M.A. Liberal Arts
Thesis: “Spanish-Language and Digital Media: A New Counterpublic Sphere in California”
I'm a lifelong journalist and experienced journalism fellowship leader with a devotion to excellence and a bias for action. I’ve led strategic thinking initiatives in multiple journalism organizations to great results. My strengths lie in developing leaders and creating innovative environments for journalists. I’ve championed diversity with the goal of accuracy in coverage and improvement in journalism. I firmly believe that journalism must continue to innovate to solve the industry's many challenges, to support an informed public and for democracy to thrive.
Journalism innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership; international press freedom; inclusion in news coverage, staffing and journalism education; women in leadership; immigration studies
Director, John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships, Sept. 2016 to present
Managing Director, John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships, July 2012 to Aug. 2016
Deputy Director, John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists, January 2001 to July 2012
Assistant Managing Editor/Metro, San Jose Mercury News, May 1999 to December 2000
City Editor, San Jose Mercury News, June 1996 to May 1999
State Editor, San Jose Mercury News, July 1992 to June 1996
(Fellowship at Stanford University, September 1991 to June 1992)
Reporter, The San Francisco Chronicle, September 1986 to August 1991
Reporter, The Modesto Bee, Modesto, California, December 1983 to September 1986
Reporter, The Blade-Tribune, Oceanside, California, May 1982 to December 1983
Thesis: “Spanish-Language and Digital Media: A New Counterpublic Sphere in California”
Lecturer, Graduate Journalism Program, Communication Department, 2001-2007
Classes taught: Graduate Journalism Seminar, Comm 291, Winter 2005-2006 and Winter 2006-2007
Creator/organizer, the annual Stanford-McClatchy Freedom of Information Workshop for graduate journalism students, 2003-2007
Academic and master’s thesis adviser for these Stanford graduate journalism students:
2001-2002: Heidi Dietrich
2002-2003: Mary Albert, Francine Miller, Allison Pierce and Muoi Tran
2003-2004: Avital Binshtock and David Burger
2004-2005: Rebecca Lowe
2005-2006: Yin Shi
San Francisco State University
Lecturer, Journalism Department, Fall-Spring 1990-1991
Courses Taught: News Reporting, News Writing
Hayward State University (now Cal State University, East Bay)
Lecturer, Communication Department, Summer 1990
Course taught: News Writing
Knight Fellowships Strategic Plan, 2005 to 2009
As the industry was undergoing disruptive change, took a leadership role and the initiative, with the director, to transform the Knight Fellowships from a sabbatical model to one that challenges fellows to reinvent journalism.
Worked with the director, the Board of Visitors and the Knight Fellowships Strategic Planning Task Force to create a blueprint for the program’s future. Wrote major sections of the plan, worked alongside the Task Force. Led efforts to involve alumni, including soliciting comments and feedback from hundreds of alumni on the proposed plan.
Responsible for executing the plan approved in principle by the Board, including leading a major restructuring of the Knight Fellowships staff to better meet the needs of the growing and changing program. The changes helped position our program to be on the cutting edge of journalism fellowship programs.
Journalism & Women Symposium Strategic Plan, 2006 to 2009
As president of the Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS), a national nonprofit of women journalists and journalism educators, initiated the organization’s first strategic planning process involving the JAWS Board of Directors and an outside facilitator. The process resulted in a five-year road map for the future and a more professional approach going forward. Launched the organization’s first coordinated fundraising campaigns to build leadership and financial capacity as a grantee of the Challenge Fund for Journalism.
San Jose Mercury News, May 1999 to December 2000
As assistant managing editor/metro at the San Jose Mercury News supervising a staff of 90 news reporters and editors, helped set policy, participated in long-range strategic planning and solved newsroom-wide problems as a member of the newsroom’s management team, which consisted of the executive editor, managing editor and assistant managing editors.
