How a Latina Journalist Started the New York Times’ Race Beat

By Jamilah King Jul 09, 2014

Here’s Tanzina Vega of the New York Times on her newly created beat about race and ethnicity in America:

[The beat] really grew out of the work that I did on my old beat covering digital media and advertising. After the 2010 census showed that the Latino population had grown to 50 million, media companies and advertisers put more emphasis on the Hispanic market. So I started expanding my coverage to include ethnic media including Univision, Telemundo and the other companies that were focusing on that growing demographic.

I also wrote about Hispanic stereotypes in network television, colorism in Hollywood with the casting of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone — which was criticized because she is lighter skinned than Simone was — and I profiled Eva Longoria, who was lauded for casting five Latina leads in her new television show but criticized because they were all maids.

In media, we were hardly living in a post-racial United States.

Vega, a native New Yorker, has done really important work on the beat, including stories on infertility rates among black women and gun owners of color.

Read more over at the New York Times

A few years ago, CUNY Journalism School caught up with Vega, who’s an alum, to talk about life at the most influential paper in the country.