San Antonio native Elena Cabral gets an Ivy League promotion

Elena Cabral, a San Antonio native and former journalist, has been promoted to assistant dean of academic programs and communications at the Columbia Journalism School in New York.

Cabral, 50, took over the position left by Ernest Sotomayor, who retired from Columbia this year. She’ll handle a portfolio of international programs that train journalists in Latin America, Spain and France. She will also oversee communications and continue to serve as an adjunct faculty member.

She’s a longtime member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a Columbia graduate who majored in U.S. history. She serves as the faculty advisory to NAHJ’s student chapter at Columbia University. 

After graduation in 1993, she served as a writer at the Ford Foundation’s then quarterly magazine. She wrote about the work of grantees across the United States, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Argentina and the Philippines.

Cabral pursued a master’s degree in journalism at Columbia and, in 1999, left the Ford Foundation for an internship at New York Newsday. She then joined the staff of the Miami Herald, where she covered the arrival of the young Cuban migrant Elian Gonzalez and the infamous U.S. presidential ballot count of 2000.

She returned to New York City in 2003 and served as a magazine editor at Scholastic News and an adjunct professor at Columbia Journalism School. She also ran its part-time MS degree program and in its Career Services office.

Cabral is the daughter of Mary and Antonio Cabral, San Antonio activists and community organizers. In the 1970s, they founded the bilingual community newspaper El Pueblo. It was one of several newspapers her father contributed to or edited since the 1960s. Her mother produced the photography in a darkroom in their garage.

She said her parents inspired her “love of writing and speaking truth to power.”

She attended St. Paul’s Catholic School and Incarnate Word High School.

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