He started at the Miami Herald at age 19. Now Alex Mena is the first immigrant as executive editor
If you ask Alex Mena how he became the new executive editor of the Miami Herald, he could start a couple of different ways.
He could tell you he was once a 19-year-old kid, answering the phones at the Miami Herald. Working at the Miami Dade College student paper with a second job making subs.
Or he could tell you about crossing the Rio Grande. His family fled Nicaragua as the Sandinistas took over. At 11 years old, Alex crossed part of the Mexican desert and waded across the river. He sat up on his father’s shoulders even though neither of them could swim.
And that’s how he became the first immigrant ever to lead the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.
Both are these Miami stories — stories of hustle and displacement. Like so many immigrants, Alex found his village here. In Hialeah to be exact.
And he found his passion, his people, in the newsroom. Now he’s in a position to lead them at a time when newspapers are in flux. The Herald staff was working from home for most of the last three years. They’re in a smaller newsroom now, with a lean paper and a lean staff.
They still manage to do some of the best reporting in the country. The Herald won its 24th Pulitzer last year.
They aren’t afraid of a challenge. And clearly, neither is the guy in charge.
On the Sep. 12 episode of Sundial, we talk to Alex about his immigrant story, path to leadership and why he thinks Miami means community.
On Sundial's previous episode, author and veteran Winsome Bingham told us how writing saved her life. Her new children's book, The Walk, is inspired by her growing up in Fort Lauderdale and shows kids the power of civiv engagement to build community.
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