On blog, community correspondents shine light on Valley health issues

In August 2010, I wrote about Northern California public radio station KQED’s search for a community health blogger from West Fresno County. Just over a year later, I’m excited to share that KQED has finally found a citizen correspondent from Mendota to write for the blog, ‘Our State of Health: California Reports.’

The new correspondent is Sam Rubio of Mendota and you can check out his first blog post here. In this opening post, he introduces readers to the residents of this West Fresno County farmworker city, and describes the barriers to health and health care they face.

I’m excited that Sam – a longtime resident of Mendota, who has been very active in the community – will be adding the voice of the San Joaquín Valley to this blog. (I’ve never met Sam, but in 2009, I blogged about Da Amici, the cool independent coffee shop he opened in the West Fresno County farmworker community.)

And there are more opportunities for Valley residents to shine a light on their communities’ health concerns: KQED is currently searching for correspondents from South Sacramento and Merced. Check it out! Community correspondents need no journalism background – they just need to be familiar with the health issues of their local community, and be interested in learning about multimedia reporting and blogging.

Pictured above: In 2009, a three-year drought hit the west side of Fresno County hard. Without agricultural jobs, many farmworkers and their families had to receive food at food distributions. (Photos by Vida en el Valle)

KQED seeks citizen health correspondent from Mendota

UPDATE: It’s been at least four months, and KQED is STILL searching for a citizen health correspondent from the Fresno area!

Shuka Kalantari off KQED said ‘Our State of Health’ is now searching for a male correspondent from West Fresno County to be a citizen correspondent, covering health issues specific to their city, as well as the rest of West Fresno County.

This is a great opportunity to spotlight the unique health issues impacting West Fresno County residents. Let’s not let this opportunity pass our community by!

Check out Our State of Health to see what community correspondents from other areas are blogging about. Read the original post below to learn how to apply for the position.


Listen up, Mendota residents, and residents of nearby west Fresno County communities: You could be Northern California public radio station KQED’s next community health correspondent.

 Here’s the job description, as it’s described in the application:

‘Health Dialogues,’ a special series from KQED Public Radio’s ‘The California Report’ exploring California health care issues that are important to our communities, is seeking citizen correspondents to chronicle the health of their communities in our new blog, ‘Our State of Health: California Reports.’

The Mendota correspondent would be responsible for covering health issues specific to west Fresno County communities, through reported, in-depth blog posts, as well as audio, video and photos. The correspondent should be active in his or her neighborhood and community, and should be able to serve as the eyes and ears of health issues in West Fresno County.

It’s OK if you have no previous journalism experience. The Mendota correspondent should just have technological skills related to multimedia reporting and blogging, or be willing and able to learn them quickly, the application says.

But don’t be daunted: The correspondent will receive training – either in person, or online – and will then work with a KQED staff member, who will serve as a mentor. The KQED mentor will not dictate the story ideas, but he or she will be able to provide guidance and assistance to the correspondent.

The most important thing is that the correspondent be intimately familiar with the community and the health issues people are facing there, KQED outreach coordinator Shuka Kalantari told me.

“Our goal is to really have this be a venue for the community to voice what they think are their important health stories and concerns,” Kalantari said. “The whole point is that we don’t want to be the ones saying what the story is – we want the community members to tell us what the story is.”

The correspondent position also comes with a stipend. The citizen reporter will receive $100 after completing the training session, and will receive $50 per week for writing at least one weekly blog post.

Interested? Fill out an application as soon as possible, and mail it back to KQED. Contact Shuka Kalantari, at skalantari@kqed.org, with questions.

The application can be found here: OurStateOfHealth-Application