Miguel Melendez joins CCNMA Board of Directors

Miguel Melendez

Miguel Melendez

CCNMA welcomes Miguel Melendez, a USA Today Sports mobile content producer, to join its Board of Directors.

“CCNMA events fueled my fire for journalism,” Melendez said, “and as a board member I want to do my part in making sure that CCNMA continues to produce quality events in hopes that it inspires aspiring journalists and professional journalists alike.”

Melendez curates and programs editorial content for the new USA TODAY Sports app. He previously worked for FOX Sports, NFL Network and The Orange County Register. His byline also has appeared in The Associated Press, Boston Globe and Oakland Tribune.

Melendez was 17 when he started as a freelancer at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune working on the sports desk answering phones. He covered high school sports at The Register before moving on to the pro soccer beat and later assisting with Lakers, USC, UCLA and Angels coverage. Melendez was the UCLA beat writer at the Daily News before becoming an editor at He was born in Tijuana, Mexico and lives in Downtown Los Angeles.

“I hope that my story — overcoming homelessness and escaping a drug and gang-infested upbringing — can inspire someone to continue their relentless pursuit of achieving their dreams,” Melendez said.

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CCNMA announces Executive Director Julio Moran’s retirement

Julio Moran, left, poses for a photo with longtime CCNMA supporter Cecilia E. Alvear and NAHJ President Mekahlo Medina at the annual CCNMA Banquet on June 5, 2015.

Julio Moran, left, poses for a photo with longtime CCNMA supporter Cecilia E. Alvear and NAHJ President Mekahlo Medina at the annual CCNMA Banquet on June 5, 2015. (Courtesy of Cecilia E. Alvear)

Julio Moran will be retiring as executive director of the nonprofit CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California after serving the journalism organization for 18 years.

The CCNMA board of directors thanks him for his service, particularly as the news industry underwent significant changes during the last decade.

“Julio shepherded CCNMA during a difficult financial period, and we appreciate all that he has dedicated to the organization,” said CCNMA President Yvette Cabrera. “Whether it was mentoring journalism students or guiding professionals on their career paths, Julio generously shared his wisdom with many generations of Latino journalists.”

CCNMA, the oldest regional organization of journalists of color in the country, was founded in 1972 to promote diversity in the news media by providing encouragement, scholarships and educational programs for Latinos pursuing careers as journalists. As part of its mission, CCNMA works to foster an accurate and fair portrayal of Latinos in the news media, and also promotes the social, economic and professional advancement of Latino journalists.

Moran first joined the nonprofit as a consultant in 1996, and then was hired as its executive director the following year. He is a former Los Angeles Times reporter who was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team honored for its groundbreaking coverage of Latinos in Southern California. The comprehensive 21-part series was published in 1983 and won a Pulitzer in the Meritorious Public Service category.

Throughout his career, Moran has been active in efforts to bring diversity to the nation’s newsrooms. In 1982, he served on the planning committee that organized the first national conference for Latino journalists, which was held in San Diego.

He sat on the first board of directors of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in 1984, and was elected vice president for print in 1986. In 1996, NAHJ presented him with the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Moran also sat on the board of directors of Unity ‘94, an umbrella group of the four largest national associations of journalists of color. The first Unity conference was held in Atlanta in 1994 and attracted more than 5,000 participants.

Moran will continue to serve in an advisory capacity as CCNMA transitions and searches for his replacement. His last day will be Monday, June 15, 2015.

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CCNMA and NAHJ join forces to celebrate newsroom diversity at annual banquet

CCNMA 35th Banquet
For the 35th annual CCNMA Scholarship Banquet, CCNMA is honored to have collaborated with NAHJ in recognizing distinguished California journalists.

CCNMA awarded scholarships to five students and presented the 16th Ruben Salazar Journalism Awards. CCNMA also honored three journalists instrumental to CCNMA’s mission in diversifying newsrooms: Celina Rodriguez, a longtime broadcaster in San Jose; Juan Esparza Loera, editor of Vida en el Valle in Fresno; and Magdalena Beltran-del Olmo, recently retired from The California Wellness Foundation.

The night included NAHJ’s Noche de Honores, which recognized three journalists and long time broadcaster Sylvia Lopez, who retired from KCAL 9 after 30 years on the air.

“It was an amazing night of celebration, gratitude and the start of a growing partnership with CCNMA,” NAHJ President Mekahlo Medina wrote to NAHJ members.

Medina acknowledged that NAHJ is the product of CCNMA more than 30 years ago.

