Start the new year right: Support CCNMA’s work with a tax-deductible donation

Jennifer Medina of the New York Times. David Ovalle of the Miami Herald. Hector Becerra of the Los Angeles Times. Miguel Almaguer of NBC News. Cecilia Vega of ABC News.

CCNMA identified these people when they were college students as having the talent and commitment to be successful journalists. And they proved CCNMA right.

Help CCNMA continue its important work to identify and support promising Latino journalists with a tax-deductible gift.

A donation of any amount will be appreciated greatly. You also may make your contribution over time. If your company has a matching gift program, be sure to send any required forms.

If your membership has lapsed, renewing your membership also will help considerably. If you are not currently a member, please consider joining. If you are a current member, consider a lifetime membership. Annual membership dues are only $50 or $90 for two years. A lifetime membership is $1,000, and may be paid over time.

Kindly send a check payable to:

CCNMA, ASU Cronkite School of Journalism
725 Arizona Ave., Ste. 404
Santa Monica, CA 90401-1723.

Or, give online using PayPal.

If you have any questions, please e-mail Executive Director Julio Moran at

Read more

Remembering Al Martinez: a teacher and student of people

By Henry T. Mendoza III:

The great thing about Al Martinez was the respect he had—for life, for his beloved wife Joanne, for the children they raised and nurtured, for his grandchildren, for good martinis, for Italian food, for cigars and for most of the people he encountered in his 85 years.

That was one of the best things about Al—when he met someone he reveled in bringing them to his readers. Mostly it was people, but it was also places and sunrises and sunsets. Even animals.

Al Martinez, longtime writer for the Los Angeles Times, died Jan. 12, 2015. He was 85.

Al Martinez, longtime writer for the Los Angeles Times, died Jan. 12, 2015. He was 85.

Al was a big personality who did not throw words around with his voice, preferring to put them on a page and write them in his eloquent style. That was our fortune.

I was lucky to meet him at the Los Angeles Times in 1980. When I worked there his desk was right in front of mine, so when he came in to pick up his check every two weeks he would say hello. I was in awe. Not for what he said to me, at first, but for what he wrote between those visits to the newsroom. Al preferred being out amongst people turning up their stories rather than sitting behind a desk in an office.

One time he was in the newsroom going through his mail, seemingly in a hurry to get out. The city editor called him, from about 30 feet away, for a meeting. Al sneered—he didn’t seem happy about that, but he walked up to the middle of the newsroom for the meeting. A few words were spoken and Al blew cigar smoke in the editor’s face. The meeting was short. (In those days, smoking was allowed indoors, even cigars.)

Those of us in the back of the room quietly smiled. After all, the paper had a reputation as a writer’s paper, and Al was as good as any, so we felt he was entitled.

Sharing a meal with Al was always fun. I felt privileged to be invited to join Al and his buddies for lunch—Jerry Belcher, Jerry Cohen, Bill Boyarsky, Steve Harvey, Bill Billiter and others. Al’s stories were often hilarious, always full of honest observations. I was a youngster with those writers, but Al made me feel like I belonged—as he did with everyone.

Years later, Al ran into me at an Italian restaurant we both loved. We then met there a few times and I was able to drag more writing lessons out of him. He also shared those lessons with my students at Cal State Fullerton. Everyone enjoyed that.

That’s why we all loved his writings and will miss new ones.

Al was a student of people, rich and poor and of every race and ethnicity. He taught us much about our Los Angeles and our world through his words and the way he lived.

In 2002, CCNMA honored Al with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and I was proud to introduce him.

Thank you, Al. We miss you already.

Henry T. Mendoza III is an adjunct professor of journalism at California State University, Fullerton, and a former executive director of CCNMA.

Read more

Open letter to Santa Barbara News-Press on using “illegals” in headline

In response to Santa Barbara News-Press‘ conscious decision to use a word and phrase that even the AP Stylebook no longer sanctions, CCNMA has sent the following statement to its news director, Don Katich:

Open letter to Santa Barbara News-Press

The headline and story were first brought to CCNMA’s attention by newly instated board member Luis Gomez:

Contact the Santa Barbara News-Press news director directly: Don Katich –

Read more

Vote for your representatives on the CCNMA Board of Directors

CCNMA members in good standing are encouraged to participate in the election of seven representatives on the Board of Directors. These directors will serve two-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2016.

The deadline to return the ballot, which should have been sent to your email, is Friday Dec. 5. 2014.

You may vote for up to seven people:

  • Luis Gomez, Investigative News Network
  • Sandy Nuñez, ESPN
  • Laurie Ochoa, Los Angeles Times
  • Joe Rodriguez, San Jose Mercury News
  • Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
  • Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times
  • Write-In ____________________
  • Write-In ____________________
Read more

President’s message: To the volunteers who make a difference, no matter how small

Dear CCNMA members,

With Thanksgiving approaching, I wanted to take a moment to share an appreciation for the many volunteers who have made a difference in the work that we’ve done this year.

Last month, we launched our second annual mentoring program at KABC’s studios in Glendale, and we were fortunate to have almost two dozen professional journalists step forward as mentors.

The mentees, primarily students from CCNMA’s Cal State University Northridge chapter, told me earlier this year that they lacked connections with seasoned journalists who could guide them as they created their résumés, applied for internships and prepared to graduate. When we put the word out at our CCNMA open house this summer, the response from our members was immediate and positive. We quickly reached our space capacity for the event, and had to create a waiting list for those students whom we couldn’t accommodate.

That the mentors were in such high demand was a reminder to me of how essential these professionals will be to these students – some who are the first in their family to go to college – as they navigate through a tough profession.

At KABC, our students received a tour of the studios, heard some heartfelt advice from longtime CCNMA member and KABC reporter Sid Garcia, and then connected one-on-one with their mentors. As I left that night for another appointment, the room was abuzz, filled with conversation, ideas and excitement.

Many thanks to Diane Medina, KABC’s vice president for diversity and community relations, who so warmly hosted us that night and has long supported CCNMA’s diversity initiatives.

Having watched my mentees thrive and succeed with a little advice and encouragement, I can say the mentoring experience has been rewarding and well worth the time I’ve invested.

Last month, CCNMA also hosted its annual Journalism Opportunities Conference, which went smoothly thanks to the hard work of our staff and volunteers. However, I want to highlight the commitment of one our volunteers in particular, Ana Facio-Krajcer, a longtime CCNMA member. You’d likely recognize her face, as Ana has for many years given her time at not just the JOC, but at our annual scholarship banquet as well.

She recently moved to the Washington D.C. area, but didn’t let the distance stop her from volunteering at the JOC once again. It’s because of members such as Ana that CCNMA is able to accomplish so much. That commitment, hard work and dedication are very much in the spirit of what our founders envisioned when they created this organization. It’s about giving a hand to the next generation, and it’s about giving what you can.

I keep a mug with the image of Frank Del Olmo, one of CCNMA’s founders, on my desk near my laptop. The mug is inscribed with a quote from Frank: “My hope has been for a career that will allow me to make a difference in the world, no matter how small.”

As we head into the busy holiday season, let’s remember that our actions, no matter how small, really do make a difference to those around us. For anyone interested in serving as a mentor, please contact the CCNMA office as we would still like to connect the handful of students on the waiting list.

CCNMA has some exciting possibilities percolating as we head into the New Year, which we will share soon with all of you. In the meantime, thank you all for being a part of the CCNMA family and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Yvette Cabrera, president
CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California

Read more