Maria Murriel

Digital editor

I manage WLRN's multimedia and engagement projects, including work on, all our social media platforms, and community events.

I help reporters produce videos, build infographics, reformat stories for maximum web-friendliness and bug them about tweeting more pretty much every day. I also coordinate our internship program. (Apply!)

The best part of my job is working with the public. I love reaching out to and hearing from people for projects like our Aftermath series, about shootings in Liberty City, and our literary contests like this year's #PostLits in partnership with the Miami Book Fair International.

I'm a cat lover with an eye for Instagoodness. I like stories about ethnicity, migration issues and the arts.

And my quest in journalism is to #engagesuburbia, because I grew up in Kendall and know there is good across 836.

Ways to Connect

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

Cuban culture has dominated Miami for decades. Cuban-Americans are the area’s largest Latino group and have loads of political representation.


But the number -- and influence -- of immigrants from other Latin American countries is growing. And there’s a tense debate over the immigration privileges Cubans enjoy -- because no other immigrant group gets them.

Maria Murriel / Illustration

Last week, the Miami-Dade County Commission approved the renaming of a library and a park in the suburb of West Kendall. They went from West Kendall to West End Regional Library and West End District Park.

This renaming is part of a multi-year plan by District 11 Commissioner Juan Zapata to create an area called "West End."

We received an overwhelming amount of feedback about this issue, most of it negative. Read some responses in the slideshow at the top of this post.

Chabeli Herrera (illustration)

By the time Don Francisco holds his final on-air singing contest this last Sábado Gigante, on Sept. 19, many a Spanish-speaking household in the U.S. -- and most of Latin America -- will have at some point noted the longevity of his show.

Generations of Latinos have laughed and cried with Mario Kreutzberger in character as host of the 53-year-old variety show.

National Hurricane Center

Hours after it strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane, Danny, this season's first storm grew to a Category 3.

Below is an excerpt from the National Hurricane Center's statement:

Reports from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that Danny is now a Category 3 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The maximum winds are estimated to be 115 mph (185 km/h) with higher gusts.

Jason Howle / Flickr via

It's not only about shaming. Some restaurant owners and chefs in South Florida use their social media accounts to vent about competitors, try to locate dine-and-dashers and, yes, trash bad reviewers. 

Whether it's a personal profile or the brand's account, commenters seem to stand by the posters putting their guests on blast.

Maria Murriel / WLRN

JUPITER, FLA. -- Onesimo Lopez-Ramos immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala -- one of the most violent countries in the western hemisphere. But even living in the quiet town of Jupiter, Fla., at the northern end of Palm Beach County, he couldn't escape lethal brutality.

The 18-year-old Lopez-Ramos was killed this past April, allegedly by three young white men who said they were targeting immigrants -- or "Guat-hunting" as one of them told police afterward in a disturbing confession.

Wikipedia Commons

The Miami-Dade County commission voted Tuesday to allow civil penalties for certain misdemeanors, including possession of drug paraphernalia and up to 20 grams of marijuana.

Doug Hanks of the Miami Herald reports: 

Miami-Dade commissioners voted Tuesday to let police treat marijuana possession the same way they do littering and loitering — issuing a civil citation with a $100 fine that keeps the offense out of the criminal system.

Creative Commons via Flickr / Jeff Cubina (

In a 5-to-4 vote, the Supreme Court says all states must provide marriage licenses between two people of the same sex, and all states must recognize same-sex marriages.

Florida has allowed same-sex marriages since January. But what happens now for the politicians in Florida who have opposed same-sex marriage, such as Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi? Will this be an issue in presidential campaigns?

Maria Murriel / WLRN

"What happens if a writer of color wants to write about white supremacy?" asks Junot Diaz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author who last year penned a New Yorker essay about the "unbearable too-whiteness" of Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs. 

Diaz is co-founder of the Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA) and the VONA/Voices workshop, which for 15 years has provided a "safe space" in the San Francisco Bay Area for writers of color.

Roosevelt Collier / Facebook

Roosevelt Collier says music makes up 70 percent of each worship service at his House of God Church in Perrine, in south Miami-Dade County. Collier grew up in that church, contributing to aural prayers by playing the drums, bass, keys and anything else his cousins and uncles taught him.

But after picking up one instrument, he didn't need any new ones. At 12 years old, he started playing the sacred steel guitar.

"In our church, the steel is the focus," Collier says. "It is what makes that church different from any other church."