Board president, the Institute for Justice & Journalism (IJJ), 2012 to present
IJJ is a nonprofit that seeks to improve media coverage of social justice issues by training journalists, funding reporting projects and developing digital tools. Home of Migrahack, a series of events that bring immigration reporters and computer programmers together to crunch immigration data to create fresh data visualizations and stories.
President, Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS), September 2007 to September 2009
Oversaw the activities of this national nonprofit organization of women journalists and journalism educators, including an annual conference, a 13-member Board of Directors, and communications for the organization. Took on the leadership of the organization at a key time in its history. Initiated the organization’s first strategic planning process, resulting in a five-year road map for the future. Launched the organization’s first coordinated fundraising campaigns, raising $170,000 through grants and donations from family foundations, corporations and individual donors. The money allowed JAWS to bring increased professionalism to the organization, revamp its website and materials and expand training and mentoring programs for women journalists at a time of digital change in the industry.
Executive Board member, the California First Amendment Coalition, 2004 to 2006
Now known as the First Amendment Coalition, FAC is a nonprofit public interest organization dedicated to advancing free speech and open-government rights. Since its founding in 1988, the organization has been a crucial counterweight to the tendency, at all levels of government, toward greater secrecy and declining accountability.
Lead organizer, John S. Knight Fellowships Reunion & Conference, Stanford University, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013
The reunion is a three-day event held every four years with more than 150 alumni of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships to discuss trends in journalism and reconnect. Including speakers and families, attendance at each event totaled between 300 and 400 people.
Co-organizer, The Annual John S. Knight Lecture, Stanford University, 2001 to 2009
Speakers included Ellen Weiss, senior vice president for news at National Public Radio (2009); Josh Marshall, founder, “Talking Points Memo” (2008); Clark Hoyt, Washington editor of Knight Ridder (2006), Gail Collins, editorial page editor of the New York Times (2003), Paul Steiger, managing editor of the Wall Street Journal (2002) and Katrina Heron, editor-in-chief of Wired (2001). The Knight Fellowships sponsored an annual lecture from 1988 to 2009 featuring a journalism leader. Beginning in 2004 it expanded the event to include a symposium on the day following the lecture.
Member, Knight Ridder joint newspaper/online working group, 1999
As assistant managing editor at the San Jose Mercury News, selected for a leadership role in this group formed during the transition as all Knight Ridder newspapers' online operations were consolidated into a separate, new company: KR.com. The working group set guidelines for how Knight Ridder newsrooms of various sizes would post breaking news and special projects to the new online sites, and how to make the most of the relationship for readers.
Initiator; urged the San Francisco Chronicle to establish a formal summer internship program, 1989
Presented a detailed proposal that resulted in an annual program, which reserved half of the eight positions for minority journalism students, included mentors for each intern and a system of periodic evaluations.
Stanford sponsor, co-organizer, lead negotiator, The American Society of News Editors-Associated Press Media Editors conference #Editors3D: Digital, Diversity, Disruption, Stanford University, October 2015
Encouraged this annual conference of top newsroom editors to hold the event at Stanford to expose them to innovative thinking in Silicon Valley and at Stanford, and to the JSK Journalism Fellowships. Co-organizer, served on the planning and program committee for six months leading up to the conference. Worked to ensure diverse and innovative keynote speakers and panels. Lead negotiator on contracts with Stanford’s Office of Special Events and Protocol and Stanford’s Office of the General Counsel so the event could be held at Stanford.
Initiator, co-organizer, Techraking: Elevating the News, Berkeley, April 2015
Proposed a new partnership with the Center for Investigative Reporting and the News Lab at Google to hold what was believed to be the first-ever drone journalism conference. Attendees heard about best-use cases for drones in journalism, saw examples of their use in storytelling and dove into conversations about how drones can be integrated into the airspace, given safety, privacy and legal concerns. Attendees also had the opportunity to “hack” a solution to a presented challenge around using drone technology for journalism -- and watch the latest models of small drones fly in the parking lot outside the conference venue.
