Univision Communications Inc. and the CSU Fullerton School of Communications came together in partnership to develop a student journalism project that would 1) showcase the work of up-and-coming Hispanic content producers at CSUF, 2) give those students a substantial professional development experience, and 3) amplify Univision Contigo's commitment to supporting Hispanic communities and promoting social justice — with the underlying, long term goal of increasing diversity in the media industry.
The collaborative project took the form of a campus-wide student video competition, whereas students at the CSUF School of Communications and other academic departments were invited to pitch an idea for a short (2-4 minute), non-fiction, digital video report that would examine a social justice topic from a "solutions" perspective — by highlighting an individual or an organization actively working on or promoting a solution to the problem.
In an effort to engage as many students as possible, the competition was promoted on campus during the spring semester via a marketing campaign designed and carried out by students from the communications department at CSUF. Students interested in entering the video competition were then given an opportunity to attend a one-hour informational webinar facilitated by Univision. In May, after a lengthy review process, three winning student pitches were selected by a committee comprised of CSUF journalism faculty and Univision staff.
The three selected students – Brenda Villa, Regina Yurrita, and Vania Patino — then spent their summer reporting and producing their video projects with editorial supervision provided by professional mentors from Rise Up: Be Heard, UCI's journalism training and mentorship program for young people. The three student reporters participated in weekly editorial meetings over the summer, and an in-depth training covering digital video production fundamentals. Their video projects were completed in August and published on the Univision Contigo website and on UCI's Contigo and Rise Up social channels, targeting both Spanish and English-speaking audiences. The student reporters were honored with an appearance on Los Angeles' Univision station KMEX, as in-studio guests on the program Edición Digital. The students also received a cash award of $250 each upon completion of their projects, from the CSUF School of Communications.
The partnership resulted in a rich professional development experience for the students, all three of whom are aspiring Latina journalists. The students gained the experience of producing and publishing content for a national media platform, which is certain to help them in the near future as job-seekers in the sector.
Their videos also effectively humanized and shone a light on important social issues, by telling stories of people in their community who are overcoming injustices:
Vania Patino's video tells the story of Yolanda Granados, a widowed immigrant and street vendor in Los Angeles who chose to become an activist and organizer in the growing movement to legalize street vending, an occupation performed almost exclusively by immigrants, in L.A. and across California.
Regina Yurrita's video features Josue Pineda, a young man who entered the criminal justice system at the age of 17 after being arrested for carrying a gun — but was able to break the cycle of recidivism and turn his life around with the help of a supportive community-based organization.
Lastly, Brenda Villa reported on the violence often perpetrated against transgender immigrants, both in their home countries and in prisons and immigration detention centers in the U.S. Her video features powerful testimonials from Bamby Salcedo and Raiza Hernandez, former victims of violence who are now activists speaking out on behalf of other trans immigrants.
Collectively, their videos have been viewed over 8,000 times on Univision's Contigo and Rise Up social channels.