By Amanda Mayberry & Lindsey Maeda
Former East Los Angeles College student Jesus Sanchez received an award for Distinguished Work in New Media for his news blog, The Eastsider LA, from the Society of Professional Journalists on May 8.
Sanchez is editor and publisher of The Eastsider, which he started in 2009 after being laid off from his job as a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times. This is the first award Sanchez has received for the work he does on his blog.
In previous years The Eastsider LA was named “Best Neighborhood Blog” by Los Angeles Weekly as well as the Times. In June, Sanchez will also be receiving recognition for his contribution to online journalism from the Chicano News Media Association.
Sanchez attended ELAC from 1977-1980. When he began attending ELAC, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to go into journalism or architecture. “At the time, ELAC had a really good architecture program and they had a really good journalism program, which is still run by Jean Stapleton. Basically, journalism won,” Sanchez said.
He worked for ELAC Campus News as page editor, staff writer and editor in chief until he transferred to California State Long Beach to continue his education. He graduated and received his bachelor’s degree with a major in business and a minor in journalism. After graduating he received an internship with the Times.
Not long after, he moved to Texas and continued to work as a journalist. There, he covered community news for the Dallas Times Herald. He made another move to Washington, D.C. where he worked as a business reporter for USA Today. “Originally, that was the goal — to travel and cover business news,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez later made his way back to California where he acquired a job at the Times, and continued to cover stories for the business section. He became one of the L.A. Times newsroom’s first online reporters. “It’s a totally different medium,” Sanchez said about working online. “In a way, it is better.”
Sanchez said that working on his online blog requires all the same skills as publishing on paper, but online has some advantages that working on paper does not. He said working in print is more expensive and harder to distribute, and there’s no guarantee anyone will even read it. “It’s better than paying a lot of money to publish a paper and leaving it somewhere for someone to pick it up, but no one’s picking it up,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said this is why he decided to publish news online. It’s cheaper, faster and easier to distribute. “We don’t take it too seriously. That’s what gives the blog personality. We don’t have all the resources to do long investigative pieces,” Sanchez said.
He said he also recognized that, thanks to the Internet, the future of journalism is going toward online. “Anyone who wants to be a journalist, but doesn’t want to work online should probably look for another profession,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said that with The Eastsider published online, anyone and everyone has easier access to it. Sanchez commented “ I’m not sure if my (blog) is successful yet. It’s still something new for me.”