On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times announced a new partnership with journalist Jose Antonio Vargas in creating #EmergingUS. According to a press release, the multimedia platform will examine “the intersection of race, immigration, identity and the complexities of multiculturalism. #EmergingUS will aim to illuminate these issues and create a dialogue at a time when demographic shifts are transforming the face of America.”
Vargas, who is also an undocumented immigrant, revealed his status in an article in The New York Times Magazine in 2011. Last year, he created the film “Documented” about his own experiences in the U.S.. Vargas, who started Define American, was also detained last year in McAllen, Texas by U.S. border patrol agents. He was later released.
In the press release, Times Publisher Austin Beutner spoke about the partnership.
“Los Angeles is the most diverse big city in our country, America’s window to Asia and Latin America. Los Angeles is where America comes to see its future, and part of that future will be built on a better understanding of how diversity plays a role in our lives,” said Times Publisher and CEO Austin Beutner. “Jose is uniquely suited to look at the issues and find and tell stories that will inform all of us.”
CNN’s Brian Stelter reported on the new platform on Tuesday and noted that, like other outlets that have worked with Vargas, the L.A. Times can’t directly hire him because of his immigration status. Instead, they’re working with him as partners.
Beutner emphasized that Vargas is coming on board as a journalist, not an activist.
“The point of view” of the venture, he said, “is that this is an important topic to be talked about. It’s not meant to be advocacy, and it won’t be advocacy. But the mere fact that we’re telling more stories will change, we think, the way people view the topic.”
You can follow #EmergingUS on Twitter here.