Today, CALÓ NEWS and our staff celebrate a milestone. This issue marks our one-year anniversary.
Last year, the Latino Media Collaborative (LMC), an emerging non-profit organization that develops high-impact media outreach, launched CALÓ NEWS with the mission of informing, engaging and empowering our greater Latino community on the issues and perspectives that mean most to us, particularly for those who live in a growing number of news and media deserts.
CALÓ NEWS works every day to be a trusted news site for Latinos living in Los Angeles and California and beyond.
CALÓ NEWS is a small newsroom, but we have assembled a dedicated and talented team of editors, reporters and freelancers. Our publications also works to publish columns, commentaries and editorial written through a Latino lens. Much of our work is written by Latinos/as/x.
Forgive us for being giddy about our birthday and our growing list of accomplishments. Below, we share some of our biggest highlights.
Latino Media Summit 2022
In September 2022, the Latino Media Collaborative hosted the organization’s inaugural Latino Media Summit in the heart of Downtown LA, where a panel of media experts, journalists, city officials and local representatives met to discuss equity, representation and strategies for change in the media sector in California. The summit also focused on addressing the lack of representation of Latinos in journalism and the undeniable role of Latino media in strengthening America’s democracy.
The summit took place at the LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, a Mexican-American museum and cultural center, and was organized to officially launch the CALÓ NEWS website. Prior to then, CALÓ NEWS published a weekly newsletter and continues to do so. Since then, the website has been home to groundbreaking reporting on themes that include equity, equality, health, justice, representation, government, immigration, education and culture and more. LA Mayor Karen Bass congratulated LMC for creating an independent outlet. “Through state and local government advocacy, LMC has fought for funding and resources to support Latino and other ethnic media, media that meet the needs of communities that can be under-served by other outlets,” Bass said at the event.
Exclusive election content
During the June and December elections last year, CALÒ NEWS delivered news and commentary that focused on what was happening in LA and LA County with an eye toward what it all meant for Latinos. The coverage included news features about political candidates such as Caroline Menjivar and Eunisses Hernandez and their plans to support and represent the Latino communities in their respective council and state Senate districts.
Today, Hernandez is the new councilwoman for City Council District 1, a 13.5-square miles district, encompassing neighborhoods and landmarks such as Glassell Park, Highland Park, Chinatown, Mount Washington, Echo Park, Elysian Park, Westlake, Pico-Union, Koreatown, Angelino Heights, Lincoln Heights, MacArthur Park and the area around Dodger Stadium.
In December, Menjivar became the first Latinx elected official in the 20th State Senate District since Senator Alex Padilla, who last served that area from 2010 to 2014. The 20th District is located in the heart of the San Fernando Valley and encompasses, among others, Burbank, San Fernando, Arleta, Canoga Park, Lake Balboa, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Reseda, Sun Valley, Sylmar and Van Nuys.
Consider, the 20th State Senate District has a population of approximately 993,000 people and 70% of them are Latinos, according to Ballotpedia, a nonprofit, digital encyclopedia of local and federal politics and elections in the U.S.
Our election coverage also focused on informing Latinos about bills and laws that would in some way impact their communities. We covered California Senate Bill 1387 (SB-1387), which would have required the Office of the Governor to publish online a list of every state board and commission, membership of those boards and commissions, the stated purpose, duties, meeting frequency, and vacancies in their membership. Although vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September, SB-1387 could have helped monitor Latino appointees and political leaders and potentially help address the underrepresentation of Latinos in the executive branch, an ongoing problem that can have severe repercussions for the future of the state’s civic engagement, public trust and equitable policy development.
CALÓ NEWS also published exclusive comments and content provided by mayoral candidate Rick Caruso and then-candidate Bass while both were in a tight race for the City of Los Angeles mayor’s office. Bass and Caruso spoke about how they expected to connect with Latino voters and their future plans to support the well-being and success of Latinos in LA, residents and undocumented immigrants alike. Bass answered a total of 12 Latino-related questions on topics such as homelessness, small businesses, abortion, police brutality and equal pay. “Latinos make up a third of Los Angeles voters and at least half of our city’s population. It is essential Latinos have a greater voice in leadership and policy matters, and it starts with ensuring we have representation in leadership,” Bass told CALÓ NEWS in October.
Although businessman Caruso did not respond to the same list of questions, he provided CALÓ NEWS with a statement about why he wanted to be the next mayor of Los Angeles and how he would address issues of concern to Latino voters. “I am proud to say that I have been a strong advocate and supporter of the Latino community throughout my life, whether in my company or through my philanthropic efforts,” he told CALÓ NEWS in November. “As Mayor, I will work closely with Latino community leaders to identify opportunities and skilled work training access to ensure that everyone has a fair shot at that same American dream.”
CALÓ NEWS strives to offer health news and information that resonates with Latinos/as/x communities, paying particular attention to healthcare disparities that exist. With that in mind, in January we launched the Mami & Me column by CALÓ NEWS’ health reporter, Amairani Hernandez, who is also a first time mom. The column is written with mothers, fathers and caregivers in mind, who are the backbone of many Latino households. Hernandez shares her learning journey as a mother of Levi, her now 16-month-old son. As a 26-year-old mother, Hernandez has addressed many experiences and medical procedures that she and her baby have gone through, such as dealing with a Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), orchiopexy surgery, descended testicle in babies, Jaundice on baby skin, C-sections and more.
