SJSU Alumnus Marcio Sanchez Wins Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography

Marcio Sanchez

Marcio Sanchez, ’07 Photojournalism, is one of the winners of the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography. Photo courtesy of Marcio Sanchez.

Associated Press Staff Photographer Marcio Sanchez, ’07 Photojournalism, became the first Honduran-born journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography this year. This is the 12th Pulitzer won or shared by a Spartan Daily alumnus and the sixth received since 2000.

The Pulitzer Prize is the gold standard of journalism awards — it represents the best work in the industry, and every writer, editor and photographer in the business aspires to meet that standard,” said Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Richard Craig.

“For Marcio, it’s validation for years of great work; wire service photographers’ photos are shared far and wide, but they seldom get the recognition they deserve. It’s a level of status that few who work outside the elite news organizations achieve, and we couldn’t be more proud of him.” 

Sanchez was a member of the AP team assigned to cover July 2020 Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, Oregon, in response to the murder of George Floyd. At the time, President Donald Trump had sent federal agents to Portland until, as he described, city officials “secured their city.” 

What Sanchez saw was more like mayhem: molotov cocktails, commercial-grade fireworks and canned beans thrown over the concrete fence that separated protesters from the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse, and federal agents were spraying rubber bullets and chemical irritants. At one point, he was pepper-sprayed in the face.

It was in the aftermath of this scene that he took his award-winning image. It features a bald woman in a gas mask, glasses, tank top, jeans and sandals propped against the concrete fence. There is a cloud of what looks like tear gas in the air and a poster that reads “Black Lives Matter” above her head.

“I was aware of the responsibility that I had,” Sanchez said, adding that the AP was one of the only news outlets allowed to access the federal building that day. “We were the only group that was able to tell the story from both sides.”

From Spartan Daily to the Associated Press

An alumnus of Spartan Daily, Sanchez got his start photographing the 1992 Rodney King protests in Los Angeles and San Jose. 

Not long after leaving SJSU, Sanchez accepted his first full-time job as a photographer for the Kansas City Star, where he stayed for seven years. Throughout his career, his work has been published in The New York Times, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek and National Geographic. In 2002, he became a staff photographer for the Associated Press.

In addition to Black Lives Matter protests, Sanchez has covered wildlife preservation in Africa, Hurricane Mitch in Honduras, baseball in the Dominican Republic, the Super Bowl in the United States, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

The accolade echoes a great run of success for the Spartan Daily in intercollegiate competitions, said Craig. The student newspaper has won two national competitions as Best College Newspaper in the past year and a half and was named Best Newspaper in California in two major statewide contests. The Daily has also won more than 70 statewide awards and over  25 national awards since 2016. 

“The Pulitzer Prize is beyond my wildest dreams,” Sanchez said. “We are at the forefront of history as photographers. I don’t do this for awards; my main satisfaction comes from informing the public.

“When you think about people who have won the prize, it’s John F. Kennedy, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, and, now, little old me. This is the company we’re in, alongside the greatest journalists in history.”

Read the story of Sanchez’s career-launching photography at SJSU.


Valerie Coleman Morris Receives Honorary Doctorate from SJSU

SJSU conferred an honorary doctorate degree to alumna and trailblazing journalist Valerie D. Coleman Morris, ‘68 Journalism, as part of the university’s celebration of the Class of 2021 on Wednesday, May 26. 

Coleman Morris served as a reporter for the university student newspaper “Spartan Daily” during her time at SJSU, covering significant campus events such as the Dow Chemical protests and the Black Power salute by Tommy Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympic Games.

Coleman Morris went on to become a broadcast journalist in San Francisco and Los Angeles and also created and narrated the CBS network radio show “With the Family in Mind.” In 1996, Coleman Morris joined CNN, and in 2011, she published the book “It’s Your Money So Take It Personally.” 

Coleman Morris has three California Emmy awards and was a major contributor to KCBS radio’s Peabody Award team coverage as co-anchor following the 1989 Loma Prieto earthquake. Other awards she’s received include Black Woman of the Year and Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting from American Woman in Radio and TV. 

During her speech to the graduating class, Coleman Morris spoke about her love of threes and how it has played a role continuously throughout her life before imparting this wisdom on SJSU’s newest alumni:

“Congratulations to each member of the class of 2021. I leave with this thought: My late father and his regularly repeated lesson about looking in the rear view mirror. It’s important to do, he’d tell me. Glancing in the rearview mirror reminds you where you’ve come from. 

“And then dad would pose the question, and then he would also pose the answer and say, ‘What happens if you look in the rearview mirror for too long or too often?’ The answer: You won’t know what you run into. I need to explain, my dad was not talking about having an accident. He was talking about running past opportunities that were right in front of you. 

“Graduates, for each of your rearview mirror memories or realities, always hear you say, I am looking forward.”

View Coleman Morris’ entire speech above.

SJSU Hosts Global Virtual Event Examining Long-term Effects of Separating Families Due to Immigration

San José State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications tackled hard questions about the impact of immigration policies on families at Families Across Borders: A Live Connection, a  global virtual event, live-streamed from SJSU’s Hammer Theatre on March 23. U.S. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren kicked off the evening with introductory remarks about her commitment to immigration reform from her office in Washington D.C.

The event was emceed by SJSU Journalism and Mass Communication Professor Diane Guerrazzi and Joronica Vinluan, ’21 Journalism, onstage at the Hammer. Five alumnae reporters presented multimedia presentations on families from Mexico, Morocco and the Philippines about the social and psychological effects of family separation. 

