María the journalist
Worried about her daughter’s future, María del Carmen Ballena initiated a journalism project in schools, which, after a while, even began receiving support from the Calandria Communicators Association (Asociación de Comunicadores Calandría) in Lima. She set up a print space called “Últimas Escolares” which was managed entirely by students. At “Últimas Escolares”, students could ask questions about, examine and propose solutions to the problems they identified in their schools.
“The idea I had was that if we fostered students’ participation in school journalism activities, we would help form citizens,” María del Carmen recalls. “Journalism is not only about registering the facts that occurred and transmitting them – it’s about initiating conversations instead of provoking useless confrontations.”
Unfortunately the School Journalism Project was cancelled two years ago due to lack of funding, but María del Carmen has not stopped. Together with her husband she manages the newspaper “Ultimas Noticias”, distributed in the Pacasmayo and Chepén districts. In the newspaper she created a space called Citizen’s Opinion, where people who want to participate can give their opinions – as long as they do so in a respectful way and provide their names, ID numbers and addresses.
Via Andrea Naranjo, Pierre Levy