President & Founder of The Futuro Media Group, Anchor & Executive Producer of Latino USA
As a reporter who was the first Latina in many newsrooms, Maria Hinojosa dreamt of a space where she could create independent, multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diverse American experience. She made that dream a reality in 2010 when she created Futuro Media, an independent, nonprofit newsroom based in Harlem, NYC with the mission to create multimedia content from a POC perspective. Futuro does this in the service of empowering people to navigate the complexities of an increasingly diverse and connected world.
As the Anchor and Executive Producer of the Peabody Award-winning show Latino USA, distributed by PRX, as well as Co-Host of In The Thick, the Futuro Media’s award-winning political podcast, Hinojosa has informed millions about the changing cultural and political landscape in America and abroad. She is also a contributor to the long-running, award-winning news program CBS Sunday Morning and a frequent guest on MSNBC.
Hinojosa’s nearly 30-year career as an award-winning journalist includes reporting for PBS, CBS, WNBC, CNN, NPR, and anchoring the Emmy Award winning talk show from WGBH Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One. She is the author of two books and has won dozens of awards, including: four Emmys, the John Chancellor Award, the Studs Terkel Community Media Award, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club, and the Ruben Salazar Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAHJ. She has been honored with her own day in October by New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and has been recognized by People En Español as one of the 25 most powerful Latina women. Additionally, Hinojosa was the first Latina to anchor a PBS FRONTLINE report: “Lost in Detention” which aired in October 2011 and was the first to explore abuse at immigrant detention facilities, garnering attention from Capitol Hill as well as both the mainstream and Spanish-language media.
As a reporter for NPR, Hinojosa was among the first to report on youth violence in urban communities on a national scale. During her eight years as CNN’s urban affairs correspondent, Hinojosa often took viewers into communities rarely shown on television and continued that work longform on Now on PBS. At Futuro Media, Hinojosa continues to bring attention to experiences and points of view that are often overlooked or underreported in mainstream media, all while mentoring the next generation of diverse journalists to delve into authentic and nuanced stories. In 2018 she was a Fellow at Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School and is a frequent speaker across the country. In 2019, she was named the inaugural Distinguished Journalist in Residence at her Alma Mater, Barnard College. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Julio Ricardo Varela
Julio Ricardo Varela
Editorial Director and Co-Interim Executive Director, Futuro Media; VP of New Business Development, Futuro Studios
As Editorial Director for Futuro Media, Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela is responsible for the overall editorial vision and voice of Latino USA, Latino Rebels and In The Thick. As Vice President of New Business Development for Futuro Studios, he also heads up the division’s new business initiatives, which have received industry accolades and have positioned Futuro for continued, sustainable success.
In 2011, Julio founded Latino Rebels, one of the top U.S. Latino digital media sites in the world. In 2018, LR officially joined the Futuro Media family. He also co-hosts In The Thick with Maria Hinojosa. He is a frequent contributor to Latino USA, and as Digital Director for Futuro from 2015–2020, Julio expanded the show’s digital footprint, overseeing historic gains in online and social audiences.
Previously, Julio was Digital Producer for Al Jazeera America’s “The Stream” and his work has been featured in many global outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Guardian, ESPN, NBC News, Quartz, Le Monde, WGBH, WNYC, Face the Nation, MSNBC, Fusion, Univision and Telemundo. He has made numerous national TV appearances for Latino USA and Futuro Media.
In 2015, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists honored Julio with its inaugural DALE (pronounced like Pitbull would say it) Award, given to “given to an individual or company that steps up and goes above and beyond to ensure Latinos are fairly and accurately represented.” A native of Puerto Rico, Julio spent his childhood between San Juan and the Bronx. He was also a contributing reporter at The Boston Globe and a top publishing executive. Julio graduated cum laude from Harvard College.
VP of Content Development, Futuro Media
Marlon Bishop is a Peabody Award-winning radio producer and journalist with a focus on Latin America, immigration, identity and society, music and the arts. He got his start in radio producing long-form documentaries on Latin music history for the public radio program Afropop Worldwide. After a stint reporting for the culture desk at New York Public Radio, Marlon spent several years writing for MTV Iggy, MTV”s portal for global music and pop culture. Marlon’s radio pieces and writing have appeared in NPR, Studio 360, The World, The Fader, Billboard, and Fusion, among other outlets. In 2015 he won a Peabody Award for his investigative reporting on gang violence and migration in Honduras.
