By Ameena Rasheed, NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force Intern
When Diane Alverio first came across the 2013 McCormick New Media Women Entrepreneur Initiative online, she and her team decided to apply on a whim.
“We felt good about the product and felt that we had something new to add to the media,” said Alverio after stumbling across the grant opportunity.
Alverio, a seasoned journalist and president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in the early 1990s, founded her news project, the Latino News Network.
The Latino News Network is a nine-month-old English language news site based in Connecticut that focuses on Latinos and Latino issues in Southern New England. She was inspired to start this project due to the lack of well-rounded media coverage of the Latino community.
“Clearly there was a need for quality coverage of Latino issues here in Connecticut as there is elsewhere,” Alverio said.
“It [mainstream media] offers only a thin slice of who we are as a people, and unfortunately, way too often it’s the negative side.”
The Latino News Network, which won $14,000 from McCormick’s New Media Women Entrepreneur Initiative, hopes to use the grant expand.
“Hopefully in the next couple of months we will move into Massachusetts and Rhode Island,” she said.
“It will be based in Connecticut and be an online site.”
While Alverio has strong roots in journalism, building the Latino News Network was took months of planning.
“You really need a multitude of skills because obviously good strong writing is important, but you have to be able to market your site to draw readers to it,” she said. “When you’re creating a new infrastructure from scratch, you want to be sure that you understand the editorial side and the sales piece.”
Above all else, Alverio notes that you need to develop a strong foundation of individuals that you are working with who are passionate about your project.
“You have to have a passion for it and really believe in it, especially in the beginning because it takes a great deal of time to get it off the ground,” she said.
“You can’t do it by yourself.”
Editor’s note: Click here to read NABJDigital profiles of past McCormick winners Retha Hill and Michelle Ferrier.
NABJ-ers, are you looking to get grant money for your journalism projects? Check out Poynter’s 5 ways to get a grant that will finance your journalism careeer article.