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María (de Lourdes) Hinojosa: 1961—: Journalist Biography

Award-winning Journalist, Author, Found New Challenge In Motherhood, Pushed For Hispanic Reporting At Cnn

In the mid-1980s María de Lourdes Hinojosa became the first Latina correspondent on National Public Radio (NPR). Her balanced and incisive stories on Latino life in the United States helped usher in a new era, when multicultural media coverage of American life became more commonplace. Since 1997 Hinojosa has been with the Cable News Network (CNN), based at their New York City bureau, where she serves as the news organization's first urban affairs correspondent. As always Hinojosa works to bring more Hispanic-focused news stories to the public. "Growing up in this country, I always felt invisible," she told Houston Chronicle writer Clifford Pugh. "So I kind of feel this continued need to be visible and bring my reality into visibility."

Hinojosa was born in the early 1960s in Mexico City, Mexico, and she felt so closely tied to her roots that she did not begin her U.S. citizenship application process until nearly 30 years old. She came to the United States as an infant with her parents, when her research-physician father landed a job. The family settled in Chicago, but traveled regularly to Mexico to visit relatives. Hinojosa attended the University of Chicago High School, where she created a channel for her strong political and social convictions when she founded a group called Students for a Better Environment. She was more interested, however, in a career as an actress, and enrolled at Barnard College, part of the Columbia University system. Her short stature and Hispanic heritage did not make her an easy type to cast, and she found an outlet for her talents instead when she took a job as producer and host of Nueva canción y demás, a radio program that aired on WCKR, the Columbia student station. She played unusual Latin American music, wrote news stories that focused on Latino issues, and conducted interviews.

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