Jose Bayona immigrated to New York City from Colombia 25 years ago. At age 40, he enrolled at Baruch College. Now he’s been named executive director of the Office of Ethnic and Community Media under Mayor Eric Adams.
This newly created office serves as a liaison to City Hall for more than 300 print, digital, and broadcast outlets that provide news and information in three dozen languages in neighborhoods all over the city. “Hundreds of ethnic and community media outlets are the voice of millions of immigrants, working-class and everyday New Yorkers, and we, NYC, recognize their hard work with this new office,” Bayona said in a Facebook post.
Bayona earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from the CUNY Baccalaureate Program in 2009, with Baruch Weissman as his base college, then went on to get his master’s degree from the CUNY Newmark School of Journalism. In addition to his work at City Hall, Bayona is the CEO and founder of Grassroots Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in politics and multicultural communities. He’s also worked for the Daily News, writing for and covering the city’s Spanish-speaking communities, and for NY1. His work in city government includes serving as press secretary for Mayor Bill de Blasio, for the city’s Administration for Children’s Services, and for the city Department of Transportation.
“My life changed when I enrolled at Baruch College for a BA in journalism and political science when I was 40 years old,” he says. “The support I found in both departments was terrific and helped me go through the process of getting my college degree at an adult age in a much better way.”
He added: “I am really grateful to many professors and administrative staff at Baruch, especially Andrea Gabor, Josh Mills, Vera Haller, Geanne Belton, Chris Hallowell, Roslyn Bernstein, among others, at the journalism department, and Thomas Halper, a great mentor on political education, at the political science department. Also, Jennifer Salas at the admission office. All of them have a special place in my heart because they showed me their support and gave me the opportunity to change my life through education. I will always be grateful to Baruch College, my alma mater, for helping me to get where I am today. The story of my new life in the United States started at Baruch College.”