Hernandez is not a health professional. She is a Latina mother, writing for others who might be going through similar circumstances. She hopes her works shine a light on maternal and child healthcare, providing information and tips that have meant the most to her so far.
“While the birth of your child can seem overwhelming and all-defining in those early days, there is a life ahead of you that will be so much more rewarding and filled with beautiful memories with them. So, hang in there! You got this, mama,” Hernandez wrote in one of her columns.
Anti-hate Investigative Series
Leadership is one of CALÓ NEWS’s core values. We aim to influence policy and community leaders to take action that will positively influence our communities in LA. With that value as our north star, we launched our anti-hate news series. Our mission is to reveal the true state of hate as it impacts Latinos and all people of color in Southern California. We also hope that this series sparks conversation about how to combat the ongoing threat of hate crimes and hate incidences, whether committed against or by Latinos. Such crimes are rising year by year in LA County and elsewhere.
We have offered reporting related to the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations annual LA County Hate Crime report, released in December 2022. The findings and statistics in this report paint a picture that proves more investigation is needed. The report reveals that the number of hate crimes in LA County has reached the highest number in the past 19 years, reported hate crimes in LA County growing from 23% from 641 in 2020 to 786 in 2021. Latinos make up numerous hate crime victims, but also perpetrators.
The series has allowed us to speak and engage with anti-hate advocates, elected officials and city and county officials on the front lines of this issue.
CALÓ NEWS has reached out to and worked with Marshall Wong, who has been on staff at the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations since 1999. Wong coordinates anti-hate crime programs and is the principal author of the agency’s annual Hate Crime Report. In addition, we have also featured LA’s Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department, and the department’s executive director, Capri Maddox. Although LA Civil Rights does not document hate crimes, the department does focus on prevention efforts. In May 2021, the department formed LA for All, a creative-led campaign to stand against hate and encourage residents to speak out against hate crimes and report hate incidents.
All stories also provide readers with resources. We include ways in which readers can document and record hate crimes, even without providing a name. Anyone may report anonymously and receive access to additional community-based and crisis care resources. In addition, information about hate crime incidents or crimes may be submitted anonymously online or by calling 211. Visit the LA Civil, Human Rights, and Equity Department’s resource page HERE for additional state and legal resources. LA residents can now report hate crimes and hate incidents by calling 3-1-1, visiting myla311.lacity.org, or using the MyLA311 app on their Apple or Android devices, as stated in all of our anti-hate series stories.
If you are an expert on the subject, a victim, an activist or community leader, please contact us at email@example.com. To follow the series, click here.
“We believe that we have a duty to help paint a better picture of the state of hate in LA, particularly as it impacts and pertains to Latino communities,” said Daniel Vasquez, CALÓ NEWS Managing Editor. “Our newsroom has begun to shed a light on what is happening in LA via an ongoing news series tailored for Latino audiences.”
On Prosperity financial column
CALÓ NEWS today launched a new monthly column dedicated to personal finance news and issues as they pertain to Latinos. Called “On Prosperity,” the column is written by Sergio C. Muñoz, a Mexican banker living in Floral Park, CA. He is the owner of Intelatin, LLC and his work has been published on PBS and in ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America, Studio 360 and México ¿Cómo Vamos?
Muńoz will offer exclusive content that focuses on, among other things, Latina/o interests and needs. He will bring to the table advice and insights that help Latinos not merely survive, but prosper, indeed.
In his introduction column, Muńoz tackled the topic of Latino homeownership. In his follow-up column, also published this week, he introduces to our readers Analia Mendez, a Mexican American executive in San Diego, and her work in transition counseling with The Honor Foundation.
Feedspot Top 40 Hispanic News Websites
In January 2023, less than a year after our official launch, CALÓ NEWS was selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 40 Hispanic News Websites. Feedspot discovers, categorizes and ranks blogs, podcasts and influencers in several niche categories.
Ranking of news websites is based on things like relevancy, blog or story post frequency (freshness), social media follower counts and engagement, domain authority and age of a blog/website, according to Feedspot’s official website.
Being recognized alongside well-established Latino news outlets like Univision, CNN en Español, AP News (Latin America), Telemundo and NBC, among others, is a testament to our efforts and vision to become the premier trusted source of news and information for Latinos.
The University of Southern California, Health Equity Fellowship, 2023
More recently, CALÓ NEWS’s reporter, Brenda Fernanda Verano, (who also wrote this story) was accepted into the 2023 University of Southern California, Health Equity Fellowship and Training. Through this fellowship, Verano will advance journalism that addresses health inequities and the role of systemic racism in shortening lives and limiting opportunities for Latinos living in California. The USC fellowship has trained and supported more than 12,000 reporters.
With the new investigative and community-centered reporting skills, Verano will produce major investigative and explanatory stories that bring light to medically uninsured immigrants and how the current health system can incentivize immigrants to attend regular doctor’s visits. In Verano’s reporting, she will also look at the next step in California’s commitment to health equity, which is the expansion of full-scope Medi-Cal coverage to an estimated 700,000 immigrant adults ages 26 through 49.
This new expansion will be effective January 1, 2024. Verano will produce exclusive reporting on the way the California healthcare system is preparing for the incorporation of a large group of the population. These stories will be published on CALO NEWS’s website and at CenterforHealthJournalism.org, which reaches an influential audience that includes journalists, policymakers, clinicians and legislators.