Co-organizer, Festival of News Innovation, Stanford University, May 2015
Working with the JSK Innovation Director, co-organized this year-end event for JSK Fellows to present their journalism innovation projects in a science fair-like setting before an invited audience.
Co-organizer and speaker, The Future of Freelancing Conference, Stanford University, June 2010
This first-ever event drew 120 successful freelancers and 50 top magazine, book and web editors, agents and experts to Stanford for two days to talk about the changing market for great writing. The result: A thought-provoking new collection of knowledge about the economics of writing, the increasingly vital role of the independent journalist, the impact of technology on publications, and the future of storytelling. In addition, the conference generated more than $120,000 worth of work for writers and sparked new networks for writers and editors.
Creator of a new partnership with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), Washington, D.C., November 2010
Initiated a relationship with ICFJ to help the Knight Fellowships better evaluate international journalists applying for our program. This partnership resulted in ICFJ reviewing our top 20 international candidates each year and giving us a report on each candidate that details their journalism background, their reputation among journalists in their region and the state of the media landscape in their country. The reports also evaluate how innovative the applicants' projects appear given ICFJ's knowledge of what is considered cutting edge for each region. It has improved our international selection process and the quality of our finalists considerably ever since.
Revamped the Knight Fellowships' applicant outreach strategy, 2011 to 2012
Sought to find new sources for minority and entrepreneurial U.S. applicants, key to our program’s success. Worked with the director and the new outreach & marketing manager, spread the word among minority and entrepreneurial-focused alumni, longtime newsroom recruiters, influential journalists of color, including those on our board. Ensured that we attended more and different conferences and advertised in new places. The result was the most diverse U.S. application pool and the largest percentage of journalists of color selected in the program’s history, and an incoming class with the most innovative outlook ever.
Journalism fellowships session organizer, UNITY Journalists for Diversity, 2004, 2008 and 2012
Organized panel discussions at these every-four-year gatherings of journalists of color in partnership with our friendly competitors at the Nieman Foundation of Harvard and the Knight-Wallace Fellowships at Michigan to promote year-long journalism fellowships.
Initiator and co-organizer, I Can Do It! hands-on multimedia training workshop series for women journalists, at three locations: Stanford University; Columbia College Chicago; Medill News Service, Washington, D.C., May 2009
Led workshops for women journalists in video, audio, social media, blogging and other skills. Created workshop curriculum, hired trainers, supervised staff and volunteers to advertise the workshops, create an application process and run the events.
Organizer, panelist, At a Crossroads: Latino Media in the U.S., Stanford University, April 2009
Created this convening of top Spanish-language journalists and historians on the bicentennial of the first Spanish-language newspaper published in the United States to discuss the challenges and opportunities for Spanish-language media in an era of transformational change in journalism.
Co-leader, The San Jose Mercury News' Diversity Task Force, 1999 to 2000
Accomplishments included a week-long series of staff meetings each spring during the National Time-Out for Diversity, regular content audits of the newspaper and concrete staffing and coverage changes to more accurately reflect the demographics of our communities. These accomplishments -- and the earlier creation of a Race & Demographics team -- were copied by newspapers across the country seeking to diversify their staffs and coverage.
Member of the Knight Ridder Diversity Swat Team, 1999 to 2000
The team was a group of editors from the biggest Knight Ridder papers; its task was to establish a list of experienced and up-and-coming minority editors to track as future candidates for upper management positions in Knight Ridder.
Chair, The San Jose Mercury News Asian and Hispanic Community Task Force,1999 to 2000
Led efforts to improve the paper's coverage of its Asian and Hispanic communities. Our work resulted in some key changes in beats and the hiring of a Latino local news columnist, among other accomplishments.
Consultant to the Knight Ridder Diversity Design Group, 1995
Participated in a committee of mid-level managers across Knight-Ridder newspapers to design a chain-wide diversity training program.
