Meet the 2011 Participants

Laila Al-Arian has been a writer and producer for Al Jazeera English in Washington DC since May 2008. Laila has produced stories about Iraqi refugees in the United States, the trial of Aafia Siddiqui in New York, the case of Guantanamo Bay "child solider" Omar Khadr, and a portrait of a Palestinian-American community in Florida during the 2009 Gaza war. She helped produced the network's Palestine Papers special in January 2011, a four-day program on the largest diplomatic leak in the history of the Palestinian Israeli conflict.

Prior to working at Al Jazeera, Laila was a writer and researcher for The Nation magazine in New York City. With journalist and writer Chris Hedges, Laila co-authored, "Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi Civilians" (Nation Books, 2008) about war crimes and the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The book is based on their 2007 Nation magazine investigative piece "The Other War," which was selected as one of Project Censored's 25 most important undercovered news stories of 2008. Laila received an M.S. degree from Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism in 2006. Her work has appeared in Alternet, "The Independent," "The Guardian", "The Australian", United Press International, and the "Washington Report on Middle East Affairs," among other publications. She has also interned at "USA Today." Laila has spoken about journalism and civil liberties post 9/11 at conferences and universities across the United States, including UCLA, Yale, Stanford, Colby College, and Columbia University.


Mariana Alvarado Alvarado is a bilingual journalist based in Tucson, Arizona. She has over 14 years of experience as reporter and editor. She's currently a reporter for the Arizona Daily Star and La Estrella de Tucsón covering issues affecting Hispanics, including immigration and border issues. In 2008 she received the International Perspective Award from the Associated Press Managing Editors Association, among other honors, for her story chronicling the quest to identify a migrant who died in the desert after crossing into the United States. Her series found that the identification process was slowed by long waits for lab results and the Mexican bureaucracy and it spurred action and investigation in both sides of the border. She received her master’s degree in Journalism from Florida International University ,and before joining the Star she worked at Grupo Reforma and as a correspondent and freelancer for several international publications. She's a fellow for the USC Annenberg's Institute for Justice and Journalism, and the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship.


Javier Castaño launched QueensLatino.com in June 2010. As a digital and print publication - focusing on Latinos in New York City and beyond - QueensLatino.com was nominated by Portada Magazine, last year, as the most innovative Spanish language digital media platform in the United States.

Javier Castaño is a Colombian-American journalist. Upon his arrival in New York City – 27 years ago – he immediately started working as a Spanish language journalist for a wide-variety of community-oriented newspapers. His print and photojournalism addresses such key issues as immigration, housing, education, crime, employment, and health concerns. He has also served as the Managing Editor of El Diario/La Prensa and Editor-in-Chief of Hoy Nueva York. Moreover, for more than a decade, Castaño was the Special International Correspondent for El Tiempo, the Colombian newspaper “of record.” In addition, he has written two well-received books: New York Colombiano (2004), and Luis Carlos Meyer (1998), the biography of an iconic Latin American musician.

Castaño has a Master’s degree (1994) in journalism from Columbia University. He studied photojournalism at the International Center of Photography and added the digital technologies of video production and Final Cut Pro Editing to his journalistic toolbox. In 1995, he won a major photo competition organized by the Fondo Cubano de la Imagen Fotográfica in Havana, Cuba. Currently, Castaño teaches journalism at Hofstra University and is writing a book chapter – on Latino immigrants in the neighborhood of Corona, Queens - for the second edition of Latinos in New York: Communities in Transition. As an expert on local media, he has written extensively on Spanish language media in the United States, and was recently portrayed on CUNY-TV for his professional contributions to the field.


Karina Coronel has over 10 years of experience working as a news anchor, reporter, and producer in Spanish broadcast television. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Karina currently works at CNN en Español as a freelance correspondent reporting breaking news with emphasis on international affairs and US policy towards Latin America. She also collaborates as a correspondent for IDBtv (Inter-American Development Bank), producing social and economic development stories in Latin America and the Caribbean. Her previous affiliations include national and international organizations such as Voice of America, Reuters, and Univision.