Senior Editor, Latino USA
Senior Producer, Futuro Studios
Senior Producer, Futuro Studios
Nicole Rothwell is a senior producer at Futuro Studios where she develops new audio series and oversees production management for the department. She’s a Webby nominated podcast producer and a multimedia journalist who has covered politics and human rights in Mexico City, Bogotá, Jerusalem and New York City. Most recently she was supervising producer for Futuro Media’s award winning politics podcast, In The Thick, and helped launch the TransLash Podcast. Her work has also been featured with WNYC’s The Takeaway, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, La Silla Vacía, The Indypendent and Americas Program. Nicole is an alumna of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Originally from Washington state, she has a BA in International Relations and Spanish from Seattle University.
Editor, Latino USA
Marta Martinez is a multimedia journalist and currently an editor at Latino USA. Her work has appeared on CNN, VICE, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Teen Vogue, Univision, Revista 5W, El País, and Le Monde among other media. She is also a creative editor at the journalistic production company Dromómanos. She helped The Fuller Project, a nonprofit newsroom covering issues that affect women globally, set up its first audience engagement and social media strategy.
She specializes in long-form journalism, covering human rights, inequality, migration, and gender, as well as developing audience engagement strategies. She has reported on a sex-based quarantine measure that discriminated against transgender people in Panama, a community built by displaced Colombians that is now welcoming migrant Venezuelans, how the genocide trial came together in Guatemala, and why straight women are marrying each other in northern Tanzania. She is a National Geographic, International Women’s Media Foundation, and European Journalism Centre grantee. She worked as a fact-checker for The New York Times and as a researcher for The New Yorker. She’s originally from Spain, but has been living in New York for over a decade. She believes that everything tastes better with cheese.
Supervising Senior Engineer, Futuro Media
Stephanie Lebow is the Supervising Senior Engineer across Futuro Media’s properties and the voice of Futuro’s funders.
She is a Peabody award-winning audio engineer for her work on Afropop Worldwide. She found her passion for radio at Indie 103.1 FM in LA, as an engineer, producer, and on-air personality.
She has mixed and produced music in a multitude of genres from jazz to pop, and received an independent music award for her work. She has also mixed and done sound sweetening for indie films and documentary series such as America By The Numbers and Miss Sharon Jones!
She graduated from Emerson College with a major in Audio Production and a minor in Broadcast Journalism. When she’s not using ProTools to build radio shows, she uses it as an instrument in her own electronic/indie project Stef Lebaux.
Producer At-Large, Latino USA
Julieta Martinelli is an award-winning investigative reporter and currently a producer at-large at Futuro Media. As a Soros Justice Media Fellow, she spent 2019 documenting the human repercussions of changing legal policies along the U.S.-Mexico border. She previously covered the criminal justice system, policing and immigration for Nashville Public Radio.
Her stories about immigrant youth, life in prison — and what happens after — have aired nationally on NPR programs including “Here and Now”, “Morning Edition,” ”All Things Considered” and “Weekend Edition”. She’s been invited to discuss her reporting on WBEZ Chicago’s “Morning Shift”, WAMU’s “1A” and NPR’s “Up First” podcast.
Martinelli previously wrote for CBS-46 in Atlanta, Gwinnett Daily Post, and Atlanta Latino Newspaper. Once upon a time, she made a living off writing press kits for indie artists and throwing parties in Atlanta…and in her headphones is still always secretly blasting hip-hop and reggaeton.
Senior Manager / Line Producer, Latino USA
Mike Sargent is an award winning veteran of audio disciplines including podcasts, radio, radio drama, audiobooks, film and a leading figure in the movement to cultivate diversity in public media. He started his career in theatre and film as a sound designer and won an Audelco Award for excellence in Sound Design.
From there Mike went on to write, produce and direct radio drama and audio books, adapting the works of such acclaimed science-fiction authors as Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clark.
A pioneering Afro-futurist, Mike was the creator-producer of the first Black science-fiction audio drama James Scott: When The World’s Need Heroes. Since then he has produced a wide range of podcasts and audio programs.
Currently chief film critic for WBAI RADIO’s weekly film review program, REELWORLD, and host of WBAI’s popular late night radio show, NITESHIFT. Mike co-hosts two Podcasts 2FAST 2FILMS & The BROWN & BLACK podcast for the iHeartMedia Revolver Network. And most recently is producer of THE GREAT WEALTH DIVIDE podcast for WBGO Studios, the new podcasting unit of the world-premier jazz station, based in Newark, NJ.
Producer, Futuro Media
Jeanne Montalvo is a Grammy-nominated audio engineer and radio producer. She spent almost a decade working in music recording before breaking into radio after receiving her Masters in Music Technology from New York University. She has worked as an audio engineer and producer for NPR, Bloomberg Radio, the Duolingo podcast and projects for the New York Times and Sony.
