Cal Humanities

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more when it is in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

California Humanities Emerging Journalist Fellowship Provides $90K in Support for Community College Journalists 

EJF 2024_collage 1

For Immediate Release 
Media Contact: Kerri Young, Communications Manager, kyoung@calhum.org

March 29, 2024—(Oakland, CA)—California Humanities is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2024 Emerging Journalist Fellowship program. Presented in partnership with California community colleges, this statewide initiative provides financial support, professional training, and mentorship to student journalists as they conduct in-depth reporting projects on subjects and issues of importance to their campus and community. 

Through a competitive application process, California Humanities has awarded $90,000 in support of 22 Emerging Journalism Fellows enrolled at six community colleges.  

Participating campuses for 2024 are: 

  • Bakersfield College
  • Chaffey College (Rancho Cucamonga)
  • El Camino College (Alondra Park)
  • Fullerton College
  • Los Medanos College (Pittsburg)
  • Sierra College (Rocklin)

“My biggest hope is that the public recognizes the value of storytelling through journalism,” said 2024 fellow Miranda Ricks from Sierra College. “It will always be important for people to be aware of the stories of those around them, whether it be in their local areas or throughout the country—it builds empathy and widens our perspectives of the world around us.” 

During the nine-month fellowship period, students receive mentoring from Joaquin Alvarado, former Executive Director of the Center for Investigative Reporting and founder of Studio To Be, as they develop, pitch, and produce reporting projects about underreported regional California stories.  

The 2024 Fellowship launched in February and throughout the spring, fellows will receive opportunities for enhanced training in areas such as podcasting, data research, community engaged reporting, and more. Throughout, the program is designed to incorporate the insight and perspective of journalism and the context and inquiry of the humanities, to help develop critical skills, encourage media literacy and civic engagement, and to provide a springboard for California’s next generation of journalists. 

“The media has the power to move masses,” said 2024 fellow Maria Zaldivar at Chaffey College. “It can empower entire movements and revolutions. Journalism enlightens us on endless topics and being an informed citizen is vital in this fast-paced world.” 

First launched in 2019 as part of the national Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the Federation of State Humanities Councils, the Emerging Journalist Fellowship program has since grown to include partnerships with community college campuses throughout the state. Student fellows from prior rounds brought to light important local stories, such as housing insecurity in Contra Costa County, living as a DACA student in rural Northern California, the effects of costal erosion on Southern California communities, uncovering the effects of the fentanyl epidemic on rural California communities, to statewide—and in some cases national—audiences. 

To date, fellows have produced podcasts distributed nationally by NPR; articles and op-eds published by the Bakersfield Californian, Shasta Scout, and KQED; interactive data-driven websites; documentary video and photography, and long-form investigative articles that have won awards from the Journalism Association of Community Colleges, Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and the College Media Association. 

“There is a pressing need to support journalism at the community college level in order to make sure important local stories aren’t overlooked,” according to President and CEO Rick Noguchi. “The Emerging Journalist Fellowship is crucial to empowering student voices, keeping us informed and helping democracy flourish.” 

To learn more about the Emerging Journalist Fellowship program, click here


About California Humanities: 

California Humanities, a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, promotes the humanities—focused on ideas, conversation and learning—as relevant, meaningful ways to understand the human condition and connect people to each other in order to help strengthen California. California Humanities has provided grants and programs across the state since 1975. To learn more, visit calhum.org, or like and follow on Facebook, X, Instagram, and LinkedIn

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Collage of five student photo headshots
A few of our 2024 Emerging Journalist fellows. Top row from left to right: From left to right: Aliyah Ramirez, Jeralynn Querubin, Madeline Rue, Paul Arganda, Monroe Morrow. 
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