Mario Guevara is Salvadorian reporter from Mundo Hispánico, a large and oldest newspaper in Georgia, and Hispanic division from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, since January 2008.

In 2000 he began his career as a journalist in the Diario CoLatino, in his country, where he covered a number of high impact stories ranging from the devastation caused by earthquakes in El Salvador to many controversial political events.

In 2003, Mario graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Public Relations from the Universidad Cristiana. The same year, he began as a photojournalist in La Prensa Gráfica, one of the largest newspapers in El Salvador.

In April 2004, Mario immigrated to the United States seeking political asylum after being threatened by the Salvadorian armed groups affiliated to the guerrilla. Mario had previously published several articles where he exposed these groups’ illegal actions.

That same year Mario was hired by Atlanta Latino, a local bilingual newspaper. He worked there as a reporter covering stories of special interest to the Hispanic community in Georgia. In December of 2007, Mario was hired by Mundo Hispanico. In his capacity as a reporter, Mario covers police, immigration and politics. In the time Mario has lived in the US, he has received several awards and recognitions for his work.


Azalea Iñiguez is a senior anchor and reporter for Telemundo Los Angeles since 1997. She has covered national and international events affecting the immigrant community, and has produced various important segments and special reports for showcasing the positive impact of these people in society. She previously worked for different Telemundo Stations in Guadalajara, Tijuana and San Diego covering news for both Mexico and the United States. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and three children.


Eugene Mulero covers defense, foreign policy, veterans affairs and intelligence legislation on Capitol Hill for Congressional Quarterly. He has written about the fights in Congress over funding for F-22 jets, the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the approval of the New START Treaty for CQ, and he has reviewed books on every subject from Afghanistan’s Helmand Province to Tim Pawlenty’s memoir for Roll Call.

Prior to CQ, he contributed to National Journal’s coverage of the 2008 Republican National Convention. For the magazine, he also crafted, among other stories, an examination of Canada’s role in NATO. In 2007, Eugene and his wife Sarah N. Lynch, a reporter for Thomson Reuters, wrote about a library in Gilbert, Ariz. that aimed to abandon the Dewey Decimal Classification for The New York Times. And that year, their coverage of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Columbia University appeared in The Los Angeles Times.

Eugene was a general assignment reporter with The Arizona Republic. In that role, he led the Republic’s online coverage of immigration. The site, azcentral.com, won numerous awards, including the Best of Gannett in 2006. Also, his profile in the Republic and USA Today of Olympic runner Lopez Lomong, who was adopted by a New York family through the Lost Boys of Sudan program, was the basis for a feature on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”

Eugene also reported on New Jersey Gov. James McGreevy’s resignation for the Daily Record, and chronicled Hoboken’s arts and nightlife scene for The Hudson Reporter. As news editor of The Setonian, he led the coverage of a fatal fire at Seton Hall University. Eugene has offered legislative analysis on BBC radio, Nikkei television and C-SPAN. He earned a bachelor’s of arts from Seton Hall University and a master of science from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. At Columbia, he studied at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism. Eugene and Sarah live in Pentagon City. They love running, wine and the arts.


Tamarind Phinisee currently serves as the Finance and Education Reporter for the San Antonio Business Journal. She also covers Mexico/International Trade and serves as Copy Editor.

Tamarind has been with the San Antonio Business Journal since 2001. Prior to this, she worked for SABJ’s sister publication, the Dallas Business Journal. She is a graduate of the University of North Texas in Denton.


Sergio Quintana is a freelance multimedia journalist in San Francisco. Most recently he has filed radio stories for Sirius/XM Satellite Radio's Out Q news service and for National Public Radio. He also reported regularly for KTVU Channel 2, the Fox affiliate in the Bay Area. Currently he's involved in producing a documentary on immigration called “Generation 2.0” and another about hazing on high school sports teams called “Through the Haze”.

