ChicoSol to be represented on national conference panel Editor to speak on covering hate incidents

By Dave Waddell

ChicoSol Editor Leslie Layton will speak Thursday in Phoenix at a panel discussion on covering bigotry, with journalists from publications that rank among the nation’s biggest names in investigative reporting.

Leslie Layton
Leslie Layton

Joining Layton to discuss “Investigating Hate” at the 2017 Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference will be Josh Harkinson, a senior reporter at Mother Jones; AC Thompson, a reporter for ProPublica; and Carlos Martinez de la Serna, director of innovation at Univision.

Layton was invited speak at the IRE conference after the publication of a two-part ChicoSol series that explored a hate/free speech controversy engulfing Chico State last semester.

Part 1 of Layton’s series, which can be read here, was praised as “great, balanced” by Ben Mullin, managing editor of the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., a global leader in journalism.

In addition to the controversy over an Orion commentary, Layton said she plans to discuss her work covering the more open expression of bigotry at Chico State since the presidential election. She also expects to review ChicoSol’s coverage of and outreach to immigrant communities since November.

“I’m honored to represent ChicoSol at the IRE conference and on this panel and look forward to talking about the role of ethnic media in covering the rise of a hate movement,” Layton said. “This is probably the most important story I’ve covered in my career and one that I feel passionate about. I’m grateful to this community for the support it’s given us, to my ChicoSol colleagues and to New America Media, which made our work in this area possible.”

Layton, who founded ChicoSol in 1997 and re-launched it as an online magazine in 2016, holds a master’s degree in communication from Stanford University and taught journalism for 20 years at Chico State. She spent a decade in Mexico City as a freelance journalist for U.S. and British publications.
Her freelance journalism has been published in Business Week, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Sacramento Bee, and other newspapers and magazines.

She was asked to talk in Phoenix about how ChicoSol, as part of New America Media’s “Tracking Hate” fellowship program, is covering a burgeoning hate movement on campuses and in communities. New America Media and publications like ChicoSol that belong to NAM’s national ethnic media network are partnering with ProPublica, a public interest investigative reporting organization, to further the “Documenting Hate” project.

Here’s a link to NAM’s Tracking Hate program: Tool to help track rise in hate incidents

Panelist Thompson is one of several ProPublica staffers who helped design a national database to track not only hate crimes but also other bias incidents. Read about the project here.

Layton interviewed Thompson for the June 9 ChicoSol segment on KZFR that airs the second Friday of each month as part of “The Chico Vibe.” Listen to Thompson talk about the purpose of the Documenting Hate project:

Thanks to KZFR 90.1 FM, which aired this excerpt as part of “The Chico Vibe” show on June 9.

Read about the 2017 Investigative Reporters and Editors conference here.

Dave Waddell is news director at ChicoSol.

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