Columnist Daniel Shoer Roth is taking a partial leave from his full time job at El Nuevo Herald to focus on writing the biography of Miami’s Cuban Bishop Agustín Román, thanks to a research grant from The Bacardi Family Foundation. The leave is effective this Friday, Aug. 16.
Daniel won’t completely abandon his newspaper duties. He’ll continue to write his Sunday column forEl Nuevo Herald, as well as a monthly spiritual column for The Miami Herald’s Opinion Pages.
“Many journalists dream about getting a research grant to write an investigative book, so I am blessed and grateful to be able to pursue this biography project,” Daniel tells me. “It’s a golden bridge to another genre of journalism and a much-awaited book among the Cuban exile community.”
Bishop Agustín Román passed away in April 2012 at age 83. In an editorial from July 6, 2012, Daniel explained the connection he built with the bishop since he first met him in 2010, while covering religion. From that editorial:
“Now I have a treasure in a drawer: hours of recorded interviews with him. I have unpublished information about his childhood, the genesis of his vocation, his seminary years, his expulsion from Cuba, his pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Miami and his role as the spiritual leader of Cuban Catholics in the Diaspora.”
“The melting pot of Latino cultures in the U.S. is so vast, especially in South Florida, that now you have someone like me, a Venezuelan Jewish journalist, writing the biography of a Cuban Catholic bishop,” says Daniel. “I think this says a lot about the increasingly fluid nature of Latino culture within the melting pot.
The lesson for everyone working in the news media is that you don’t have to look far away to find a theme for your first or next non-fiction book. You just have to love what you cover and find a big story within a story that you have owned in your newspaper.”
In an email announcement to staff yesterday, El Nuevo Herald Publisher Manny García congratulated Daniel:
“Many writers lobbied Bishop Roman to write his biography, but Roman – before his passing – chose Daniel. Bishop Roman had told many of us at El Nuevo Herald how impressed he was with Daniel’s accuracy, writing ability, passion and faith….The Bacardi Family Foundation has underwritten a research grant, so Daniel can concentrate full time on the book.”
Daniel has worked at El Nuevo Herald since 1999. He also publishes a weekly column View From El Nuevo Herald in The Miami Herald Local section. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, he is the grandson of Holocaust survivors. In 2007 he published a Knight Foundation-sponsored bilingual book Punto de Partida: Stories of Truth and Hope with the Human Services Coalition aiming to inspire readers to take action to improve their communities.