Families Across Borders_2

U.S. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (center) spoke at the Families Across Borders event, streamed from the Hammer Theatre on March 23. Joronica Vinluan, ’21 Journalism (left), and SJSU Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Diane Guerrazzi (right) anchored the evening. Photo by Bob Bain.

“The basic structure of immigration law has been unchanged, for the most part, since 1965,” said Lofgren, former immigration attorney and chair of Congress’ Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship

She recalled hosting her first hearing on immigration on Ellis Island in 2007, where she shared the story of her Swedish grandfather, then an unaccompanied minor, who had immigrated to the U.S. in search of a better life.

“I did that to remind all of us that immigration is really central to our core as Americans,” she said. “The optimism, the courage, the bravery, the value of family, the American dream that immigrants embody and their ancestors embodied is as true today for the immigrants coming to America as it was 100 or 200 years ago.”

As the co-author of the new Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which offers opportunities for farmworkers, their spouses and children to earn legal status through continued employment in agriculture, Lofgren remains hopeful that humane immigration reform is possible. She also mentioned that the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021 would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. 

The House of Representatives passed both bills last week.

Spartan journalists share stories of separation 

After Lofrgren’s remarks, Guerrazzi and Vinluan introduced alumnae reporters who shared stories live on Vimeo. 

Spartan journalist Elizabeth Rodriguez shared the story of David, whose mother returned to her native Mexico to see her dying father and whose father was deported. Left without his parents in northern California, David had to help raise his siblings.

While David reflected on the challenges of long-term family separation, Spartan reporter Guadalupe Emigdio, ’20 Communication Studies, shared the story of Hector, who fled violence while immigrating from Mexico. Emigdio translated his responses about the “ugly, sad feelings” that linger when thinks of the miles keeping him from his parents. 

Both David and Hector connected to the livestream to field questions from the reporters.

Kelsey Valle, ’20 Journalism, now an assignment editor at Telemundo 48 Bay Area, produced a story about Kelsea and Ismail, a married couple and parents to an almost 1-year-old daughter. Both Spartans, the couple met at SJSU’s International House and were married in Morocco, Ismail’s home country, in 2019. 

Despite this, immigration laws and COVID-19 restrictions have kept them in different countries, even through the birth of their daughter. Kelsea connected from Turlock and Ismail from Morocco to share how they long to be together as a family once more. 

Nicole Albillar, ’20 Global Studies, interviewed a same-sex couple whose civil union was not recognized by federal immigration laws for years before they were allowed to live permanently in the same country. While Judy and Karin are thrilled to finally make a home together in San José, the years of travel back and forth took a toll.

“It’s like a knife to the heart when you hear about families being separated, regardless of the reason,” said Judy live at the event. “But when it’s the government that’s making you not be able to be together, it’s more heartless.”

Humanizing immigrant narratives

The final piece was produced by Vinluan, the daughter of Filipino immigrants who have been separated from their family members for more than 15 years. Vinluan interviewed her mother Akilah, who lives in San José, and her aunt Maria Teresa, who lives in the Philippines, to answer questions about the impact of their separation.

“When people think of immigration, they tend to think in two ways: politics or family,” said Vinluan. “I want to emphasize the humanity of immigration. If you take the time to understand different cultures, there can be new connections, especially between generations.”

Families Across Borders event

Joronica Vinluan, ’21 Journalism, (left) and SJSU Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications Diane Guerrazzi (right) anchored Families Across Borders, a live event streamed from SJSU’s Hammer Theatre on March 23. The evening included a panel of experts: SJSU Psychology Lecturer Jill Citron (upper left), Human Rights Institute Director William Armaline (center) and associate clinical social worker Yovanna Moran. Photo by Bob Bain.

The event concluded with a panel discussion with William Armaline, director of SJSU’s Human Rights Program; Jill Citron, psychology lecturer; and Yovanna Moran, associate clinical social worker in Stanislaus County. Online viewers shared questions about the effects of family separation, which sometimes include post-traumatic stress disorder, attachment disorders and difficulty trusting others.

The Families Across Borders event was an extension of ongoing immigration reporting done by San José State’s Update News, the weekly student news broadcast, said Guerrazzi. In 2018 and 2019, she taught summer journalism courses in Italy and Greece, where SJSU students reported on the refugee crisis. 

The resulting award-winning special, Beyond Borders: Refugee Realities, covered stories from Italy, Greece, Mexico, Vietnam and the Philippines. A second Update News Refugee Realities special that examines efforts to house children and place families in American communities will air in May. A Families Across Borders podcast to highlight immigrant narratives is also in the works.

Longtime Journalist George Skelton to Receive Honorary Degree

Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton, '59 Journalism, will receive an honorary degree at the College of Social Sciences Ceremony May 24.

Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton, ’59 Journalism, will receive an honorary degree at the College of Social Sciences Ceremony May 24.

San Jose State University announced today that George Skelton, ’59 Journalism, a dedicated political reporter who served as the Sacramento bureau chief and a White House correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters during the College of Social Sciences commencement ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. May 24 at Avaya Stadium.

Skelton has written about government and politics for more than 50 years, contributing to The Los Angeles Times since 1974. An Ojai native, he started writing for a weekly newspaper in high school, worked 30 hours a week at a newspaper while attending junior college, and transferred to San José State in 1957. Skelton wrote for The Sacramento Union while pursuing his degree and covered sports in San Francisco.

