Project: A content-sharing platform for independent Hispanic media to enable them to build larger audiences.
Mary Aviles grew up in a Venezuelan household that subscribed to four daily newspapers as well as political and economic magazines. She preferred the comics – until 1989, when the Caracazo uprising hit the Venezuelan capital. Images of looting startled 15-year-old Maria, but not as much as the government censorship that followed. Newspapers had blank spaces where stories had been pulled. Her first year in college, at Andres Bello Catholic University, was marked by an attempted coup, more political turmoil and curfews. She wrote about it for her journalism class. After graduating in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in social communication, she worked for Grupo Editorial Producto and Telcel Bellsouth’s first Internet portal. She then moved to the United States to complete a master’s of journalism in Spanish at Florida International University in Miami. She graduated in 2002 and the next year was hired to manage Hispanic coverage in the United States for Spain’s Efe News Service.