Covering Houston and always open to new opportunities
Posted by Alvaro Ortiz
I am currently working as a Senior Reporter for La Voz de Houston, the Spanish language newspaper owned by the Houston Chronicle. I am focused on La Voz's online edition, which entails frequently working on multi-media stories and a lot of social media activity, but, as it is customary in me, I am open to new professional challenges and opportunities.
I was born in Madrid (Spain) in 1971 and studied Journalism at the Universidad Complutense, where I graduated in June 1996. After working in several Spanish media outlets, I won the coveted Fulbright scholarship in 2001 and moved to the United States to pursue a Master's Degree at the prestigious School of Journalism of the University of Missouri-Columbia.
After two and a half years working as a reporter and anchor at the Columbia (Missouri) NBC affiliate station (KOMU-TV Channel 8), as well as collaborating with Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), I graduated in May 2003.
In November of that same year, I joined the News Division of Azteca America, the U.S. operation of Mexico's renowned TV Azteca. I first worked in the Washington DC headquarters and I was sent to Houston (Texas) in the summer of 2004 to spearhead the Texas News Bureau for the network. In 2009, I moved to the field of media relations and started working as Press Secretary for U.S. Congressman Al Green. In 2012, I started working as a Senior Reporter at the Houston Chronicle, where I specialize in covering Space City's Hispanic community.
I describe myself as an 'all-terrain communicator' who can effectively report as an inquisitive journalist and also successfully convey an institutional and/or corporate message as a spokesperson.
I am proud to say I have travelled all around the world, visiting countries in Europe and Africa, as well as in North and South America.
Alvaro's Favorite Quote
Nobody likes the man who brings bad news.
Phone: (832) 606 5869
- Alvaro Ortiz
My Column: Stalling of third generation Hispanics is worthy of research
A recent study from The Urban Institute that analyzed differences between first, second and third generation immigrants has revealed what María Enchautegui, the study’s author, defines as the U-turn of third generation Hispanic immigrants.
For the sake of clarity, Enchautegui defines third generation Hispanic immigrants as those who have been born in the United States and those whose parents are also Americans by birth, but whose grandparents are originally from Mexico, Central America or South America.
Enchautegui used data from the U.S. Census Bureau ranging from 2010 to 2013 and she found that, among Hispanics 16 to 18 years old, 86 percent of first generation immigrants were enrolled in school, a rate that rose to 91 percent in the second generation and, yet, declined to 87 percent in the third generation.
The same trend, although with different percentages, occurred in Hispanics 19 to 22 years old and in Latina immigrants from 16 to 22 who did not attend school nor worked.
The data compiled by Enchautegui also show an increase from the first to the second generation in participation in civic and community activities, and a slight decline in the third generation and same goes for voter turnout in the 2010 mid-terms and the 2012 Presidential election.
Although Enchautegui has not focused on why this U-turn happens, her theory is that, at least partially, the third generation is not as exposed as the second to the immigrant narrative of the first generation of Hispanic immigrants, which in the majority of cases is characterized by stories and memories of hard work and self-betterment. In this regard, the researcher thinks that maybe the third generation becomes a bit complacent.
Her theory is somewhat echoed by some scholars who have researched the differences between several generations of immigrants of Mexican origin, such as Vilma Ortiz, from the Sociology Department at the University of California-Los Angeles.
In 2008, Ortiz co-authored “Generations of exclusion”, a book that analyzed the life of Mexican-Americans in California and also found that some of the gains made from the first to the second generation stalled in the third.
Another factor which can contribute to explain, to a certain extent, the third generation’s U-turn is the low expectations that some education professionals show towards Hispanic students. That is what professor Gilda Ochoa, from the Sociology Department at Pomona College (California), discovered working on a research project that culminated in her book “Academic Profiling: Latinos, Asian-Americans, and the achievement gap”, published in 2013.
Ochoa spent 18 months conducting about 200 interviews with faculty members and students from a Southern California public high school, which she prefers not to identify. Based on her research, some Hispanic students were ridiculed by instructors when these realized they had enrolled in advanced courses and, in some cases, they faced more obstacles than their Asian peers when they sought academic counseling regarding their college options.
Ochoa refers to this as a “system of academic profiling”, which is not a term she coined, but one used by one of the very teachers she interviewed. According to the scholar, even though her research focused on a particular school it is not farfetched to think that this phenomenon also occurs in other parts of the country.
Although Enchautegui’s study is based on national data and, thus, does not provide a clear picture of the situation in Texas, the trend she has detected is worth noticing particularly because, according to demographic projections, Hispanics will become 50 percent or more of the state’s population around the year 2040.
Moreover, that change is projected to happen in Harris County sooner, around 2030. And many of the Hispanics who will be the protagonists of that historic shift will be precisely third generation immigrants.
Enchautegui emphasizes the third generation’s U-turn and, mostly, its causes, has not been sufficiently researched and thinks that could be a useful next step for whoever is up to the task, maybe even herself.
As much of a cliché it may be at this point in history, I firmly believe that America is the land of opportunity and that the people who come to work and live here are seeking a better future, perhaps even more for their descendants than for themselves. It would be wise to do something to try to make it more likely that the gains made from the first to the second generation continue in the third and so forth.