2023 icon of fellows around the state of California

California Local News Fellows

Presenting the 2023 - 2025 cohort

Meet Our Fellows

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Anabel Sosa

Los Angeles Times

As a fellow with the Los Angeles Times, I strive to tell stories about the ways in which policy and government profoundly shape our livelihoods. I’ve always been drawn to the institutions at play in the U.S. and abroad, and am humbled to be able to write about some of these core issues. I was raised in my parents’ NYC restaurants, where I learned how to talk to strangers and connect with people who traveled from as far as my father’s home country of Argentina to try their Milanesa and chimichurri. No matter where I am, I always appreciate a home cooked meal.

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Andrew Lopez

Boyle Heights Beat

I’m a journalist because I’m a natural storyteller and I care deeply about amplifying the voices of all marginalized communities. As the lines between our tangible world blur with our digital one, I believe it’s crucial to maintain relationships and trust between people and journalists to better inform them about the world around them. I’m a first-gen Latino with roots all over Los Angeles’ Eastside neighborhoods and want to bring my experience covering culture, health, tech and education to wherever I land in my career.

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Anthony Victoria

KVCR

Berkeley’s local news fellowship is giving me the chance to serve the Inland Empire through journalism that focuses on issues that impact people most. I have learned through my lived experience and professional work that historically underserved communities of color desire opportunities to share their stories.

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Antonio Rodriguez

CapRadio

I am a journalist because I believe in the service news provides communities in times of need. After growing up and watching my relatives use the news to inform themselves about government resources and programs, I'm inspired to offer news people can use.
I served as the editor-in-chief and news editor of Sac State's digital student publication, The State Hornet, where I led over 60 staffers. I enjoy playing basketball and trying new restaurants around the Sacramento area in my free time. Food is my love language.

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Callie Rhoades

The Oaklandside

I am a multimedia journalist based out of the Bay Area in California. I pursued a career in journalism because I’m passionate about breaking down complex information and sharing it with those who need it most. The majority of my work is focused on science, health, and environmental topics. Specifically, I am most interested in stories regarding freshwater issues, environmental justice, and climate change. I have worked at several publications including Oakland North, Estuary News Group, and SKI Magazine. My work has been published in Sierra Magazine, Earth Island Journal, and KneeDeep Times, among others.

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Elgin Nelson

L.A. Focus Newspaper

The reason I'm a journalist is to provide a voice for the voiceless, and I love the art of storytelling. My work includes all things culture — food, wine, film, sports, and music. I am originally from Laveen, Arizona.

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Erik Adams

North State Public Radio

I’m a journalist because I’ve always been interested in building an informed community around me. I’m drawn heavily to audio storytelling, specifically, because human voices and natural sounds often cultivate a certain richness that’s unique to the medium. Over the years, I’ve worked with outlets like The University Times (my alma mater’s news publication), the San Marino Tribune and EdSource to publish a significant body of journalistic work. I’m also proud to say I was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California, which continues to help me better understand both the urban and suburban perspectives.

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Erik Galicia

Fresno Bee

I’m a journalist because I believe storytelling has the power to change lives. There are still so many stories out there that deserve to be told. I’ve spent the past year reporting on local government for the Columbia Missourian. Before that, I was editor-in-chief of Viewpoints, the student newspaper of Riverside City College. I’m from Santa Ana, California, and extremely proud to say it. I've been away from my home state for two years, but I’m ready to come home and get to work.

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Gladys Vargas

Caló News

I am a multimedia journalist and recent arrival to Southern California from the Greater Boston area where I was born. My interest in journalism is motivated by my combined passions for justice and creativity, as well as my experience growing up in an ethnically diverse but majority-white community. My reporting is informed by my friends' and family's experiences with interpersonal violence, and the knowledge that all justice work is related. Previous news outlets I’ve had the privilege to work with include the Boston Globe, the Bay State Banner, 7 NEWS-WHDH, and various student-run publications. I love espresso, movies, and making my friends laugh.

