This week, Ramon And Vlad go straight to the Boulevard with Maria Hinojosa, founder of The Futuro Media Group and NPR Anchor to discuss coming out the“Cannabis Closet” in her new memoir “Once I Was You”. We also get into Maria’s career in media and her trailblazing nature!
Q: So where does the story of Maria Hinojosa Start?
A: So basically, the short version is I’m born in Mexico and my dad is a nerd Mexican dude from Tampico who basically decides that he wants to become a research doctor dedicated to research, and he decides he wants to help people who are deaf to hear. So he gets a job. He gets recruited by the University of Chicago and we’re all basically raised all Mexican citizens except for him. He became an American citizen and even though we never saw ourselves in the media, there were no podcasts. There were no people of color doing like the news. No journalism.But somehow I kind of I consume a lot of journalism Along with other things and so on and so I don’t know, This little dream comes to my head so when I’m in college already, I moved to New York, so I’m a Mexican who moves to New York in 1979. I start doing college radio at Columbia University And so I start a bilingual radio show called “Neuva Concion y de was” and we start doing our show in Spanish doing all political music. It was really, really hip. And then I become a journalist, m the first Latina ever hired at NPR in the NEWSROOM at CNN.
Q: SO, what is Futuro Media ?
A: Futuro media is basically this notion of like, wait a second. I don’t want to work for anybody anymore. I honestly and I write about this in the book, I don’t want to have to convince another white man that the stories I want to tell and report and investigate are important and legitimate and should be discussed. I mean, you have to remember most of the news media that we consume in this country, White men, straight, sis white men, sis male white men of privilege are leading that stuff. Not to say that they’re bad human beings.I mean, I like a lot of these guys, but they have their own perspective. What we’re saying in Futuro Media is we have a perspective, right. We have a perspective and it’s as legitimate and equal to yours. And so we’re going to be the journalists. We’re going to be the ones in charge. That’s why I create Futuro Media, where basically I’m the boss.3 different companies Corrupt was doing his thing, the real Moon Rocks over there, and Dr. Zodiac still out here going strong. I looked at it like I understand it now.
Q:So So Back then I’m sure that you were unable to just talk about all the things that you wanted us to just talk about. Right?
A: Well, for example, like when you work in the mainstream news, like there in my newsroom, there are words that we don’t use like the word minority. in the mainstream media out there in the world and people talk about minority groups and they report about minority groups. In my newsroom, we don’t talk about minority groups because we’re not a minority. A lot of what I’m saying, We report about people of color, that’s what we do best. But I don’t ever refer to us as a minority or members of a minority group. You know, we’re not minorities. Latinos right now are the second after white people, white voters and were the second largest voting bloc in the United States of America, more so than AfricanAmericans. That’s crazy. So together, African-Americans and Latinos, Asian, Native American, we’re the majority. So that’s a term in my newsroom that we don’t use, we don’t use the term illegal to refer to a human being. So you’ll never hear us talk about illegal immigrants. You’ll never hear us talk about always say illegal. That illegal person. Yeah, we never use the term illegal to refer to a human being because we’re human beings. we’re not illegal. You may commit an illegal act and up until recently smoking a joint was an illegal act. So those are the things that we’re able to do with the newsroom that I run. That’s basically why I created my newsroom, was to create my own media the same way that you guys are creating media along with other things.
Q: How does a Latina, originally from Mexico, come to New York in 1979 and end up being the first Latina on National Public Radio?
A:So here’s the thing. I told you that my dad was a nerdy nerd, a scientist. So we were not poor. We were not working class. We were not rich ,but we wanted for nothing. I grew up with an immigrant dad, so everything was always supers controlled and, you know, there was never enough and all that kind of stuff. But I had privilege. I ended up going to the University of Chicago High School, which is a very prestigious high school, it’s the school where Barack Obama and Michelle used to send their kids before they moved to the White House. So I was able to go to that private school because my dad was part of the university. We didn’t have to pay the full tuition. That’s how we did it. And so I understood privilege. And for me, privilege has always made me understand that I have to give back. And so even though I write in the book “once I was you” a lot about the imposter syndrome and just not feeling good enough and always feeling like I was having to prove myself all the time. I forced myself to battle through that because I knew I had privilege. I was like, “no, You know, you’ve gone to the best schools, You’ve grown up around people of privilege, and you feel that you are going to kind of cave to your own insecurities.” I was like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, you have to go into that. You know, at NPR and I’m the first Latina,at those editorial meetings. I was like “Raise your hand!” because, you know, it’s an editorial meeting and you’re convincing people about your ideas to do a story about this And it’s a very scary thing. And it’s a lot of very powerful and smart white men and women. And I would literally, like force my hand up, like I’d push it up, “like, come on say it go ahead”Because I was terrified, but I understood, I had to do this. I was I I was in that space. I had to participate. I just had to.