Photo: Lucio Villa

“I’d rather write than burn.” – Tasha Keeble

My name is Joanna, but I go by Joa. I’m a bilingual freelance journalist, poet and hopeless romantic. Born and raised in Southern California and in my beloved Zacatecas, México.

You can find my written work, mostly in español, in La Opinión, Excélsior California, El Nuevo Sol, The Sundial and in the San Diego U-T’s Spanish edition. I focus primarily on immigration, gentrification and gender issues that affect the Latinx community of Southern California.

Upon graduating with my MA in Social Innovation from the University of San Diego in 2019, I started teaching at Fullerton College. There I guide students in obtaining their Spanish Language Media Certificate, teaching courses in beginning and advanced levels of reporting for Spanish-language news outlets. Because my graduate research focused heavily on race and gender parity in newsrooms, my students get to learn a little bit more –sometimes for the first time- about the much needed work to further diversify our newsrooms.

Call me old-fashioned: I strongly believe in the journalistic written word and how it can be a driving force for change. However, this can only be achieved when the person telling the story is able to genuinely understand and portray the individuals and communities whose stories are being told.

Click here to learn more about diversity in US newsrooms.

I previously served on the board of the local San Diego-Tijuana NAHJ Chapter as treasurer, where we looked to empower Latinx students who are hopeful in making an impact in this ever-evolving and struggling industry. Young journalists of color, such as the ones we serve, and the many obstacles they face in order to obtain full time and well-paid employment post college were a key part of my research at USD.

I’ve worked as a digital editor and reporter for La Opinión/impreMedia in Los Ángeles, where I also trained and mentored interns. I served as the Editor-in-Chief at El Nuevo Sol, the bilingual student blog at Cal State Northridge, where I also obtained my Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. I’ve produced documentaries ranging from Afro-Mexicans, Mexican refugees and hospice care in the Latino community. And, I’m a tad obsessed with infographics. Just a tad.

I am a proud member of the following organizations and networks:

  • NAHJ (Los Angeles Chapter)
  • Journalism and Women Symposium
  • Online News Association
  • Solutions Journalism Network
  • Latinas in Journalism
  • LIJ Mentorship Program
  • Chicas Poderosas
  • Mujeres Editoras

When I’m not writing or researching for my next story, I’m curled up on my couch with pen and notebook in hand writing my first book: an ode to mi mamá. I read everything and anything and allow my mother to spoil me with her mole and non-stop blessings.

Have a story idea? Contact me