Jose Antonio Vargas, December 2011
In a public lecture and smaller early evening Q&A session, Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas led passionate discussions about immigrants in the U.S., media coverage of immigration, and his personal story first told in June in a New York Times Magazine essay: “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant.” The earlier session focused heavily on the role and social responsibility of journalists in the Internet era to go deeper and give voice to the voiceless. Both events emphasized dialogue, with dozens of attendees joining the discussion.
After falling in love with journalism in high school (where he came out as gay), Vargas worked or interned at various dailies, ending up at the Washington Post, where he covered the role of social media in the 2008 presidential campaign. He wrote about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Washington D.C., which led to a documentary “The Other City.” He was part of the Post team that won the Pulitzer for its coverage of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. He later was a senior contributing editor at HuffingtonPost, where he helped launch its Tech and College sections. In 2010, he profiled Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for The New Yorker. When he came out this summer as an undocumented immigrant, he cofounded the nonprofit DefineAmerican.com.
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Photo Credit: Graham Hebel '13