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Futuro Media is a Harlem-based media company founded by award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa. Photo: Twitter - Futuro Media 

New Latina-led investigative journalism team gains steam, and support, at Futuro Media

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On Monday, June 7, the independent, nonprofit news media organization Futuro Media announced that their special projects unit, Futuro Unidad Hinojosa Investigative (FUHi) has gained support from Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP.)

Futuro Media, founded in 2010, creates podcasts that delve into and give voice to the diverse American experience. The Harlem-based organization was founded by award-winning journalist, Maria Hinojosa.

FUHi is named after Hinojosa, in acknowledgement and celebration of her nearly 30-year career in reporting, which has included work for PBS, CBS, WNBC, CNN, NPR and an Emmy Award-winning talk show on WGBH called One-on-One.

Hinojosa is also the author of two books and the recipient of dozens of awards, including the Studs Terkel Community Media Award, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club. 

She was recognized by People En Español as one of the 25 most powerful Latina women, and was also the first Latina to anchor a PBS FRONTLINE report: “Lost in Detention,” the first to explore abuse within immigration detention facilities.

Futuro Media prides itself on highlighting narratives and perspectives that are often excluded from mainstream coverage.

It produces the Peabody Award-winning podcast, Latino USA, which is the longest running national Latino news and cultural public radio program, along with In the Thick, a politics podcast led by people of color, and owns Latino Rebels, a nonprofit news organization that writes and broadcasts news, commentary, and analysis of the U.S. Latino world. 

FUHi is a special projects division led by Hinojosa and Diane Sylvester. Sylvester is a veteran journalist who has worked as a senior manager and editor for both large and small news organizations.

She now works with Futuro Media as an Executive Producer for FUHi, and previously worked for the Wall Street Journal’s Global Video & Podcasting Unit, overseeing coverage of the 2016 election. 

Sylvester’s reporting has garnered many Emmy Awards, an Overseas Press Club Award and a New York Press award. As an independent filmmaker, she received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for her work-in-progress documentary about Cuban-U.S. relations.

The entrepreneurial unit will be focused on developing innovative multimedia projects that broaden and enhance the ongoing work of Futuro Media’s journalism and programming.

The new unit will contribute to and complement Futuro Media’s essential reporting capacity and expertise, specifically regarding investigative work. FUHi will showcase highly-creative projects that continue to tell the stories of underrepresented communities.

Hispanics in Philanthropy is a transnational network of foundations, donors, and nonprofits making impactful investments in the Latinx community. It works on leadership development so that Latinx people can properly address the most pressing issues facing the U.S., the Caribbean and Latin America.

HIP strengthens Latinx leadership, influence and equity with an “unwavering vision on social justice and shared prosperity across the Americas.” 

President and CEO of HIP, Ana Marie Argilagos, said in a press release that she was honored to be the “first to seed resources” into Futuro Media’s new investigative unit. 

“These features will be an extension of the compelling stories that Futuro Media shares with audiences, stories that are created by and for our communities. We are excited for the authentic and honest conversations on the issues that reflect and impact the lives of Latino communities,” Argilagos said. 

Argilagos was given the honor of being named one of Latino Leaders Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Latinas in 2020 for her work in philanthropy. 

So far, W.K Kellogg Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative have joined FUHi as the first institutional supporters. 

“Investigative journalism is so important in a vibrant democracy as it holds the power to account on profound issues facing our communities and by and large there are very few organizations like ours run by Latinos, journalists of color or women who get the support to do this kind of work,” Hinojosa said. 

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