As a radio producer, she focuses on music and culture stories ranging from the inner workings of growing up bilingual to now parenting bilingual children, as well as telling the stories of music icons past and present like Yma Sumac. She is the creator of “Live from Latino USA” a live and (mostly) unplugged video series that features Latinx talent from Jessie Reyez to Jose Feliciano.
When she’s not taking a deep dive into her latest story, she stays involved with the music industry as much as she can. In 2017, she was nominated for a Grammy Award as Mastering Engineer for Vladimir Horowitz: The Unreleased Live Recordings, and her recording of Multiverse by Bobby Sanabria’s Latin Jazz Big Band was nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album at the 2012 Grammy Awards. In 2018, she was selected as the EQL resident, a residency developed specifically for women engineers, to work at the Spotify and Electric Lady Studios in New York City.
Producer, Latino USA
Producer, Latino USA
Patricia Sulbarán is a multimedia reporter and producer whose experience has focused on delivering breaking news and enterprise stories to international and multicultural audiences. Born and raised in Venezuela, she developed her career as a radio producer in Colombia and spent more than five years working with the BBC in the United States as a bilingual reporter and producer for the web BBC Mundo and more recently as a correspondent for BBC Mundo in Los Angeles.
Her latest work has mainly focused on the experience of Latinx communities in the United States and how they are impacted by local and national policies from a character-driven perspective. Her coverage of Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, migration from rural Guatemala and conditions of immigrant detention during the COVID-19 pandemic has been translated and published throughout various BBC outputs, as well as her coverage of breaking news events such as the 2020 U.S. presidential election and the Parkland High School and El Paso mass shootings. She also produced and presented TV and radio documentaries about femicide and violence against women in El Salvador and has covered elections and referendums in Colombia and Venezuela for the BBC.
Assistant Editor and Associate Producer, Latino USA
Reynaldo Leaños Jr.
Reynaldo Leaños Jr.
Associate Producer, Latino USA
Assistant Senior Audio Engineer, Futuro Media
Julia Caruso got her start in radio as a broadcast engineer for CBS Radio. Prior to working at Futuro Media, she was the Studio Manager for the Music Technology program at New York University overseeing the recording studios and mentoring students. She is an active member of the Audio Engineering Society and has been on the convention committee for their annual international convention in NYC for several years. She holds a bachelor degree in Music Technology and a masters degree in Food Studies, both from NYU. Learning about culture through food and music is a passion of hers.
Associate Engineer, Latino USA
Leah Shaw is a Brooklyn-based audio editor, singer-songwriter and composer whose recent projects include audio mixing for Latino USA, the In The Thick Podcast and the Brooklyn College Listening Project, film scoring and sound design for the award-winning short film Bob and Dale and Embodied Labs’ Immersive VR Experience on aging and healthcare access in the trans community. As a musical artist, Shaw has released several EPs that combine acoustic and experimental electronic elements. Her full-length album Play Beautifully, a sonic exploration of loss, healing and self-transformation, debuts this year.
Digital Editor, Futuro Media
Luis Luna joins Futuro Media Group after working in the Theatrical Department at film distributor GKIDS. He has also worked on the programming teams at various film festivals, including Hamptons International Film Festival, Brooklyn Film Festival, and others. He received a dual B.A. in Film Studies and English from Hunter College. Born and raised in Jackson Heights, his favorite things include queer cinema, world travel, dancing to Rihanna, and a good cemita.
Producer, In The Thick
Nour Saudi is a journalist focused on interactive and audio reporting. She has worked on data projects with ProPublica and The Hate Index and is the project coordinator for a new initiative from The Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY to teach community journalists how to report on AI. Before becoming an associate producer at In The Thick, she was their New York Women’s Foundation fellow, reporting on women and girls of color in New York City. She is an alumna from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
Associate Producer, In The Thick
Harsha Nahata is an associate producer at In The Thick. Harsha received a master’s degree from the Newmark School of Journalism where she focused on audio and cross-cultural reporting. Harsha is interested in storytelling as a way to understand identity, and is drawn to audio reporting because it reminds her of how her ancestors passed down their oral histories.
While in Michigan, she made a documentary about second-generation Asian Americans and conversations that go unsaid in immigrant families. Her work has been featured in Feeling My Flo, a podcast about menstruation, StoryCorps, The Juggernaut, Brown Girl Magazine, and the Bklyner, among others. She graduated with a B.A. in public policy from the University of Michigan.
