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

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."

In response to the Florida House abruptly adjourning its 2015 session three days early, the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times invited their audiences to modify movie titles and tweet them with the hashtag #FLHouseMovieTitles.

Here are some of the ones that stood out to us:

Panelists discussed the legislative session on the Florida Roundup Friday, May 1.

Flashback Miami / Miami Herald

WLRN's Alicia Zuckerman and the Miami Herald's Joey Flechas brought Miami Beach residents' questions, along with their own, to Mayor Philip Levine last night.

You can see our Twitter chat about life on Miami Beach below or find it on Twitter at @WLRN using the hashtag #MB100

Hector Gabino / El Nuevo Herald

It happened again.

Spanish-language, Miami-area-based Univision -- the nation's fifth-largest television network -- has another racial insensitivity mess to clean up.

On Wednesday, Univision talk show host and fashion commentator Rodner Figueroa said first lady Michelle Obama -- America's first African-American first lady -- looks like an apocalyptic ape.

MIFF / Courtesy

  One hundred and twenty-five films from 40 countries.

That's what the 32nd Edition of the Miami International Film Festival is all about. And festival organizers made a significant change this year. Previously, short films under thirty minutes made in Florida that had already premiered in the state weren't eligible to exhibit during the festival. This year, they are.

During a recent Florida Roundup, host Christine DiMattei spoke with South Florida film critic Hans Morgenstern about some homegrown filmmakers already causing a stir in the festival circuit:

Michael Rivera (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (] / Wikimedia Commons

The gavel falls Tuesday in Tallahassee, when Florida lawmakers officially begin the 2015 legislative session. The one item they have to do is pass a state budget -- and this year they have a $1 billion surplus, a growing state economy and a governor fresh off a re-election win.

Each spring for 60 days the Florida Legislature tackles a year's worth of state business. On the agenda this law-writing session are reforms to public-education testing, hundreds of millions of dollars of mandated spending on the environment and billions of dollars in federal money for health care.