Blogueras Go Viral

            Del Valle High School freshman Esmeralda Hernandez knew she was in the right place when she walked into the Latinitas Magazine office and felt the excitement of being a part of Blogueras, a new program that would benefit her future journalism career.

            “I came to a previous Latinitas camp and I heard about [Blogueras] from [Latinitas]. I was very interested in it so I came to check it out,” said Hernandez. “This is a great way to expand your skills and showing of what you do best. It’s a great place to learn new things.”
Blogueras, the Spanish word for “female bloggers”, is a program geared towards Hispanic female teenagers who want to gain journalism and media skills through the use of blogs and social media. Every month, the girls pitch ideas on what they would like to write on. The girls then have two weeks to complete their stories and post them on their blog.
“Blogueras explores traditional journalism skills through new media such as social media, blogging and websites, ” said Latinitas Program Coordinator, Samantha Rae Lopez. “This semester, [Blogueras] will have speakers, field trips, and a lot of blogging. There will also be a lot of Internet research, Internet safety and media creation such as photography and .”
The event is hosted by Latinitas Magazine, a non-profit organization that was created in Austin by Alicia Rascon and Laura Donnelly in 2002 when they were graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin. Latinitas Magazine creates an online magazine for Hispanic girls between the ages of eleven and eighteen.
Throughout the event, the girls listened to two guest speakers, Jessica Salinas and Veronica Porras, as they presented their blogs and discussed how they came up with the theme of their blogs.
“I decided to volunteer because I taught myself web design when I was 15 and there were no resources around and figured it out on my own,” said Salinas. “I wanted to help girls and teens get those important skills to do what they want to do. I wish I had Latinitas when I was a teenager.”
Not only did girls listen to speakers, they also created video blogs, practiced interviewing skills, pitched stories and created a MyLatinitas account. MyLatinitas is social media platform dedicated to the readers of Latinitas Magazine to network with college students, professionals and other girls from across the country.
“I think it’s important for girls to participate because it takes them out of their element. It’s not a school assignment; it isn’t something they have to do,” Lopez said. “But, it is something that will help them get into college, create a portfolio and exercise their journalistic skills. Blogueras can even help the girls find their strengths and weaknesses.”
When talking about the future of Blogueras, Lopez wants to see Blogueras increase in enrollment and have a few Blogueras sessions at the University of Texas at Austin campus.
“I want to have the girls gain a following of their own. It’s a great way to boost confidence and show these girls that they can do anything. I would also like these girls to go off to college, hear from them and see where they are doing after Latinitas,” Lopez said. “Most importantly, I would like them to find their voice. The world needs more Latina blogueras.”
            Furthermore, Lopez also mentioned that she would like to have more parents encourage their daughters to attend Blogueras events as well as other Latinitas Magazine events.
“Schools are starting to offer less and less arts programs,” Lopez said. “It’s up to the parents to encourage their children to think outside the box, which leads them to be more involved with their community as well as become a community leader.”
            The next Blogueras meeting will occur on October 20 at the Latinitas Magazine office on 1107 S. 8th Street. The event will start at 9 am.
            Another Latinitas event that is coming up is Tech Chica. Tech Chica encourages girls from the ages of nine to eighteen to use journalism skills in social media platforms. Attendees will be able to create original content for a social media campaign on any topic. There will also be a panel with professional women from tech industries. For more information, go to LatinitasMagazine.org.

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