Producer, Latino Rebels Radio
Oscar Fernández has been the host and producer of the Latino Media Collective on WPFW 89.3fm since 2006. He got his start in radio production through low-power Radio CPR in Washington D.C. before becoming an intern and eventual line producer for Voices with Vision.
He has contributed to programs on Free Speech Radio News and the DC Radio Co-op as well as special election coverage for WPFW and the Pacifica network. He has also been a contributor to Latino Rebels since 2016 prior to joining Futuro Media.
In addition to his radio work, Oscar has also worked in the non-profit medical care industry since 2007, fiercely advocating for patient rights in Washington D.C.’s health care system.
The son of Salvadoran immigrants, Oscar is an avid bike rider, punk-rock enthusiast, and a student of Latin American & Caribbean history. He attended Coppin State University in Baltimore with a BA in print & broadcast journalism.
Juan Diego Ramirez
Juan Diego Ramirez
Production Assistant, Futuro Media
Juan Diego Ramirez is Futuro Studios and Latino USA’s Production Assistant At-Large. He is a multimedia producer and journalist based in New York. He co-produces and co-hosts Racist Sandwich, a James Beard Foundation nominated podcast on food, class, race, and gender across the globe. As an undocumented immigrant for over 20 years, Juan Diego decided to focus his works on communities that reflect him. When he was granted DACA he was able to intern for Oregon Public Broadcasting as a production assistant for OPB’s State of Wonder and OPB’s Weekend Edition. He attends Baruch College where he is working towards a journalism degree. Juan Diego is an avid skateboarder and political junky. You can find some of Juan Diego‘s work on Latino Rebels.
Associate Producer, Latino USA
Julia Rocha is an Associate Producer at Latino USA. They graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University, where they got their start in radio at 89.9 WKCR FM, hosting a show on Latin American and Latinx music and social movements. Julia is committed to sharing stories that uplift the important work that women and gender non-conforming people of color are doing to express themselves and uplift their communities.
Senior Story Consultant
Sandra Rattley is a behavior change communications specialist with over 35-years experience as a communications leader. In 1999, she launched the Africa Learning Channel, a Pan-African information service broadcast via WorldSpace Satellite Radio to over 100 million listeners in 51 African countries, providing first-voice, best practices information for poverty reduction, civic engagement and good governance. She also led a 3-year HIV/AIDS information campaign in rural villages in Uganda and Zambia to increase AIDS awareness and reduce stigma. Ms. Rattley has directed numerous federal and local government programs designed to increase the capacity of NGOs that serve those disproportionately impacted by poverty, as well as a DC Government HIV/AIDS Administration program to establish HIV/AIDS Drop-In Centers at churches and other faith-based organizations to offer services and support to people infected and affected by the virus.
Ms. Rattley has served as Vice President of Cultural Programming for National Public Radio, as manager of public information, marketing, community outreach and audience research, as well as National News Editor at NPR. She conceived and managed the first comprehensive research study of NPR’s African American audience. She has extensive electronic media and print experience, working as a reporter, oral historian, documentarian and executive producer of major projects, including WADE IN THE WATER, a series on African American sacred music produced in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and hosted by Bernice Johnson Reagon; as well as MAKING THE MUSIC, hosted by Wynton Marsalis. Both 26-part series won the highest recognition in journalism, the Peabody Award. She has been awarded similar honors from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Education Association, among others.
She also has extensive experience planning and implementing public information and media campaigns, conducting research and providing strategic planning advice to numerous organizations such as the African National Congress, Africare, Amnesty International, National Urban Coalition, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Women’s Health Project, and World Music Productions. She also served as Director of Comunications for the Congressional Black Caucus, press spokesperson for Nelson Mandela’s first national US tour, and as media representative and speech writer for Winnie Mandela. She has collected oral histories and produced documentaries about her mother’s family, the Quanders, who are the focus of educational presentations at Mt. Vernon, the home of the first US President, George Washington, as well as the Smithsonian Institution, naming them the oldest documented African family in the US, tracing lineage and history to Ghana, West Africa.
Executive Producer Special Projects & Investigative, Futuro Unidad Hinojosa
Diane Sylvester is a veteran journalist and newsroom leader having worked as a senior manager and editor for large and small news organizations. She currently works with Futuro Media Group as an Executive Producer for Futuro Unidad Hinojosa, division dedicated to special projects and investigative reporting. She was previously a Senior Planning Manager in the Wall Street Journal‘s Global Video & Podcasting Unit and oversaw coverage of the 2016 election. Having directed and produced works for CNN, ABC and MSNBC, Diane contributed to award winning coverage from Washington D.C., New York, New Orleans, and Kosovo and worked on many high-impact investigative projects. Her reporting has garnered multiple Emmy awards and Overseas Press Club Award and a New York Press Award. She has also worked as an independent filmmaker and she was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for her work-in-progress documentary about Cuban-US relations.
