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Stateside Podcast: Reporting on Latinx communities in Detroit

Tara via Flickr

Martina Guzman heard a recurring theme from activists and organizers in Detroit: They distrusted media. People felt ignored and misrepresented.

"Communities of color have long complained to established media that they weren't represented properly; they weren't covered comprehensively," Guzman said. "It began to create a distrust, and that is something I really wanted to directly address."

In Southwest Detroit, an area home to 50,000 Spanish speakers, this was a particular problem. Not only was there distrust. There was also a lack of comprehensive local news in Spanish. As the founder and director of the Race and Justice Reporting Initiative at the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University, Guzman felt like she could have an impact on changing this.

This past summer longstanding news platform El Central partnered with the Race and Justice Reporting Initiative. The partnership marks a new project to support journalists of color reporting on issues that matter to residents in Southwest Detroit in both Spanish and English.

"[Residents] needed to be informed about the things that were happening — that instead of getting their news from WhatsApp, which is very prevalent in the Latino community, they were now able to pick up the newspaper and read something about health issues that was in their language," Guzman said.

The project currently has beat reporters on small businesses and economic development, arts and culture, and health and wellness. Guzman said they're hoping to also expand to report on local politics in the future as well.

"The community is finally seeing themselves," Guzman said. "[W]e get tons of feedback not just on social media, but personally. There's an excitement about being covered, about seeing your businesses being covered and covering economic development and...covering health and wellness. When has our community ever been covered in terms of health and wellness?"


Martina Guzman, founder and director of the Race and Justice Reporting Initiative at the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University

Angela Gallegos, contributing writer to El Central Hispanic News

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Music in this episode byBlue Dot Sessions.

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Mercedes Mejia is a producer and director of <i>Stateside</i>.
Rachel Ishikawa joined Michigan Public in 2020 as a podcast producer. She produced Kids These Days, a limited-run series that launched in the summer of 2020.