The Los Angeles Times today announced a partnership with former Washington Post reporter Jose Antonio Vargas. Vargas will head up #EmergingUS, a new section of the Times that will explore the nexus of race, ethnicity and immigration. Plans for the section, set to debut in the spring, include the full multimedia array of graphics, video, and social media outreach.
In a press release, Times CEO and publisher Austin Beutner described Vargas as “uniquely suited to look at the issues and find and tell stories that will inform all of us.” Vargas left the Post in 2009. In 2011, he famously outed himself as undocumented in a New York Magazine article in which he described trying to reconcile his American-dreamlike path toward success with the knowledge that being discovered could render his achievements moot. (The Post turned Vargas down when he pitched the idea to them.)
Vargas has actively campaigned on immigration issues since 2011 and was briefly detained last year by Border Patrol agents after attending an event in Rio Grande Valley for the immigration advocacy group United We Dream.
Another brick comes down in the once solid wall between journalist and activist, as the challenges to the supremacy of objectivity gather. It will be interesting to see how Vargas’ deeply personal stake in the issues being covered by #EmergingUS will impact the content. We talked to Vargas about that thorny issue in a MediaBeat interview last year:
[Photo credit: Gerry Salva Cruz]