LA Times partners with Jose Antonio Vargas on new race section

jose-antonio-vargas-cnn.jpgVia CNN Money

Jose Antonio Vargas is the former Washington Post and Huffington Post reporter who in 2011 wrote an essay for the New York Times magazine about being undocumented. He and the LA Times today used Brian Stelter at CNN Money to announce a new web venture together. Vargas will create a new section of the Times web site devoted to race, immigration and multiculturalism. Since he can't be hired as an undocumented worker, Vargas will be a business partner of the Times. #EmergingUS is the first of several news "verticals" the Times hopes to launch, publisher Austin Beutner told Stelter.

The name of the venture announced on Tuesday can be read two ways: as "Emerging Us" or "Emerging U.S." for the United States.

Vargas said it is "a multimedia platform that, through articles, original videos, shareable data and graphics, will focus on the intersection of race, immigration and identity and the complexities of multiculturalism."

Race isn't just about white and black, he and Beutner said, and immigration isn't just about the border. The new venture will try to capture those complexities.

#EmergingUS will exist primarily on the web, but some of the work will eventually appear in the newspaper as well. The venture will produce videos and hold events.

Per Stelter, after coming out as undocumented in 2011, Vargas created a nonprofit, Define American, "aimed at 'elevating the conversation' about immigration." He also directed and starred in a documentary about his experiences, "Documented," that aired on CNN last year and is working on a documentary for MTV about whiteness. Vargas, who is 34 and openly gay, will work with the Times as a journalist but not as an activist, Beutner said.

Here's the LA Times story:

The Los Angeles Times and journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas are launching a multimedia venture called #EmergingUS that will explore race and the evolving American identity.

Vargas, a Filipino citizen, garnered national attention after the New York Times Magazine published an essay he wrote in 2011 revealing that he had been brought to the U.S. illegally when he was a child.

A former reporter at the Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle, Vargas has since championed stories about immigrants in the U.S., including the estimated 11 million who are in the country illegally.

"A multicultural society is one of the defining issues of our time," said Austin Beutner, publisher and chief executive of the Los Angeles Times.

No city in America offers a better springboard for exploring those issues than Los Angeles, Beutner said.

"In many respects, it's what America will look like in 10 or 20 years," he said.

The LAT story says that Vargas "qualifies for extended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals under President Obama's November 2014 executive actions on immigration. That allows him to work legally in the U.S. without fear of deportation." Look for the first stories by spring.

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