#MediaMonday – Marie D. De Jesús

Today’s #MediaMonday is from the new president of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), Marie D. De Jesús.  Marie is a photojournalist for the Houston Chronicle, but more importantly, she is the first Latina and woman of color to serve as president of NPPA in the organization’s 75-year-history.

Marie, time to share:

Pursuing photojournalism has been an act of will, a decision I made nearly 15 years ago at a crossroads.

I was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, five miles away from the Arecibo Observatory where color and beauty were a natural part of my upbringing in the rural parts of town. Homeschooled through much of my formative years, my mother transformed our jungle-like environment into a classroom. I entered college young, at just 17, determined to study, of all things, human behavior as a psychology major.

Before I could finish, however, life took me to Florida, 18 years ago. I enrolled at the local college to finish my degree and I indulged in an elective photography class. But the idea of making photography my career seized my heart.

After finishing my undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida I pursued several internship opportunities before starting my first staff job as a photojournalist at the Victoria Advocate, in Victoria, Texas. After a short time in Victoria, I moved to Rochester, New York for a job at the Democrat & Chronicle, three years later I accepted the opportunity to work in Houston just as the Houston Chronicle was entering a new era. My job as a photojournalist at the Houston Chronicle started eight years ago and it continues. During those eight years, I have concentrated on developing relationships with Houston’s marginalized communities often focusing on topics related to education and immigration.

Before becoming NPPA’s first Latina president, I volunteered as NPPA’s national secretary for three years and served as the organization’s Mentorship Program chair. Being entrusted with NPPA’s presidency has been a humbling opportunity, one I plan to use to serve the members but also to make leadership roles more accessible for others who in the past have felt too intimidated to take a seat at the table.

I’ve been fortunate to have been recognized for some of my work, including as a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in public service and winner of a public service award from Scripps Howard Foundation, among others.

When I am not working I take time to read magazine articles, listen to audiobooks and podcasts. I have been collecting postage stamps since I was 14 years old and appreciate musicals. I enjoy eating out and going on walks with my partner, Myr Olivares Bonilla, and our miniature schnauzer called Kodak.

You can follow me on Twitter, @mariedennise, and Instagram, @mariedennise, and take a look at some of my work at mariedejesus.com.

Photo by: Jen Sapienza

Written by
at Mar 28, 2022

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