It was a quiet night in the heart of Mexico City, yet a raucous take on Consuelo Velazquez’s “Besame Mucho” rose above the walls of one courtyard and drifted over a dark cluster of rooftops. Within the courtyard, there was no quiet at all. A band strummed the melodic chords, while couples held one another up and swayed under the flash of purple-to navy-to-cobalt neon lights. Elders looked on from folding lawn chairs, while the guest of honor, a wispy 15-year old girl with wide dark eyes, shared a dance with her proud father. The commotion rose from a corner near the bar, where a group of the girl’s uncles had gathered. With drinks in one hand and microphones in another, they passionately and shamelessly belted out their rendition of the bolero classic, without a care for the hour or the sets of eyes lazily surveying them. This particular moment, capping a lively day full of Quinceanera celebrations, was one of many that confirmed to Jane she was completely enamored with Latin American culture.
The event took place in 2006, while Jane was studying abroad at one of Mexico’s most prestigious universities, Universidad de Las Americas in Puebla. The trimester included Spanish immersion and cultural excursions around the country – from the ancient pyramids of the D.F. and the Yucatan, to the sloping hills of Taxco and colonial center of Cuernavaca.
Determined to perfect her Spanish, Jane followed up with another semester abroad in Madrid during the fall of 2006. In the heart of the Spanish capital, she studied the country’s history of civil war and separatism, European urban planning and economy, Spanish literature, and art history directly from the walls of the Reina Sofia and El Prado.
Jane majored in Latin American Studies and minored in Spanish at Carleton College, taking a variety of classes that examined the region through the lenses of literature, art, history, sociology and anthropology, and political science. An in-depth cultural-political seminar on Brazil brought her to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo her senior year, where she studied the impact of the economy on urban violence and fell in love with the Tropicália movement that defied dictatorship in the late 1960s.
For her thesis at Carleton College, Jane combined her love of Latin America and journalism with a project titled “The Imbalance of Representation: The Incomplete Democratic Evolution of the Brazilian Media Institution.” The thesis investigated how the Brazilian media frames the issues of urban crime and violence, and concluded that coverage of crime and violence continues to cater to the high-income classes in interest of profit and undermines the citizenship rights of the poor. She completed a second independent research project on journalists’ diverging views of crime and violence related to drug wars, incorporating Guillermo O’Donnell’s concept of “brown zones”—the idea that favelas are zones separated from democratic rule of law.
Apart from studying Latin countries, Jane has gained valuable hands-on work experience abroad. The summer of 2007 she interned at the headquarters of TV-Globo, Brazil’s largest television network based in Rio de Janeiro. Over the course of the summer she worked with the country’s top anchors William Bonner and Fatima Bernardes on the nightly national newscast; assisted with the morning news, local newscasts, and long-form magazine programs; and accompanied sports journalists to practices of various soccer teams. At the end of the summer she joined thousands of journalists from around the world in coverage of the 2007 Pan American Games hosted in Rio.
Jane continued to intern with Globo international correspondents in following years. She met with the Lisbon correspondent to conduct an interview with Portugal’s Prime Minister José Sócrates during elections; joined a group of correspondents in Washington D.C. for five-day coverage of President Obama’s 2009 inauguration; and interned at Globo’s New York bureau for three months, where she participated in live coverage of Osama Bin Laden’s assassination from Ground Zero.
Following college graduation Jane returned to Madrid and lived in the city for more than a year. As a magazine features writer, she contributed to Spanish publications such as Revista Babel and MAP, writing vignettes on Spanish culture and tourism. She also teamed up with international correspondents to cover the Portuguese Prime Minister elections and the Olympic Committee’s decision on the host for the 2016 games. Madrid was nominated, but Rio de Janeiro won the bid…
This Olympic decision brought Jane back to Brazil during the summer of 2011, where she independently produced the documentary Olympic Legacy for the capstone project to her master’s program at NYU. The 35-minute film tells the story of “the divided city,” Rio de Janeiro, as it prepares to host the 2016 Olympics.
Working as a one-man-band, Jane embedded in a favela in Rio’s North Zone called Largo do Campinho. Speaking only Portuguese, she gained the trust of families in the community. She filmed their resistance, and ultimately devastating loss, as the homes they built with their own hands decades earlier succumbed to the bulldozer while Rio swiftly moved forward with urban development for the Olympics.
While working at CNN Jane also strove to focus on Latin America and utilize Spanish skills. She traveled to the U.S.-Mexican border and Tijuana to field produce an hour-long murder mystery documentary Buried Secrets: Who Murdered the McStay Family? She also interviewed Colombian stars Diego Trujillo and Roberto Urbina for a print article on Metástasis, a Latin American remake of Breaking Bad.
With a deeply ingrained love of journalism and a hunger to explore more of the Latin American world, Jane hopes to combine her two passions and continue to pursue international storytelling abroad.