He moved to Sacramento in 1961, where he has written extensively about Capitol politics and government ever since. His twice-weekly column “Capitol Journal” has run since 1993.

In December 2011, the Sacramento Press Club honored his 50 years of California reporting with acknowledgments by former governors George Deukmejian and Gray Davis, and former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw.

Students Chronicle Change in “Harlem Reimagined”

collage of people and apartments

Students paid homage to James Van Der Zee, whose work presented Harlem as a deep residential and creative home to legions of black individuals, families, traditions, businesses and institutions of excellence.

Editor’s note: “Reimagining James Van Der Zee,” an exhibit based on the “Harlem Reimagined”  project described below, opens with a reception 4-6 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.

By David E. Early, Hearst Visiting Journalism Professor in Residence

One hundred years ago, James Van Der Zee, the famed cultural photographer, launched his Harlem-based business that focused on portraits, lifestyle, art, music, intellectual pursuits and numerous efforts at achieving racial equality for black folks.

Now, a century later, a team of photojournalism students from San Jose State University, led by Associate Professor Duane Michael Cheers, returned to New York on a project entitled, “Harlem Reimagined.”  Their task was to take an intense, visual inspection of the community today, as it deals with a wave of gentrification that threatens to diminish or remove Harlem as the nation’s black, cultural mecca.

In a four-day, on-the-ground, academic attack, the SJSU photo-rangers took a team of 10 to New York. That group became part of a roving army of 45 educators, reporters, guides, high school students, activists and Harlem locals — many of whom, with hungry cameras in tow — captured thousands of defining images.

Back when Van Der Zee was working, the prolific African-American shooter produced an enormous collection that beautifully captured all factions of Harlem life before, during and after the Harlem Renaissance. The photographer’s work, famously featured in a 1969 show at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, presented Harlem as a deep residential and creative home to legions of black individuals, families, traditions, businesses and institutions of excellence.

Student glasses

A portrait reflects Harlem today.


Harlem remains a busy and soulful, African-American village, but one that is absorbing an unsettling wave of gentrification. Left unchecked, the movement threatens to wipe out long-term residents, along with the schools, churches, businesses, neighborhoods, entertainment venues and social justice organizations that have defined African-American achievement for decades.

Surging real estate values have already shoved aside thousands of poor and middle-income blacks by building and refurbishing numerous living spaces into ultra-expensive domiciles. The great fear in Harlem is that gentrification might deliver on an oft-heard, cold declaration: “Those who can pay, can stay.”

The SJSU photo project hopes to capture the struggle against financial and racial forces that threaten to transform Harlem into something unrecognizable to the very people who have nourished it for decades.

The energetic shooters searched the streets, morning-til-night, looking for the shimmer and the shame, the pride and the poverty, the love and the loathing that happens when widespread change shoves a beloved community into an unknown realm.


Students patrolled and shot life on streets named after black luminaries.

Students photographed everything from the famed Apollo Theater to the Studio Museum of Harlem. From parks bearing statues of Harriet Tubman and Duke Ellington, to the colorful frenzy of the Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market, stuffed with genuine, African goods.

They patrolled and shot life on streets named after black luminaries — Frederick Douglass, Adam Clayton Powell and Martin Luther King Jr. — and challenged people, black and white, to discuss the unlikely conundrum: the possible dismantling of the most precious, black community in America.

Into the lenses of their roving cameras, shooters also caught The Shrine urban beats nightclub, The Graffiti Wall of Fame, Sylvia’s upscale soul restaurant and prominent academies named after Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall, author James Baldwin and educator Mary McLeod Bethune.

Up on Harlem’s Sugarhill, they shot a restaurant where comedian Redd Foxx and Malcolm X worked the kitchen together and a single apartment building where Supreme Court Justice Marshall, W.E.B. DuBois and Walter White once lived. Imagine, civil rights giants of the law, education and racial justice in a single structure along with another tenant Maestro Ellington, The Duke.

Students also explored unique and highly personal establishments: Sister’s Uptown Bookstore and Cultural Center, owned and operated by the inspirational Janifer Wilson, a retired physician at Bronx Lebanon Hospital who worked in the department of surgery. Today, she despairs that hers is the only black-owned bookstore in Manhattan.

Another store, Hats By Bunn, turned out to be a slim, miraculous emporium where one man crafts supple, sharp and colorful head wear by hand on an ancient machine. His store is also an easy-going, drop-in center for friends, and the curious and loving customers the world over.

“I make people look good and feel good,” says Bunn, whose creativity feeds off the music filling his shop six days a week. “My designs come from the rhythms of the moment.”

Whole Foods

The team of visual cultural excavators even looked at the fresh crop of unlikely new businesses, including Whole Foods.

The team of visual cultural excavators even looked at the fresh crop of unlikely new businesses: Whole Foods to Starbucks, CVS to Buffalo Wild Wings. They even absorbed the images out of a burger-and-fries eatery called Harlem Shake, whose owners confessed how they tried to honor the community by reproducing a funky, “Harlem vibe,” from back in the day.

In the end, the visual exploration of Harlem at this critical, life-altering moment in the community’s history, will become a riveting, educational document that will speak intelligently and from the heart in the service of cultural history, for decades to come.