Representative and spokesperson for the Northern California Newspaper Guild, 1987 to 1991
Took a leadership role in contract negotiations with Bay Area newspapers, including proposing initiatives to expand anti-discrimination clauses in guild contracts and promote diversity in the workplace.
Co-leader of the Chronicle Caucus, a group of San Francisco Chronicle city reporters, 1987 to 1990
Member of a committee created to encourage management to hire a more diverse newsroom staff.
Moderator, speaker, JAWS@30: Brainstorming the Future, Whitefish, Montana, October 2015
Took on leadership roles at the 30th anniversary conference of the Journalism & Women Symposium, a national nonprofit organization of women journalists and journalism educators.
Moderator, Women Journos Rockin’ It! panel, Journalism & Women Symposium conference, La Quinta, California, November 2014
Led the discussion of women journalists who have taken on big challenges and been recognized for their work. Speaker at many other JAWS conferences from 1999 to present.
Session initiator, coordinator and panelist, summer journalism conferences, 2002 to 2015
Led annual panel discussions in partnership with the Nieman Foundation of Harvard and the Knight-Wallace Fellowships at the University of Michigan to promote year-long journalism fellowships; held at summer conferences of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Journalism & Women Symposium and other ethnic journalism organizations.
Moderator, Ethnic News Media: New Voices & an Emerging Mainstream panel, University of San Francisco, May 2009
A panel discussion of nonprofit and commercial news publishers on the innovations and opportunities that exist in ethnic media in the United States. The conference, The Journalism Innovations II: New Work & Ideas for Making the News, was co-produced by the Society of Professional Journalists-Northern California, Independent Arts & Media and multiple USF departments.
Juror, Robin Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting, Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, 2012 and 2013.
Juror, Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Columbia University. Served as a juror four times: in the Breaking News category, 1998; Feature Writing category, 1999; Beat Reporting category, 2006 and Breaking News category, 2007.
Member, Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC) Appeals Board, 2003 to 2004.
Member, Accrediting Committee of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC); two 3-year terms: 1996 to 2002. The 15-member committee is responsible for the evaluation of the 20 to 30 professional journalism and mass communications programs in colleges and universities up for review each year. Its mission is to encourage excellence and high standards in journalism education.
Member, ACEJMC site teams evaluating and creating reports on the following journalism schools under accreditation review:
Temple University, January 2001
University of Hawaii, February 1998
Florida International University, February 1997
University of Illinois, February 1995
University of Mississippi, January 1993
West Coast Regional Judge, The Livingston Awards, an award for investigative reporting excellence among young journalists, 1999.
Judge, Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California, Excellence Awards, 2001 to 2012.
Mentor, Society of Professional Journalists Mentoring Program, 1998. Panelist and conference organizer for SPJ, editor of NAHJ student conference newspaper in 1990s. IRE scholarship committee 1994.
Presenter, California Society of Newspaper Editors Management Training Seminars for New Editors , 1993, 1994 and 1995. Led workshops in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Member, speaker, at many journalism organization conferences including the National Association of Hispanic Journalists; the Journalism & Women Symposium; the Asian American Journalists Association; the Online News Association, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists and New America Media, 1990-present.
Graduate, Leadership Development Program, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies , September 1999 through March 2000.
Participant, Pew Center for Journalism workshop on the evolution of public journalism, January 1999.
Participant, Poynter Institute for Media Studies, Writing, Editing and Design seminar, June 1996.
Graduate, Community Leadership San Jose, a nine-month, part-time program to educate community leaders on San Jose civic issues, class of 1995-1996.
Participant, Newspaper Management Development Program, Newspaper Management Center, Northwestern University, January 1994.
Direct all operations of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships and the program’s strategic planning for the present and future. Supervise and manage program staff, lead the selection of fellows, their study and research during the fellowship year. Responsible for the program’s administration and finances, and its short-term and long-term planning and goal setting. Represent the program both within and outside the university. Is the program’s voice on journalism and the current trends and challenges in journalism, including but not limited to information technology, media economic forces and challenges to independent journalism. In carrying out the fellowship program, the Director works with a Program Committee composed of Stanford faculty members and leaders from the journalism profession. Also works closely with the JSK Board of Visitors, that provides strategic thinking consultation and advice to the program.
