The USC Libraries have acquired the records of CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California, the trailblazing professional association fostering diversity within the news media for more than a half century.
Founded in 1972 in Los Angeles and formerly known as the California Chicano News Media Association, CCNMA was the first advocacy organization for journalists of color to incorporate. To this day, it promotes the advancement of Latino journalists through scholarships to high school and college students, educational programs, job fairs, and professional development opportunities.
“The USC Libraries are thrilled to partner with CCNMA and the USC Annenberg School to safeguard this important archive tracing the evolution of Latino voices in California news media since the 1970s,” said Marje Schuetze-Coburn, interim dean of USC Libraries. “It’s a significant addition to the rich documentary resources for understanding California that we are building as part of the libraries’ Collections Convergence Initiative.”
“When CCNMA's treasurer Joe Rodriguez led the effort to unearth decades of archives that had been sitting in a basement, mostly untouched for years, we discovered a treasure trove of photos, artwork, documents and more representing a vital part of the history of Latino journalists in California," said Laurie Ochoa, CCNMA president and general manager of food coverage and initiatives at the Los Angeles Times. "It was important for us to secure a home for the archives that would help current and future researchers understand the struggles and triumphs of journalism by and about Latinos as it evolved over the years. It's so gratifying that the USC Libraries has provided such a prestigious home for the archives.”
The organization’s records span 45 archival boxes and include correspondence, reports, administrative records, photographs, subject files, clippings, audiovisual material and event programs. These materials are now part of the libraries’ Boeckmann Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies, where they will serve as an essential scholarly resource on Latino journalism advocacy for researchers from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and beyond.
“Preserving these historic archives for education and research is among the most enduring and impactful ways we can increase Latinx representation in the media,” USC Annenberg dean Willow Bay said. “We are proud to have partnered with USC Libraries and CCNMA to bring this important collection to students and faculty as they seek to learn from the past and build a future in which America’s newsrooms reflect the populations they serve.”
Now available for research by appointment, the new collection complements the USC Libraries’ strong existing holdings on Latino journalism. These include the personal papers of the late Los Angeles Times columnist and KMEX news director Ruben Salazar, KCBS and KNBC reporter Bob Navarro, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Times editor Frank Sotomayor.
“The CCNMA archive will provide many new opportunities in instruction, scholarship, and exhibits for students and faculty in various disciplines and programs, and to researchers beyond USC,” said Boeckmann Center librarian Barbara Robinson. “It documents contributions of early groundbreaking journalists of Latino heritage, from Los Angeles and beyond, in print, TV and radio, and preserves their photographs, stories in English or Spanish, and other historic documents.”
As the group’s work continues, CCNMA plans to contribute additional materials to the collection, including digital recordings of the online panel discussions it hosts on current Latino events and issues in the news.
For CCNMA, the acquisition offers an opportunity for members to gather with USC faculty and students at the forefront of scholarship on Latino journalism. It also represents a homecoming for the files. For its first three decades, the organization worked out of offices provided by the USC School of Journalism (which later merged with the USC Annenberg School for Communication), hosted conferences at USC and enjoyed other ties to the university.
Félix Gutiérrez was the group’s first executive director from 1978 to 1980. When he joined the USC School of Journalism faculty in 1979, the school agreed to provide offices and other support for CCNMA—making it the first organization of its kind to be hosted by a university. Gutiérrez, now a professor emeritus of journalism with USC Annenberg, worked with USC librarians and USC life trustee Frank H. Cruz, a CCNMA founder, to bring the organization’s records home to the USC Libraries.
“The CCNMA files contain the first-hand contemporaneous records, photos, and ephemera of a barrier-breaking association of journalists advocating racial and ethnic diversity in the media,” said Gutiérrez. "The presence and coverage of people of color in news media today are legacies of CCNMA and other pioneering organizations.”
Another USC professor with connections to CCNMA is Laura Castañeda. A beneficiary of the organization’s scholarships while in high school and college, Castañeda went on to become a staff writer, editor, and columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, and Associated Press. She now serves as associate dean of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access at USC Annenberg, where she helped secure funding for the acquisition.
For more information about the collection, or to schedule a research appointment, contact USC Libraries Special Collections at firstname.lastname@example.org or (213) 740-5900.