“Reimagining James Van Der Zee” Opens at King Library

By Professor Michael Cheers, Associate Professor of Journalism

Thirty-four years after the death of renown photographer James Van Der Zee, the quintessential chronicler of the Harlem Renaissance and the greater Black community from 1906 to 1983, San Jose State University photojournalism students and New York alternative high school photo students met in Harlem last October to take a fresh look at one of America’s most culturally diverse, historically rich, vibrant and iconic, yet ever changing communities.

Students from the Satellite Academy High School and the James Baldwin School, both in Manhattan, participated in this extraordinary project developed by the SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

"A-Train Reimagined" is among the images captured by students.

“A-Train Reimagined” is among the images captured by students.

Exhibit Opens Feb. 8

Twelve students and their teachers from Satellite Academy are traveling to San Jose for the exhibition opening and reception 4-6 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. One photo student from Boynton High School in San Jose also participated, as did one local community college photo student.

More than 100 of the students’ images on 44 montages and individual portraits will be on display at the library’s second floor exhibition area until March 31. The montages show a kaleidoscope of diverse faces interspersed with a medley of iconic Harlem landmarks and competing cultures.

The project bridged Photo Voice methodology and hip-hop pedagogy. Using Apple-sponsored iPhones and DSLR cameras, the neophyte students canvassed the main boulevards, side streets, back streets, and alleys, capturing the sights and sounds, and the ebb and flow of Harlem through the lens of their innocence and freshness, documenting what they saw and felt.

group photo

Student and faculty participants gather for a group photo in Harlem.

SJSU Journalism Students and Faculty

The four SJSU journalism undergraduate beginning photo students selected were Payje Redmond, Franchesca Natividad, Lovetta Jackson and Savannah Harding.

Michael Cheers, associate professor at San Jose State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was the lead researcher and facilitator. Juan Serna, SJSU Journalism TV studio manager/engineer served as a bi-lingual field instructor and chief post-production editor.

The project kicked-off Oct. 27, with a two-hour guided, orientation-walking tour of Harlem. The four-day experience ended on Oct. 29.

Janifer Wilson, owner of Sister’s Uptown Bookstore and Cultural Center.

Janifer Wilson, owner of Sister’s Uptown Bookstore and Cultural Center.

Harlem Reimagined

There were Marcus Garveyites and Van Der Zee Harlemites not willing to trade in, sell off or sell out the richness of their heritage. The students saw black vendors smiling at streams of white tourists while selling their wares to anyone because the only color that counts to them is green. They also heard from Janifer Wilson, owner of Sister’s Uptown Bookstore and Cultural Center, in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem, thought to be the only black-owned bookstore in Manhattan.

“Change has to happen in order for us to evolve, but the displacement of folk who are grassroots… the people who started these communities, is very disheartening,” Wilson said.

A site partnership was arranged with the prestigious Studio Museum in Harlem, where the students met daily to discuss their work. The museum also is the custodian of an extensive archive of the work of James Van Der Zee.

The exhibition moves to New York in April.


Journalism Students Gain Practical Experience on Election Night

SJSU students Stephanie Gersh and Lloyd Alaban help NBC Bay Area Digital Editor Kris Noceda finalize election night stories (Photo: Jennifer Gonzalez, '17 Journalism and English).

SJSU students Stephanie Gersh and Lloyd Alaban help NBC Bay Area Digital Editor Kris Noceda finalize election night stories (Photo: Jennifer Gonzalez, ’17 Journalism and English).

As the votes were being counted and reported on election night 2016, graduate students from the SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications played a part in one local television station’s extensive coverage.

Thirteen students in Mass Communications 210: Media & Social Issues volunteered to help NBC Bay Area news staff members gather and report the latest developments as they happened.

“Our grad students come from many academic backgrounds,” Professor Bob Rucker said. “This will give them an up close, eye-opening and unique media learning experience on one of the busiest and most exciting nights in the TV news business.”

NBC Bay Area Vice President of News Stephanie Adrouny and Professor Rucker planned the joint project weeks ahead of time. On Nov. 1, newsroom Executive Producer Dan Pyryt visited the class and explained to students how they would be helping individual newsroom producers and reporters identify and share late-breaking election developments, address voter concerns called into the station, and support NBC social media reporting efforts that night.

While on campus, Pyryt also met with several staff members of the Spartan Daily student newspaper, and congratulated them on their efforts. He told the student staff members and Professor Rucker’s class that the NBC Bay Area news team reads the campus newspaper every day, and many times they develop SJSU stories after reading the student reporting.

The long-time motto of the SJSU journalism program is “Learn by Doing.” Rucker, a former CNN correspondent and NBC local news election night anchor and reporter in Philadelphia, covered the 1980 Ronald Reagan-Jimmy Carter vote count.

“I will never forget how thrilling it was to be a part of that history making evening,” Rucker said.


Honors Convocation Recognizes Top Academic Achievers

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

When Kenney Chiu, ’15 Business Finance, joined 4,127 Dean’s and President’s Scholars as part of the Honors Convocation in the Event Center on April 15, someone special shared a seat with him — his baby boy Abraham Charles.

“I snuck him in to sit on my lap,” Chiu said with a laugh. “All the honorees that sat around me were playing with him and they just loved it, too.”

Chiu joined a record number of 3,714 students honored with recognition for earning a 3.65 or higher GPA in at least two contiguous of the past three semesters at San Jose State.

Although Chiu credited his honor with the exceptional teaching found in his home Lucas College of Business, he stressed the impact that his baby boy has had on his academic accomplishments.

