‘The Pulitzer that Defined Latino Journalism’ screened in Scottsdale

“Below the Fold: The Pulitzer that Defined Latino Journalism” will be screened at Scottsdale Community College Sept. 28. (photo by Los Angeles Times)

In 1984, a team of Mexican-American reporters from the Los Angeles Times won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for a groundbreaking 27-part series on Southern California’s Latino communities.

The prize validated the team’s vision and storytelling skills with stories that offered a broader window into the lives, history and contributions of the region’s Latino residents.

It also countered the distorted, narrow reportage that characterized the paper’s previous coverage of Latinos. The series is considered a milestone in enhancing inclusion in news coverage, according to a press release.

The efforts of the 17-member team were chronicled in a 20-minute documentary by filmmaker Roberto Gudino, who produced and directed the film as a University of Arizona student. Executive producer Olga Briseño, of the university’s Media Democracy and Policy Initiative, collaborated on the project.

Mr. Gudino, now a professor at Scottsdale Community College’s Scottsdale School of Film + Theatre, is an award-winning media producer, Fulbright scholar, and filmmaker.

As part of school’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the documentary, “Below the Fold: The Pulitzer that Defined Latino Journalism,” will be screened Thursday, Sept. 28 in the school’s Performing Arts Center. It will be followed by a discussion and Q&A with Mr. Gudino and Frank Sotomayor of Tucson, co-editor of the Latino series and one of the LA Times journalists featured in the documentary.

SCC Communications Coordinator Jonathan Higuera, a longtime journalist, will moderate the discussion.

Mr. Sotomayor, who retired in 2006 after a 35-year career at the Times, has written an online book about the series (http://bit.ly/PulitzerLongShot) providing the back story on how the project came to fruition.

In his account, Mr. Sotomayor writes, “Until publication of our series, such coverage had often been undervalued and derided as ‘the taco beat.’ Our series signaled to the journalism world the rich value of explanatory journalism about all the people in our communities.”

The event is open to the public and free to attend with an Eventbrite registration. www.btf-doc.eventbrite.com.

The evening will start with a reception (light appetizers) at 6 p.m., followed by the screening at 6:30 p.m.

This event is sponsored by SCC’s Inclusiveness Council, the Latino Student Association and the Center for Civic and Global Engagement.

SCC’s Performing Arts Center is at 9000 E. Chaparral Road in Scottsdale.

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