by Viviana Hurtado
I met Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia at a book party for The Rise of Marco Rubio. It was very fancy schmancy DC–a lotta business cards being exchanged and air kisses of government and media big wigs. This is Hollywood for Ugly People.
But then the V.I.P.s left and afterwards, Manuel joined a couple of stragglers (to not say groupies) and went for a late dinner and drinks.
Super down to earth, our group chatted late into the night, and I learned how observant to every last detail Manuel is–knowing for example that his favorite vintage of Pinot Grigio which is not on the menu is located in a secret compartment unknown to staff. Manuel’s curiosity, attention to detail, and old-fashioned, burn-shoe-leather-and-leave-no-stone-unturned-reporting prepared him well to write a critically-acclaimed and definitive biography of Marco Rubio.
This is important because Senator Rubio’s presidential ambitions are no secret. But in this media and political culture where the message is clearly controlled and defined by campaigns, publicists, parties, who really is the man who could become the first President of Latino ancestry? This is important because the interest of handlers may not necessarily be that of a whole country.
Delving deep into a past to illuminate the present and future, bringing out dimension, breadth, and depth is the job of a journalist, something increasingly rare in a culture that values blow-dried looks, quoting scanner traffic, and tweeting as reporting.
Latinas for Latino Lit (L4LL) is proud to announce our first Hispanic Heritage Month: Festival of Books Google Hangout with Manuel who kicks off our Wednesday hangouts during this event from 12 noon to 12:30 PM EST. If you miss the hangout, check the L4LL YouTube channel where the interview will be archived.
UPDATE: This Google Hangout has been rescheduled. We’ll post the new time here when it is available. Thank you!