News is my Business Editor wins Overseas Press Club’s top award
News is my Business Founder and Editor, Michelle Kantrow-Vázquez, won the Don Aníbal González Irizarry award from the Overseas Press Club of Puerto Rico — the highest bestowed by the professional group — during a gala event held in La Concha Resort over the weekend.
The award carries the name of the legendary Puerto Rican journalist, paying tribute to his seven-decade career as an exemplary television newsman. The award is given to a journalist with a professional track record of at least 10 years and recognized public service.
“I’m overjoyed, humbled and grateful to have been selected to receive this recognition from the OPC,” said Kantrow-Vázquez, while recognizing all of this year’s OPC award winners in different categories.
“I remember watching Don Aníbal González-Irizarry deliver the news and I was always in awe of how much of a gentleman he was, and how he set the standard for what ethical and unbiased journalism should be,” said Kantrow-Vázquez.
“It’s an honor to receive an award that carries his name and perpetuates his legacy and I hope to continue to make him proud,” added Kantrow-Vázquez.
Kantrow-Vázquez graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism in 1993. Upon getting her diploma, she moved back to her native Puerto Rico, where she soon started working for Caribbean Business as a supplements reporter.
In November 1995, she got a new job at The San Juan Star, where she worked as a reporter and subsequently, assistant business editor until the newspaper’s closing in August 2008.
Following the closure of the media outlet, she became editor of the Puerto Rico Daily Sun until July 2010, when she decided to try freelance work — eventually starting News is my Business in November 2010 as a blog.
“There had been the closing of the San Juan Star, and there weren’t many spaces to publish business stories in English about Puerto Rico, there weren’t many options, maybe one or two options, but that’s it,” said Kantrow-Vázquez.
“I saw an opportunity that I knew was going to be a niche. I came from a newspaper and shifting into digital was completely new for me and it was a learning curve for sure,” added Kantrow-Vázquez.
During the early days of News is my Business, there were specific issues that in a way represented challenges, such as the difficulty in getting government press credentials.
“I wanted to get my press ID from the government to have something to show when I went to press conferences that confirmed I wasn’t just showing up there, that I represented an online media outlet,” said Kantrow-Vázquez.
“Initially, they said no because the process to get an ID from the State Department requires a letter from your editor and at the time, I was the editor, I was the reporter, I was the secretary, I was everybody,” said Kantrow-Vázquez.
“When I sent a letter signed by me for me, you can imagine it was kind of tricky, but eventually they came around and I wasn’t the only journalist who opened a digital media outlet at the time. There were five or six of us, all journalists who had left traditional media and decided to go online,” she said.
As the digital format keeps evolving, Kantrow-Vázquez explained that she continues to evolve herself. One example is the launch of the “Dollars & Sense” podcast, which she considers to be an essential part of the news outlet.
While she never believed that area to be her strong suit, at the encouragement of a friend, she immersed herself in podcasting, as well as videos, to expand resources and learn new skills.
Looking ahead, the media outlet’s expectations is to continue to grow and expand its current all-female workforce and create more visibility for digital platforms in general.
“We have plans, we want to gain more visibility and want more people to talk about us and be the official news source for English-language business news in Puerto Rico,” said Kantrow-Vázquez.
“That has been what we always wanted to be, and will continue wanting to be and we hope to accomplish that now more than ever,” added Kantrow-Vázquez.