Transcript

William Brangham: Maria Hinojosa is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Mexican-American journalist and founder of Futuro Media Group.

As a Mexican immigrant herself, Hinojosa found her background often lent her a different lens to the pressing topics of the day. Tonight, Hinojosa shares her Brief But Spectacular take on the responsibility of being a powerful Latina in the media today.

Marisa Hinojosa, President and Founder, Futuro Media Group: People always say to me, oh, Maria, you are just so obsessed with immigration because you are a Mexican immigrant. And I am like, actually, I am obsessed with this country’s capacity for inhumanity.

The thing about my coming to America story is that there were a couple of different versions. We flew in by plane to meet my father, but something happened at the Dallas Airport with the immigration agent.

But I don’t know if I really understood exactly what happened until the policy that was enacted in the United States under the Trump administration. They started taking children from their parents. And my mom called me.

She was very upset. And I tried to calm her down. And then she said (SPEAKING SPANISH) She said: “My daughter, you don’t understand what I’m trying to tell you. Those mothers, they were me. And that baby, it could have been you.”

And it was like the official story of my arrival really happened, which is that immigration agents had tried to take me from my mother at the border at the airport in Dallas. When I heard that story about how I was almost taken from my mom, it made me understand exactly why I do what I do.

And that means I’m not going to stop. I was the first Latina hired at NPR. I was not like anyone else in that newsroom. I understood that I had this privilege of being hired at NPR as the first Latina, but that, therefore, I had responsibility.

I want to make sure that I can pitch a story about anything, from baseball,to Wall Street, to politics. But my secret sauce, what I know best and what I’m going to bring into the newsroom is the life that I live and I know. I challenge all my fellow journalists to actually move with their hearts more often.

I don’t think moving with your heart as a journalist makes you a lesser journalist. I think it makes you the best journalist you can be, if you can handle it.

My name is Maria Hinojosa. And this is my Brief But Spectacular take on being a powerful Latina in the media.

William Brangham: I had the great pleasure of working with Maria many years ago, and she is a wonderful person and a fierce reporter.

You can watch more Brief But Spectacular videos at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.