#MediaMonday – Carolina Cuellar
Today’s Media Monday comes to us from Tucson, where Carolina Cuellar has joined Arizona Luminaria as a reporter. Arizona Luminaria is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to truly local news and community-centered journalism.
Carolina, time to share:
My family emigrated from Colombia and I grew up in Stockton, Calif. I majored in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where I worked in a vaccine lab for two years. After graduating, I worked for two more years in a protein engineering lab.
While getting a master’s degree in science communication, I worked for a local newspaper and fell in love with community-centered journalism.
I liked how close you get to the community and how actionable your coverage becomes. It’s a good way to enact change. That’s where I found my drive.
As a Spanish speaker, I was also driven by the shortage of bilingual journalists in mainstream coverage.
My intention from the beginning was to do some sort of work to help people —especially people who are typically ignored — in any field. The reason I think journalism fills that need is because it is something that you don’t do unless you love it. It is something where you really have to care about the people you are writing for.
I covered border communities, immigration and abortion in the state for Texas Public Radio, the Texas Newsroom and NPR. I also received a grant from the Pulitzer Center to write a series about colonias — informal subdivisions along the border that lack infrastructure and experience high levels of poverty.
It hasn’t taken me long to start getting to know the community. I’ve quickly discovered that the culture and character here are strong. Tucson is very Tucson.
I have a tabby cat best friend named Croissant. In my downtime, I’m a serial hobbyist, a hiker and love learning.
Please feel free to share your story ideas or hiking tips with me at email@example.com.