By Oni Advincula
Jersey City – The Center for Cooperative Media congratulates one of its COVID-19 Reporting Fellows, Don Tagala, who was awarded the prestigious New York Press Club Awards for Journalism for 2021.
Tagala, a senior reporter for the Filipino American television network ABS-CBN News based in New Jersey, won the “Community Coverage Award” for his story on the Filipino front-line nurses and healthcare workers who put their own lives, as well as the lives of their family members who live with them, at risk during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Covering the Filipino community during the early part of the pandemic was tough because, at that time, we didn’t know a whole lot about the virus, how it’s transmitted, who gets infected, who dies and who lives,” Tagala said.
The winning piece, “Filipino ‘superheroes’ at the front lines wear scrubs, not capes,” which featured a dozen of Filipino doctors and nurses, was produced as part of the Center for Cooperative Media’s first COVID-19 reporting fellowship for ethnic and community media in New Jersey.
Tagala, along with 15 other reporting fellows, participated in the Center’s reporting workshops and briefings and received a grant to carry out his fellowship project.
Stories that are rooted in the heart of immigrant communities, he said, are rarely “on the radar of the mainstream press,” and it’s important for ethnic and community news outlets to expand the visibility of these stories and bring them to a larger audience.
“Thanks to the Center for Cooperative Media,” Tagala added. “The fellowship inspired me to dig deeper into the story of Filipino American healthcare ‘superheroes.’ The fellowship allowed me to pursue a story that, even under normal circumstances, I would have not been able to do due to limited time and resources.”
The Center just announced last week the new recipients of its third COVID-19 reporting fellowship for ethnic and community media, covering various community issues in New Jersey.
About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a primarily grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism and support an informed society in New Jersey and beyond. The Center is supported with general operational funding from Montclair State University, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, the New Jersey Local News Lab (a partnership of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, and Community Foundation of New Jersey), and the Abrams Foundation. For more information, visit CenterforCooperativeMedia.org.#