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

Veteran reporter, first-time teacher introduces the craft to non-journalism students

By Louis Sahagun:

After 34 years as a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, I just finished my first semester of teaching journalism at the college level.

I’m feeling pretty good about my experience and what my seven Antioch University Los Angeles students accomplished in the 1-unit Master of Arts in Urban Sustainability course titled “Introduction to Environmental Journalism.”

The students came up with real-life controversies and issues brewing in their own neighborhoods. Then, just as I do with my editor at  the Los Angeles Times, we discussed how best to investigate and write about them.

Overall, I shared tricks of the trade learned on the job over the past three decades and introduced them to the complex and nuanced relationships between journalists, scientists, regulatory agencies, non-profits, landscapes and the public.

One student investigated a nonprofit dedicated to training a new generation of community activists to improve the quality of life in the Los Angeles housing project known as Ramona Gardens. The nonprofit, she discovered, had plenty of recruits, but little money to implement projects on its wish list.

Another student examined the City of South Pasadena’s efforts to transform itself into an environmentally sustainable oasis on the southern flanks of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Other articles were about the health benefits of hiking the trails of a scenic state park south of downtown Los Angeles; a massive fish die-off in the seaside community of Playa del Rey; a neighborhood campaign to reduce the noise and air pollution resulting from Santa Monica Airport’s aviation activities, and the plight of four lonely “ladies in waiting” — California condors at the Santa Barbara Zoo not yet needed to participate in captive breeding programs across the nation.

Every student who enrolled completed the class offered at the small non-profit private liberal arts school in Culver City.

Their success was especially gratifying to me because after graduation, they will be applying some of the journalistic tools and insights they learned in class at jobs in social services, philanthropic organizations and government agencies across the nation.

Louis Sahagun is a CCNMA board member and staff writer at the Los Angeles Times. Follow him on Twitter @LouisSahagun.

Read more

In photos: CCNMA’s 36th Journalism Opportunities Conference

CCNMA wrapped up its 36th Journalism Opportunities Conference on Friday. Didn’t go? Here’s what you missed.

 You can also get a taste of what happened via JOC panelist and John S. Knight journalism fellow Eric Ortiz’s Evrybit conference story.
Read more