Farewell from the Managing Editor

Lissette Mendoza

As a Latina woman taking on a leadership role in a formerly white-dominated newsroom in 2020, I knew I was in for an uphill battle, but I wasn’t aware of how steep that hill would be.

For the sake of preserving my mental health, I decided to resign.

This is not the first time I experienced racial prejudice in the journalism industry. It is also evident in educational institutions such as Cal State Long Beach. This past week students of color from the Journalism and Public Relations department at CSULB penned a ‘JPR Students for Change’ letter addressing the historical and present racism at the student-run news organization, the Forty-Niner.

Journalism programs are rife with white educators who are unable or unwilling to empathize with students of color, even on campuses where they make up the vast majority of the student body.

 The same is true of Long Beach newsrooms.

Why are newsrooms in Long Beach not reflective of the diverse community they cover or take money from? Where are the Black journalists? Asian journalists? Indigenous journalists?

Where are the people of color in leadership roles? Where are the women of color in leadership roles? 

There’s a very ugly side of the media industry that one is not taught or prepared to face in journalism school. Your journalistic values could be questioned in order to capitalize on the community you grew up with and love. 

To my fellow journalists of color, stand your ground. Your concerns of gaslighting, racism, sexism, being overworked and underpaid are valid. I implore you to prioritize yourself as no job is worth costing you your mental health.

When I published my inaugurating ‘Thoughts from the Managing Editor’ in May of 2020, I stated some of my goals for the Signal Tribune under my leadership as follows: 

“The Tribune is here to support the community, education, small local businesses, mom and pop shops and diversity.”

I feel proud that we were able to accomplish that.

I want to thank the amazing editorial team of women that I had the opportunity to work with and learn from during this turbulent year: Kristen F. Naeem, Karla M. Enriquez, Emma DiMaggio, Anita W. Harris and Xochilt Andrade. I would not have been able to have made it this far if it wasn’t for the support from all of you.

I want to thank the men who were in my position when I arrived and kept teaching me until they departed for their own fulfilling ventures: Sebastian Echeverry, Denny Cristales and Cory Bilicko.

I want to thank Cory Bilicko, Neena Strichart and Jimmy Eleopoulos for taking a chance on me and allowing me the opportunity to work at the Tribune for the past two years.

But most importantly I want to thank you, the community, for allowing us to tell your stories.

The past few weeks before coming to my decision of departing this publication have been a whirlwind of emotions. 

Sadness because this is not the way I wanted to leave. Anxiety from not knowing what’s next to come. Excitement for the freedom that awaits me after submitting this final piece. Joy for the future of the Tribune

I will continue to fight against white supremacy and sexism within the media industry but also in day-to-day life and uplift our underserved communities of color as I always have.

I look forward to being able to finally take a break, spend time with my loved ones, and figure out what my next venture is. 

Until we meet again, 

Lissette Mendoza-Tapia

To stay in touch, find Lissette at @LMendozaWriter on Twitter.


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