Winners of CCNMA’s 12th Ruben Salazar Awards announced

CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California today announced the winners of its 12th 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 categories of Print and Television—will be formally presented at CCNMA’s 31st Scholarship Banquet on June 10, 2011, at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. There were no winners in the Radio, Photography or Commentary categories.

Los Angeles Times staff writer Louis Sahagun won in the newspaper category for his story on how grief over the birth defects plaguing the impoverished farming town of Kettleman City spurred its mostly Latino homemakers to battle a proposed expansion of a nearby toxic waste facility. Judges comment: “It shines a light and goes another layer deep into the predicaments that poverty thrusts onto poor immigrants.”

In the TV category, María Leticia Gómez of KDTV in San Francisco won for her series on how parents in three different communities in the San Francisco Bay area support their children’s school districts, and how Latino parents can participate in their kids’ education. Judges comment: “The series is informative and provides a great community service. It shows how even those without a lot of money can contribute to their children’s education.”

At the dinner, CCNMA will honor Pilar Marrero of La Opinión and Laurie Ochoa of Slake: Los Angeles for career achievement. The Castellano Family Foundation in San Jose will be honored for its longtime support of CCNMA’s San Jose chapter’s high school journalism workshop. The Los Angeles Times will be honored for its series of stories on the financial scandal in the city of Bell, which helped empower the mostly Latino community to take back their city.

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 39-year-old Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization housed at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. The group is dedicated to the advancement of Latino journalists and to fostering fair and accurate portrayals of Latinos in the news media.