Friday, January 16, 2015

Working with award-winning journalist pays off

When Mutual Housing California broke ground on their latest development, Stephen Magagnini, an award-winning journalist from The Sacramento Bee, had questions about the farmworker housing.  

We gladly answered the questions about the need for housing, the funding, the documentation of legal status and more.

But, we also needed a story: “Tell me a story; tell me a story that moves me,” the reporter said.

Luckily for the story, Vanessa Guerra, the engineer who oversees construction for the nonprofit builder, had worked in the fields as a child and had grown up in a rat-infested house on an abandoned ranch.

It was a great story that would make a great article, but we still needed a hook, something newsworthy that would make it relevant now.

When construction was nearly complete and people could apply to live there, we had everything—except for one last piece: someone who worked the fields and was applying for the housing at Spring Lake.  

Once we found applicants, the reporter went to see the community and to interview Guerra, Mutual Housing’s CEO, Rachel Iskow and three applicants.

More than a year after we started, we got a front page Our Region story in the Sacramento Bee, ,on the plight of farm workers and the success of one young woman who was able to make a better life for herself—and for others.   

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