“That’s where my motivation comes from,” Chiu said. “I just want to show my kid that he can be proud of his dad.”


Interim President Sue Martin took a moment during the ceremony to praise the “unsung heroes,” including family members, friends and spouses who helped support and guide the student scholars.

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

For Emily Vann, ’16 Public Relations, her President’s Scholar recognition was a testament to her mother Olivia and her coaches both on and off the basketball court.

Vann joined a record setting 59 student-athletes recognized for academic excellence, including eight student-athletes who maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA for at least two contiguous of the past three semesters.

“You have to kind of go into another gear to kind of get this distinction,” Vann said. “I know firsthand how much it takes and how much time, dedication and effort it takes to go through the everyday process of waking up and having to wear two hats as a student and an athlete.”

Vann, a forward on the SJSU women’s basketball team, said she could not have reached the academic milestone without the support of her mother.

“My mom is a teacher and I just feel really blessed to have had her in my life. She helped me and coached me from the time I was little,” Vann said. “[She’s] always letting me know that my academics come first even though I’m an athlete.”

Provost Andy Feinstein said such support by loved ones and faculty members alike married with personal sacrifice helped usher in the record number of honored scholars this year.

“These students have shown a commitment to their studies, through personal, economic, social and educational circumstances, to be among the top one percent at this university,” Feinstein said.


Kenneth Peter, 2016 Outstanding Professor, said in his keynote speech that students should be fueled by the various sacrifices they make in their quest for higher education.

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

“Your talents are not only exhibited in your academic success, but are profound when viewed in light of the struggles you have overcome,” Peter said. “When many of you are first generation college students, when most of you worked more than half time, when many of you have family obligations, when most of you come from public schools with inadequate resources, you are remarkably talented and you have proven this by being in this room tonight.”

Peter’s assertion rang particularly close to home for Jamil Elbanna, ’16 Mechanical Engineering, who spent most of his academic career working two jobs in addition to his schoolwork.

In order to finance his way through college, Elbanna took a job as a courtesy clerk at Safeway and a security officer at a hospital, all while pursuing a degree.

“It’s definitely not the easiest thing but having passion for my major and what I want to study is important,” Elbanna said. “There were times where it almost felt impossible, but I just keep at it and pushed at it day and night.”

Peter concluded his keynote speech by reminding the student honorees that by receiving recognition for their academic accomplishments, they are also receiving an important responsibility.

“Your talent must not be wasted. Each of you should leave SJSU with the kind of education you will need to fight for greater fairness and equality than this world has yet seen fit to offer,” Peters said. “You have likely experienced some hardships. Let those light the fire within.”


Journalism Alumni Cover the Super Bowl

Frenzied stampede, labored calls to action and beads of sweat—this isn’t a last ditch effort to win the Super Bowl. It’s what the media experiences while covering the big game, SJSU alumni say.

“The game itself was the hardest part because of the deadline and the crush of people,” said Bill Soliday, ’65 Journalism and Mass Communications. “It became a kind of circus after a while because it would be people trying to find the best story being among what would become over 2,000 people credentialed for the game.”

San Jose State graduates are among the seasoned media professionals who have reported on the Super Bowl, including sports photographers, sports columnists and television field producers.

Oakland Tribune columnist

Soliday utilized his sports column as a means of telling compelling Super Bowl stories.

As an Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers beat writer for the Oakland Tribune for most of his professional career, Soliday covered 19 Super Bowls, eight of which had Bay Area winners.

Now retired, Soliday recalls jostling through a crowd of media, sometimes even shouting his questions to nearby players in order to get an interview.

Soliday said he learned the importance of journalism during his time as a Spartan Daily staff writer the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, when he was tasked to write Kennedy’s biography.

“I took it to be something that is a privilege in a sense to inform the public,” Soliday said. “Even though I got into sports writing which is hardly qualifies as earth shattering, I still felt the same way about it.”

Sports Illustrated photographer

Brad Mangin, ’88 Journalism and Mass Communications, got his introduction to Super Bowl coverage two years following graduation from SJSU while at the Contra Costa Times.

Mangin, a photojournalism student who says he would only step foot outside the photo lab in Dwight Bentel Hall for Peanuts Deluxe Café, said he couldn’t imagine shooting the massive event just a few years later.

“You’re standing by the sidelines and thinking ‘this can’t be that big of a deal because I’m here,’” Mangin said.

Now more than 20 years later, Mangin will revisit the Super Bowl frenzy to shoot for Sports Illustrated. In the video link below, watch Mangin discuss how he plans to tackle Super Bowl 50.

Although he’s excited to shoot the game again, he said he values the people who are reporting by his side.

“We all create something special whether it be written word, a photograph or a picture I make with my iPhone,” Mangin said. “We all have a unique way of storytelling with our readers.”

Fox Sports field producer

Dennis Ackerman, ’92 Journalism and Mass Communications, said the hands on experience he gained at SJSU prepared him for providing a quality broadcast to viewers.

Ackerman, now a field producer for Fox Sports 1, got his start on early Friday morning tapings of SJSU’s TV news broadcast, Update News.

“You had to write your own stuff, produce your own stuff,” Ackerman said.  “Having your own broadcast was invaluable.”

Ackerman said his Super Bowl production schedule requires over a week of preparation, which includes gaining familiarity of the stadium and establishing shot locations for his crew.

“It’s definitely an adrenalin rush but you want to make sure everything goes smoothly,” Ackerman said.

