Philadelphia’s National Association of Hispanic Journalists chapter announces new board

From left to right, Martin Alfaro, Isabel Sánchez, Valeria Aponte Feliciano, Miguel Martinez-Valle and Jimmy Contreras.

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) Philadelphia Chapter recently announced its new board members. In a press release Martin Alfaro, the new president, said that the board, “brings a wealth of experience and a shared commitment to advancing Hispanic journalists and promoting excellence in the coverage of the Latino community.”

He and two other members, Miguel Martinez-Valle and Jimmy Contretras, also represent the LGBTQ+ community.

President: Martin Alfaro

After six years as a member of NAHJ, three in which he served in a leadership capacity, Martin Alfaro was elected the organization’s president. 

“When I first joined as a member, I had the desire to some day serve as president and now it feels like a full-circle moment,” Alfaro said. 

He also expressed gratitude to past leadership and specifically Lucy Bustamante and Iris Delgado, who helped to reestablish the Philadelphia chapter of NAHJ in 2019. 

When asked for his feelings on being one of the LGBTQ+ board members, Alfaro said, “We have an amazing board and I am very excited to work with each of them. Isabel Sanchez and Valeria Aponte Feliciano are great allies to our community. Both have been supportive and instrumental in making sure inclusivity and access is at the top of our chapter’s priorities.”

He continued, “[We were elected during] Pride Month, so it’s fitting to say that I feel both proud and inspired to serve with two other amazing LGBTQ+ board members, Miguel and Jimmy. I have huge admiration for the work they do and for their exemplary leadership in their respective roles. I hope LGBTQ+ students and young professionals can see us as role models and can see themselves reflected in our capacity to serve on this board.”

Some of his personal goals for the board are providing scholarships for students through fundraising, offering robust programming and building stronger relationships with their partners and news ecosystem.

He specifically hopes to help Hispanic LGBTQ+ journalists by connecting them and allies to create a stronger network as well as partnering with local outlets to find job opportunities for members.

Alfaro currently works as the Associate Publisher of Philadelphia Gay News, where he oversees daily operations and initiatives. He previously served as the first General Manager of AL DÍA News. 

He was named one of the top 100 most influential figures in Pennsylvania’s LGBTQ community by City and State PA and Innovator of the Year by the Local Media Association in 2022.

Vice President: Isabel Sánchez

Isabel Sánchez was born and raised in Venezuela. She began her journalism career there, before moving to the United States to pursue a master’s degree from Syracuse University. 

Sánchez is currently a bilingual multimedia journalist for Telemundo 62 and NBC10 and has won 12 Emmys for her work. 

Secretary: Valeria Aponte Feliciano

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Aponte Feliciano’s career has taken her all over the continental United States. She started her career covering the border in Texas at the Rio Grande Valley. From there, she went to Washington, D.C. and covered the capital as well as Virginia and Maryland. After two years she went back to cover the border, this time in Arizona. 

Aponte Feliciano has been nominated for 19 Emmys and has won six. This includes one for “Journalistic Enterprise.”

She currently works for NBC10 and Telemundo 62, where she hosts Telemundo’s political show, Enfoque and NBC10’s show, “The Lineup Daily.” She is also a consumer investigative reporter for Responde unit.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications from Syracuse University

Treasurer: Miguel Martinez-Valle

Miguel Martinez-Valle has been a member of NAHJ since 2016 and was a founding board member of the Philadelphia chapter when it was relaunched in 2019.

“It feels awesome! We’re a small team so for us to have so much queer representation, especially queer Latin representation is powerful and just goes to show the importance of intersectionality,” he said of being one of the board’s LGBTQ+ members.

He also spoke of what he wanted for other journalists in the area.

“I want journalists, especially queer journalists of color to feel emboldened to be their authentic selves. To use their specific lived experience to enrich the community stories they cover and share. I think as someone who has felt othered or out of place, I approach my interviews and my journalism with a lot of empathy and compassion and with a need to be a megaphone amplifying peoples voices. In this way, I hope future generations of journalists also use their skills to help tell the stories that may otherwise be overlooked,” he stated.

Like Alfaro, one of Martinez-Valle’s goals for the board is to raise money for student scholarships. He also wants to work on getting new members. 

Martinez-Valle has been a reporter for NBC10 and Telemundo 62 since 2017. Prior to joining, he worked at several stations in Las Vegas and Michigan as a reporter and anchor. 

He has won a Pacific Southwest Emmy for his coverage of the 2016 Las Vegas Presidential Debate and several Mid-Atlantic Emmys for his work at NBC10 and Telemundo 62. Martinez-Valle has also been named on 40 under 40 lists by several Philadelphia publications.

In addition to his work on the NAHJ board, he also co-leads OUT@NBCUniveral in Philadelphia. 

He has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University.

At-Large Officer: Jimmy Contreras

Jimmy Contreras is newer to NAHJ than some of the other board members, joining the organization a year ago.

Of his election to the board, he said, “I am thrilled to be a part of such a dynamic organization that provides a national voice and unified vision for all Hispanic journalists across the country, and fosters greater understanding of the unique cultural identity, interests and concerns of Hispanic journalists.”

“It is a privilege and honor to share my diversity as gay and Mexican-American board member. Together our combined rich diversity will be a great resource for our board and community,” he stated.

In his new role, he hopes to enhance the mission of NAHJ and work with his board colleagues to “drive change and impact in the Philadelphia market.”

He also stated that he wants to help local Hispanic LGBTQ+ journalists by creating opportunities “through thoughtful programming that engage and educate to ensure we can retain top talent in our market.”

Contreras leads regional communications for JPMorgan Chase in Delaware, Pennsylvania and South Jersey. He is a bilingual creative strategist and storyteller with lots of experience in shaping and protecting corporate reputation and making sure it aligns with the businesses’ values and mission.

His experience has also made him skilled in media relations, lifestyle branding and directing marketing campaigns.

In addition to his work, he volunteers and serves on the boards of several boards including the Mexican Cultural Center, Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and MANNA (Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance).

Contreras lives in Collingswood, New Jersey with his husband, Fran, and their King Charles Cavalier, Norma Jean.

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