Manage all operations of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships and co-manage the program’s strategy for the present and the future. Ensure the program’s focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership is a success and that the program is a leader in re-inventing quality journalism in the digital age. Serve as a liaison to the craft and business of journalism and maintain wide contacts within the journalism world. Work closely with the JSK Director to set policy and conduct and implement long-range strategic planning, while maintaining a high level of autonomy over decision making regarding projects, programs and initiatives that have a significant impact on the future and outcomes of the Fellowship.
Responsible for recruitment of new fellows and supervise the complex selection process for U.S. and International fellows and the shared curriculum of the JSK Journalism Fellowships. Mentor 20 JSK Fellows on their careers, lives and journalism innovation projects each year and advise eight fellows directly. Supervise a staff of eight employees and responsible for hiring, training and evaluating all staff members. Direct staff on planning and executing many program events, including a two-week orientation for new fellows in September; weekly seminars, workshops and backstories; weekend field trips and commencement. Oversee a capstone public event at the end of the year to showcase the fellows’ work. Run reunion activities every 4 years. In charge of coaching and leveraging JSK Journalism Fellowships alumni to give an increasingly broader impact on journalism. A promoter of the recently rebranded JSK Journalism Fellowships on campus, in Silicon Valley and beyond.
Some recent accomplishments:
Responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operation of a journalism fellowship program that brings 12 U.S. and 8 International journalists to Stanford for a year of independent study and special seminars. In charge of marketing and advertising the program, the selection of new fellows, planning and executing orientation programs, arranging and scheduling seminars and field trips, advising and counseling fellows, coordinating with other Stanford schools and departments, and originating and supervising program publications and websites. Worked closely with the part-time web master to enhance the web site’s value to alumni, applicants, fellows and the public.
Responsible for supervising a staff of 90 reporters and editors and leading the newspaper’s coverage of local, regional and state news. Supervised the city editor and Silicon Valley staff in San Jose, and California bureaus in Sacramento and Los Angeles as well as the Bay Area editor and staff in regional news bureaus in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Redwood City, Fremont, Santa Cruz, Gilroy and Hollister. Planned news coverage of everything from long-term projects to daily news stories of Silicon Valley, the Bay Area and California. Supervised seven zoned local news sections as well as metro stories written for page one. Helped reporters and assigning editors conceive and develop stories; guided the editing of stories before publication to achieve journalistic excellence.
Prepared and managed a $5.8 million annual newsroom budget, which included salaries, travel and business expenses for the metro staff as well as rent and operating expenses for nine news bureaus around the state. Oversaw the training and development of reporters and editors in the Metro department; reviewed annual evaluations/professional development plans to guide their career paths; determined appropriate in-house and outside workshops in writing and editing, computer-assisted reporting and newsroom management; sought internal promotion opportunities and new job challenges for Metro staffers.
Led brainstorming “Brown Bag” lunch sessions with the staff on story ideas and current journalism topics, such as what fresh stories the paper should be writing about San Francisco, the use of anonymous sources and what it truly means to be fair and accurate in reporting. Recruited, interviewed and hired new metro reporters and editors; hired more than 20 people in 2000, the last year in the position. Helped set policy, participated in long-range strategic planning and solved newsroom-wide problems as a member of the newsroom’s management team, which consisted of the executive editor, managing editor and assistant managing editors. Represented the Mercury News at community meetings and events (such as lunches with San Mateo County community leaders and meetings of the community board of Viet Mercury, the paper’s Vietnamese weekly), journalism conferences (such as the National Hispanic Journalists Association and Journalism and Women’s Symposium and others.)
