ChicoSol stories honored by EMS and CNPA Ethnic Media Services spotlights media diversity

by ChicoSol staff

ChicoSol Editor Leslie Layton was honored June 3 for her November story, “An election ends Gridley’s political slumber” by Ethnic Media Services (EMS), a network that supports news outlets serving diverse communities.

photo by Leslie Layton
The first Mexican-American candidates to win City Council seats in Gridley, Calif., by election, were Ángel Calderón and Catalina Sanchez in the November election.

In order to recognize the work of ethnic news outlets in 2020, EMS and California Black Media ran a statewide contest that attracted more than 235 entries in eight languages.

Stories by Layton and contributor Dave Waddell were also recognized in the 2020 California Journalism Awards contest run by the California News Publishers Association (CNPA). Layton’s Gridley council story placed fifth in statewide election coverage among digital publications, and Waddell’s story, “Conflict of interest in Stephen Vest killing probe?” placed fifth in investigative reporting.

Layton’s reporting on COVID in the Latino community placed third in the CNPA’s health reporting and public service journalism categories.

EMS highlights diversity
In the EMS competition, Layton shared the English-language digital news award for 2020 election coverage with Ruslan Ghurziy, who was honored for his article “Why refugees from the USSR are voting for Trump” in the publication “Slavic Sacramento.”

About 20 journalists around the state were recognized by EMS in a ceremony on Zoom last week for their work in categories including election coverage, COVID reporting, climate change, immigration and racial justice.

The contest highlighted ethnic diversity among hundreds of media outlets, large and small, as well as diverse approaches to complex topics and language barriers. Honorees included a journalist at the only Native American television channel in the country and another who wrote about a Vietnamese doctor who works on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Tony Lai of Khmer TV was deemed the “poet of ethnic media” because he had blended poems with news stories to relay information to a Cambodian audience about COVID-19 and vaccination. A media collaboration, Radio B’alam-El Timpano-Oaklandside, was honored for its online radio streaming in indigenous languages for the Mayan community in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Layton’s story, about the election of the first Mexican-Americans to the Gridley City Council, reported on the vast difference between city council election outcomes in Gridley and Chico. “The Gridley race also foretells an increasingly competitive political climate in what was once a quiet Highway 99 farming town,” Layton states in the story.

photo courtesy of Ángel Calderón
Calderón is one of the first Mexican-Americans to be elected to the Gridley City Council.

In her acceptance speech at the ceremony, Layton noted that ChicoSol, launched in 2007, was established in part to serve the Latinx immigrant community. “Now the communities we set out to serve are bringing change to the Northern Sacramento Valley,” she said.

Sandy Close, EMS director, said earlier that the awards would “spotlight the people who produce a parallel universe of news …”.

Gov. Gavin Newsom provided a video tribute that opened the ceremony. “Close to half the people in our state watch or read news in multiple different languages,” Newsom said. “The ethnic media has quickly become an indispensable bridge for communication with diverse populations …”

The EMS recognition includes a cash award for journalists working at publications that range in size from a national television network — Univision — to smaller news services such as ChicoSol and Slavic Sacramento.

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