guidance of award-winning borderlands journalists Alfredo Corchado and Angela Kocherga.
The Borderlands Bureau builds on a Latino seminar and a depth reporting class taught by Rick Rodriguez, the former executive editor of The Sacramento Bee. Each year, Rodriguez leads students on a reporting trip to another country. Past projects have covered the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico, among other regions.
Corchado and Kocherga also are launching new advanced courses to create bilingual journalism content.
Corchado, Kocherga and Rodriguez are Southwest Borderlands Initiative professors, a faculty appointment plan designed to strengthen existing ASU scholarly and instructional resources on the Southwest and to enhance institutional recruitment and retention efforts toward building a faculty fully reflective of the Southwest borderlands’ diversity.
Most recently, Cronkite students traveled to the border to report on a major bilingual poll released by Cronkite News, Univision News and The Dallas Morning News. Students interviewed residents on the border in English and Spanish about the Cronkite News-Univision News-Dallas Morning News Border Poll, which surveyed nearly 1,500 respondents in 14 U.S. and Mexican cities on critical issues to their region.
Established in 1999, the Raza Development Fund is a nonprofit corporation and a registered community development financial institution under the United States Department of the Treasury. It provides National Council of La Raza affiliates and other Latino-serving organizations access to capital.
With more than $250 million in total assets under management, RDF is the largest Latino community development financial institution in the country. Since inception, it has provided capital to Latino serving organizations nationwide. These organizations have received technical assistance and loans which have helped leverage nearly $2.5 billion in private capital for education, childcare, affordable housing and healthcare projects serving low-income families and individuals.