In charge of a staff of 40 editors and reporters and the newspaper's coverage of local and state news. Supervised coverage of everything from the 1998 California governor’s race and major breaking state stories, such as the suicides of Heaven’s Gate followers in San Diego and the Northridge earthquake to daily and weekend stories for the local news section. Helped lead the paper's Fairness and Accuracy Committee. Led a series of "brown bag'' discussions with staff and readers on the paper's policies on whether to allow unidentified sources in news stories and how to promote "aggressive fairness'' in the paper. Created new policies for the paper regarding such issues as when to name crime suspects and victims in news stories, especially important for training the new reporters and editors of the paper’s two ethnic media editions: Viet Mercury, a Vietnamese-language weekly, and Nuevo Mundo, a Spanish-language weekly.
Coordinated, assigned and edited the newspaper's coverage of California news and events, from politics, such as the races for California governor and U.S. Senate, to investigative projects and breaking stories, such as the O.J. Simpson verdicts, the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots and the frequent natural disasters that plague the state.
Responsibilities included producing a daily California News page plus managing two editors in San Jose and 11 reporters in bureaus in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, Monterey and Santa Cruz.
Hired as general assignment reporter; quickly given responsibility for covering major front-page stories, including the October 1986 earthquake in El Salvador. Lead reporter covering San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos. Member of a five-person investigative projects team, produced award-winning projects including one that resulted in the firing of six city building inspectors for corruption. Focused on the impact of California's immigrants along with occasional major breaking stories such as the deadly herbicide spill that sterilized a pristine section of the Sacramento River near Dunsmuir. Left in September 1991 for a 10-month John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists at Stanford University to study California-Mexico relations.
Wrote daily enterprise stories on the paper's two top beats: courts and city hall. Produced several projects, including an award-winning series on Japanese-Americans’ memories of living in relocation camps in California's Central Valley during World War II and a look at their lives 40 years later as they sought reparations from the U.S. government.
Wrote three stories daily as a general assignment reporter. Covered everything from the San Onofre nuclear power plant and the disastrous coastal floods of 1983 to San Diego County schools and county government.
Career Achievement Award, CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California, May 2014. CCNMA is the oldest organization of journalists of color in the country. Cited for commitment to diversity and career achievements as a journalist and as the managing director of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford.
John. S. Knight Professional Journalism Fellowships, Stanford University, September 1991-June 1992. A 10-month academic fellowship awarded to 12 U.S. and 6 international journalists. Focused study on U.S.-Mexico relations and immigration, but also delved into courses on organizational leadership in the Graduate School of Business and the art of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Transformative year that provided the confidence to move into newsroom management and leadership at the end of the fellowship.
Peninsula Press Club, First place for General News, 1991. Award was given for a package of stories on California Indians' fight for long-denied federal rights; also second place award for General News, for a series of stories on fraud and abuse in a federal minority business program and the program director's resignation.
San Francisco Press Club, The Christopher Award, 1990. Top prize given for uncovering widespread corruption by San Francisco city building inspectors, six of whom were later fired.
Mexico-U.S. Journalist Exchange Fellowship, April to June 1989. One of three U.S. reporters chosen for a three-month working fellowship to Mexico City by the Institute for International Education. Reported many stories about Mexico for the San Francisco Chronicle, including the underreported deaths of striking teachers in the state of Oaxaca, efforts to stem pollution in Mexico City and the tale of a Catholic priest who moonlighted as a big-time wrestler to raise money for his orphanage.
United Press International California-Nevada Editors Award, Second Place for Best Series, 1988. Prize awarded for "El Norte," a three-part study of how and why the Simpson-Rodino immigration reform, one of the most sweeping changes in immigration laws, failed.
Society of Professional Journalists, Second place in Print Series category, 1987. Award given for a four-part series, "The Lost Years," about Japanese-Americans’ memories of living in relocation camps in California's Central Valley during World War II and a look at their lives 40 years later as they sought reparations from the U.S. government.