2019 CatchLight Local Fellows: Three visual storytellers examining economic inequality in the Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO—CatchLight, in partnership with the GroundTruth Project, announces today the inaugural CatchLight Local Fellows: Felix Uribe, Yesica Prado, and Sebastián Hidalgo.

Each CatchLight Local Fellow will receive a $15,000 grant and be paired with a CatchLight Local newsroom partner — The Salinas Californian, Bay City News Foundation, and the San Francisco Public Press. Drawing from best practices in creative placemaking and visual journalism, each Fellow will work on a three-month project focusing on economic inequality in the Bay Area. In addition to the stipend, each Fellow will receive personalized project development with distribution and community engagement support from CatchLight, The GroundTruth Project, and their local newsroom partner.

“Social progress starts with cultural shifts and cultural shifts start with well told stories. CatchLight Local brings together visual storytellers, communities and newsrooms to build stories that help us understand what economic opportunity and prosperity for all people could really look like in the Bay Area,” says CatchLight CEO Elodie Mailliet Storm. 

One-third of residents in the Bay Area — nearly 2 million people — struggle to make ends meet. According to a study conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area by the Brookings Institution, families on the high end of the income spectrum earn 11 times more than families on the low end — making it the third most unequal region in the U.S. 

In its first year CatchLight Local has ambitious goals. In responding to the significant decline of visual storytelling at the community level, CatchLight Local aims to create dialogue and build trust between local newsrooms and the communities they serve, share underrepresented perspectives through a solutions lens storytelling approach, ultimately leveraging the power of visual storytelling to deepen the understanding communities have of issues that affect them directly and reinforce their trust in media. 

“GroundTruth is proud to partner with CatchLight on this important initiative, and is incredibly impressed by the caliber of the Fellows and their newsrooms,” said GroundTruth co-founder and executive editor Kevin Grant. “We know the work will be of excellent quality, and most importantly, will serve community members in powerful ways.”

2019 CatchLight Local Fellow Projects

Kids play at a block party in Bayview-Hunter’s Point, San Francisco. (Felix Uribe)

Kids play at a block party in Bayview-Hunter’s Point, San Francisco. (Felix Uribe)

Felix Uribe is a San-Francisco based documentary photographer passionate about life’s “in-between moments”, his work displays a sensitivity for true human authenticity and uniquely beautiful aesthetics. 

In a collaborative project with Bay City News Foundation, Felix will be exploring different communities to shed light on their triumphs, hardships, and joys in the Bay Area. Felix will use his introspective storytelling to illuminate the people behind the issues and headlines. Through photojournalism and audio, he will show the microcosms that are rampant in different Bay Area communities including wealth disparities, inequity, and increased cost of living. | Instagram: @felixjr1

For a rear parking lot, the traffic is ongoing all night. It never stops. The Hs Lordships parking lot is a popular spot to come race and make car donuts. (Yesica Prado)

For a rear parking lot, the traffic is ongoing all night. It never stops. The Hs Lordships parking lot is a popular spot to come race and make car donuts. (Yesica Prado)

Yesica Prado is a multimedia journalist based in Berkeley, CA. With the support of the San Francisco Public Press, Yesica will document and analyze how local governments throughout the Bay Area are crafting regulations on vehicular living. As someone who lives in her vehicle, and with editing and management from the San Francisco Public Press, Yesica understands these political and cultural dynamics, and will be documenting them in multiple video- and photo-driven news stories. | Instagram: @yprado13

A child is taken by the current of a street filled with water during a hot summer day in Pilsen. A few fire hydrants in a block radius are usually opened by the neighborhoods gang members, after, children and families call gather to take advantage of the cool water. (Sebastián Hidalgo)

A child is taken by the current of a street filled with water during a hot summer day in Pilsen. A few fire hydrants in a block radius are usually opened by the neighborhoods gang members, after, children and families call gather to take advantage of the cool water. (Sebastián Hidalgo)

Sebastián Hidalgo is an award-winning visual journalist and digital producer who uses photography to engage and explore today’s social and humanitarian issues affecting communities of color. Working with The Salinas Californian, Hidalgo will examine the housing landscape in Salinas, which is the fifth least affordable place to live in the country. He’ll focus on the social, cultural, and political elements that go into maintaining a sense of “home” in the midst of a housing crisis. | Instagram: @sebastianhidalgo_photo 

Follow along CatchLight’s Instagram to watch these projects unfold in real time over the course of the next three months.

In addition to the selected 2019 CatchLight Local Fellows, CatchLight would like to give Honorable Mentions to the finalists. Click here to learn more about each finalist and their projects.

  • David Rodriguez Munoz

  • Manny Crisostomo

  • Salgu Wissmath 

  • Adrian Burrell

  • Matthew O'Brien

  • Deanne Fitzmaurice

  • Nathan Weyland

  • Lacy Atkins 

Media Partners

The Salinas Californian 
The Salinas Californian has served Salinas Valley readers for 148 years and is the oldest continuously published newspaper in California. It publishes online daily and in print three days a week: Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The editorial staff includes one editor, four news reporters and one sports reporter. The Salinas Californian also produces the Spanish-language weekly El Sol de Salinas. www.thecalifornian.com

Bay City News Foundation
Bay City News Foundation is backed by charitable donations from contributors who care about local news, a free press, democratic values and an informed citizenry. They target geographic and topical news deserts, collaborate with other media, experiment with technology and work with journalism schools to train the next generation. You can see the beginnings of their work on their ad-free site, LocalNewsMatters.org and follow them on Twitter @BayNewsMatters.

San Francisco Public Press
The San Francisco Public Press is a local nonprofit, noncommercial news organization that does for print and web journalism what public broadcasting has done for radio and television. Through our website and quarterly newspaper, and partnerships with other public media and civic groups, we report on local issues including environment, education, housing, homelessness, labor and elections, and frequently host public events. Since 2009 we have established a reputation in the community for producing high-impact in-depth reporting projects on a wide range of topics, explaining complex local policy issues in an accessible way, investigating problems and reporting on ideas for tangible solutions. https://sfpublicpress.org/


About The GroundTruth Project
The GroundTruth Project is a Boston-based, independent, non-partisan, non-profit news organization dedicated to supporting the next generation of journalists in the US and around the world. In the last five years, GroundTruth has supported more than 200 reporting fellowships as far away as Myanmar, Egypt and Somalia and as close to home as Kentucky, Minnesota and Montana. Our newest initiative, Report for America, seeks to address a crisis in local journalism in the United States that has become a crisis for our democracy. www.thegroundtruthproject.org/

CatchLight Local is an initiative established in partnership with The GroundTruth Project and made possible by the support from The Kresge Foundation, The Neda Nobari Foundation, and the LSP Family Foundation.