BenitoLink reporters working in the news room. Photo by Noe Magaña.
BenitoLink reporters working in the news room. Photo by Noe Magaña.

Good news for all our San Benito County readers! In September, BenitoLink will add a full-time general assignment reporter to its staff. Monserrat Solis is joining the BenitoLink team to help cover the subjects our readers have said are most important to them: local government, education, health, transportation and housing. 

Solis is one of 120 journalists who will be hitting the streets for the California Local News Fellowship program. She is in the inaugural cohort of the fellowship and will be part of the BenitoLink team for the next two years.

“Monserrat will be a great addition to BenitoLink,” said Content Manager Noe Magaña. “She speaks Spanish, which is a great asset and she’s enthusiastic about getting to know the county.” 

Solis was raised in the San Fernando Valley and has most recently worked as a reporter for the Press-Enterprise in Riverside. She wrote, “In a way, I like being able to represent my community —wherever that may be at the time,” she wrote in her bio. “And I like informing others on what’s happening in the area.” Her reporting background includes local reporting, covering city council meetings and cultural stories.

“We are very excited about Monse joining our team,” said Magaña. “With her reporting experience, she’ll hit the ground running and will help further BenitoLink’s mission to inform our community about issues that impact our daily lives.”

California Local News Fellowship Director Christina Scharfenberg said, “The program will support community news and information needs throughout California by providing two-year fellowships to 120 early career journalists over the next three years.”

She also noted that this year’s cohort of 39 California Local News fellows is the first of three made possible by a $25 million appropriation from the state. The first newsrooms to be assigned reporters were selected based on their designation as underserved communities. 

See the full list of fellows and newsrooms.

Geeta Anand, who is on the California Local News Fellowship advisory board and dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism said, “News and information that’s useful to our communities and neighbors is the building block for a vibrant democracy. This program will help strengthen local newsrooms of all kinds to better serve their audiences, telling the stories that matter. It’s also a model for how other states can support community news.”

The fellowship program will give Solis and other selected journalists invaluable hands-on newsroom experience as they get to know their new communities. They will also receive training and mentorship from industry professionals throughout the two-year program.

The California Local News Fellowship program is guided by a 17-person advisory board representing the state’s newsrooms and education institutions. The board, together with the fellowship staff, reviewed more than 90 newsroom applications and 170 fellowship applications. 

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