• 2017 Journalism Scholarship Winners

    Congratulations to Thomas Oide, Bianca Quilantan, Alex Matthews, Emmanuel Aguayo, Emily Zentner, Daniel Wilson and Sawsan Morrar, the 2017 Journalism Scholarship recipients.

    The $4,000 Jerry Gillam scholarship was awarded to Thomas Oide, who will be a junior in the fall at the University of Missouri. Like the journalist his scholarship honors, Thomas started his career in sports writing. He was hired by the Davis Enterprise while still in high school to report on high school games and athletes. Last summer, he interned at the Sacramento Bee, where he earned high praise for writing impactful stories about a park district merger that eventually was scrapped, a contentious graduation ceremony that left graduates’ families on the outside trying to look in, and a family dealing with a rare genetic disorder. Thomas will be back at the Bee this summer, which he says will “give me an incredible opportunity to grow as a storyteller and build my skills in data analysis and multimedia.”

    The $4,000 Nereida Skelton scholarship, the winner was Bianca Quilantan. The Skelton scholarship is earmarked for promising students who come up through community college and are at the beginning of their journalism studies. Bianca graduated from Southwestern Community College in Chula Vista and now attends Chico State. During her time at Southwestern, Bianca not only became editor of the campus newspaper but also researched and wrote award-winning, impactful exposés. These included how the campus police department mishandled sexual assault cases, as well as an account of racial tension festering among staff, and features that displayed the human side of immigration by focusing on day laborers. A Chico professor described her as a Renaissance woman who was a stellar high school soccer player and a gifted singer who starred in professional theater productions. He also said she is a ferociously hard worker who loves journalism.

    The $4,000 Julie Soderlund scholarship winner was Alex Matthews, who will be starting a three-year master’s degree program at UC Berkeley this fall in the dual areas of public health and journalism. Alex’s route to a journalism career has involved several turns along the way. She planned to work in government when she came to Sacramento as part of UC Berkeley’s Cal-in-Sacramento fellowship program. Instead, an internship at Capitol Weekly affirmed her earlier high school passion for journalism. However, upon graduation she joined the Peace Corps to work in rural Morocco. Since returning, she has taken a variety of jobs including working for an open access scientific journal, while also developing a blog that tracks bills through the state legislative process. Her goal in pursuing a combined public health/journalism degree is to “use those skills and experiences to help translate the policies that come out of Sacramento to the broader public that they affect.”

    The $4,000 Dan Walters scholarship was awarded to Emmanuel Aguayo, who enrolled as a junior at Sac State this spring after graduating from Cosumnes River College. His road to college was not typical; estranged from his family, he was homeless and sleeping in his car when he decided to go to community college to try to improve his life. He describes discovering journalism as giving him an invaluable sense of purpose. As compelling as his life story is, what had more impact with the judges is how he has used those life experiences and personal growth to enhance his journalism and story-telling skills. Emmanuel says many of the stories he and his colleagues produced were “inspired by voices my colleagues and I heard while taking the local light-rail, studying at nearby coffee shops, or while tuning in on conversations of fellow students throughout campus.”

    The recipient of the $4,000 Steve Swatt scholarship was Emily Zentner, who will be interning at the Bee this summer. In the fall, Emily will be a senior at Arizona State University, where she has already had multiple professional experiences, including working for Arizona PBS in Washington, D.C., covering the Arizona delegation at the national Democratic convention, and traveling to Mexico with an advisor and team of reporters to write stories about the impact of the Trump election on people there. In his recommendation letter, her advisor wrote that she is versatile and a bit edgy in the way she attacks stories. He said, “She’s equally comfortable writing pop culture stories for millennials or lining up interviews with past and potentially future presidents of Mexico to talk about the current state of U.S.-Mexico relations.”

