The Ruben Salazar Journalism Awards are presented annually by the CCCNMA: Latino Journalists of California to photographers and reporters or teams for work published or broadcast in the state of California that demonstrates journalism excellence while contributing to a better understanding of California’s Latino communities by portraying Latinos fairly and accurately.
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. Salazar was covering the Chicano anti-Vietnam War Moratorium in East Los Angeles when he was killed by a tear gas projectile fired by a Sheriff’s deputy. Salazar had a keen sense of perspective and introspective in providing insight into the Latino community. As the Los Angeles Times eulogized him, Salazar was “sometimes an angry man as he observed the inequities around him, yet he spoke out with a calm vigor that made his words all the more impressive and influential.”
CCNMA is a non-profit organization founded in 1972 that is dedicated to the social, economic and professional advancement of Latino journalists, and that seeks to foster a fair and accurate portrayal of Latinos in the news media.
- Born March 3, 1928, in Juarez, Mexico
- Served in the U.S. Army in Germany from 1950 to 1952
- Salazar’s first newspaper job was with the El Paso Herald-Post
- Worked at Santa Rosa Press Democrat, San Francisco News, Los Angeles Herald-Express, and then, in 1959, joined the Los Angeles Times
- In 1970, Salazar became news director of KMEX-TV
- Aug. 29, 1970, Salazar covered the anti-Vietnam War Chicano Moratorium March in East Los Angeles; The march became violent after sheriff’s deputies tried to end the rally by going after protestors and dispersing tear gas; Salazar stepped into the Silver Dollar Café; A sheriff’s deputy fired a 10-inch tear gas projectile through its curtained door; Several hours later, Salazar’s body was found inside dead after being struck by the projectile.