Natasha Del Toro could soon be known as the face and voice of Facebook’s news programming. The journalist has been named as the host of a new online show called Mic Dispatch. The series, which is expected to debut later in July, is part of the social media giant’s effort to expand into the video news game.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Mic Dispatch is Part of Facebook’s Video Strategy
Mic Dispatch will feature two new shows per week, each Tuesday and Thursday. According to Mic.com, each episode will be about 12 minutes long. The goal is to share the stories of individuals impacted by the social movements and political shifts happening across the country. Mic.com publisher Cory Haik explained the focus of the new show: “With our new show, Mic’s correspondents will take viewers on a journey through the world as we see it: complicated, diverse and full of potential. By emphasizing diverse points of view and showcasing subjects, perspectives and context that you won’t hear anywhere else, Mic Dispatch embraces balance in its storytelling in order to build empathy and bridge the cultural divide.”
Natasha Del Toro is receiving a warm welcome from her new colleagues. Mic’s executive news director Kerry Lauerman gave her a shout-out on Twitter:
The head of communications, Caitlyn Carpanzano, tweeted: “Thrilled to welcome to the @Mic team, Natasha Del Toro @ndeltoro as anchor of Mic Dispatch, premiering soon on FB Watch”
Mic Dispatch episodes will air on Facebook’s new video platform called Watch. Facebook first announced the platform in 2017. In a press release last year, Facebook said that users would easily be able to create and promote their own shows, as well as personalize their feeds in order to follow topics they care about seeing. “Our goal is for Watch to be a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work.”
2. Natasha Del Toro Describes Herself as A Proud “Hick Spic””
According to the bio on her website, Natasha Del Toro grew up with a personal understanding of how it feels to be a minority in America. She spent her childhood in a small town in North Carolina with her Puerto Rican parents. She says being the only Latina in her community forced her to learn how to navigate between cultures.
That upbringing also inspired her to get out and do something about racial divisions in this country, leading her to become a journalist. Del Toro writes on her page that “journalism has given her an excuse to talk to people, learn about different countries and tell stories that she hopes make a difference.”
After high school, Del Toro went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Tulane. Her LinkedIn page also shows that she earned a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2006. The degree was in Broadcast Journalism and Arts and Cultural Reporting.
3. Natasha Produces and Serves as an On-Air Reporter for Netflix Documentaries
Natasha Del Toro has been producing investigative documentaries for Fusion since 2013. One of the series she regularly works on for Fusion is The Naked Truth, which is now streaming on Netflix. One of the pieces she promoted on her Twitter page was a year-long investigation of the oil and gas industries in Oklahoma, and Scott Pruitt’s record as attorney general there. The documentary, entitled Wasteland, focused on how these big industries impact the environment.
Del Toro posted a comment to her Facebook page after it was announced that Scott Pruitt had resigned his post at the EPA. She wrote, “Plagued by corruption scandals, Pruitt has resigned from the EPA. We tracked his record for a @NakedTruth doc & found this was just his way of doing business. I would like to think the US may now be able to breathe a little easier, literally. But we shall see who replaces him.”
4. Natasha Is Passionate About Shining a Spotlight on Poverty in America
Natasha Del Toro runs her own company called Del Toro Productions. One of the major projects to come out of this is called American Realities.
This project got started after Del Toro worked on an assignment for TIME Magazine alongside Joakim Eskildsen, an award-winning photographer. The pair traveled across California, South Dakota, Louisiana and New York to get an in-depth look at the lives of the millions of Americans who are living below the poverty line. Del Toro says the positive response from the TIME story inspired her to keep going.
She went on to build a multimedia website that shares the personal hardships of individuals from all across America. The site features people from areas including New Orleans, Fresno, the Bronx and the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation. Del Toro used a kickstarter campaign to get the project going. She wrote on the page that the goal of the American Realities project was to “serve as a historical and artistic document of Americans at a time of high unemployment and slow economic recovery. We are looking at the challenges Americans face, as well as their perseverance, hopes and dreams. Through these stories, we aim to create a portrait of America at this moment and perhaps spur dialogue about what kind of nation we want to be and how to get there.”
5. Natasha Del Toro Has Won a Pulitzer Prize
Nastasha Del Toro was part of the large team that completed a year-long investigation into the Panama Papers. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists oversaw the project, using more than 300 reporters across 6 continents to gather all of the information. The investigation was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting.
In 2016, leaked documents from Mossack Fonseca, a law firm based in Panama, revealed how the world’s rich and powerful take advantage of offshore tax havens. More than 11 million files were exposed in the leak. It also included the names of nearly 150 politicians from more than 50 countries, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, the son of Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak, and Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The law firm connected to the Panama Papers has since announced it would shut down.