Co-Interim Executive Director
Charlotte Mangin has been a documentary filmmaker since 2000. She spent five years on staff of National Geographic Television & Film, reporting from the jungles of the Amazon to the Himalayan Mountains, followed by five years as story producer for PBS’s international affairs series Wide Angle, overseeing the production of more than a dozen documentaries covering issues such as legal reform in China, race relations in Brazil, and human rights activism in Zimbabwe. Her hour-long Wide Angle program about women’s rights in Morocco won an International Documentary Award.
From 2012 to 2016, Charlotte was series producer for Futuro Media’s television and video series, America By The Numbers and Humanizing America, and in 2017, she served as Futuro Media’s Interim Executive Director. She is currently directing and producing UNLADYLIKE2020, a women’s history series for PBS’s American Masters featuring unsung women from the early years of feminism, in honor of the centennial of women’s suffrage.
A native French speaker, Charlotte was born in Paris, attended Amherst and earned a Masters degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard.
Stacy Parker Le Melle
Stacy Parker Le Melle
Interim Development Director
Stacy is an author, teacher, and non-profit administrator who previously served as communications director and workshop director for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. She served as primary contributor to Voices from the Storm: the People of New Orleans on Hurricane Katrina and Its Aftermath and created The Katrina Experience: an Oral History Project. She founded Harlem Against Violence, Homophobia, and Transphobia and co-founded and curates Harlem’s First Person Plural Reading Series. She previously served in the Clinton West Wing as both an aide and advance person.
Director of Administration
Yolanda comes to Futuro Media with over 10 years of nonprofit administration and management experience. She received her Master’s Degree in International Affairs with a focus on Human Rights and Governance from The New School in New York City. She has a passion for women’s rights issues and completed two practicum programs aimed at combating institutions of gender bias within communities. The first focused on developing a WASH oriented Girls’ School Retention pilot program in Tembaro, Ethiopia with WEEMA International, whereas the second was a skills development communications initiative in India with UN Women. In her spare time, she volunteers and does consulting work. She enjoys traveling, karaoke, cooking and just being with her friends and family.
Senior Finance Manager
A native Washingtonian, Stephen grew up predominantly in the DC metro area, with the exception of a few years in San Francisco, California, where he graduated from high school in 1985. He returned to the DC metro area to study accounting and business management at the University of Maryland. In the mid 1990’s, he moved back out to San Francisco and worked for an investestment bank along with helping a few internet startups get on their feet financially. Upon the tech market crash in the late 1990’s, Stephen worked for several federal government contracts (non-profit and for profit) in the international development arena managing funds from USAID, DOS, DOD and HHS. As a result of last year’s pandemic, Stephen relocated to South Florida to be near his parents.
Danetsy Len comes to Futuro Media after five years of fundraising on behalf of DKMS, an international bone marrow donor center. Previously she worked in development at the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club—after a series of college internships convinced her that nonprofit fundraising was a great way to mix community impact with the skills learned from an undergraduate business degree. At the University of Pennsylvania, she majored in Economics with a concentration in management as well as minored in Latin American and Latino Studies. A native of Panama who grew up in California’s Central Valley, she is excited to join the Futuro team and champion underrepresented voices in media. When not at work, she wakes up way too early to watch soccer games, reads through cookbooks, and tries not to trip over her feet while taking dance classes.
Megan comes to Futuro Media with a background in journalism and nonprofit experience. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. She has written for several newsrooms, including LittleThings.com, and was a social media intern at Business Insider. She has a passion for helping people and proudly worked on The Grace Children’s Foundation’s “Children’s Resource Exchange Center” project as their social media coordinator. In her spare time Megan is a theatre critic in New York City where she reviews Off Broadway and Broadway shows. And when she’s not at a show, she enjoys football Saturdays rooting for Notre Dame, following UNC basketball, and serving as Appalachian State University’s NYC alumni chapter president.
Mario Alberto González Pérez
Mario Alberto González Pérez
Mario holds a B.S. in Telematics Engineering from the Instituto Politecnico Nacional in Mexico City and a M.S. degree in Information Systems from Brooklyn College. Before joining The Futuro Media Group, he was an Information Technology Associate at StoryCorps and has been constantly providing IT professional services to a diverse set of organizations. Mario was born and raised in Mexico City and is passionate about Data Security and Artificial Intelligence. His hobbies include jigsaw puzzles, craftsmanship, and baking.