As a teenager, Caitly Reynoso immersed herself in community service: food pantry deliveries, park cleanup events, graffiti removal and soup kitchen duty. Her service through the nonprofit Fresh Youth Initiatives dispelled the negative beliefs she internalized from watching local TV news reports about Washington Heights, her neighborhood in Upper Manhattan.
“After spending more than six years doing community service on the same block where my parents raised me, I know there are more stories to be told besides those that only perpetuate stereotypes about the black and Latino communities,” Caitly said. “This is what motivates me to be a journalist.”
Caitly, 21, recently graduated from Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., where she wrote for the student-run newspaper, The Wheaton Wire. She also studied abroad in Rwanda, Ghana, Italy and New Zealand. Caitly said her college experience expanded her understanding of the world and her role within it.
Last fall, she interned at the WPRI-TV newsroom in Providence, R.I., where she assisted with coverage of the 2018 midterm elections.
Caitly’s parents immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic. At first, they struggled to find a comfortable home in New York City, so Caitly lived in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx throughout her childhood. She said these experiences, along with her enthusiasm for service and relationship building, shaped her resolve to focus on community news as a journalist.
“It makes sense for me to start there since I’m already so passionate about my community and its members,” she said. “Local news is the best place for me to flourish. My ultimate desire is to turn on ‘News 12 The Bronx’ at 11 p.m. and see the newscast start with a story that isn't about a shooting, rape or robbery.”
Although she is primarily interested in broadcast journalism, Caitly said that she mostly enjoys writing and that she is open to opportunities in print or digital media. She hopes her experience at The New York Times Student Journalism Institute will nurture these aspirations.
“I can only anticipate to be overwhelmed with inspiration and new ideas,” she said.
Though the Bronx is not the most populous borough, its housing court is the busiest. Many residents face years of uphill battles. For those with the will to fight, there’s just waiting and isolation, but those without the will simply give up.