Group launches paper for Hispanic community
El Gato, a multidisciplinary student news organization, has been delivering the news for the Hispanic community for more than two years. Recently, El Gato Media Network announced the launch of its first print newspaper, The Venture, for April 26
The newspaper seeks to provide news, opinion and variety to the growing Latino collegiate community.
El Gato Director Ray Ruiz is part of the original founding team and decided that it was necessary for the UH campus to have its own Latino publication on campus.
“What we are implementing has never been done before on the scale we are doing it,” Ruiz said. “A large collegiate news organization dedicated to Hispanic students that produces quality publications is a risky undertaking, but we press on and hope that our community profits from it.”
For Giselle Bueno, Spanish editor of El Gato and project manager of The Venture, the main motive to join the network was the opportunity to write in Spanish. Bueno will be in charge of the Spanish section of The Venture.
“The Spanish section will be called El Pulso, and after a year, we want our own Spanish newspaper,” Bueno said. “Right now, we are having four stories in Spanish.”
Photographer Ivan Castillo joined the organization in fall 2009 and is anxiously awaiting The Venture’s debut.
“I have been photographing since I was 12,” he said. “I am getting my camera ready, I want to get out there and take pictures of the people picking up and reading the newspaper.”
Castillo also came up with the idea of the masthead and logo.
“With the masthead, I was drawing the logo and then I liked the idea of an enlarged ‘v’ for The Venture, and I colored it red for University of Houston,” Castillo said. “The arrow on the masthead is taking us somewhere, but we don’t know where. It is like an adventure and that is what we are.”
The Venture is like a dream come true for its members.
“The definition of ‘venture’ pretty much sums up what our organization has been about from the beginning,” Ruiz said. “Venture means to take the risk, brave the dangers of, dare to go.”
Bueno said she mostly likes the name of the newspaper because of its definition.
“We are a venture because we don’t know what is going to happen,” she said.
Going into print has been part of a strategic plan from the very beginning for El Gato members.
“We need an avenue for our print journalists to gain necessary experience, and we want to engage our readers on a level that is not possible with the Internet alone,” Ruiz said. “When someone sees a story about themselves or their organization in an actual newspaper, it has more impact then seeing it online. Plus, print is warm and personal (whereas) Internet is cold and distant.”
The newspaper staff includes 18 Hispanic UH students who all have the same goals and objectives.
“We want to expand to other Houston campuses and then start the process to becoming a national collegiate newspaper,” Ruiz said.
Bueno said that the main objective is to get the community, students, faculty and different colleges in Houston to become aware of The Venture.
“We want to reach out to the Hispanic community and deliver them the news, so we can let them know who we are,” Castillo said.
The Venture will differ from The Daily Cougar, which has been the official student newspaper at UH since 1934.
“The main difference is that we are not going to concentrate on campus stories, more like stories about the Hispanic community,” Bueno said. “We are going to be a multicultural newspaper and cover cultural stories.”
Comments and responses are very important according to the members.
The newspaper will move to a bi-monthly distribution starting August 23. Coverage in The Venture will include local news, opinion, sports, entertainment and a Spanish section. The newspaper can be found in newsstands in the major buildings on campus.
“We have a lot of learning to do as an organization and hopefully the readers believe in our vision,” Ruiz said. “They can expect that we will value their feedback, continue to work hard and always be innovative.”