Two new journalists will be joining the Long Beach Post on June 1 as part of a partnership with Report for America, a nonprofit initiative that seeks to help news organizations cover underserved areas.

The journalists, announced today, include:

  • Sebastian Echeverry, a Downey native, who will cover North Long Beach, including its Uptown renaissance. As a student at Cal State Long Beach, Echeverry wrote for the Signal Tribune, interned for NBC4 and Telemundo 52 and last spring helped launch the college’s first Spanish-language magazine. Working with a diverse group of bilingual journalists, he was tasked with designing the magazine and covering North Long Beach. Most recently, he has been at the helm of the Signal Hill publication as managing editor and acting publisher.
  • Crystal Niebla, originally from South Central L.A., will cover West Long Beach, including its port industry and its effects on the community. While studying at Cal State Long Beach, Niebla served as news editor for the student newspaper, the Daily 49er. She has interned for the San Pedro-based Random Lengths News publication and freelanced for the Post. Niebla, who has lived in Long Beach for nearly a decade, currently reports for and mentors young journalists at VoiceWaves, a local youth media program.

Both of these reporters have shown a commitment in covering the community over the years as bilingual multimedia journalists.

They are part of a cohort of 225 reporters placed in 162 newsrooms nationwide starting June 1 following a selective national competition that drew more than 1,800 applications.

The Post was one of two newsrooms in Los Angeles County selected to participate in December.

The yearlong positions are possible through a partnership with The GroundTruth Project’s Report For America initiative, which places corps members in newsrooms throughout the country to report on underserved communities.

Now, more than ever, these reporters provide coverage in cities like ours that have seen local newspapers dwindle in size or shutter completely.

Almost 1,800 newspapers have folded or merged since 2004, leaving the powerful to be unaccounted for and the voice of a community without a platform to be heard.

Using a three-to-one funding match model, Report for America pays for half of the corps member’s salary while the community raises the rest. This approach promotes new models for shared investment in local journalism, increasing the changes of sustaining watchdog community reporting, for the community, by the community.

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