Nixson Benitez, a first-generation college student at the University of Northern Iowa, is a student leader active in addressing the lack of diverse voices in the media and giving voice to youth concerns. Benitez serves as the Executive Editor for the Northern Iowan, UNI’s student newspaper. In addition to his work with the Northern Iowan, Benitez is one of the founders and secretary for the Iowa Association of Black Journalists and has served as a Youth Specialist for the Youth Justice Council, through the Iowa Department of Human Rights.
As a Salvadoran-American in Iowa, it is important that there is representation engaged in all aspects of the media and management. It is important to be loyal to the community and to hold people with power accountable. My passion is to serve the people of Iowa by writing and engaging in community organizing. The roles that I served include being the Executive Editor of the Northern Iowan, where I got to do my part of leading a team in highlighting news taking place in our community and bringing access to information in our current Spanish column. Other roles include being the Secretary of Iowa Association of Black Journalists, a chapter that aims to bring black and brown journalists across the state of Iowa and Nebraska together. As a former English Language Learner (ELL) student, a program designed to make academic content accessible to English Learners. It is important to value our students who are bilingual as they are natural leaders for their communities. ELL programs hold the world in their classrooms and we need to value that and make sure students and families receive access to opportunities in higher education and in decisions that impact the future of the community.