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Friday, Jun 21, 2024

Daily News Diversity Inches Up As Part of Latino Project

Nearly a year ago, a crowd of almost 70 people came to the California State University Northridge campus to discuss how the Daily News could better cover Latinos in the San Fernando Valley and increase its number of Latino reporters. What has changed in those 12 months since the paper joined the Parity Project of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists? An advisory committee of educators, students, business people, media relations professionals and retirees has met twice to discuss coverage in the paper and ways to improve its reporting on Latino issues. Managing Editor Melissa Lalum likes the feedback she gets from the sessions and appreciated CSUN journalism instructor Jose Luis Benavides bringing a group of his students to report on a six-week study comparing Daily News coverage with that of Spanish-language publication La Opinion. <!– Spacious: The restaurant’s main dining area. –> Spacious: The restaurant’s main dining area. “We tend not to run as much Central and South America and Mexico news off the wires whereas La Opinion would run a lot more,” Lalum said. “They definitely saw that as an area where we could grow.” The advisory committee, however, could use more members. Lalum said she would like to see representatives from the education field and a religious leader or two. Lalum’s enthusiasm for taking part in the project is encouraging to Rosa Maria Santana, the associate director with the Parity Project on the West Coast. Visiting other western state newspapers taking part in the project, including the Ventura County Star, Santana said she recognizes that newspapers run on their own schedules of hiring and that some papers have cut staff. Successful participation in the project comes from recognition within newsrooms of its long-term goals, Santana said. “Ultimately it comes to the individual newspapers saying we are going to do this and see the importance of diverse voices in the newsroom,” Santana said. At the time of last year’s meeting, 10 percent of the newsroom staff was Latino. A year later it is 13 percent. Over the summer the paper hired an intern it had found through a program with the California Chicano News Media Association. The paper is also eyeing pairing up with San Fernando High School to get an intern through a program sponsored by the American Society of Newspaper Editors. “That’s a nice way to cultivate young journalists,” Lalum said. Santana does her part in getting potential candidates on the Daily News’ radar screen by getting names and resumes when visiting journalism schools and conferences and passing them along to Lalum. Map to the Star’s Home The Ventura County Star is in the midst of a move from its long-time facility in Ventura to a new 50,000 square foot building in Camarillo. The move started on Feb. 23 and was expected to be completed by mid-March. Save for bureaus in Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks, all operations will be consolidated in the new building on Camarillo Center Drive near the Premium Factory Outlet. “It’s almost like you find us by accident,” said Star Publisher Tim Gallagher. Relocating has been in the works for nearly 10 years, ever since the paper’s owner E.W. Scripps had need for bigger press facilities after consolidating into the Star the smaller newspapers covering Ventura County. Scripps bought a plot of land and opened up the printing press building in 1998. “We’ve always had a big, empty unused amount of space surrounding that production building because we were waiting to build our office headquarters there until the timing was right,” Gallagher said. It was decided two years ago that the timing was right to sell the Ventura building and relocate to Camarillo, Gallagher said. As near as he can tell the employees look forward to the move as the Ventura building is small and has poor lighting and plumbing, Gallagher said. The new building allows for the Star to change the way it does business in terms of its classified ad sales. While a front counter will be available for placing ads, the lobby will have three computers at which readers can place ads themselves. “Statistics show us that when they place the ads themselves they tend to spend more money,” Gallagher said. Making a Statement Calabasas is shrinking. Not the affluent city on the west edge of the Valley but the name of the high end lifestyle magazine published by Richard Bleiweiss. The name Calabasas will gradually shrink on the cover as the publication transitions to its new name Statement and expands its circulation to a nationwide readership. Bleiweiss chose to call the magazine Calabasas when launching it two years ago as a way to represent an upscale lifestyle in the Valley. But with the magazine going national, Bleiweiss didn’t want there to be any confusion about what the magazine was about. “We didn’t want to have the question arise anymore of if I don’t live here why I would want to read a magazine about Calabasas,” Bleiweiss said. What will make Statement a national publication is its advertising package and not the content inside, which is geared toward celebrity news and features. Advertisers will have the option of choosing which edition they want to be in for the Valley, the Pacific Palisades-Santa Monica region, or nationally. The magazine is sent out via direct mail to specific target demographics, and newsstands and bookstores. The international market will also be tested with a limited number of copies, Bleiweiss said. The new name was chosen because everything a person from the car they drive, the places they visit, to what charities they contribute to- makes a statement, Bleiweiss said. “Having this magazine on their coffee table will make a statement about who they are,” Bleiweiss said. There are plans to add to the magazine’s sales staff but not to the editorial staff. For the time being, the magazine’s office will remain in Calabasas although Bleiweiss foresees a move but with an eye toward staying in the west Valley. Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or at [email protected] .

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