Walter Thompson-Hernández is an LA-based New York Times reporter and multimedia storyteller whose work seeks to capture authentic portrayals of the underrepresented experience. His reporting has cast a spotlight on people whose stories rarely appear in mainstream media—people like the horseback-riding African American Compton Cowboys, the albino community in Ghana, and a New York City burlesque troupe created by queer women and women of color. While taking care to not fetishize these groups or reinforce stereotypes, his goal is to educate by bringing the stories into the public eye. He learned the importance of cultural narrative from his mother, Eleutria Hernández-Gonzalez. Ms. Hernandez was a UCLA PhD student when she participated in the 1993 hunger strike to save UCLA Chicanx Studies, which 7-year-old Walter witnessed. He camped out with his mother on campus for a week with other activists. Growing up at UCLA, he was surrounded by eminent scholars such as Abel Valenzuela Jr., Reynaldo Macias, and Eric Avila. Thompson-Hernández earned his MA in Latin American studies but ultimately decided that he could make the most impact through multimedia storytelling. He continues to tell these stories through major media outlets such as the New York Times, NPR, VICE, BBC, CNN, and The Guardian.
“I’m always asking myself, ‘How am I documenting this community? Am I getting it right?’”