The Elon alumna was recently named a member of Report for America’s 2021-22 reporting corps, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.
Maria Ramirez Uribe ’20 expected it to take a few years before she could carve out a niche in the journalism industry and report on the stories that she was most passionate about. But as a reporter for WFAE, a role she began in fall 2020, Ramirez found herself reporting on the underserved stories she was drawn to almost immediately.
“I was incredibly lucky and incredibly privileged that, immediately after graduating, I went into a position that specifically focused on covering marginalized communities, which is what I’ve always wanted to do as a reporter,” said Ramirez of her position with the NPR station in Charlotte.
It was announced a few weeks ago that Ramirez will continue to serve Charlotte’s marginalized communities as one of three Report for America corps members at WFAE dedicated to covering race and equity issues in the state. In addition to her assignments with WFAE, Ramirez will also work for La Noticia, the state’s largest Spanish-language paper. Her position with Report for America, a national service that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover under-reported topics and communities, allows Ramirez to cover the Latino community more broadly, as well as to report on immigration issues.
In total, Report for America’s 2021-2022 corps members will include 300 public service-minded journalists working in more than 200 newsrooms across the U.S. It is noteworthy that the corps is diverse – with 135 journalists of color participating in this year’s cohort.
In her current position at WFAE, Ramirez said she has written about the harsh economic impacts of the pandemic, as well as highlighted stories of success and perseverance in difficult times. For one story, Ramirez interviewed a family that left their jobs in a textile factory because of a lack of personal protection equipment. Once the family members left, they started a mask-making business, which had sales take off immediately.
“That was a really interesting story because it was a success story at a time when everyone was feeling pretty down and defeated,” Ramirez said.
During her time at Elon, Ramirez, a journalism and strategic communications double major, was involved in Elon News Network, the student-run media organization, and was a student coordinator at El Centro, the center for Elon University Hispanic and Latinx students. Ramirez credits these experiences for helping her better understand the issues she reports on every day.
“My experience working as a student journalist at Elon News Network prepared me and gave me that kind of real-life experience that I think is so necessary in journalism,” Ramirez said. “Being a student coordinator at El Centro gave me a much deeper understanding of a lot of the issues that I’m covering in marginalized communities. That’s incredibly valuable and something that I tap into every single day, with every story I’m working on.”
The corps members will begin their assignments in June.