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. He is also an educator and cohost of The Visual Desk—a bi-weekly editorial support group for freelance visual journalists interested in a more inclusive approach to serving communities they engage in.

Hidalgo comes from a hyper-local and civic journalism background, having freelanced for more than four years in underrepresented neighborhoods in Chicago, and has also completed two City Bureau fellowship cycles. He has covered a range of stories including the social and cultural effects of gentrification/displacement in a Mexican-American neighborhood for longtime residents, high property taxes in American suburbs, Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” pilot program, and the mental toll of wrongful convictions. 

Hidalgo believes in shared power with community members by growing in conjunction with the people who are in front of the camera, as a witness, a bridge and, in some cases, as a collaborator.

I will collaborate with community members, organizations and the Salinas Californian to build a more inclusive approach to my visual storytelling, and create a toolkit for reporting engagement that will live beyond my time as a fellow.

Project Proposal | A Sense of Home

Home is a foundation of the human experience. It’s where families gather to share stories, and where children learn to grow into themselves, learn who they are, and what skill sets that they will, in turn, contribute to the world around them. In Salinas, California –– the fifth least affordable place to live in the country –– “home” is threatened by overcrowded housing conditions. The project will examine the housing landscape in Salinas. It will focus on the social, cultural, and political elements that go into maintaining a sense of “home” in the midst of a housing crisis.


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, three news reporters and one sports reporter. The Salinas Californian also produces two weekly publications, the Spanish-language El Sol as well as Off 68, which serves the Highway 68 corridor.

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