Sunday, December 25, 2005

Faces to watch 2006 - Media


Sunday December 25, 2005

Faces to watch 2006

By Steven Barrie-Anthony


Editorial page columnist

You may recall Macarena Hernandez, 31, as the journalist who exposed former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair as a plagiarist. More recently, you may have heard Fox's Bill O'Reilly call for a boycott of the Dallas Morning News after Hernandez -- who this year became the first Latina editorial page columnist for that paper -- suggested that O'Reilly uses illegal immigrants as scapegoats. What you probably don't know is that Hernandez grew up three miles north of the Rio Grande, laboring in the fields with her migrant worker parents, feeling the sting of racial and class division. "My father was a really proud man," she says. "Really handsome. Around his friends he was a towering figure, very generous. But every time I would see him in the fields, next to these farmers, watch him beg for work, I saw him shrink. It broke my heart to see him so humiliated." On her college paper Hernandez began to "tell the stories about people like me who, growing up, I felt were invisible," and that ambition remains. "I hate to label her as a Latina voice," says Charles Whitaker, assistant professor at Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. "But she's going to be an important voice on issues of race and class, speaking eloquently from a perspective that we don't often hear."

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