The CalMatters College Journalism Network will double in size this fall, offering paid fellowships to a diverse cohort of 14 student journalists from campuses across California. 

We launched the network earlier this year with a two-part mission: improve CalMatters’ higher education coverage by focusing on student voices, and provide training and career opportunities for student journalists, particularly those from communities that are underrepresented in newsrooms.

Our fall fellows hail from community college, California State University, University of California and private campuses, ranging from Chico State in the north to UC San Diego in the south. Many hold leadership positions in campus newsrooms. In keeping with the network’s commitment to open up more opportunities for Black and indigenous journalists, at least a third of our fellows identify as Black or indigenous. You can read more about these talented students below.

Fellows in the network collaborate with each other and CalMatters staff to cover the impact of higher education policy on California students. Working part-time from their communities, they collectively choose the stories they want to cover, participate in workshops on everything from public records requests to solutions journalism, and use virtual events and social media to build audiences for their work.

Why support student journalists? Vanessa Arredondo, a former College Journalism Network fellow now working at the San Francisco Chronicle, explains it well: “As student journalists, we often have greater access to students and may know our staff and faculty better. It is truly reporting from the ground up.”

As the Washington Post reported this week, student journalists across the country have broken news about campus coronavirus hot spots, holding administrators accountable for their safety plans.

College Journalism Network fellows have covered the pandemic’s toll on students’ mental health, how the economic crisis is driving an increase in financial aid appeals, and the growing campaign for the University of California to defund its police force. They’ve profiled students serving their communities as essential workers, and shared their own experiences navigating the switch to online learning.

Hundreds of students and parents attended virtual town halls this summer organized by the College Journalism Network and co-moderated by student journalists, where Cal State Chancellor Tim White and California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley took questions about plans for the upcoming school year.

“As a co-moderator, I was able to introduce perspectives of community college students and the issues they are dealing with including mental health, accessibility of technology and language barriers,” said CJN fellow Omar Rashad. “I know from my own coverage as well as my personal experience as a student that these are important dialogues to be having, and getting to discuss them center stage along with fellow students and Chancellor Oakley was a compelling moment for me.”

This fall, we’re stepping up our coverage through partnerships with two media organizations known for thoughtful education reporting. One team of fellows will work with KQED radio to produce audio stories about racial equity and the experience of students of color on California campuses. Another will produce in-depth, data-driven and investigative stories with guidance from veteran editors at Open Campus, a nonprofit working to improve higher education coverage nationwide. 

In addition to our fellowships, we offer opportunities for other student journalists to contribute reporting on an occasional basis, and our online workshops are open to any student journalist in the state. We’re grateful to the College Futures Foundation for their continuing support of the network. 

Have questions about the College Journalism Network? Email us at cjn@calmatters.org.

Meet Our Fall Fellows

Madeleine Beck is the managing editor at The State Hornet, Sacramento State’s student-run publication. Her coverage is focused around campus policy and higher education. In her free time, she loves to roller skate with her sister and learn to cook different vegan recipes. 

Kayleen Carter is a junior at Sacramento State studying political science and journalism. She previously worked for the State Hornet, where she reported on diversity and identity. She is particularly interested in housing inequality, politics, and LGBTQ issues.

Julianna Domingo is a fourth-year student at UC San Diego, where she reports on the climate crisis and student activism for The Triton. She is particularly interested in exploring Asian American politics and identity.

Hannah Getahun is a Santa Ana-based journalist studying at CSU Long Beach. She covers everything from education to the environment and formerly worked as an editor at the Daily Forty-Niner.

Emma Hall is a student journalist attending Diablo Valley College. Previously, she served as editor-in-chief for The DVC Inquirer focusing on race, equity, and social justice. Hall is now a staff writer with The Advocate at Contra Costa College.

Shehreen Karim is the News Editor of the Roundup News, Pierce College‘s student-run paper in Woodland Hills. She reports on the intersection of campus issues and is interested in telling stories about the lives of underrepresented minorities in America. 

Thomas Mangloña is a graduate student in Journalism at Stanford University and is a Gates Millenium Scholar and Harry S. Truman Scholar. They are an Indigenous Chamorro from Rota in the Northern Mariana Islands and a graduate of UC Berkeley. 

Marisa Martinez is a senior at California State University, Los Angeles, where she works as the station manager at Golden Eagle Radio and as the digital editor of the University Times. She reports on education, homelessness and student governance. She was previously the editor-in-chief of the University Times and Santa Monica College’s The Corsair. 

Julian Mendoza is the multimedia and podcast editor at The Orion, Chico State‘s independent newspaper. He mainly covers breaking news and has a passion for investigative journalism and holding authorities accountable.

Angie Orellana Hernandez is a junior studying journalism and Spanish at the University of Southern California. She is the Diversity and Inclusion Director at the Daily Trojan and the USC News Editor at Annenberg Media. She is interested in writing about the first-generation college student experience, affordability and accessibility, and, on occasion, loves chatting about the Twilight saga. 

Omar Rashad is a proud community college graduate and a data and investigations reporter at Mustang News, the independent student-run news organization at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He frequently reports on higher education, homelessness and state legislation and is most interested in exploring how those topics intersect with culture and religion. He was a 2020 summer intern at CalMatters.

Matthew Reagan is the former Editor-in-Chief and current Community News editor at The Occidental, Occidental College’s independent student newspaper since 1893. He covers general campus news along with local neighborhoods, politics and transportation in Northeast Los Angeles. 

Janelle Salanga (she/they) is a senior at UC Davis majoring in science and technology studies and hoping to work in community-based, movement journalism after graduation. She is part of the contributor team for The Objective and was an NPR Next Generation Radio mentee and summer 2020 intern at CalMatters; she has also been the assistant campus news editor and reporter at the campus paper, The California Aggie. When not reporting, Janelle can be found curating Spotify playlists, watching New Girl and being painfully, publicly vulnerable via their newsletter or Twitter.

Katherine Swartz is a third-year student at UC Santa Barbara and the University News Editor of The Daily Nexus student newspaper. She reports on statewide higher education, politics, and policing. 

We want to hear from you

Want to submit a guest commentary or reaction to an article we wrote? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Gary Reed with any commentary questions: gary@calmatters.org, (916) 234-3081.

Felicia Mello edits CalMatters' College Journalism Network, a collaboration with student journalists across California to cover higher education from the ground up. Her reporting on affordability, equity...