Nieman News

Maria Hinojosa

Maria Hinojosa

Cambridge, Mass. — Pioneering journalist and multimedia entrepreneur Maria Hinojosa has been selected as winner of the 2020 I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

During her 30-year career, Hinojosa’s groundbreaking documentaries and investigative reports have brought to light stories about the lives, challenges and contributions of millions of Americans living in communities too often ignored by traditional media.

Announcing the award, Florence Graves, chair of the I.F. Stone Medal selection committee said: “As Hinojosa worked on her vision to make diverse Americans more visible in news reporting, she had a stunning insight: The country’s rapidly growing multicultural population was becoming the new American mainstream. And although they didn’t ask for anyone’s permission or issue any press releases, Hinojosa could see that they were influencing every aspect of contemporary life and changing America—just as waves of immigrants before them, including Hinojosa and her family, had done.”

Hinojosa founded The Futuro Media Group in 2010, responding to the troubling gaps she saw in reporting on America’s growing number of Asians, Latinos, African Americans, mixed-race individuals, immigrants, Muslims, and members of the LGBTQ community, as well as poor coverage of women and youths. The independent multimedia nonprofit is dedicated to chronicling the stories of those invisible Americans, highlighting the social and civic justice issues facing the country’s diverse population and celebrating the cultural richness of the modern-day America.

“Nieman is proud to honor Maria Hinojosa, a journalism leader who has significantly advanced our knowledge of underreported communities,” said Nieman Foundation curator Ann Marie Lipinski. “For years, she has modeled what it means to be committed to the stories of those whose lives often fall outside the gaze of traditional media. She has also demonstrated the power of reporting across media channels, expanding her audience and strengthening the impact of her important work.”

Hinojosa is anchor and executive producer of the Peabody Award-winning radio program “Latino USA,” the longest-running Latino-focused program on U.S. public media, which is produced by Futuro Media and distributed by NPR. She is also co-host of Futuro’s new political podcast “In The Thick.”

Hinojosa additionally produced “America By The Numbers,” an innovative PBS television series that used data to examine the country’s dramatic demographic shifts, and “Humanizing America,” a digital video series that deconstructed stereotypes about the American electorate.

Hinojosa’s family migrated from Mexico in 1962. She grew up in Chicago during the formative civil rights era and began her distinguished reporting career in radio, hosting a show featuring Latinos in the arts and politics. She went on to report for such mainstream news organizations as PBS, CBS, WGBH, WNBC, CNN and NPR. Today she is a contributor for “CBS Sunday Morning” and a frequent public-affairs analyst on MSNBC.

Hinojosa was anchor of the Emmy Award-winning talk show “One-on-One with Maria Hinojosa” from WGBH/La Plaza. She also served as anchor/senior correspondent for “NOW On PBS,” where she covered the underreported problem of teenage girls who were being sexually harassed and sometimes assaulted during their first jobs, often while they were still in high school. She also contributed to the PBS news and public affairs program “Need to Know.”

Hinojosa has reported hundreds of important stories—from restrictive immigration policies in Fremont, Nebraska to the effects of the oil boom on Native people in North Dakota and the impact of poverty in Alabama. As a reporter for NPR, Hinojosa stood out for her in-depth reporting on youth violence. During her eight years as CNN’s urban affairs correspondent, she often took viewers into communities rarely shown on national television.

In 2011, she was the first Latina to anchor a PBS Frontline report, “Lost in Detention,” which examined abuse at immigrant detention facilities, a problem still very much in the news in 2020.

Hinojosa’s many awards and honors include the 2010 Sidney Hillman Prize, four Emmys, the 2012 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism, the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Reporting on the Disadvantaged, a Studs Terkel Community Media Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club for “Child Brides: Stolen Lives” and the Ruben Salazar Lifetime Achievement Award.

Hinojosa is the author of the forthcoming “Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America” (Simon & Schuster), scheduled for release on September 15, 2020. Her two other books are “Crews: Gang Members Talk to Maria Hinojosa” (Harcourt, 1995) and “Raising Raul: Adventures of Raising Myself and My Son” (Penguin, 2000).

In 2012, Hinojosa was named as the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Chair of Latin American and Latino Studies at DePaul University in Chicago. She was a fall 2018 fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

In 2019, in recognition of their exemplary professional achievements, photographs of Hinojosa and two other trailblazing Latina storytellers—authors Marta Moreno Vega and Sandra Cisneros—were added to the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. And in September 2019, Barnard College named Hinojosa as its inaugural Journalist-in-Residence.

Established in 2008, the I.F Stone Medal honors the life of investigative journalist I.F. Stone and is presented annually to a journalist or journalists whose work captures the spirit of journalistic independence, integrity and courage that characterized I.F. Stone’s Weekly, published from 1953 to 1971. The award is administered by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard.

Along with chair Florence Graves, the founding director of The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, the other members of the 2020 I.F. Stone Medal selection committee are: Myra MacPherson, author of the biography “All Governments Lie: The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I.F. Stone”; Phillip Martin, a senior investigative reporter for WGBH News and a 1998 Nieman Fellow; Ricardo Sandoval-Palos, public editor for PBS and former president of the board of directors for the Fund for Investigative Journalism; and Jacqueline E. Sharkey, professor emerita and former director of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard educates leaders in journalism and elevates the standards of the profession through special programs that convene scholars and experts in all fields. More than 1,600 journalists from 99 countries have been awarded Nieman Fellowships since 1938. The foundation’s other initiatives include Nieman Reports, a quarterly print and online magazine that covers thought leadership in journalism; Nieman Journalism Lab, a website that reports on the future of news, innovation and best practices in the digital media age; and Nieman Storyboard, a website that showcases exceptional narrative journalism and explores the future of nonfiction storytelling.

For more information about I.F. Stone, visit

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