“Both CCNMA and NAHJ have the same mission to diversify newsrooms,” said CCNMA President Yvette Cabrera. “Our efforts are only stronger when we work together.”

Check out photos and buzz around Friday’s event in the Storify below:

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2015 CCNMA Scholarship Recipients

Congratulations to the 2015 CCNMA Scholarship Recipients

Joel Garcia Memorial Scholarship

Barbara Estrada
Miami, Florida

Paolo Uggetti
Sylmar, California

Frank del Olmo Memorial Scholarship

Pilar de Haro
Northridge, California
California State University, Northridge

George Ramos Memorial Scholarship

Claudia Buccio
Garden Grove, California

Skip Morgan Memorial Scholarship

Ana Perez
North Hollywood, California
Cal Poly Pomona

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5 ways to get the most out of the next journalism conference

By Luis Gomez:

Conferences are opportunities to meet like-minded journalists, find jobs, learn new skills or simply recharge your batteries.

Life in a newsroom often revolves around chasing stories, finding sources, producing and packaging a segment, and ultimately meeting those deadlines. And when you account all the hours in the day, odds are you will not get much of an opportunity to learn a new set of skills every month or even every year.

Yet, career growth in journalism depends on acquiring new skills and staying relevant. Coding, video editing, or even solid writing are just a number skills most newsrooms seek in journalists today; they represent a foot in the door or one step above in the career ladder.

One solution: Attend a conference!

Journalism conferences offer access to workshops, insightful people, job opportunities, and that reassuring sensation that everything will be okay because now you know how to work with Google’s Fusion Tables. Everyone has a unique experience, we all walk away with different things.

Not sure where to start? Feel free to try any of these exercises at the next conference you attend: (Plus, I’ll share a list of upcoming conferences in California below.)

  1. Plan ahead: Sign up to a conference with intention—know why you want to attend, whether it is to meet a number of specific people or attend a workshop. Look at the full schedule and plan your day accordingly. Use the time gaps between workshops to mingle or schedule a lunch/coffee/beer meeting with someone. Try this tip: Email someone you want to meet ahead of time, preferably before the conference begins, and ask to pick their brain.
  2. Carry a notepad: Take notes, take notes, take notes at all times. Nothing says you’re truly invested in what people have to say like taking notes while they talk. Yes, conferences are like classrooms and you will benefit from writing down information. Try this tip: Use your notepad to write down notes about someone new you met, whether it’s about where they work or what they do.
  3. Ask questions: Stick around after a session, ask questions to the presenters, ask questions to the organizers. Walk around the booths, ask questions. Spend every hour asking questions. And take down notes. Try this tip: Here’s some good questions to ask someone you meet: What are the pressing challenges in your newsroom and how would you solve them? What will be the journalism jobs in 10 or 15 years? If you could run your own newsroom, which existing brands would you emulate and why?
  4. Mingle, mingle, mingle: Rub shoulders with strangers. And if that’s not your thing, recruit someone you know to help make an introduction. It is perfectly OK to leverage anything (food, drinks, people, anything) to start a conversation with a stranger. Try this tip: Arrive early for a workshop, stand by the door and hand out your business cards and introduce yourself with a handshake. People will remember you for being bold and proactive.
  5. Keep in touch: After it’s all said and done, you will have walked away with a renewed sense of purpose in your career not just in the skills yo pick up but also in the people you meet. Follow up with those people you met and maintain those relationships. Try this tip: Make your follow-up email short and interesting, add a GIF or a scenic photo of where you live. It adds a personal touch and makes you stand out.

Now to the good part. Here’s a list of upcoming journalism conferences in California where you can try any of the above tips:

  • V3con (AAJA-Los Angeles) June 26 to 27 in Los Angeles, CA
  • AEJMC 15 (Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication) Aug. 6 to 9 in San Francisco, CA
  • AAJA National Convention (Asian American Journalism Association) Aug. 12 to 15 in San Francisco, CA
  • Coming Home (National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association) Sept. 3 to 6 in San Francisco, CA
  • ONA15 (Online News Association) Sept. 24 to 26 in Los Angeles, CA
  • ASNE-APME 15 (American Society of News Editors) Oct. 16 to 18 in Palo Alto, CA

Also, across the country:

  • NABJ Conference (National Association of Black Journalists) takes place Aug. 5 to Aug. 9 in Minneapolis, MN.
  • Excellence in Journalism (National Association of Hispanic Journalists) Sept. 18 to 20 in Orlando, FL
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