On October 29, INMA and Google News Initiative (GNI) awarded 50 news media professionals around the world with its debut Elevate Scholarship. This series features these impressive media professionals who are shaping our industry.
Jaselle Luna has always liked the idea of connecting with the community, and in 2012 she took that interest to a new level when she helped launch Local Community News. In the nine years since its inception, the publication has become the go-to source for hyper-local news and information in the greater San Antonio, Texas, area. The U.S. publication serves five targeted zones, but Luna said she would like to continue growing Local’s products and services to be able to serve all of San Antonio.
“We need to continue [growing] to fulfill our mission of building communities of informed and engaged citizens,” she said. “Community news is vital to all of us.”
Luna’s passion for giving back to the city she was born in has translated to better coverage through the direct-mailed publication. In 2015, she became an active member of the Association of Free Community Papers and was nominated (and won) the ACFP’s “Rising Star” award for three consecutive years. In 2019, Editor & Publisher placed her on its “25 under 35” list, noting her forward thinking and enthusiasm to serve her community with useful news. And to hear her talk, she’s just getting started.
“My ideal career path would lead me to be focused more on publisher duties and collaborating with our editorial team and being more involved with our communities,” she said. “I want a better understanding of what readers are interested in and how we can elevate areas of the city that are underserved.”
Although her professional growth has happened quickly, Luna said there’s still much that she’d like to learn. But at the center of her endeavours will always be the drive to provide trustworthy, thought-provoking information to the community that she is firmly planted in.
“I want to continue to produce community news and provide information to readers who live in communities that are historically underserved,” she said, adding that she wants to “continue writing about the issues that are most important so that [they] are brought to life and can hopefully lead to thoughtful and informed discussions.”