    The $6,000 Jean Stephens scholarship, the winner was Daniel Wilson, who will be a senior at Sac State in the fall. Daniel was a finalist last year, but fell just short of being awarded a scholarship. This year, he came back and the judges were very impressed with his continued development as a reporter and his dogged commitment to journalism despite personal adversities that he and his wife have faced. In the past year, he has worked as a freelance journalist for the West Sacramento News-Ledger, contributed to the Sac State Hornet as a news reporter, and worked for McClatchy to design and format sports agate for the Bee, the Bellingham Herald and the San Luis Obispo Tribune. The faculty advisor for the Hornet writes that Daniel’s news judgment and ethics “are unimpeachable. He responsibly assesses a story’s range of perspectives, and he takes care to include the crucial elements that help readers have the most informed and accurate understanding of the subject at hand.” While Daniel’s not-so-secret passion is to someday work for a video game news publication, he already has a diverse portfolio of news, features, opinion pieces, reviews and more. As he wrote in his application, “Honestly, I just want to write. It really makes no difference what I’m covering.”

    The $8,000 Earl Squire Behrens scholarship was awarded to Sawsan Morrar, who will be entering her second year of the UC Berkeley masters program, is also a repeat applicant. In fact, she was designated as a winner several years ago, but as a young mother she had to defer her plans to go to UC Berkeley that year. She returns to us with strong credentials, having reported as a free-lancer on stories in the Middle East, Asia and throughout the United States. Sawsan also worked for two years as an assistant producer at Capitol Public Radio’s Insight program. One of her most compelling pieces from her travels abroad was a story about underage domestic workers imported from Indonesia by Jordanian families as servants. Central to her piece was one family who kept their worker when they discovered she was only 14 for fear the government would only give her to another family to be mistreated rather than return her to her home country. In her application, Sawsan wrote that “storytelling is my passion and curiosity is my motivation. I love to write, ask questions, and use new technology to explore ways to tell a story.” The judges were very impressed with the quality of her work, her professionalism, and her thoughtful responses to questions about reporting as a Muslim woman in today’s polarized world.

  • California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye- May 25

    In an unprecedented letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Chief John Kelly, California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye recently asked that immigration arrests in state courthouses be halted because they undermine the judiciary’s ability to provide equal access to those coming to a courthouse. After Sessions and Kelly said the arrests would not stop, Cantil-Sakauye maintained in a Washington Post op-ed piece that the federal actions threaten the balance between the three branches of government. “This goes to the core of our system of government, built on the principle of checks and balances,” she wrote.

    The Sacramento Press Club hosted a discussion with Cantil-Sakauye and Sacramento Bee Editorial Page Editor Dan Morain at our May 25 luncheon.

    Cantil-Sakauye became chief justice in January 2011 after being appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). She served for more than 20 years as a judge in California trial and appellate courts in Sacramento before joining the state’s highest court. A native of Sacramento, she is a graduate of C.K. McClatchy High School and attended Sacramento City College before graduating from University of California, Davis with honors. She holds a law degree from the U.C. Davis Martin Luther King Jr. School of Law.

    This event was also our annual scholarship luncheon. The Sacramento Press Club presented $34,000 in scholarships to seven college students who showed promise in the field of journalism. Please note the luncheon ended later than usual because of our scholarship presentations.

    About the lunch:
    Date: Thursday, May 25
    Time: 11:30 registration opens, lunch 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
    Where: State Building & Construction Trades Council at 1231 I St, Suite 302
    RSVP Deadline: The online purchase option has passed. Entrance can be purchased at the door.

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  • Catching up with Leah Horner, SPC’s 2015 Jerry Gillam Journalism Scholarship Recipient

    “Leah Horner here, recipient of the Jerry Gillam scholarship this year. I wanted to share some updates in my life!

    I just finished my internship on the east coast at WBOC in Salisbury, MD. It was everything I’d hoped it would be. I was able to go out with reporters every day for four days a week and report on anything from murders to fishing. I had the chance to sit in on a three day long court case about human trafficking, and I have to say it was a very educational three days. I can honestly say I find court fascinating and love covering cases. I also went to multiple crime scenes, which I found intense but exciting. There were a surprising amount of gun related murders this summer, and I was able to go to every crime scene. As hard as it was, I loved every minute of it.

    There were, of course, happy days as well. I helped cover an event where professional surfers from around the world came to Ocean City to teach kids with autism how to surf. I loved this story so much that I decided to write and edit my own version of it! Here’s a link if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LReRFUxx75Q

    I think they realized how much I love what I do because within just a few weeks, they were sending me out to shoot my own stories. I had to have a photographer with me for liability reasons, but I would get to put together my own stories that would air in their evening broadcasts. It was such an honor! By the end of my time, they had unofficially offered me a job. The managers would tell me if I dropped out of school and didn’t study abroad this fall, they’d hire me on the spot. It felt good to be so appreciated.