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Haleemon Anderson

Coachella Valley Independent

I get bored easily; it might be why I became a journalist. I started reporting at a community college paper and just never stopped — not as a profession, but for publications where I could contract or freelance. My very first adviser said journalists need to know a little about a lot and be willing to learn what they have no knowledge of. That sounded like the best work culture ever. I've lived in Los Angeles my entire adult life. I'm a huge Humanities geek and since retiring from teaching high school journalism and English, I'm in pursuit of never being bored. 

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Isaac Ceja

La Opinión

I am a journalist because I’m interested in learning about different people and their stories. My background in reporting has mainly been focused on arts & culture writing and a variety of photojournalistic styles. I grew up in Orange County with my extended family. In my free time, I like to watch movies, play music and go to coffee shops.

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Jesse Kathan

Santa Cruz Local

Journalism allows me to follow my curiosity about the world and the people in it. I grew up in Northern California, and I want to understand how my home is changing and where it’s headed. I’ve contributed reporting to Berkeleyside, The Mercury News and other Northern California publications. I’ve also written about science and the environment for Hakai, Audubon Magazine and other outlets.

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Jia Jung

Asian American Media Inc.

I am amped to (re)enter a field of adventure, connection, substance, and service. I have done everything from covering arts and entertainment before the digital advent to producing a short new media documentary about Filipino-Korean farming families in South Korea. As a Korean person born and raised in Massachusetts, I have searched long and hard for a direct way to advocate for my people through multimedia, character-forward reporting. I feel lucky to have found this path, and am especially excited to illuminate the universal importance of local happenings and the impact of global forces upon local communities.

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Joseph Porello

Richmond Pulse

I was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, before moving in 2012 to the Bay Area, where I have spent time living in Oakland, Berkeley and El Sobrante. I began reporting for my school news publication at Contra Costa College, The Advocate, and soon became editor-in-chief. I chose journalism as a career because the profession enables me to feel rewarded by making a positive impact on society. Providing people with a trustworthy source of beneficial information that they can rely on is a great honor that I do not take lightly.

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Junyao Yang

Mission Local

I am a writer and data journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. My passions include: digging into datasets that tell stories of local communities, creating visuals that illustrate ideas in creative ways, and exploring stories about gender, culture and immigration. I was born and raised in Sichuan, China. I became a journalist to fulfill my curiosity about peoples’ experiences and how the world has shaped those experiences. I’m an amateur photographer, slow jogger and weekend thrifter in my free time.

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Kelby McIntosh

Access Humboldt

I'm from Marshall, a small East Texas town behind the pine tree curtain. I'm a journalist because I want to report on significant cultural moments that start conversations and document the cultural influences of who we are as Black people. I've had the honor of reporting on East Oakland for KALW, covering various topics, from the homeless crisis to local politics. I do this for my family and community — because of them, I never settle for what I know and always ask questions.

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Kori Suzuki

KPBS

I’m a Japanese American reporter and visual journalist from the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve worked for Reveal, The Washington Post, Seattle Times and KQED, among others. I focus primarily on climate change, housing, race and identity.

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Luis Melecio-Zambrano

Bay Area News Group

I’m a former chemist who realized that I could better help people by getting out of the lab and into the community. This realization led me to the UCSC Science Communications masters program, where I told stories at the intersection of science and society, with an emphasis on the environmental issues affecting farm worker communities in Central California. I'm a proud Venezuelan and Puerto Rican American raised in the Florida Panhandle. I’m usually playing video games, rock climbing, enjoying music, or hanging out with loved ones in my downtime.

Macy Meinhardt

Macy Meinhardt

San Diego Voice & Viewpoint

My early reporting experiences illuminated journalism’s power and exposed me to different cultures, identities, and politics. Curiosity, fearlessness, and compassion define my work. I look forward to growing as a reporter during this fellowship. In my free time I love to explore nature, dance, yoga, and travel. I am excited to make the beautiful and eclectic city of San Diego my home away from my original hometown of Houston, Texas.

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Magaly Muñoz

Oakland Post

As a journalist of color from an immigrant, low-income background, I've seen firsthand how little vulnerable communities are covered in the media. Throughout my own journey as a journalist, I've been determined to elevate the voices of the unheard so that they may one day feel comfortable telling their, often neglected, truth. I've been lucky enough to have helped share these communities' stories at both the local and national levels over the course of my career, and cannot wait to continue to do that for the next two years through this fellowship.

