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Community-Based Policy Approaches to Sustaining and Strengthening Local and Ethnic Media

Join California Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Working Group and PEN America Los Angeles for a panel conversation on community-based media policy solutions for supporting local and ethnic media.

California has lost a quarter of its newspapers and half its newsroom staff in the last 15 years, with news deserts emerging around the state. The loss of local and ethnic media outlets has left a void—a void that has quickly filled with online disinformation targeting and exploiting our communities. Without accurate, independent news and information at the local level, communities cannot hold local governments accountable and our democracy cannot thrive. 

In collaboration with the California Media & Democracy Working Group, California Common Cause and PEN America invite you to join this timely conversation about strategies for community-based policy models that could help rebuild and sustain a robust news information ecosystem in California. 

Featuring Brittney Barsotti of California News Publishers Association, Darlie Gervais of Center of Community Media, Simon Galperin of Bloomfield Information Project, Joaquin Uy of City of Seattle’s Ethnic Media Program, and Arturo Carmona of Latino Media Collaborative. The panel will be moderated by Hannah Waltz, PEN America’s U.S. Free Expression Programs coordinator and will be welcomed by Maya Chupkov, the Media & Democracy Program Manager at California Common Cause. 




Brittney Barsotti serves as the general counsel for the California News Publishers Association. Brittney attended San Francisco State University, where she graduated Cum Laude from with a degree in Journalism. She received the Torri Minton Feature Writer Scholarship, named after the award-winning San Francisco Chronicle journalist. Barsotti won first prize for news features from the Journalism Association of Community Colleges while attending Las Positas College in Livermore. She also interned at KTVU Channel 2 News in Oakland.

At Center for Community Media, Darlie Gervais is the advertising spending coordinator, where she serves as a resource for community outlets in New York City on receiving advertising from the City’s agencies. Darlie is a former journalist and communications and media manager with a global perspective and has extensive experience in women and gender issues. After a career in TV and radio in Haiti, she moved to the United States and helped launch the Haitian Times, one of the oldest New York-based English-language publications serving the Haitian diaspora.

Simon Galperin is the founding director of the Bloomfield Information Project and of the Community Info Coop. Simon is a journalist, technologist, and organizer working in media and policy to strengthen democracy. As a Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellow, Simon launched and continues to run the organization’s Info Districts Project to establish special improvement districts as a model for funding local news and information now with partnerships in New Jersey, Colorado, Massachusetts, California, Brazil, and the UK. Through the organization’s award-winning public service journalism lab, the Bloomfield Information Project, Simon puts theory into practice, building a community-run news service to serve Essex County, New Jersey’s working-class, and communities of color.

Joaquin Uy was born in Manila, Philippines and immigrated to Cleveland, Ohio in 1981 and has lived in Seattle for over 23 years. As the External Affairs Manager and Policy Advisor, he works across departments to help staff integrate effective immigrant- and refugee-focused strategies into communications, outreach, and engagement workplans. His position in the City also includes advocating for immigrant communities regarding policy decisions and long-term planning. Previously, he served as the News and Public Affairs Director at Community Radio KBCS 91.3 FM and Communications Specialist for the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. 

For nearly two decades, Arturo Carmona used his leadership and experience to bring people together on important challenges impacting communities across the nation. Arturo has emerged as a communications expert, public spokesperson, political strategist, policy analyst, and community organizer with an established expertise in the evolving political, cultural, and demographic trends in the US. He is recognized as a change agent, strategic communicator, community leader, and coalition builder. He represents the Latino Media Collaborative and La Opinion.




Hannah Waltz is the U.S. Free Expression Programs coordinator at PEN America. Previously, she was the media literacy training coordinator at PEN America, supporting the initiative “Knowing the News,” a nationwide media training program.

Maya Chupkov is the Media & Democracy Program Manager at California Common Cause. Previously, Maya served as the Director of Communications at the CPUC’s Public Advocates Office and the Council of Community Housing Organizations (CCHO). Her work at CCHO included San Francisco’s passage of the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act, a win that will help keep families in their homes for generations. She serves on the Board of Directors for the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA). In her free time, she is the host of the “Proud Stutter” podcast.