Jean Guerrero, our 2019 Journalist of the Year

The San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is proud to announce our 2019 Journalist of the Year: Jean Guerrero, author and KPBS investigative reporter covering border and immigration.

You name a border story over the past year and Guerrero covered it with persistence and compassion. When the Trump administration announced it would be sending some asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait for their cases to reach a judge, Guerrero was there. When a caravan of Central American migrants arrived in Tijuana seeking to enter the United States, Guerrero was there.

And when the Trump administration began separating migrant parents from their children at the border, Guerrero covered that story, too.

In fact, Guerrero’s first story on family separations at the border came many months before the issue made national headlines. And the people in her stories have names — like Jose Demar Fuentes, an asylum seeker from El Salvador whose one-year-old son, Mateo, was taken from him and sent to a shelter in Texas nearly 1,500 miles away. Jean gave a face to the policy of family separation, earning enough trust from the family to interview the mother, Olivia Caceres, on camera after she got her son Mateo back.

Guerrero’s reporting was frequently featured in national media. Her depth of understanding of the border sets her apart from many of the national reporters who have been parachuted in.

And as if her contributions to our understanding of the U.S.-Mexico border weren’t great enough, last year, Guerrero came out with her own personal story of the border. Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir, tells the moving story of her own family’s history of crossing borders, both physical and metaphysical.

Please join us in celebrating Jean Guerrero and all of this year’s award winners at our annual banquet on July 17 at the Kona Kai Resort and Spa. Click here to see a full list of award winners and purchase tickets.

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Full list of 2019 San Diego SPJ award winners

The SPJ San Diego Pro Chapter is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 SPJ San Diego Area Journalism Awards Contest.

Click here for the list of first place, second place and honorable mention awards.

You’ll have to wait until the banquet to find out who won what!

Please join us to celebrate all of this year’s award winners at our annual banquet on Wednesday, July 17, at Kona Kai.

What: SD-SPJ 2019 awards banquet

When: Wednesday, July 17, 2019. Reception at 5:30 p.m., dinner and program starts at 6:30 p.m.

Where: The Kona Kai Resort & Spa, 1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106. Cocktail hour on the Point Loma Terrace, banquet in the Ballroom.

Cost: $65 per person, $55 for students, $480 for reserved tables of eight

Registration: Please register and pay here: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07egd0q6ff1411f139&oseq=&c=&ch=

Join us as we ‘Grade the Media’

The San Diego Society of Professional Journalists is proud to host its annual Grade the Media event at Point Loma Nazarene University on Wednesday, April 17. These panelists were involved in big news stories this past year, and now’s their chance to talk about what it was like to be under the spotlight. The panel is moderated by Andrew Bowen of KPBS. Guests include:

Ammar Campa-Najjar – The Democratic congressional candidate who lost a hard-fought race against Republican incumbent Duncan Hunter.

Tasha Willamson – A community activist who has advocated for families that have lost loved ones to police violence.

Judith Castro-Rangel – The special education aide who shot viral video of a woman being taken away from her children by Border Patrol agents in National City.

Ron Roberts – A longtime San Diego County supervisor whose term expired last year.


Where: Fermanian Conference Center on the campus of Point Loma Nazarene University, 3900 Lomaland Drive, San Diego

When: Wednesday, April 17, 2019 Social hour at 6:30 p.m., panel at 7 p.m.

Admission: Free; light refreshments provided.

Better Journalism Workshop: Reporting on Trauma

Interviewing someone who’s recently experienced trauma — the death of a loved one, a serious illness or injury, or a natural disaster — is one of the more difficult things we do as reporters. How do you approach someone in a way that’s not intrusive? What questions are OK to ask and how should you ask them? And what about the impact on yourself as a reporter? What should you do to maintain your sanity when covering a difficult topic?

Join the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at the San Diego Central Library at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, for a panel discussion on covering trauma. We’ll delve into ethical issues, do’s and don’ts, and how to minimize your own stress level when reporting on troubling subjects.

WHAT: Panel on Reporting on Trauma
WHO: Rory Devine, NBC San Diego; Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune; Melanie Barker, LCSW, clinical director, SDSU Research Foundation; Kelly Davis (moderator), independent reporter
WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 27, 6:30 p.m. (social), 7 p.m. (panel)
WHERE: San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., San Diego 92101. Shiley Suite on the ninth floor. FREE PARKING IN LIBRARY GARAGE WITH VALIDATION STAMP IN LOBBY.

Bring your questions or send them in advance to spjsandiego@gmail.com.

And let us know that you’re coming with an RSVP to Facebook.