|Welcome again, Debralee!|
|Tuesday, July 19, 2011|
Debralee Santos, born and raised in the Bronx, and in Washington Heights, is shown here at age 7 in school picture finery. Santos is now the editor of The Manhattan Times and The Bronx Free Press.
By Luis Miranda, Roberto Ramirez and David Keisman
It has never been easy to find an editor for the Manhattan Times. First, the person has to have a good relationship with three partners. Second, the person has to be able to write, supervise employees and know the community. And finally, the candidate has to be able to do as much as possible with few resources. But luckily, the Manhattan Times has been fortunate in being able to find talent to take its reins. From our first editor, John Gutierrez, who still collaborates with us, to our most recent, Mike Fitelson, who has grown with the newspaper to even become a partner, the Manhattan Times has attracted talent. And I repeat, it is not easy to navigate the sometimes tur bulent waters of our communities and at the same time be on the same page with the opinions of the owners of the newspaper. We always have an opinion, if not three; we are pretty vocal about it and present such without holding back.
So to find Debralee Santos has been a blessing from above. Of course, Debralee is not new to our company. We had recruited her to be editor of our younger publication, The Bronx Free Press, and she was already collaborating with the Manhattan Times. So it made a lot of sense for Debralee to become the editor of both publications because she has the background and education. She was raised in the Bronx, on the Grand Concourse and on Broadway in Washington Heights. She experienced firsthand what it is to grow as a Dominican immigrant in our neighborhoods. The daughter of Ubaldo and Berta, of Altamira and Moca respectively, Debralee knows what it is to be the daughter of a small business owner and therefore understands this segment of our barrio -- a crucial component of our communities and therefore always a focus of our newspapers. Educated in the Ivy League in political science and communications, Debralee has the academic credentials necessary for the Manhattan Times and The Bronx Free Press to continue to be bilingual weekly publications that tell our stories with pride and that will continue to set a higher st andard for community newspapers.
To top things off, Debralee served as the director of Casa Duarte in Washington Heights, where she created programs and directed a cultural institution in Northern Manhattan. This experience has allowed Debralee to know very well the artistic community in upper Manhattan, a key angle of our coverage in the Manhattan Times. But of course, what makes an editor more skilled and capable of telling the stories of our people and communities is to have his or her feet planted in the ground that we cover, to know everyone’s stories and secrets and have the know-how to tell our story.
Finally, what allows an editor to be excellent is to continue to communicate with you, our reader. Debralee knows a lot of people, but our community is wide, far-reaching and populous. Do not assume that someone already told Debralee about that event around the corner or about the community organization of which you are a part. It’s possible that Debralee or one of our collaborators will not be able to be there but one thing I do know is a primary goal of our new editor is that you let us know, in your own words, what happened. I have no doubt that our newspapers, under the direction of Debralee, will continue to warm your heart and bilingually recount the story that our hearts and our minds feel and process. Welcome Debralee!