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California awards celebrate the best of ethnic journalism in epic 2020 coverage

California Governor Gavin Newsom opened the California Ethnic Media Awards on Thursday, June 3, with a special tribute to the sector for covering the epic news stories of 2020

By: Jenny Manrique

20 ethnic media journalists were honored for their coverage of the most epic events of 2020, from COVID-19 and the economic recession to the racial justice movement and immigration reform, at a virtual California Ethnic Media Awards ceremony Thursday night.

Out of 235 entries from reporters working in print, digital, TV and radio platforms in eight languages, the winners were chosen in nine categories by a culturally and linguistically fluent panel of judges who are familiar with the challenges of working in the industry.

Ethnic media has quickly become an increasingly indispensable bridge for communicating with diverse populations within our state," said Governor Gavin Newsom at the opening of the ceremony.

You have worked against all odds to make sure our communities were informed about the year's historic news events," he said. You have been instrumental in maintaining an inclusive communications infrastructure that brings our communities together when so many forces, as you well know, threaten to pull us apart," the governor added.

The multilingual awards were sponsored by Ethnic Media Services and California Black Media and will award each winner $1000 in cash. The nine categories included coverage of the 2020 Census, the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on ethnic communities, the economic crisis that exacerbated racial and economic fault lines in California, immigrant rights, and the racial justice movement sparked by the murder of George Floyd.

Exceptional reporting on the impact of climate change, the 2020 election, editorials that served as a call to action for ethnic audiences, and the innovation and resilience of community media in surviving the pandemic were also recognized.

Thanks to all the journalists, reporters, editors and photographers who work long, unrecognized hours every day, are committed to telling stories and covering unreported stories that we would otherwise never hear about," said Regina Brown Wilson, executive director of California Black Media.

In their acceptance speeches, the honorees acknowledged the support of their editors and families, as well as the challenges of covering ethnic communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, racist policies and hate crimes.

Words can be deadly, or they can be life-affirming. While the idle intellectual elite strive to cancel culture, we have the task of taking the knee out of truth's throat and reaffirming and defining journalism in our own image," said Rose Davis of Indian Voices, an award winner for her landmark essay "The Census and the Fourth Estate," which advocates for Native American participation in the census despite centuries of mistreatment.

Danny Morrison winner in the English language television category for his analysis of the Black Lives Matter movement in Bakersfield said that "as an African American living in Central California I always knew that we have a lot of work to do regarding the inequities within our race...It's why my team and I went to prisons, schools, churches, youth groups and more to talk to the underserved and the forgotten because we understand the struggle that in most cases we have lived through. That's why my team and I went to prisons, schools, churches, youth groups and more to talk to the underserved and the forgotten because we understand the struggle that in most cases we have lived through?

Jorge Macias, awarded for his digital coverage of climate change for Univision, recalled how in the last four years ?we all suffered from the denial of climate change, and even in the moments of terror in California with these devastating fires, the former president (Donald) Trump claimed that science knew nothing? This award means a lot because as human beings we have to battle with this absurd view of climate change?

Khmer TV's Tony Lai, who writes poems rather than editorials to persuade his audience to get vaccinated, observed that in normal conversation words travel in one ear and out the other, whereas poetry "can tell a story that not only resonates in the mind, but also makes them want to hear it again and again?

Vansh Gupta of Siliconeer, South Asia's first digital newspaper from Silicon Valley, stressed the media's responsibility to "empower and encourage the next generation" as he dedicates himself to sustaining his family business. We strive to give them that voice," he said.

Kiyoon Kim of the Korean station YTV American won his award for his coverage of Korean Americans' participation in the Black Lives Matter movement in Los Angeles. The reporter mentioned how shocking it has been for him after only two years in the United States to see how "the multi-ethnic protesters were all united under the slogan of 'no peace, no justice'. I have never experienced that in my home country?

The evening's hosts were Odette Alcazaren-Keeley and Pilar Marrero, both distinguished veterans of the ethnic media industry. Some 20 elected officials, community leaders, academics and writers paid tribute to the industry in videotaped speeches. Sandip Roy, once a software engineer in Silicon Valley and now an award-winning author and journalist in India, said if it weren't for ethnic media giving him a platform, he wouldn't be a writer today.

After presenting awards to Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese reporters for stories on issues impacting Black and Latinx communities, Alcazaren-Keeley announced a special award for cross-cultural reporting. The winner, Jeanne Ferris of News from Native California, documented how the fates of two peoples converged when Japanese Americans were imprisoned in World War II on reservation lands.

At the close of the ceremony, Sandy Close, executive director of Ethnic Media Services, said the gathering of reporters from so many racial and ethnic groups to celebrate not only their work, but each other's, was the real gift of the evening. Ethnic media are like fingers on a hand," he said, quoting Chauncey Bailey, a black media veteran killed in 2007 for investigating wrongdoing in his own community. When we work together, we are a fist.

Peninsula 360 Press
Peninsula 360 Presshttps://peninsula360press.com
Study of cross-cultural digital communication


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