Shaping the future of media in Latin America, one chica at a time
Three days away from the end of its crowdfund campaign to help train more women journalists in Latin America, Chicas Poderosas (Powerful Women) has raised just $3651 of its $10,000 goal.
The money will be used to train Latin American women journalists, or Chicas Poderosas ambassadors, by sending them to Stanford University where they will receive digital media training and develop leadership skills, founder Mariana Santos said. Santos is currently a Knight Fellow at Stanford.
All of the ambassadors will hail from Latin American countries, Santos said, because women journalists there typically don’t hold leadership positions in their respective news organizations. She wants to change that.
“When I was in Latin America, I saw the lack of opportunities (women journalists) have,” Santos said. “Right now in the West, what I’m seeing are those opportunities. Every weekend you find conferences about new (journalism) tools and skills; in Latin America those movements and meet ups are rare.”
Santos’ passion for digital storytelling led to a fellowship at the International Center for Journalists in 2013-14. She founded Chicas Poderosas after seeing the number of women journalists in Latin America that lacked digital skills, which made it more difficult for them to move up the ranks inside their newsrooms.
The initiative is already having an impact. Over the past 15 months, the organization has held 11 events, with more than 1,000 women got training from leaders of leading news organizations including the New York Times, the Guardian, NPR, and La Nacion.
Currently Chicas Poderosas has $60,000 in in-kind support from the International Center for Journalists and $20,000 from the Open Society Foundation. For the training event at Stanford, United Airlines has already donated 25 tickets to cover travel costs for the ambassadors, while the United Nations Fund said it will provide fellowships for three ambassadors.
Expenses for other fellows will have to come from Santos’ own wallet if the crowdfund campaign is unsuccessful. And, eventually, Santos wants the organization to be able to operate without her being as hands-on as she was this past year, she said.
“I want the project to grow organically. It also has to start growing economically,” Santos added.
The Chicas Poderosas Kickstarter campaign ends June 1. To contribute, click here.