As he approaches the third Super Bowl coverage opportunity of his career, Ackerman said his journey from a student to a professional has been informative.

“If it’s something you’re really passionate about, you will pay your dues and hopefully it will pay off for you,” Ackerman said. “You know, I get paid to watch sporting events—that’s not a bad way to make a living.”


Student Journalists to Stream Taco Eating Contest

Chacho’s World Taco Eating Championship

SJSU students are seeking to capture the excitement, with world-class competitors like last year’s event (photos by Adrian Trujillo and Sergio Estrada).

SJSU students are seeking to capture the excitement, with world-class competitors like last year’s event (photos by Adrian Trujillo and Sergio Estrada).

San Jose State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications will stream the second Chacho’s World Taco Eating Championship on Aug. 15 at St. James Park in downtown San Jose. The stream will be available on South Bay Pulse, an app built by students.

Co-anchors Jonathan Wold and Brenda Norrie will go live at 4:15 p.m. Expect behind-the-scenes videos and interviews with top-ranked competitive eaters Matthew Stonie and Miki Sudo. As contestants gobble up the tacos, commentator Abraham Rodriguez will follow the action.

All three students are journalism majors or recent graduates. More than a dozen Spartans are involved, in front of the camera, behind the camera, and online. They’re collaborating with the goal of producing a high-caliber program on a shoe-string budget thanks to the power of the Internet and their own ingenuity.

The project is an excellent example of the cutting edge efforts underway at SJSU’s journalism school. Students built the South Bay Pulse app (Apple iPad, Android, Kindle Fire) using the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. Adobe provided mentors, straight from corporate headquarters just a few blocks from campus in the heart of Silicon Valley.

In fact, the entire project grew from a synergy that could only happen here. The students and the taco contest’s producer met at a business event. David Ocampo, ’89 BS Advertising, ’92 MA Mexican American Studies, is creative director at Milagro Marketing. The event was sponsored by Content magazine, which covers the innovative and creative culture of Silicon Valley.

Ho Chi Minh City

40th Anniversary of the Fall of Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

San Jose State changed forever when Saigon fell 40 years ago today. Refugees who settled in the neighborhoods near campus grew into one the nation’s largest Vietnamese American communities. These days, many of these immigrants and their descendants are SJSU students, faculty and staff members, and alumni.

SJSU Professor of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Science Hien Duc Do fled Vietnam at age 14 just days before the fall. Drawing from his research on the Vietnamese American experience, Do appears as an expert commentator in many news accounts of the lasting impact of the war. These include special reports by the San Jose Mercury News, KPIX TV, KGO radio, KCBS radio and KLIV radio.

Prominent Vietnamese American writer and journalist Andrew Lam, who left his homeland at age 11, is teaching this term at San Jose State. He shares his views on Vietnam then and now with the Los Angeles Times, Al Jazeera AmericaSan Jose Mercury News, KPIX TVKQED radio, and KLIV radio.

In a cover story on the Fall of Saigon, the Spartan Daily student newspaper profiles four local Vietnamese Americans. Accompanying the report online is a video documentary featuring, among others, a pastor, poet, and city council member. The student videographers discuss their work with NBC Bay AreaSouth Bay Pulse, an iPad app created by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, features the video and full-length profiles.

“The war created ripples that span generations,” the Spartan Daily says. “But despite the conflict, people have been able to start anew.”


Going Digital

If anyone’s nimble enough to keep up with all the demands of editing a magazine in the Internet age, it’s Amanda Holst, ’14 Journalism and Nutritional Sciences, especially now that she has served as SHiFT editor.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications produces the student-run periodical to teach all the traditional and emerging aspects of the publishing world.

“While a great story still requires shoe leather reporting, new electronic tools are transforming the way we design, distribute and deliver our magazine,” said Tom Ulrich, a lecturer focusing on magazine journalism.

With just weeks to go during her final semester at SJSU, Holst pulled together the staff for a review of the publication’s print and digital issues. This term, students made full use of Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite.

The downtown San Jose-based tech titan even provided several mentors for SHiFT’s Digital Publishing Editor Douglas Rider, who incorporated drag-and-drop and Apple AccelerometerGraph functions into stories to create a digital issue “to sit back in a chair and really read,” he said.

“For example, we have a food photo essay,” Holst said. “When you click on the food item, it takes you to an audio clip of the chef talking about it. You can tilt your mobile device in order to unlock text. A reader scrolls up, down and sideways to view content interactively.

“We have an interactive game where you can put your food items in a grocery bag and it will tell you how much time is needed in order to burn off the calories from those specific food items.”

How hot is this technology? Content magazine, which prides itself in displaying and discovering Silicon Valley’s innovative and creative culture, attended the SHiFT design review.

“For Holst, her tenure as SHiFT editor comes at the end of an undergraduate career chock-full of internships, part-time jobs and freelance work that helped her hone her interests, support herself, and meet degree requirements while gaining a wealth of hands-on learning.

“I’ve always worked on a team but have never led one,” she said. “From this experience, I learned that I have a passion for leadership and a natural ability to empower people.

“I learned that the reward is in the process and not so much about the end result…Every staff member had something different to offer–it was my job to tap into that and bring it to light!”

Up next for this McNair Scholar: graduate school.
“I’m fascinated by the topic of motivation so I’m switching gears and would like to focus my graduate studies on social psychology,” she said. “This class will help me in understanding the elements of community, vital to success in any organization.”

