What working in a bilingual newsroom (when you don’t speak Spanish) feels like.

Keeping the tradition of “non-traditional” finals, Professor Vanessa Vancour asked her News Studio students to organize a listening party for Noticiero Móvil, the bilingual news organization created from student work inside the Reynolds School. Her news studio class has been creating content for their website all semester long. The party idea came from wanting to engage the community with media that was created over the semester on a more local, personal level. The students who created the stories sat down to dinner with the people who were a part of them, and were encouraged to discuss the stories at length.

This was my first time working with Vancour and Noticiero Móvil. I’ll admit, I was terrified. I thought I had nothing to contribute. I’m not a proficient Spanish speaker, and I wasn’t sure where I fit as a content creator. At times in the class I really struggled with how my work fit in the scope of this newsroom.

My classmates were students who had been involved with the movement since day one; I was the player who never came to practice and showed up late to the game.

I’ve only worked in professional newsrooms briefly, but I do know the immediate nature of daily journalism. It is so easy to move on to the next thing, and the next subject, for your next story. I rarely had the chance to sit down after the fact and talk with the people involved in my story, to ask them how they felt about it, how I did, and what they thought could be improved upon. In one respect, I suppose it’s terrifying, the idea of asking the general public what they think of your story. It’s probably because the people who really hate it are the ones who comment on Facebook first.

Yet, that wasn’t the atmosphere on Wednesday night. The conversation at my table was filled with valuable insight, and even though none of my stories were discussed at the listening party, I could appreciate the direct feedback. People brought up questions that weren’t thoroughly answered in the original story, and directions follow-up stories could go. For journalists, that’s invaluable.

Despite the fact that anyone can comment on a story or retweet it with their thoughts, there’s something valuable about talking face to face with people, like the way you would with a friend over a cup of coffee. There are so many discussions about people not trusting “the media,” and I think this is one step closer to bridging that gap on a local, community level.

I’m proud of the work the Reynolds School students have been doing with Noticiero Móvil, and I’m proud of the work we did this semester.

What other news organizations are sitting down with their readers over fajitas and sodas? Who else is inviting their readers, and their story subjects, to actively talk about their stories?

At the start, I was a little concerned about my place with Noticiero Móvil. At times, I still am. But if there’s anything Noticiero, and the experience of that listening party, has taught me, it’s that you start growing when you’re pushed past your comfort zone. I know I would have been really disappointed if I hadn’t gotten a chance to take part of what I’m sure will honestly be a historic, game-changing bilingual news studio at the Reynolds School of Journalism.

About Noticiero Móvil:

Noticiero Móvil is a multimedia news outlet providing Spanish and English content in northern Nevada. Our team is dedicated to working with the Latino community to provide unbiased, accessible, and relevant content about our diverse community. We strive to involve and engage with our community on the issues of today via local events and dialogues. It is a signature program at the Reynolds School of Journalism.

This story was originally published on the Reynolds School of Journalism website on Dec. 19, 2016.