Letter from the Chapter President

Claudia E. Cruz, president, NAHJ Bay Area Chapter
Claudia E. Cruz, president, NAHJ Bay Area Chapter

¡Saludos mi gente!

I have a very good feeling about 2016, especially after such a successful 2015. We remained steadfast to our mission and successfully accomplished many things, particularly in the area of professional development and student engagement. Curious what we did? Check out my previous Letters to the Chapter here and here.

In essence, not only did we secure funding from PG&E for a spring student internship we also managed to place an intern for the first time at the San Francisco Chronicle. The inaugural student is UC Berkeley School of Journalism’s Marcos Martinez. Hopefully, this relationship grows and the funding continues so that we can offer this opportunity every year and develop stronger programs with the areas flagship paper.

In addition, the Sacramento Bee has started to accept applicants for their paid Jennifer Garza Memorial Internship. This will be the third summer that the NAHJ Bay Area and the SacBee cooperatively fund the internship and the third time that PG&E serves as NAHJ’s grantor. Stela Khury served as the Garza summer 2015 intern (here are some of the clips she shared with us).

As you can see, the development of our student chapters has been an important focus for the professional members. Despite its foundation merely four years ago in spring 2012, the NAHJ Bay Area chapter now serves as the local advisor to three student chapters established at San Francisco State University, UC Berkeley School of Journalism and San Jose State University. Collectively, the three universities represent very diverse regions of the Bay Area, which opens up the opportunity for better and more collaboration between reporters and students in the East and South Bay as well as San Francisco county.

NAHJ Bay Area chapter member Sal Rodriguez talks to students about their resumes at San Francisco State University this past February.
NAHJ Bay Area chapter member Sal Rodriguez talks to students about their resumes at San Francisco State University this past February.

One way we’ve put this into practice has been through our resume and interviewing round-robin workshops. Last November 2015, the journalism department chair at City College of San Francisco and founder of the acclaimed El Tecolote newspaper Juan Gonzalez hosted one such workshop at CCSF. It was well attended by students and professionals. One of those professionals was a journalism professor at SFSU and she reached out about bringing the workshop to State. Well we did so this February 2016, it was an outstanding success! More than two dozen students and about 15 working professionals from media as diverse as the Center for Investigative Reporting, KRON, KPIX, CNET and the SF Chronicle attended. I hope these workshops become yearly staples.

And I want to take this opportunity to give a shout out to the NAHJ SJSU chapter. The majority of their members publish the student-run El Espartano Noticias, the school’s only Spanish-language news service. Not only are they putting out a digital print edition, but recently they’ve begun to produce a digital broadcast service. Here is a bit of what they are up to.

As a chapter we are also trying to find more ways to collaborate with the other professional organizations in the area. We participated in the joint all-media holiday party in December; still in the works are workshops with the local tech giants like Google, LinkedIn and hopefully Facebook, to learn how to better utilize their platforms for reporting; and of course, NAHJ’s national convention in Washington, D.C. this year will be co-hosted with NABJ. Bay Area chapter members should seriously consider attending convention especially because they will invite the Democratic and Republican nominees to participate in a Town Hall meeting. Oh, another incentive is that the chapter will pay for one individual’s airfare.

The chapter met for a general chapter meeting at the San Francisco Examiner on Tuesday, Mar. 22.

So, reflecting back on everything we’ve accomplished and all of the plans we all already have for 2016 – including the annual Casa Diaz barbecue, another SF Giants outing and a big fundraising event (still in the works!) – yes this will be another outstanding year.

Thank you so much for all of your commitment to ensuring that more Latinos get jobs in newsrooms and that news stories about Latinos are told with accuracy. ¡Pa’lante!

Claudia Cruz