Maria Hinojosas

By:Jeanne Brown Issue: Biennial of the Americas 2010 Section:The Americas Roundtables

A Woman Not Afraid to be Herself


From the moment she walked on the stage, Maria Hinojosa was in charge and on a mission. Moderating a panel of 12 highly acclaimed and passionate people on the topic of Women: Drivers of the New Economy seemed to be a natural task for her. It was obvious that the Senior Correspondent for PBS had prepared carefully for this role, as there was never a lapse in the tempo, or lack of a provocative personalized question to each and every panelist. She transitioned respectfully from one person to the next through an unscripted and engaging dialogue with roundtable members all the while skillfully enabling an open, spirited, and inclusive discussion.

Roundtable and audience members spoke Spanish and English and although translators were provided, Hinjosa inserted real-time fluent translation in both languages to keep the continuity flowing and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the exchange of ideas and learning. It is clear that the organizers of the Biennial knew what they were doing when they asked Maria Hinojosa to facilitate this roundtable.

When asked afterwards if the result was as she had planned, Hinojosa answered that she could have used a little more time because the real dialogue was just getting started. Having just walked away from a non-stop two-hour facilitation, she was still full of energy and ready to keep going.

Born in Mexico City, Hinojosa is a magna cum laude graduate of Barnard College. It was there that she had her first journalism experience as host of a Latino radio show. She majored in Latin American studies, political economy and, women's studies.

Hinojosa resides in New York City with her husband, son and daughter and uses her personal experiences as a Mexican-American career woman, wife and mother as a foundation for her writing. Maria honors her mother as the key influence for her life, career, and commitment to the topics women face.

Her style is decidedly earthy and real, bringing issues to light through the stories of unsung heroes. Her unique perspective from the front lines of the real life issues in America today makes audiences both laugh and cry while she tells the stories of being a mom and working journalist in today's turbulent world.

She is a recognized Latina, journalist, and author. Some of her awards include: National Association of Hispanic Journalists Radio Award, Unity Award, Top Story of the Year Award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists for her NPR story on gang members entitled "Crews”, NAMME Catalyst Award from the National Association of Minority Media Executives (2005), NAHJ top television award for CNN documentary, “Immigrant Nation: Divided Country” (2005), Emmy recognition for coverage of the September 11th attacks (2002), Latino Heritage Award from the Latino Alumni Association of Colombia University (2002), Lifetime Achievement Award from Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (2005), Hispanic Business Magazine's "100 Most Influential Latinos" (1995), Robert F. Kennedy Award for “Manhood Behind Bars” (1995), National Association of Hispanic Journalists Radio Award and New York Society of Professional Journalists Deadline Award for "Kids and Guns" (1993), Named one of the 25 “Most Influential Working Mothers” by Working Mothers Magazine, and the Associated Press award for her coverage of Mandela for WNYC Radio.

Ms Hinojosa has been a producer for CBS This Morning, CBS Radio, Where We Stand with Walter Cronkite, The Osgood File and Newsbreak. She is the author of the book Crews: Gang Members Talk with Maria Hinojosa (1995) and Raising Raul: Adventures Raising Myself and My Son (2000). Maria has also been a contributing essayist in the 2004 book, Borderline Personalities: A New Generation of Latinas dish on Sex, Sass and Cultural Shifting, and in the 2006 book, Why I Stay Married.