SPJ-SD Provides Input to county’s Transparency Advisory Committee

Last fall, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors announced it was forming a transparency committee to look into ways to make government more accessible and open to the media and members of the public.  Supervisors Nora Vargas and Joel Anderson are leading the committee. SPJ-SD has met with representatives from their offices to discuss issues about county communications officers’ responsiveness to reporters and the county’s current processes for handling public records requests. 

Here is our latest correspondence with the committee; the letter was also sent to Supervisors Nathan Fletcher, Jim Desmond and Terra Lawson-Remer. If you have any questions about the letter or concerns you’d like us to share with the committee, send an email to: spjsandiego@gmail.com.

SD-SPJ Troubled By Murders of Mexican Journalists

The San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is saddened and deeply troubled by the murders of two Tijuana journalists last week. Their deaths follow the death of a third journalist from Veracruz who was killed during a robbery earlier this month.

According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, on Sunday evening, Lourdes Maldonado López was shot and killed in her car, which was parked outside her home in the Santa Fe area of Tijuana. Her death follows last Monday’s shooting of Margarito Martínez Esquivel, a photojournalist and “fixer” — someone who assists reporters who might not be familiar with an area — who worked with news outlets including the BBC and The Union-Tribune. Martinez Esquivel was shot three times as he was leaving for work.

The Union-Tribune reported that his teenage daughter heard the shots and found her father’s body.

The San Diego journalism community has always had a close bond with Tijuana journalists, who often assist us with coverage and share expertise at conferences and panel discussions. It’s deeply unfair that reporters who live only a few miles south of the U.S. border can’t do their vitally important work without putting their lives at risk.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 56 Mexican reporters have been murdered since 1992, and another 14 have gone missing during that time. For comparison, eight U.S. journalists were murdered in the same time period. 

We join with the San Diego/Tijuana Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in mourning the loss of these reporters and encourage anyone who wants to help to consider donating to support Martinez Esquivel’s family. We will try to share opportunities to aid journalists and their families as we learn of them.

Panel Discussion: Careers in Science Writing (Virtual)

When: Tuesday, January 25th, from 12pm – 1pm PST
Where: Zoom Register HERE

Thinking about a career in science writing? Hear from professionals in journalism and communications about various career paths during a virtual panel. The event, hosted by San Diego State University, San Diego Science Writers Association and San Diego Society of Professional Journalists, will include four panelists:

·         Heather Buschman (director of scientific communications and media relations at the Salk Institute)

·         Katy Stegall (SDSU student, inaugural Bradley J. Fikes Scholarship recipient and investigative assistant at KPBS)

·         Jared Whitlock (freelance journalist, MIT Knight Science Journalism fellow)

·         Jonathan Wosen (biotech reporter at the San Diego Union-Tribune)

Moderated by Temple Northup, director and professor at school of journalism and media studies at San Diego State University.

Watch the video from our recent reporting on health care panel

Thanks to everyone who attended our Dec. 7 panel, “Reporting on Health Care During Covid-19 and Beyond,” and to our smart, insightful panelists, Paul Sisson, Lauren Mapp and Jill Castellano, who shared their experiences covering everything from nursing home neglect to end-of-life care to preventable deaths. We recorded the Zoom session so those who couldn’t attend could learn some tips from our panelists.