Published March 28th, 2022 at 2:30 PM
Kansas City PBS is excited to announce that Vicky Diaz-Camacho, community reporter for Flatland, has been selected for the Institute for Citizens & Scholars’ 2022 Higher Education Media Fellowship, supported by ECMC Foundation. Diaz-Camacho is one of 13 outstanding journalists representing a variety of outlets, regions, media and interests that comprise the fifth class of reporters.
In the wider announcement, the Institute for Citizens & Scholars explains the “Higher Education Media Fellowship aims to increase the number of journalists equipped with tools and networks to provide more comprehensive coverage of postsecondary education, particularly career and technical education (CTE).
Each ECMC Foundation Fellow receives an award of $10,000—a $5,000 stipend and $5,000 to support a special CTE reporting project. Fellows will attend an in-person symposium this spring focused on topics related to postsecondary CTE and professional development. Following the symposium, Fellows will complete a CTE reporting project, such as a special report or series.
Diaz-Camacho serves as community reporter and curiousKC series editor, for Flatland, the digital journalism arm of Kansas City PBS. She is also co-host and creator of The Filter podcast. Raised in El Paso, Texas, a border city in the Southwest, Vicky’s Mexican and Puerto Rican roots inform much of her reporting, which has a major focus on culture, race and health.
Before joining Kansas City PBS, she interned at NPR and worked as a Kansas City Business Journal data journalist. She graduated from the University of Kansas School of Journalism with an emphasis on news and editing and is a proud University Daily Kansan alumna.
“As a young student in Texas, my access to quality education was slim. … Today I see gaps in my knowledge and how poor instruction can impact a student’s success later in life,” according to Diaz-Camacho’s application.
Upon graduating high school in Texas, she worked various retail jobs and didn’t apply to university until she was 23 years old. She cited a lack of support networks in her childhood education setting that could have better prepared her for higher education.
“This fuels my desire to research and report on education …. Even though I was able to sludge through college, it was difficult and cost me time and money,” Diaz-Camacho wrote. “So, using my personal experience and empathy for students whose futures are at the mercy of what districts, administrators and leaders prioritize, I’d like to examine those structures to see what local policymakers are doing to ensure everyone is set up for success.”
The goal of the fellowship is, according to a release, “to build tools and networks for more comprehensive coverage of postsecondary career and technical education.”
“As we navigate a rapidly evolving economy, quality reporting on CTE will be crucial to understanding the full picture on preparing workers for the future,” said Jennifer Zeisler, Career Readiness Senior Director, ECMC Foundation in a release.
Diaz-Camacho will produce a series of stories or one large special project that will be published on www.flatlandkc.org and may appear on Kansas City PBS TV channels. The timeline for this project will span six months.
“My goal is to take a solutions journalism approach by examining what has been done, what education quality (in terms of postsecondary preparation) looks like metro-wide, and what small grassroots education organizations are doing to move the needle forward,” she said in her application.