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.
Congratulations ( again ) Keila!
It is great to know that your broad abilities and experience are useful to and welcome at Hearst Corp in this region. Many newsworthy subjects are not limited to city/town borders specifically. Local governance has to deal with rules, laws, and policies from on high as well as the delivery of revenues from the same direction.
State funding of local educational needs is one area where in depth coverage will indicate whether Educational Cost Sharing plus many other specific or targeted grants gets the youth of CT to a fair and equitable result. Moreover, does the funding produce anticipated results? Where are the timely and regular report cards in such situations?
Another area may be Housing and Urban Development funding (HUD) that enters a locality for public housing and Section 8 programs but is locally administered. How is local oversight working between HUD mandated resident boards that meet and hear the real problems of tenants, and situations (as in Bridgeport) where among Boards and Commissions on the City web site are two listed groups, Fair Rent and Fair Housing, that have been allowed to LAPSE for over a decade. No mayoral appointments. No training on duties, expectations and responsibilities. Is oversight of public business as irresponsibly handled throughout Southern CT? Perhaps the CT Post as lead Hearst investigator could cooperate with one of several universities to create educational and/or informative opportunities to prepare citizens to present themselves for voluntary service, ready and equipped? Best practices need exposure as they are regularly developed. Otherwise, less effective, less modern methods and results maintain. Local leadership is critical. Time will tell.