Newhouse senior restarts Syracuse University chapter of NAHJ

Marnie Muñoz

Magazine, news and digital journalism senior Marnie Muñoz recently restarted the Syracuse University chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The Newhouse School’s reputation brought Muñoz to Syracuse from the West Coast, and she’s making her mark by galvanizing different groups to action. Muñoz, also majoring in international relations at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, is not only the current co-president of the burgeoning chapter, but serves on The Daily Orange’s board of directors diversity committee. While on the committee, she’s co-leading their inaugural launch of a Daily Orange Inclusive Journalism Fellowship.

What led you to restart the Syracuse University chapter of the National Association Hispanic Journalists?

The chapter had an information session on Zoom and 2020 right in the middle of lockdown, where the then founders were getting the chapter started. By the time I came back to campus in 2021, I was looking for this space and it just wasn’t there. And I realized,  if it was that important to me, I would need to sort of take the initiative to make it happen. 

What is the most challenging part of restarting the chapter?

I think getting started was very difficult for me. I originally had this conversation about it with Dean McGee and Professor Concepción in the fall of 2021. At the time I was working by myself on it and I was also working on other projects with the Newhouse Visitor Center. Then last semester I was in New York City. It was really challenging to set aside time when the semester started to make this happen, but I have Dean McGee, Professor Concepción, and now my e-board to thank for supporting this process of getting our NAHJ chapter off the ground.

What is the most rewarding part?

I think the most important part has been getting to fill up the room with other Latinx student journalists and to be in a room full of other people who have similar identities and experiences. It’s such a beautiful sense of belonging, and it’s very validating and inspiring as a way to sort of keep going forward.

Why did you choose Newhouse? 

I knew that I wanted to write and I wanted a place that would provide me with the resources to do that well. I figured if I’m going to journalism school why not go to the best school for that. I’m a first-generation American and the only family and friends I have in the United States are in Seattle, and I didn’t know anybody else in journalism. I’m the first person in my family to go into journalism. So I am really proud of taking that step. 

What has your experience been like as a Latina student here on campus?

I think it’s been a varied process, and definitely a journey of discovery. I am originally from Seattle. Growing up around a lot of other immigrant families was something I really took for granted until I came here. The realization of being at a predominantly white institution really hit home for me, the more time I spent here. And it’s something that I’ve been reconciling with ever since. But to be honest, I feel like being at a predominantly white institution has only strengthened my sense of identity and sense of self. 

What has been something that surprised you about your time here at Newhouse? 

I think something that surprised me is even throughout that process of finding myself and needing to rediscover what my purpose in journalism was, I have to constantly remind myself of why I’m here. Not because I don’t like it here, but because journalism is challenging work. Newhouse has been very supportive of me throughout that process and that’s something that I’m really grateful for. My mentors and professors here at Newhouse have always let me carve my own path, which is something that is unique to Newhouse, the ability to choose your own path in journalism.

How will this NAHJ chapter help to find and build community here at Syracuse?

The first thing that the chapter can do is hold space for Latinx student journalists. Having a space where you can go for mentorship, for community, to vent or just to feel at home, that’s my primary goal with this. Moving forward, it’d be amazing to build community among ourselves and support each other further, which involves building our network and bringing in alumni and guest speakers. I’m really passionate about keeping that intersectionality at the core of NAHJ, because we come in all forms and backgrounds. I’m also really excited to bring our chapter to the national conference that’s happening next year. At the core of this initiative is access and community, and those are the two most important things moving forward.

Sarah Torres is a first-year student in the magazine, news and digital journalism program at the Newhouse School and the political science program at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.