Alumni Connect Students to Employers

Hundreds of job seekers stood in line outside the SJSU Event Center March 5 for a shot at landing an employment opportunity at the Expo ’14 Job and Internship Fair.

Among the hopefuls waiting was Sameera Pappu, ’14 Electrical Engineering, who shared her desire to network with a few companies that match her special telecommunication skill set.

“It’s better you do your own research and target two or three employers, instead of waiting in the long lines” at the fair, Pappu said.

Many students like Pappu prepared by logging into the SJSU Career Center website, researching companies on SpartaJobs, and completing the online Job Success Webinar, which gained them early-bird access.

Alumni connections

Also working hard to prepare for the fair were SJSU alumni volunteers, identifiable by blue spirit ribbons. They showed their Spartan pride by serving as connecting points between students and employers.

Marie Norman, ’93 Journalism, and director of talent acquisition and HR business partner for Financial Engines, has volunteered at the career fair for more than a decade.

She says that SJSU job fairs have gotten more competitive over the years and it takes longer for students to find opportunities that fit their interests and goals.

But her favorite part of her job is playing an instrumental role in people’s lives and matching opportunities with individuals. In the end, Norman says it’s about knowing and understanding what an employee wants and that goes beyond technical and functional skills.

It’s that the company’s philosophy aligns with a person’s core values and allows them to thrive,” she said.

Submitting resumes

Across the Event Center, Mercedes Hernandez, ’11 Business Administration, and a Symantic HR campus representative, resourced contact information for prospective employees via an electronic tablet provided by the SJSU Career Center.

In a week, students such as Trevor Uyeda, ’15 Computer Science, who’s not worried about the competition because of his experience in graphic user interface, will receive an invitation to upload their updated resumes to Symantec’s database and see recruiting deadlines.

This will give us a good feel for what they need and what we have to offer,” said Hernandez.

The SJSU Career Center works with over 20,000 hiring representatives and businesses both locally and globally and connected students with over 33,000 jobs and internship opportunities through SpartaJobs last semester.

Content Magazine Profiles Advertising Profressor Tim Hendricks

Content Magazine: Advertising Professor Profiled as San Jose “Mad Man”

Content Magazine Profiles Advertising Profressor Tim Hendricks

Content’s current cover.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

One of SJSU’s most creative professors has been featured in San Jose’s most innovative new periodical. Content Magazine describes Professor of Advertising Tim Hendrick as San Jose’s “Mad Man,” in reference to the popular television series by nearly the same name.

School of Journalism and Mass Communications Director Bob Rucker wrote in the CASA Blog, “Given the extraordinary number of ground-breaking advertising professionals working here in the Bay Area, we are thrilled and very proud to see Tim be recognized by his peers for his incredible talents, unique experiences and tireless efforts to keep our SJSU advertising program THE West Coast leader for excellence in media higher education.”

Content “discovers and displays unique aspects of San Jose and gives our readers an opportunity to find new reasons to love their city.” Read Professor Rucker’s entire blog entry and view the story.

Content Magazine Profiles Advertising Profressor Tim Hendricks

Content Magazine: Advertising Professor Profiled as San Jose "Mad Man"

Content Magazine Profiles Advertising Profressor Tim Hendricks

Content’s current cover.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

One of SJSU’s most creative professors has been featured in San Jose’s most innovative new periodical. Content Magazine describes Professor of Advertising Tim Hendrick as San Jose’s “Mad Man,” in reference to the popular television series by nearly the same name.

School of Journalism and Mass Communications Director Bob Rucker wrote in the CASA Blog, “Given the extraordinary number of ground-breaking advertising professionals working here in the Bay Area, we are thrilled and very proud to see Tim be recognized by his peers for his incredible talents, unique experiences and tireless efforts to keep our SJSU advertising program THE West Coast leader for excellence in media higher education.”

Content “discovers and displays unique aspects of San Jose and gives our readers an opportunity to find new reasons to love their city.” Read Professor Rucker’s entire blog entry and view the story.

Broderick at Chinese New Years Day parade

Video: Young Alumnus Helps Develop Super Bowl Ad

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

When it comes to finding your dream job, it’s tough to beat Darren Mitchell, ’11 Advertising. He is putting his degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications to work, helping develop a Super Bowl ad for Honda, celebrating the launch of the all-new 2012 CR-V. Honda brings back “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” casting Matthew Broderick as himself, skipping out on a day of work and living it up in his all-new CR-V. While the movie was set in Chicago, the ad features California’s coast. An account manager at Santa Monica-based ad agency RPA, Mitchell describes his job on LinkedIn: “I work on the Honda National Account, on the Digital/Interactive, SUV/Truck, Social Media team. I assist in managing and coordinating all social media efforts from Honda on Facebook and YouTube. I help coordinate minor and major changes to the Honda Automotive website, ensuring content is current and up-to-date. I help produce and present tracking reports for various interactive media’s to the client.” Read more in Adweek.

This is a photo of Scent Science Corporation's product, ScentScape, which digitally emits scents.

Exchange Student Earns Internship With Scent Startup

By Sarah Kyo, Public Affairs Assistant

President / CEO Bill Wiles and intern Carlotta Zorzi pose with Scent Sciences Corporation's ScentScape product. Photo courtesy of Carlotta Zorzi.

President/CEO Bill Wiles and intern Carlotta Zorzi pose with Scent Sciences Corporation's ScentScape product. Photo courtesy of Carlotta Zorzi.

