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Winners of CCNMA’s 10th Ruben Salazar Awards announced

CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California today announced the winners of its 10th Ruben Salazar Journalism Awards recognizing work published or broadcast in California that exemplifies journalistic excellence while contributing to a better understanding of Latinos.

The awards — in the three categories of Print, Television, and Radio — will be formally presented at CCNMA’s 29th Scholarship Banquet on June 5, 2009, at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. There were no winners in the Commentary or Photography categories.

In the Radio category, reporter and executive producer Phillip Martin, editor Jason DeRose and producer Shereen Marisol Meraji won for their NPR’s “Day to Day” story “Tough Times in Fresno.” Judges commented: “Most media outlets forget about rural areas or suburbs when covering Latino issues. This story does a good job at describing an area of the United States that is affected by poverty and lack of social resources. The interviews and data are a great complement.”

In the Television category, CBS5/KPIX-TV (San Francisco) reporter Len Ramirez and assignment editor Michael Konczal won for their story “Mother’s Day Reunion.” Judges commented: “Terrific Mother’s Day story with strong personal element. Felt compassion in writing and execution by reporter. The story was shot very well.”

In the Print category, Esmeralda Bermudez of the Los Angeles Times won for her story “In L.A., Speaking ‘Mexican’ to Fit In.” Judges comments: “Bermudez’s story artfully describes an age-old dilemma — trying to fit in to a culture that is not exactly yours but with which you share a multitude of similarities. Instead of Latinos trying to fit in with the Anglo community, it’s about Central Americans trying to fit in with the larger Mexican and Mexican American communities in Los Angeles. Bermudez handles the topic of self identification (hence, self esteem), language and hegemony with just the right touch , with understanding to the region’s large and growing Latino population. The media’s obsession with Mexicans notwithstanding, this is really a story of a multicultural community’s growth and development and the inevitable drama it can produce.”

Members of the Arizona Latino Media Association judged the entries.

The awards are named after the late Ruben Salazar, who at the time of his death in 1970 was a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and news director of Spanish-language television station KMEX in Los Angeles.

CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California is a 37-year-old Los Angeles-based statewide nonprofit organization housed at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism. The statewide group is dedicated to the advancement of Latino journalists and to fostering fair and accurate portrayals of Latinos in the news media.