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Vicente Calderón
Vicente Calderón, photo credit: San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists

Mexican journalist awarded by Society of Professional Journalists

Vicente Calderón has been awarded “Journalist of the Year” for his work in the San Diego-Tijuana region and mentorship of Mexican and American journalists.

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The San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists have chosen journalist and Tijuana Press editor, Vicente Calderón, as their 2022 “Journalist of the Year.”

The Society of Professional Journalists was founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi and it is now the nation's most broad-based journalistic association, with approximately 7,000 members nationwide. It is dedicated to the perpetuation of the free press, the creation of an environment where journalism can be practiced freely and fully, and to foster excellence and diversity among journalists.

The Society is recognizing Calderón for his journalistic work on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border, his assistance to San Diego journalists covering the border region, and bravery for continuing his work in the wake of the slaying of two journalists in Tijuana last January, marking 12 total across Mexico this year. 

Other difficulties faced by Mexican journalists include low pay, pressures to avoid reporting on certain stories, and threats to their personal safety.

Calderón has 37 years of experience in reporting on events in and around Tijuana, where he was born. He has focused on the San Diego-Tijuana region, covering a multitude of topics impacting the area from politics to environmental effects. 

The news portal, Tijuana Press, was the city’s first online news source.

His knowledge of the region and its internal complexities has let him apply his knowledge in many cases. For years, Calderón has helped journalists in San Diego by spending time sharing his expertise with them, occasionally working with them to write stories that delve deeper into the region's politics.

One such collaboration is with Voice of San Diego’s MacKenzie Elmer to focus on the environmental impacts of the Tijuana river. Many journalists have found his insights and efforts to be invaluable.

Scott Lewis, CEO and editor of Voice of San Diego, spoke about Calderón’s collaborations. 

“Vicente has been a bridge between San Diego and Tijuana’s journalism communities for so many years,” he said. 

“He has always been there for me and my staff when we need to make a connection or pull off a story with implications for both sides of the border,” Lewis continued. “I cannot fathom how many fewer things we would know without him.”

Kelly Davis, president of the SPJ San Diego Pro Chapter Board of Directors, also spoke about his work and the significance of understanding the difference in press freedoms between San Diego and Tijuana.

“We wanted to acknowledge how important it is to keep that in mind and do whatever we can to support Vicente and his colleagues,” she said.

Wendy Fry, a journalist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, made a comment about his support of other journalists. 

“He’s a leader in responsibly and ethically pushing authorities for answers and justice. He also generously takes time out of running his own news site to mentor colleagues and help explain Mexico’s realities to San Diego journalists because he genuinely cares about the border region being covered accurately and responsibly,” said Fry.

Calderón has worked with CBS News, ITN of England, Al Jazeera of America, served as correspondent with Milenio TV, and as a guest contributor with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Previous “Journalist of the Year” award winners include Paul Sisson (San Diego Union-Tribune) in 2021, Claire Trageser (KPBS) in 2020, Jean Guerrero (formerly KPBS, now Los Angeles Times) in 2019, and Andy Keatts (Voice of San Diego) in 2018.

He will be celebrated at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Liberty Station on July 21.

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