From 3-D visuals to motion-sensing video game platforms, the entertainment and video game industries have used the latest technology to tap into consumers’ senses. Could smell be the next frontier?

That’s the case Scent Sciences Corporation is making with the products it’s developing and beginning to market, with assistance from summer intern Carlotta Zorzi, an Italian exchange student at SJSU.

“She brings new energy to the company,” said Bill Wiles, president and CEO of the San Jose-based company. “She’s extremely pro-active, which in a startup is important.”

Zorzi, who attends Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland, credits her SJSU education during the 2010-2011 academic year for helping her with her current position.

“I don’t think I’d have been prepared to face this kind of internship without the skills that SJSU gave me,” Zorzi said. “I took classes specifically about PR writing and advertising layout during this last year, and I’ve learned a lot. Especially professors Nate Digre, Matt Cabot and Dona Nichols gave me the right skills and advice to face this kind of experience in the right way. I’ll always be grateful to SJSU for giving me practical skills in my field of study.”

Zorzi found out about the internship from her SJSU International House roommate, who was a student of lecturer Peter Young. Young, who teaches in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, is an adviser and consultant for Scent Sciences. Wiles said Young has provided insights and ideas for the business.

“When I start a new company, he is one of the first people I get involved,” said Wiles, regarding Young.

Scent Sciences’ thermal-based ScentScape system connects to a computer via a USB cable. The system contains individual oils that are vaporized when triggered by a code in a video game or other type of media, Wiles said. Additional products from the company allow industry members and consumers alike to create their own scents.

Young said the products provide a much deeper level of entertainment when playing video games, for example.

“Now you get to smell the swamp, smell the burning building,” he said.

Young said while the system may not be for everyone, there are many possible applications. Wiles foresees the company’s products, projected for release by early next year, being used for marketing, aromatherapy and rehabilitation. Scent Sciences has partnered with the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom to develop game-based military training and rehabilitation for the UK Ministry of Defence.

Part of Zorzi’s work is keeping in touch with Scent Science’s partners, as well as creating fliers and news releases, working on web design and utilizing social networks.

“It’s great learning from those who already had many experiences in terms of business, and it’s great feeling appreciated for my work as an intern and as an international student,” Zorzi said. “The Scent Sciences project relates to the movie industry, which would be the field I’d like to finally work for. Can you imagine smelling the scents of what you’re watching at the cinema?”

Wiles said he would like to continue working with Zorzi after she returns to Europe at the end of this summer. Wiles also said he is interested in offering an internship to an SJSU engineering student who is “as good as Carlotta.”

KTEH Airs “Equal Time,” SJSU-Produced TV Program Examining Both Sides of the Story

cameramen tape Equal Time

Experts discuss political correctness with host Bob Rucker on the set of "Equal Time."

In an era when unbiased journalism is said to be giving way to one-sided reporting, the SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications has launched “Equal Time,” a public affairs series. Assistant Professor Diane Guerrazzi, the show’s creator and executive producer, pulls no punches when selecting topics. Her series examines everything from the value of a college degree to poverty in Silicon Valley to the pluses and minus of living at a world immersed in social networking and cell phone applications. Students, alumni and professors have recently completed 13 new episodes, airing at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on KTEH. Each episode examines a different issue in depth, first presenting one side of an argument, then the other. The show ends with a roundtable discussion with professors and other experts in search of solutions. Interim Journalism and Mass Communications Chair Bob Rucker serves as the host. Get show times on the KTEH website. website showing immigration story.

Journalism Students Publish Immigration Series on

Inside a Campbell classroom, where the curriculum has been updated to reach all students, including those learning English. Courtesy of

Inside a Campbell classroom, where the curriculum has been updated to reach all students, including those learning English. Courtesy of

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

When the School of Journalism and Mass Communications received an email from offering to arrange internships, journalism lecturer Tom Ulrich reacted immediately.

“This is the type of opportunity I want to see for our students,” Ulrich said., a micro-local news operation developed by AOL, has created websites for communities across the United States with the goal of providing indepth, local coverage.

Ulrich’s advanced reporting class collaborated with editors from 10 sites on several major assignments including a series on how immigration affects neighborhoods.

“We help students understand how things work in the industry in real time,” said Regional Editor Priyanka Sharma-Sindhar. “We help them set priorities and offer guidance on what to look for and what questions to ask.”

For his internship, journalism major Eddie Fernandez became the eyes and ears of Campbell. You can read his story, researched and written by a team of SJSU students, on the CampbellPatch website.

Fernandez reported on the efforts of Campbell Union School District’s English Language Development program, the classification of an English learner, and the funding involved with the education of English learners.

“I learned that stories never go the way they are originally planned,” Fernandez said.

In this way,’s hands-on professional training with supervision from instructors is giving students like Fernandez the opportunity to grow.

“We offer this to students who are interested in writing for a living,” Ulrich said. “They step into a world driven by deadlines that requires them to interview people who sometimes don’t want to speak. It’s a real life experience.” #

Students look at a green chevrolet car.

Spartans in Action: Students Create Chevy 7th Street Invasion Campaign

SJSU students who are part of Dwight Bentel & Hall Communications, a public relations and advertising group on campus, host an event showcasing Chevrolet cars as part of a nation-wide competition for the best campaign and event on a university campus. On April 30 students were able to test drive cars, play games, and watch some salsa dancing.

More information on Dwight Bentel Communications at

More information on SJSU’s Salsa Club at