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.

College Newspapers Entitled to Full Press Freedoms

The board of the San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is concerned by the recent actions of Southwestern College administrators undermining the press freedoms of the student-run newspaper, The Southwestern College Sun.

In May, two Sun staff members attended a student election board meeting, which was open to the public, and recorded video of the meeting. After The Sun reported on the meeting, the school’s Title IX investigator requested the video, invoking the California Public Records Act.

The Sun declined to release the video. In a letter to the newspaper’s staff, Gloria Chavez, the college’s director of employee relations and Title IX, claimed that the paper’s refusal to release the video was a “subversion of the public’s right to access,” which, she said, “appears to directly violate one of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.”

The letter does not say which provision of the SPJ Code of Ethics Chavez believes The Sun violated. Based on our knowledge of the situation, The Sun has not committed any violation of the SPJ Code of Ethics. Protecting unpublished material, which can be done for a variety of important reasons, is a basic tenet of journalism that we urge the school to honor in preparing its students for careers in the field.

Congrats to our scholarship winners!

The board of the San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is pleased to announce our 2019 scholarship winners. We’re proud to be able to award five $1,000 scholarships.

We had some impressive entries this year and arriving at a final decision was tough. Thank you to everyone who entered — your talent reflects the strength of the journalism programs at San Diego colleges and universities!

Video: Jack Malmud (SDSU)

Photography: David Pradel (SDSU)

Print: Bella Ross (SDSU), Jack Dorfman (UC San Diego), Lauren Mapp(SDSU)

Agnes Diggs Scholarship: Katy Stegall (Southwestern College)
This annual scholarship is provided by the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation in memory of award-winning San Diego journalist, Agnes Diggs.

Congratulations to our winners! We look forward to seeing you at our annual Excellence in Journalism Awards on July 16 at the Kona Kai Resort. You can purchase tickets here. And in case you missed it, here’s a list of all our regular award winners. Find out what you won by attending the banquet!

SD-SPJ Board Elections

It’s time for San Diego SPJ’s annual elections. SPJ members should have received – or may soon receive – notices calling our board election. Please vote by 11:59 p.m. PT on June 24.

IMPORTANT: If you have already voted, please note that the initial roster of candidates and descriptions were incomplete so we ask that you take another look at our election site before the deadline. If you have any questions, please email

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: