Valley Public Radio has welcomed a new member to the station’s news team – reporter Monica Velez. Monica started out as a print reporter covering health issues in Merced County at the Merced Sun-Star. At Valley Public Radio, she’ll be covering issues from immigration to poverty and health, with a focus on the valley’s rural communities, as well as other news stories.
Earlier in 2018 Monica and her colleague at the Sun-Star won a first place George F. Gruner award for breaking news coverage. She was also awarded with a first place California Newspaper Association award in 2017 for her coverage on the lack of doctors in Merced County and other health access issues. That same year, Monica was also named a California Health Journalism Fellow with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism.
After growing up in the Bay Area, Monica moved to Sacramento where she received a degree in journalism and creative writing from California State University, Sacramento. Monica says her background has fueled her passion for journalism. “As a Latina and a Spanish speaker, I’m passionate about telling stories that touch on issues in Hispanic communities,” says Velez.
“We’re really excited to bring Monica’s voice to our airwaves,” says Joe Moore, Interim President of Valley Public Radio. "She’s a gifted reporter and is going to bring our listeners stories that they otherwise wouldn’t hear, from communities here in the valley that often go overlooked.”