MEXICO CITY, MEXICO — The focus of June’s Global Connection section was young people in the workplace. Working on that issue gave me the chance to interview some of my fellow 20-somethings about jobs and job satisfaction here.
What I found was eye-opening. People told me that they hated their jobs. Or that their jobs didn’t pay well. Some said that they couldn’t find jobs at all, even with a college degree.
And then I met Almendra Hernández, who runs an online magazine called ChidasMx. She started the website because she was tired of the stereotypes forced on female Mexican journalists, who are often restricted to covering fashion, beauty and children. And the pay and exploitation of all journalists here can be terrible, she told me.
“In most media, regardless of seniority, pay is nonexistent or minimal. I was at a radio station for seven years without pay. The demands are high, and there is no support,” Hernández says. “In Mexico, it happens a lot that they use your job as a favor, in order to help you gain experience. I was a music editor for a famous media company, and the levels of exploitation, demand and job precariousness were incredible.”
ChidasMx employs an all-female staff and covers topics beyond the typical.
Every sentence that came out of Hernández’s mouth went straight to my heart.
Being reminded of the state of the media in Mexico made me reflect on the last two years with Global Press Journal, where I earn a full-time salary, have health benefits and can write about any topic that I want.
It happens to me regularly that friends, family and even strangers and sources whom I’m interviewing for stories tell me: “Mar, you have the best job in the world.”
In talking with Hernández, I remembered that when I joined GPJ, I doubted its promises – a place that offered me the tools to develop myself and made me the owner of my time. It would enable me to tell the world the stories about Mexico that I experience – and they would pay me for it.
“It must be a joke,” I thought.
I was happy to learn about ChidasMx, too, another publication that treats its employees with dignity, which is also a core value at GPJ. And it reminded me that women are leading the way in rebuilding journalism here.
As Alicia Keys sings in “Girl on Fire”: “We got our feet on the ground, and we’re burning it down.”