    I obviously couldn’t do that, so they told me they look forward to hiring me when I’m done with school. I definitely could see myself moving to east coast to work at WBOC in a few years.

    I’m currently in Brighton, England. I’ve only been here a few days, but it’s so different! I love it. I will be writing a study abroad column for my school, Cal Poly, while I am here. It’ll be nice to get more writing experience under my belt.

    Everything is chaotic and busy but it’s worth it! I want to thank everyone at SPC one more time for awarding me with such a generous scholarship. I can’t express how much it has helped me, especially through an unpaid internship and an expensive semester abroad.”

    If you or your company is interested in supporting Journalism scholarships, consider becoming a Press Club 50 member. For more information, visit http://sacpressclub.org/press-club-50/

  • Catching up with Ben Egel, SPC’s 2015 Earl Squire Behrens Journalism Scholarship Recipient

    Interning for the Sacramento Bee has been a wonderful, exciting, challenging experience. I have been exposed to tools and techniques which can only be offered at a top-tier, large news organization, and will definitely miss the Bee’s technology when I return to school in the fall. Other lessons, however, will be easier to bring back. My resolve has been strengthened on gruesome crime stories, while my storytelling abilities have grown on thought-provoking features. Editors have trusted me to report on truly influential news, and are clear about what changes were made to my work and why they were made. I’ve worked hard on assignments and seen the results on my doorstep the next day, sometimes even on the front page. This summer, to me, marks my ascent into journalism’s big leagues and makes me feel much more confident about the daunting job search awaiting my graduation.

    Links to some of Ben’s work:
    http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article24937138.html
    http://www.sacbee.com/community/elk-grove/article27344980.html
    http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article28471426.html

    If you or your company is interested in supporting Journalism scholarships, consider becoming a Press Club 50 member. For more information, visit http://sacpressclub.org/press-club-50/

  • Catching Up With Brenna Lyles, SPC’s 2015 Jean Stephens Journalism Scholarship Recipient

    In May, I was awarded the Jean Stephens Sacramento Press Club Scholarship which, in turn, facilitated my summer internship at The Sacramento Bee. My ten week internship instantly proved to be professional, fast-paced, engaging, and challenging.

    The Sac Bee’s seasoned reporters and editors breed a newsroom environment of immense wit, insight, and intelligence – alongside a constant sense of urgency. Every day at The Bee comes with a surge of thrilling deadline-induced adrenaline. My first day, I found myself tossed into the mix and quickly realized the lofty expectations that came with being a Sac Bee intern. I am constantly motivated to push myself to my maximum potential and driven to deliver my most accurate and refined reporting.

    While at The Bee, I covered a broad spectrum of stories from wildfires to food, City Hall to transportation, drownings to business. I gained daily news and features reporting experience, with numerous opportunities to go into the field. Most memorably, I covered the opening of an Elk Grove transition house for the homeless – a demographic particularly close to my heart – and experienced the endless gratitude of those served. On a weekend shift, I was sent to the river to produce a video in response to river drownings, which yielded both humorous and insightful content.

    I gained photography, video reporting and editing skills to produce several media packages. Sac Bee legends – editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman, executive editor Joyce Terhaar, managing editor Scott Lebar, to name a few – offered personal insight and career advice to the interns. Perhaps most valuably, I was treated as a professional and provided the resources required to perform at a truly professional level.

    Photo: In the field covering The Wragg Fire in July

    If you or your company is interested in supporting Journalism scholarships, consider becoming a Press Club 50 member. For more information, visit http://sacpressclub.org/press-club-50/

  • Support Journalism Scholarships! Join the Press Club 50!

    The “Sacramento Press Club 50” is an exclusive group of individuals and community organizations who provide key annual support for the club’s Journalism Scholarship Fund. In 2015, $34,000 was awarded to seven students, including scholarships honoring national TV figure Joan Lunden, the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters, and former Los Angeles Times reporter Robert Fairbanks.

    For a contribution of $1,500 or more, Press Club 50 members will receive annual benefits while helping journalism students pursue their education. Contributions to the Sacramento Press Club, an IRS-approved nonprofit, are generally tax deductible.
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