Good Reason To Celebrate

Good Reason To Celebrate


The following editorial ran in the Record-Journal on Sunday, March 27:

 

A year ago, the Record-Journal launched the Latino Communities Reporting Lab, in partnership with the Meriden-Wallingford Community Foundation, a nonprofit fiscal sponsor. Following a five-month listening tour that included 82 conversations, four focus groups and 51 survey responses, the launch heralded a commitment to “amplify the voices of our local Latino communities.”

As Record-Journal and Cheshire Herald Publisher Liz White Notarangelo outlined in a March 21, 2021, column introducing the effort, the mission is:

“To provide empowering, fact-based news, information and resources for our Latino communities.

“To shine a light on injustices and inequities to promote greater understanding and a more inclusive community for everyone.

“To showcase the successes and contributions of Latinos as a way of inspiring young people to expand what they consider possible.”

In the year since, the effort has done that and more. Having started with a single reporter, Lab staff today includes Claudia Hilario, editor, Karla Santos, Latino Communities news specialist, and Crystal Elescano, Latino Communities reporter. The intent is to expand this dedicated staff even further.

As Elescano reported in a recent story, the R-J has also partnered with nonprofit Data-Haven, of New Haven, in a soon-to-be available survey that will give those in the local Latino communities a chance to share views about news content and other Lab-related issues.

The Lab also includes a monthly meeting of an advisory committee, made up of leaders in the business, nonprofit and educational community as well as the Lab staff, and also involves R-J editors who are not exclusively involved in Lab efforts.

All of this is just a beginning, with much more to come. The survey, which will help shape news coverage, will also result in a report made available to the public via the Latino News section of myrecordjournal.com.

While there’s much to look forward to at this one-year mark, it’s also important to take note of the coverage over the past year, which was highlighted recently in an article penned by Santos. The many Lab stories over the past year included:

•A profile of Hector and Sarah Cardona, parents of Miguel Cardona, U.S. education secretary.

• A multi-article vaccine project informing the community about COVID-19 and vaccines.

•Profiles of restaurants and other businesses run by those in the Latino community. They include Airbounce Amusements, in Wallingford, a rental business that offers bounce houses, mobile laser tag, photo booths, dunk tanks, and more.

•A profile of Marissa Cardona, at-risk college and career coordinator for Meriden Public Schools.

•A profile of Lysbeth Ramos, a professional singer and dance instructor whose stage name is “La Nena de la Bachata.”

•A story about the significance of Three Kings Day and its traditions for many Puerto Rican families.

As White Notarangelo observed in her launch column: “As a 154-year-old family-owned company, we feel this is essential to continuing our mission in our local community, where Latinos represent 29.1% of Meriden’s total population, including 58.2% of Meriden students. In Wallingford, Latinos make up 8% of the total population, including 19.6% of Wallingford students.”

Consider it a pledge, and an enduring commitment to a vibrant part of a most diverse and vibrant community served by the Record-Journal organization.



 

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