The power of citizen journalism in San Diego
“When the people formerly known as the audience employ the press tools they have in their possession to inform one another, that’s citizen journalism.” Jay Rosen, New York University journalism professor
It has been a busy and deeply gratifying final quarter at the San Diego Free Press. The eight member editorial board and over sixty contributors– all volunteers– continued to make sense of what has been happening in the world through a distinctively progressive and grass roots lens.
During this past quarter it has become clear to us that our unique form of journalism resonates with an ever growing readership.
Kappan Award for Journalism
The San Diego chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, a professional education association, held its annual Kappan Night award ceremony on October 15. San Diego Free Press received an award for journalism. The evening held a special significance for us that went beyond receiving that award.
Last year SDFP writer Ernie McCray received the Kappan Unsung Hero award. Editors Anna Daniels and Rich Kacmar were seated at a table with Ernie’s friends and supporters spanning the decades in which he was a principal to the present. Anna introduced herself to one of his colleagues, Maria Garcia, who was seated next to her.
Maria revealed that she was retired and wanted to resume a project that she began in the early 1970s. That project was a series of interviews of people involved in the Chicano movement during its early days. From that random conversation the award winning SDFP series “The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights” was born.
The Kappan Award in Journalism ultimately belongs to all of the SDFP contributors. Thank you for your exceptional work in 2015.
Book Release Sunshine/Noir II
What a night! On October 16 over one hundred people packed the Glashaus Mainspace in Barrio Logan to celebrate the tenth anniversary of City Works Press and their release of a second anthology of “Sunshine/Noir.” City Works Press co-founders Jim Miller and Kelly Mayhew have kept this all volunteer, non-profit endeavor afloat as the only local press primarily dedicated to publishing books by San Diego writers.
“Sunshine/Noir II” includes works by SDFP editors Brent Beltrán, Anna Daniels, Doug Porter and our sister publication OB Rag editor Frank Gormlie.
The book gained national recognition when National Geographic Traveler recently listed it as a must read before visiting the San Diego/Tijuana region.
John Lawrence, League of Women Voters Partnership
October was a really busy month. On October 22, SDFP writer John Lawrence participated in the LWV panel discussion “Money in Politics and its Effect on Income Inequality.” The panel included David Loy from the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties and Mike Aguirre, former San Diego City Attorney.
Maria Garcia– Writing the People’s History
At the beginning of December SDFP writer Maria Garcia was notified of her March 2016 induction into the Women’s Hall of Fame. This is a well-earned and wonderful recognition.
It is doubtful that two years ago Maria would have considered herself a historian yet in 2015 she was recognized by California Senator Ben Hueso and by SOHO for preserving our cultural heritage in “The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights.” Her future induction into the Women’s Hall of Fame is as “Historian.”
Maria’s intimate nuanced interviews continue at San Diego Free Press in the new series “Latinos in San Diego.” Our congratulations to Maria.
Barbara Zaragoza–From SDFP 2014 Bakers Dozen to SDFP editor
This time last year, SDFP published a list of people who had made a difference in San Diego. Barbara Zaragoza was acknowledged for her site South Bay Compass and its “superb writing about an under-reported part of the county.” Barbara generously gave us permission to re-post articles from her site which has expanded both our coverage in the region and readership.
Over the past year our association with Barbara became closer, including a memorable three hour road trip along the border in which she pointed out significant places and recounted a history that few of us knew.
Barbara became an editorial board member in October, joining Annie Lane, Patty Jones, Frank Gormlie, Rich Kacmar, Brent Beltrán, Anna Daniels and Doug Porter. Now we are eight!
Jim Bliesner, Anna Daniels, Brent Beltrán, Jeeni Criscenzo–activism acknowledged
San Diego Free Press writers tend to be not only activist writers but activists who are out in the streets, at public meetings, in classrooms and at rallies. You can read about these particular people in places other than SDFP.
The November U-T article “New dream for Tijuana River: producing electricity” examines the urban design plan by Jim Bliesner and his UCSD Urban Studies colleague René Peralta. This plan would produce solar energy and also treat runoff and wastewater by creating an energy farm on the Tijuana River channel.
The recently published book “Developing Civic Engagement in Urban Public Art Programs” includes the chapter Grandmother’s Kitchen/Grandfather’s Garden: Growing Art and Culture in City Heights. The chapter was written by Nigel Brookes, our new Performance Annex manager at the Weingart/City Heights Library. The chapter includes interviews with Jim Bliesner and cites SDFP articles by Anna Daniels. Her image of the Dancing Carrots is included in the cover art.
Brent Beltrán‘s “passion for equality in San Diego’s most urban communities” will have a platform and influence that extend beyond his editorial and writing contribution at SDFP. He was appointed this month to the Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) board of directors. Articles by and about EHC have been prominent on our site and that relationship will continue in 2016. Congratulations Brent.
Jeeni Criscenzo became a SDFP weekly writer in July, when we published her first “My Niche” article. Jeeni’s focus on homelessness and homeless women and children in particular is a powerful combination of clear analysis and pointed critiques of San Diego’s inability to provide adequate shelter and affordable housing for the most vulnerable among us.
Jeeni was chosen as a recipient of the 2016 Local Heroes Awards for Women’s History Month in March. KPBS and Union Bank are partners in her recognition. Congratulations Jeeni! March is going to be a busy month.
Our thanks to everyone who contributed articles, poems, ‘toons and videos to San Diego Free Press in 2015. We look forward to hearing from you in 2016.