Saturday, December 11, 2010

Coming to an end....

I learned a lot from Multi Ethnic reporting. I felt that the
conversations we had in class we meaningful and allowed each of us to
learn a little more about different cultures. I've learned to be a
little more sensitive to people different from me and to be a little
more conscious of stereotypes I may have used in the past.
I found our listening posts to be a very important component to how we
learned throughout this semester. I had a preconceived notion that
people at the flea market had uninteresting lives or didn't have much
to offer. When in fact, the person I met wasn't much older than me and
actually had a lot in common with me. Many of us had different
experiences at our listening posts. I learned that fear is only in my
head. I was so uncomfortable going to a flea market alone. Everyone
was so nice and wanted to talk. People want to tell their story, and
as journalists we really need to listen.

Overall, I thought this course was a valuable learning experience. Our
class conversations and sharing of our experiences helped me to feel a
bit more at ease at my post.

I didn't feel as though anything should be done differently with the
course for future semesters.

Thank you for a allowing us to learn in a more unconventional way.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Michael Leyva

Michael Leyva grew up at the Opa Locka Flea Market, what he refers to as his “second home”, helping his parents run the family business.

Leyva’s childhood was spent running through the isles of the flea market with his friends and riding bike around the perimeter of the flea market.

“I remember coming here everyday after school to hang out with my friends whose parents also had flea market businesses. We’d help our parents stock up the shelves and then play around here until it was time to go home.”

The flea market, Leyva’s second home, is a place where he can turn to for comfort. He can’t describe his childhood without talking about the flea market. His parents, Carmen and Luis, have owned Michael’s Discount since the flea market opened in 1984.

Leyva is a high school graduate who never attended college. He was not expected to get a degree, but was expected to help put food on the table for his family. His childhood dreams of becoming an artist and going to college were no longer a priority after he learned of his father’s disability.

“I love to paint. I have always enjoyed it since I was a kid, but when my dad suffered his hip injury, my mom could not run the business alone and turned to me to help make our store survive.”

Leyva has been an active member in his community volunteering within his church and helping refugees like his parents find jobs.

He has been around the flea market his whole life and knows many families that have been working there for years, so it is easy for him to find open positions for people looking for jobs.

Juan Echevarria, a Cuban refugee, has been working for Leyva and his family for 10 months.

“Thanks to Michael, I have been able to support my family and make enough money to survive.”
After graduating from high school, Leyva took on the full-time job at the flea market working 7 days a week from open to close.

Leyva wanted to open an art supply store of his own, but that has proven to be unsuccessful because of the amount of time he has to put in to the family business.

“I had different plans in mind for my future, but this has turned out okay for me and my family. I try to look at things positively and whatever I do, I give it my best.”

Scott Miller, the owner of the flea market, has seen Leyva grow up. Miller has known Leyva and his family since 1984 when the flea market opened.

“Michael and his family are hard workers. I remember when Michael used to run around here and get into all sorts of trouble and come to me to get out of trouble. I’ve known him since he was born. He’s a good kid who looks out for his family and he’s like a son to me.”

Leyva does not have plans of leaving the flea market like he used to. His focus now is making sure their business continues to make money and survive during this economic recession.

Leyva continues to help refugees find jobs at the flea market and is an active community volunteer.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ethnic Media The Danger of Losing It

Ethnic media, as we talked about it very important to different communities. These ethnic newspapers, like the ones we saw in class are what these communities read to keep updated on what's going on.

We saw that they touch on current topics in our country, but some were written from different points of views than others. These newspapers cater to these specific communities. Should they be more neutral and cater to all people?

I came across an article from the Boston Globe about the The Danger of Losing Ethnic Media.

Ethnic media sees their role as giving a voice to certain communities, whichever they represent. It's very interesting and a quick read. It talks about ethnic media steering the mainstream media and so on.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Heart to Heart

Michael invited me to lunch last Thursday. He said it was going to be slow and to meet him at the Flea Market to talk. I let him do most of the talking. He opened up a little more about his family and how they have been able to manage through all these years. His dad is recently disabled and cannot work as much as he used to. Michael has had to put in a lot more work recently because of that.

I asked Michael of his future plans. He told me he graduated from High School and never went to college. He talked as though he really did not have anywhere else to go and he referred to this place as his second home. I asked him if he planned on taking over and his response was, "How could I not?"

Michael's dad still goes to the store everyday with his wife to try and help out but does minimal work. He opened up about his childhood and every important event in his life happened around the Flea Market. The Flea Market has become a "safe place" for him. He invited me to come back this week on Saturday or Sunday to hang out.

So I'll be back there this weekend as I'm writing my profile on Michael.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Back to the Flea Market

I went to the Flea Market on yesterday (Tuesday) The place wasn't too too packed. I went to speak to the owner again, Scott. He showed me around his office and was really interested in having me learn about what he does and what goes on there. I was able to see pictures of the Flea Market year-to-year and all the cameras they have installed.

Scott walked around with me for a little while and talked about some families that live here. I spoke with another Haitian family. The father ran the business and his kids helped him out. They have been there for 5 years and have trouble making enough to support their family.

I re-visited Michael and his parents for a little while. They were pretty busy, but Michael was happy to see me. He did most of the talking today. He told me about how hard work has been these past couple of days. They haven't been too busy and rely solely on their business to survive. His older sister moved to Orlando and is trying to finish school. I walked around with him too. He introduced me to his friend, who was from Columbia. His name is Juan and he's an illegal immigrant. When Michael told him I was a journalist and was there to learn more about what goes on in a Flea Market, Juan ran away. Apparently he thought I had the authority to deport him. It was an interesting day. I'll be back there Saturday. I plan to try and meet one more family.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What's The Point Of Journalism School, Anyway?

After reading this article, it made me think about all the time people asked ME why I wanted to study journalism. My neighbor is a journalist and used to tell me all the time, make sure you get a second job. I would laugh at him and tell him not to worry because I'd make it. He is an older generation journalist who has had to learn all the new types of media emerging over the past few years. It gets me think about what I am going to look forward to when my career starts rolling, if it ever will.

Journalists have a very important job, and it's to inform the people of this country of what's going on and to present it honestly and accurately. Unfortantely to many, the journalism field is slowly going away. I am not going to sit here and think that I spent my four years at a university studying journalism to find that I won't get a job or that this field will go away.

Monday, October 18, 2010

News As American As America and Diversity in the Newsroom

It was interesting to read this article. It talked about a small town preparing for their Fourth of July parade, when including flags of other nations would be a problem. Of course it angered some residents because, well America is the best right? Well, no. Our country is struggling with the demographic change that is occurring and has always been occurring. It is the job of journalists to maintain ethics policies and "seek truth and report it" as the states.

The article that focuses on Diversity in the Newsroom was interesting because it showed how a lot of top newspaper companies have extremely low percentages of non-whites working at the publications. Do I think they should hire people of different backgrounds JUST to say that they are diverse? No, but they should look to hire qualified individuals from all backgrounds that can do the job. I think a diverse newsroom is a great thing for a publication because individuals can learn so much with all the different opinions and cultures that are all put together.

The Q&A with Frank Harris, an assistant professor at Southern Connecticut State University, focused on journalism and facing racism. He went into detail about how important it is to discuss racism in journalism because how can one report fairly if they're racist thoughts play a role. He talked about when is race relevant to a story and when is it not. We each judge naturally based on how wew ere brought up. It's natural and almost impossible to avoid, but when writing a story journalists need to set that aside and write the truth.