NHPR Reporter Gaby Lozada: Visibles Series A Way Of 'Preserving Our Culture'
NHPR's ¿Qué Hay de Nuevo, New Hampshire? team released a new series this month, Visibles. It gives Granite Staters in the Latino community the chance to tell stories, in their own words, of their lives — their triumphs, struggles, daily lives and everything in between.
The project is led by NHPR's new bilingual reporter, Gaby Lozada, a Report for America corps member focused on Latino communities in the Granite State.
Gaby talked with All Things Considered host Peter Biello to share a rundown of the first-of-its-kind project for NHPR. Below is a transcript of their conversation.
Peter Biello: This is All Things Considered on NHPR. I'm Peter Biello. Here at NHPR, we have a new series dropping today called "Visibles." It features in-depth stories about the lives of people in the Latino community in the Granite State in their own words, as told by our new bilingual reporter, Gaby Lozada.
Gaby is a Report for America corps member at NHPR who reports on the Latino community in the state. She contributes to our Spanish language news service ¿Qué Hay de Nuevo, New Hampshire? and she's been spearheading the Visibles project. Thank you very much for speaking with me, Gaby.
Gaby Lozada: Thank you for having me here.
Peter Biello: So, Gaby, you've been working on Visibles for months now. What can listeners expect to hear?
Gaby Lozada: They are first-person non-narrated stories in which someone shares an intimate moment of their lives or simply the way they look at their world right now.
So we have a story, for example, of a woman [and] how she adopted a little boy in order to give him citizenship so he didn't get deported. And another man, he just told us the story about how he survived the pandemic. We have a wide range of topics that we are covering in these stories. It's created for our Spanish-speaking audience. But we thought that the English speakers would also be interested to hear a glimpse of what kind of stories are important to us. And because these are universal stories that people can relate to and they are easy to hear, I think people will enjoy them.
And Visibles is based in the principle that everybody has a story to tell and every story matters. We believe these stories should be documented as a way of preserving our culture. So, for example, today's episode [is] the story of Benny Lantigua. We talked for a long time and after that he told me, "you know what? I always wanted to write a book." And I think this is the kind of opportunity that we are giving to people to do that, to preserve their stories forever.
Peter Biello: And how did you find the people that you spoke to for the series?
Gaby Lozada: So when I started working here at NHPR, I went to events and rallies and I couldn't see the Latinos there. So I thought, what's happening? Where are they? Are they hiding because they are undocumented or they don't know about the events that are being held in their favor. So we came up with this project. At the beginning, I interviewed the people that are more visible and those are the leaders. But then we said, "OK, where are the other people that are kind of 'hiding?'" So, I went online and there is a very big group on Facebook, and I posted there about the show and they were super happy to collaborate. So I was very surprised of that.
Peter Biello: And what did you learn from the people you interviewed? Were there any common themes?
Gaby Lozada: So far I have learned that you don't have to assume other people's experiences. I thought I was going to encounter a lot of stories about immigration and that is not the case. The stories are human and universal. I haven't seen really common themes, but I have seen common emotions. And for example, one of those is resilience.
Peter Biello: So, tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get into reporting?
Gaby Lozada: I was born in Ecuador and I spent most of my life there. I worked on a TV show that we did short documentaries and also in a children's show about education. And then I decided that I wanted to advance my career and I came to the U.S. to do a Masters in filmmaking. And I lived for two years in New York and a year in L.A., and there I worked with many small crews doing film. And I loved it. And I think that I've been loving doing journalism since I was a kid. I never thought about doing anything else. And what I love about it is that you can spark people's curiosity on something or their interest in something, and sometimes that curiosity brings them questions about themselves or about their reality.
Peter Biello: So, what stories do you really want to tell here in New Hampshire and what stories do you think might be overtold, stories that you would want to avoid having to tell?
Gaby Lozada: I would love to tell stories about my culture, about how Latinos are very different. People think that Latinos are all the same and we have the same language and that's it. No, we are very far away. So, we talk differently. We see the world differently, and I would like to give people a glimpse of that. And in the Spanish newscast, I would like to report for the community, not just about the community. We don't have to be talking about the Latino experience in the United States all the time, but we can talk about many other topics that can be of interest to the community, and I think that's my goal.
Peter Biello: Gaby, you're the first reporter here at NHPR focused on the Spanish-speaking community here. What are you hoping the results will be of your reporting?
Gaby Lozada: I hope to listen [to] more Latinos in the newscast. I hope that our problems are seen, but also our celebrations. And I want Latinos to have opinions. I want Latino professionals to be consulted in a wide range of topics or in any kind of field. That's what I really want.
Peter Biello: Gaby Lozada is a Report for America Corps member at NHPR who focuses on the Latino community and is leading the Visibles series, which started today here on NHPR. Gaby, thank you very much for speaking with me.
Gaby Lozada: Thank you.