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Maison Tran

Long Beach Post

I got into this field because I want to arm the public with accurate information and tell stories that help people better understand both the world and each other. I’ve written for UCI’s school newspaper, appeared on the radio at NPR and produced mini-documentaries in my own freelance work. I’m a child of two immigrants, grew up in Anaheim and have been a sunny SoCal boy my whole life. 

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Michelle Zacarias

Latino Media Collective

I’m an award-winning writer, storyteller and adjunct instructor at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Born and raised in Chicago, I currently reside in Long Beach, Los Angeles. I’m a queer, disabled Latina, who is passionate about covering marginalized communities and have previously written for Teen Vogue, CALÓ NEWS, New America, The Triibe, City Bureau, People’s World, and more. My work frequently addresses social inequities existing within the prison industrial complex and systems of state-sanctioned violence. In 2023, I graduated from the USC Gould School of Law with a master’s degree in Studies of Law and a Certification of Law, Social Justice and Diversity. I look forward to expanding my coverage of Los Angeles’ Black and Latine communities as a writer for CALÓ NEWS and as a California Local News fellow for the Latino Media Collaborative.

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Monserrat Solis

BenitoLink, Inc.

I'm a journalist because I like storytelling. I enjoy reading and writing stories that others like me will relate to. In a way, I like being able to represent my community — wherever that may be at the time. And I like informing others on what's happening in the area. My reporting background includes local reporting, covering city council meetings and cultural stories. I am Mexican American and I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. 

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Pablo Orihuela

Fresnoland

I decided to become a journalist while writing for my school paper. I realized that my work was a key tool to keep the student body informed about what was happening around campus. My desire to keep helping communities stay informed about important topics, coupled with my love of storytelling, helped fuel my decision to pursue a career in journalism. I have been a photographer, reporter, section editor, copy editor and an editor in chief throughout my career as a student journalist. I’m from Los Angeles, specifically, Winnetka, a neighborhood on the west side of the San Fernando Valley.

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Philip Salata

Inewsource

I am drawn to journalism because I feel compelled to tell stories that get at the connective tissue of complex problems. I write about labor, immigration, and social justice issues, with a particular focus on borderlands and rural communities. I was born in San Diego; my parents immigrated from Poland. I am also a photographer. The camera for me is a tool for building relationships with people and learning about them. I am a journalist because I am drawn to people and learning how their lives are affected by institutions that wield power.

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Ricky Rodas

Boyle Heights Beat

I am a multimedia journalist from Los Angeles. The stories told by my Salvadoran family about growing up in Central America and acclimating to life in the U.S. and Canada inspired me to pursue journalism. I’ve covered small business, immigration, and environmental issues as well as arts & culture in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I’m a founding member of The Oaklandside, an award-winning hyperlocal newsroom covering Oakland. I was a 2020 Report For America fellow and a 2022 reporting fellow for KALW, an NPR affiliate in San Francisco.

 

Ruth Dusseault - 2023 Fellow

Ruth Dusseault

Bay City News Foundation

I am an investigative reporter and audio producer, focused on environmental systems that undergird modern life. My avenues include architecture, geography, environmental engineering, food systems, and public policy. My background in academics began with a decade as an assistant professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Architecture, where I taught visual art and exhibition design, before expanding into film production. I’m excited to apply these experiences to local journalism, where stories can have a real world impact.

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Sakura Cannestra

San José Spotlight

Journalism is about discovering the truth and making that information accessible to the public. I want to help in that effort. Growing up in San Jose surrounded me with technological advancements from an early age. As a journalist, I’m very passionate about the ways policy and tech have impacted our everyday lives. I have reported on the intersection of policy and tech as an intern with POLITICO California and got my start as a journalist during the 2016 election, covering Berkeley’s elections for the Daily Californian. Outside of journalism, I’m learning more about keeping houseplants and calligraphy.