Sergio is a native of Sapello, New Mexico. He grew up in a bilingual community. He credits his language skills for steering him toward immigration reporting. As a staff reporter for KFWB News Radio in Los Angeles, he was often assigned to cover a wide range of stories concerning the Latino community. Immigration soon took on much of his focus. He continued his focus on immigration when he took a job at the NBC Station in Raleigh, North Carolina. As a freelancer in San Francisco, he's capitalized on his connections throughout the Southwest to continue on the immigration beat.


Julian Resendiz is a veteran Texas print journalist who fills the role of metro editor/reporter for Al Día, the Spanish newspaper of The Dallas Morning News in Dallas, Texas. He is a journalism graduate from the University of Texas at El Paso who worked for 10 years for The El Paso Herald-Post, a Scripps Howard publication, mostly covering Mexico. Mr. Resendiz moved on to editing in 1997, becoming the city editor of The Brownsville Herald in Brownsville, Texas. He was also assignments editor at The El Paso Times and city editor at Diario de Juarez in the early part of the last decade.

After obtaining a master’s degree in journalism from Florida International University, Mr. Resendiz moved to Dallas to work the city desk at Al Día, which originally had five staff reporters. Due to staff cuts, he’s now involved in all aspects of the daily news operation, from reporting to making assignments to copy editing. Mr. Resendiz comes from an immigrant family – his parents came to the United States in 1974 as farm workers – and was the first in his family to graduate from high school, college, etc. He’s seen the highs and lows of the profession, from being an international correspondent and covering the Super Bowl, the MLS Championship and the NBA Finals, to being laid off.

“My current assignment is probably one of the most important roles I’ve had in my career. I’m responsible for news coverage of a huge immigrant community in one of America’s largest and most conservative regions. Our publication for eight years has been a resource of knowledge for those newly arrived from Latin America, and in recent years has become a must-read for those who want to know the Latino position on issues like immigration, politics and pending legislation.”


Ross Reynolds has hosted KUOW’s local news/talk program ‘The Conversation’ since 2000. In that time he’s interviewed a president, a former next president (Al Gore), a king, poets, artists, politicians, musicians and more. His favorite interview was novelist John Barth. His least favorite was musician Jonathan Richman. In 2009 Seattle Weekly readers chose ‘The Conversation’ as the best local talk show.

Prior to hosting ‘The Conversation’ Ross was KUOW’s News Director, Program Director, and host of the weekly KCTS interview program ‘Upon Reflection’. He is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Communication Masters in Digital Media.


Jeremy Schwartz is a member of the Austin American-Statesman's 5-reporter investigative team. He served as Mexico City correspondent for the Statesman and Cox Newspapers between 2005 and 2009, covering politics, immigration and drug violence. He previously covered immigration and border issues at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the Imperial Valley Press in El Centro, Calif. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Nancy Flores, an independent journalist.


Johanna Suárez: Born in Los Angeles, CA Johanna Suárez moved to Colombia when she was very young. At age 18 she migrated back to the United States to study Communications at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she graduated with a B.A. In 2002 Johanna joined KINC Univision 15 in Las Vegas first as an intern, and worked her way through various positions such as: Assignment desk, Assistant Producer, Reporter and Fill-in Anchor. In 2005 she moves to Sacramento as a Reporter/Weekend Anchor and later was promoted to main Anchor of the 6pm and 11 pm Newscast from Monday through Friday.

She currently anchors these two newscast and Hosts "Voz y Voto" the Only political program in Spanish that airs Statewide. Her most memorable coverage, is Katrina- where she was embedded with the California National Guard and the 2008 Presidential Elections. Johanna has been awarded with 5 Northern California Emmy's for stories in Health, the Environment, the Mortgage Crisis and a special program on Gangs. She's currently nominated in three categories: Documentary, Cultural, and Health. She enjoys writing, watching movies and travelling. During her trips overseas she has worked on stories about the Peruvian Amazon, Middle East (Jordan, Israel and Egypt,) Indonesia and Mexico. Johanna is married and has two kids Nicolás 5 years old and Simón 2 years old.