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Her name is Yukare Nakayama. That’s YOO-kah-ray] [NAH-kah-yah-mah].  And she’s a proud Latina journalist and new NAHJ Chicago member. Nakayama was just hired on as ABC 7 Chicago’s newest Community Journalist but the American University grad is no stranger to the area.  Nakayame grew up in north suburban Highwood and  previously worked at the CBS/Fox Rock Island, Illinois affiliate.


Getting to know Yukare:


Tell us about your name?

My name Yukare Nakayama comes from Japanese origin. My father, who is half Mexican and half Japanese, got to name my brother and me. Because our last name is very Asian, he thought it’d be best to give us Japanese names to go with it. My first name means boy and my last name means mountain. To most of people’s surprise, the proper way to say my name in Japanese is the same way one would say it in Spanish.


It must be hard having to explain that you’re also Latina?

It is. I have found myself in several occasions having to prove my Mexican roots. I’ve always asked the question, what makes someone Latina or Mexican enough? What stereotype does one have to abide to be fully recognized as Latina/ Mexican? I think one of my life goals has become to challenge that idea of someone being “Mexican enough” or “black enough” etc.


Our mission is to have more Latinos in our newsrooms. How do you hope to be a voice for Latinos?

I think representation of all types of people in news is highly important. People with different ethnicities, backgrounds, social economic status watch the news. It’s important that they see themselves reflected on TV.  What I hope to contribute is just that. I am a first generation Mexican woman that represents a side of Mexico that is equally as diverse as the U.S.A. I also hope to include more stories that highlight the Latino cultures in Chicago as well as voice their concerns.


What stories are you most passionate about?

I really love telling and sharing stories about incredible people doing things to help their community, especially if they’re children.


When did you know you wanted to be a journalist…and how?

The moment I knew I wanted to be a journalist was when I was in high school. It all happened in my sophomore year social studies class when we were learning about the consequences of gentrification and the root of it. We took a trip down to Pilsen to get a firsthand look at how the streets were being cleaned, apartments being flipped, and people packing up their things and relocating. One of our assignments was to talk to residents to get their take on it and then write an opinion piece of where we stood on the topic of gentrification. The talking to residents’ part of the assignment terrified many of my classmates- but for me it was thrilling. I wanted to know and I wanted others to know what this meant for residents who couldn’t afford living in their family home anymore, what they felt like seeing more police presence in the neighborhoods and seeing more garbage men keeping their streets safe. Sharing their perspectives about an issue in the community made the assignment fun. I would say this was the first time I enjoyed my sophomore year social studies class.