Keila Torres is the stuff of stories. Girl from the East Side of Bridgeport emerges as a young pain-in-the butt reporter, editorial board member, managing editor of the Connecticut Post directing a news team all before age 35, a recognition recently cited by the journalism industry bible Editor & Publisher’s 25 under 35.
Her talent and résumé could land her a position at a major metro publication, such as they are these days. She cherishes private time with her family so she stays close to home. And that brings her to a new role as investigations editor for Hearst Connecticut Media that includes dailies from New Haven to Greenwich along the shore and inland to Danbury with loads of weeklies in between. This could be problematic for politicians, and that’s not such a bad thing.
In the old days we called it enterprise reporting: dig, probe, cajole, stay present, develop sources for information unearthing an exposé or a series of articles.
Some today call it the I-Team. Keila will lead major investigations across all the Hearst markets in Connecticut on behalf of a media group that owns the largest digital footprint in the state. Keila has a strong nose for BS and a hunter’s stare in the quest to achieve story fairness.
The managing editor’s job can a maddening surplus of whiplash juggling story ideas, personalities, deadlines, bosses and paperwork. And then there’s the unending harangue from readers. Pass the aspirin, please. The new role diminishes the migraines, recruits scribes from other Hearst properties in Connecticut for a common story share, provides focus to development enterprise pieces while devoting time to her young family.
Keila was recently named one of E&P’s 25 under 35, not a bad designation for a Bridgeport girl. She responded to the following question from E&P:
In what ways can newsroom diversity improve?
In all ways. Unfortunately, the conversation about diversity is often superficial, with the focus usually on how to increase the number of (insert your diverse group name here). But I don’t want to simply fill a quota. I’m not looking for a handout. I’m looking for an opportunity, and if I have the skills for a job, I don’t want to be passed up for it or overlooked because I don’t look like anyone in that position before me.
Two things are missed when we treat diversity as if it were a numbers game: we forget people are not just one “thing” at a time and we forget that roles within a newsroom also matter. Hire a “minority” but stick her in the sleepiest beat in the newsroom and give her no opportunities to grow or have voice, and you’ve failed at diversity. Also, people forget being white or black or Hispanic is not all a person is. Yes, I am Puerto Rican. But I am also a woman, a mother, a city girl, a public school graduate and so on. All of these things make me who I am and inform how I see the world.