Vanessa Maria is the News Voices Director at Free Press, a national media & technology advocacy organization that was created to give people a voice in the crucial decisions that shape our media. The News Voices project connects local communities and the newsrooms that serve them via public engagement, advocacy campaigns and collaborative projects. In New Jersey, Vanessa Maria is the lead facilitator of a collaborative of community centered local news organizations and is a member of the planning team for the NJ News and Information statewide coalition working to create a shared vision and agenda for making local journalism more equitable and accessible for New Jerseyans. At Free Press Vanessa Maria also co-produces Free Press’ weekly public-affairs program, Free Press Live, and is a member of the Puerto Rico telecommunications-policy team.
Vanessa Maria is a community organizer, producer whose journey in media justice started as part of the movement to expand community radio. As the community radio director at the Prometheus Radio Project, she worked to pass the Local Community Radio Act, helped build dozens of Low Power FM radio stations across the United States and worked to promote Net Neutrality. She co-founded PhillyCAM’s community-radio station, WPPM-LP FM, where she served as the station manager prior to joining Free Press. She has over 20 years experience working as a radio journalist and producer at various stations across the U.S.
Vanessa Maria currently serves on the board of directors of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and is an adjunct professor at Stockton University in the communications department.