Sebastian Miño-Bucheli

Sebastian Miño-Bucheli

Pacifica Tribune

I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, but I currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area, which I have called home for the past five years. I transferred from Los Angeles Valley College to learn to be a photojournalist. But a lesson I learned early on in my new school was: Always try to pick up different skills that could open the door for you. That lesson led me to pick up audio reporting, which helped me become an intern for KQED's Bay Curious and KALW Public Radio.

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Semantha Norris

The San Fernando Valley Sun

I am a Salvadoran-American photographer and multimedia journalist from Los Angeles. I have worked with institutions such as CalMatters, the Los Angeles Center of Photography, the Annenberg Space for Photography and the Human Rights Center. My work has been published in CalMatters, The Oaklandside, Bay News Rising, Oakland North and more. I am part of the 2023 cohort for both the Kalish Photo Editing Workshop and the Eddie Adams Workshop. My work focuses on labor, migration and housing.

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Tanay Gokhale

India Currents Foundation

My curiosity about the world around me led me to journalism, and peeling back new layers of the world through my stories is my favorite part of being a journalist. After growing up in Nashik, India, I dabbled in social science research early on and have since worked as a freelance environmental journalist, travel writer and of late, a video journalist. I consider myself a passionate generalist and I'm interested in stories about the environment, cultural history, sports, technology and of course, food.

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Victoria Ivie

The OC Register

I grew up in Los Angeles County and have always loved photography and writing. I’ve always worked to include more diversity in my coverage. My passion is reporting on underrepresented stories that highlight intersectionality and humanize communities. My previous journalism experience includes serving as editor-in-chief of the PCC Courier, and as managing editor and editor-in-chief at CSULA’s University Times. My reporting interests include underrepresented communities, social justice and investigative work.

 

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Vitaly Ataev Troshin

Slavic Sacramento

I do like to hear, listen and see interesting things. Journalism protects the rights of people. I'm from the Russian capital city of Moscow. Love to live and enjoy the people and natural motherland around me.

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Williamena Kwapo

The Sacramento Observer

 As a journalist, I take great responsibility in helping everyday people have an accurate understanding of the issues that are important to them. I have reported on topics ranging from K-12 education and homelessness, to health disparities in African American women. I hope that my career helps me continue to share important and impactful stories.

 

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Wren Farrell

KALW Public Media

I’m a poet, producer, journalist, and life-long Californian, originally from San Diego and currently based in San Francisco. I’ve covered a variety of local and national issues, from policing in the Bay Area to the right-wing forces pushing anti-trans legislation across the globe. My goal as a journalist is to demystify systemic inequalities by honoring the stories of the people who live them. I love my friends, my dog, my girlfriend, and watching trees wave in the wind.

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Ximena Loeza

El Tímpano

Growing up, I found it rare to see my community in the media. I hope to give them and others a platform to tell their stories. I have a deep passion for multimedia reporting, especially with a focus in arts and culture, housing, and education. I was born and raised in San Francisco by two Mexican immigrants who gave me my fighting spirit.

Xueer Lu - 2023 Fellow

Xueer Lu

Mission Local

I am a bilingual journalist from Wuhan, China. I started out as a data journalist at the campus newsroom, NJU Factcheck, during my undergraduate years at Nanjing University. For the past two years, I have covered the East Bay, contributing pieces for outlets including Oakland North, Richmond Confidential, and Berkeleyside. I also interned with the San Francisco Chronicle's digital design team in the summer of 2022. My hobbies are scuba diving, cooking, and photography.

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Zhe Wu

San Francisco Public Press

I am an audio and investigative journalist who primarily covers the Asian American community. Previously, I worked as a local education beat reporter for the hyperlocal news site Oakland North. I specialize in using open-source investigative reporting methodology to help my reporting. I am a journalist; I believe in the power of storytelling to inform communities and hold those in power accountable.

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Steve Brooks

Bay City News Foundation

I am honored to be selected as the first incarcerated person to participate in the California Local News Fellowship. Through this fellowship, I plan to continue to develop my reporting skills and fine-tune my voice. I hope to rebuild my image, continue to make amends to those I have harmed, and contribute to society. 

My goal is to tell stories about a subset of human beings that rarely get told, those of the incarcerated.