© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Fronteras: 'Crossing Borders, Building Bridges' — A Conversation With Pioneering Public Radio Journalist María E. Martin

One of the pioneers for Latino representation in journalism is a woman whose career spans over four decades and transcends cultures, languages and borders.

María E. Martin at Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. | Credit: Josie Mendez Negrete
Josie Mendez Negrete
María E. Martin at Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. | Credit: Josie Mendez Negrete

María E. Martin’s work changed the sound of audio journalism by promoting Latino and Latin American culture and news, and giving voice to many whose stories needed to be heard. From the South American country of Bolivia to Nicaragua and Guatemala in Central America, Martin has fought for coverage of Latin American issues.

Listen to the radio documentary series, “Despues de las Guerras: Central America After the Wars.”

She was one of the first Latina news directors at the first bilingual public radio station in the U.S., — KBFF in Santa Rosa, Calif. — where she amplified Latino voices in the American narrative. Martin’s broadcast journalism career also includes time at NPR, as the first Latino affairs editor at the national desk, and she later founded Latino USA, the longest-running Latino-focused program on the radio.

“The idea of Latino USA was for the rest of America to understand Latinos in all of our beauty and all of our pain, news about Latinos to celebrate Latino culture,” Martin explained, “and also to introduce the different Latino groups to each other, and basically to have a place on public radio that reflected this reality.”

Martin is the author of Crossing Borders, Building Bridges: A Journalist’s Heart in Latin America,” which chronicles her experiences of reporting, producing and institution-building, and how she met the challenges faced by Latina journalists.

She is currently the director of the GraciasVida Center for Media based in Guatemala, where she now calls home.

Part one of a two-part conversation with María E. Martin.

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1
Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter at @terrazas_lauren