Journalism and Political Science
B.A. January 2010 cum Laude
Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowship
The Arnold Picker Excellence Award in Journalism
Donald W. Reynolds National Business Scholarship
José Bayona was born in Cúcuta, Colombia. His mother is Venezuelan, his father Colombian; he holds both nationalities. In 1985, at 17 years old, he entered the National University of Colombia in Bogotá to study Sociology. He was forced to suspend his studies after a month for compulsory military service with the Colombian Army. A year later, having fulfilled his duty, he resumed college. But he soon realized his future in Colombia was limited so he immigrated to Venezuela. He says “Like Ulysses searching for his Ithaca, I started an odyssey shared with other 4 million Colombians who today live outside their motherland for reasons well known.”
In Venezuela he explored his passion: Theatre. He joined the cast of the prestigious theatre group, Rajatabla, studying under the group’s founder, Carlos Giménez.
In 1995, he immigrated to New York, saying “It is the common story of the little Latino American man, as Hemmingway puts it. It is the story that repeats itself day after day for any inhabitant south of El Rio Grande to La Patagonia.” Once again he was starting from scratch. He decided to do film studies at New York University and now holds an NYU Film Production Certificate. All told, he has more than fifteen years of experience in film and theater. A few titles under his belt as a producer are Bus Stop and The Bugchaser. He has worked in the production of feature films such as Violet of a Thousand Colors and Sicario. In theater, he directed 90 Miles of Separation for the Manhattan Producers Club and produced Requiem for a Life for Lincoln Center.
In the late 1990s, while adjusting to a new culture and language, Bayona experienced many internal changes which were only compounded by the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Now, with new interests in mind, he entered CUNY Baccalaureate to focus on journalism, public policy, American foreign policy, globalization and economics.
He studied under the direction of mentors Profs. Deanne Rosenberg, English and Thomas Halper, Political Science, Baruch. His work included an internship with The Humpty Dumpty Institute, an organization that fosters dialogue between the United Nations and the U.S. Congress. He says “As a journalist, I saw that they did not have a strong presence online and none in the social networks. I proposed a social media strategy to expose online the work they do in the U.S. and in Asia. I spent four months working on HDI’s online presence. I graduated in January; in February they asked me to work part-time as a Social Media Content Manager.”
Until late in 2008 he worked as a reporter and assistant editor for Hora Hispana, the Spanish publication of the New York Daily News, and as editor for the that paper’s internet Español section. He still works on a freelance basis for those publications and writes occasionally for others such as A&V Magazine in Caracas, Venezuela. He is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Most of his writing can be found on his website: www.JoseBayona.com. In addition to Humpty Dumpty, he works part-time for the CUNY Communications Office. He is applying to graduate schools of Journalism.
In 2002, Bayona founded Paper Children USA (PCUSA), an organization that supports the work of Niños de Papel, an NGO based in Colombia that develops social programs and raises funds for abandoned children.