Dubroff: Pacific Coast Business Times Takes Civic Duty Seriously

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(Read the full story below or on the Pacific Coast Business Times website)

As a journalist, and a mainstream journalist at that, I’m deeply concerned about the increasing hostility between our profession and the public.

So, in an effort to demonstrate that journalists are also functioning members of society, I’m going to provide an update on the Pacific Coast Business Times and some of its civic efforts.

On June 1, Publisher Linda le Brock joined the Ventura County Community Foundation’s annual scholarship awards program, where families and scholarship winners celebrated the first time that VCCF’s grants topped the $1 million mark.

A small but very satisfying part of the program was the $1,000 Pacific Coast Business Times scholarship given to Thousand Oaks High School senior April Sanchez.

Sanchez, who was selected by the VCCF Scholarship Selection Committee, is a top scholar who is pursuing a career in business. We will be profiling her in our Latino Business Awards special report on June 23 and you’ll get to meet her at our awards reception on July 20 at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach.

The Business Times created the scholarship fund five years ago through the donation of $1,000 in ticket receipts from our inaugural Latino Business Awards reception. With additional fundraising, we’ve put together about $15,000 in our fund and we’ll be able to provide $1,000 scholarships for many years to come.

Civic journalism is not easy. We had to balance reporting tough stories with the desire to see our fledgling scholarship effort succeed when the VCCF went through a major restructuring and a review by the state Attorney General.

But we’re thrilled to see our program launched and VCCF undertaking its biggest scholarship awards day. And our Latino Business Awards this year will honor a number of education leaders from the Tri-Counties, including our “Latino Leadership” honoree, Art Hernandez, vice chair of the Ventura County Community College District.

In just a couple of weeks at a June 22 luncheon at the Topa Tower Club, we’ll be presenting a keynote address by Eduardo Cetlin, CEO of the Amgen Foundation. He’ll be talking about the foundation and its effort to support science, technology, engineering and math education in Ventura County. Cetlin’s keynote will be just one of the highlights of our annual “Champions in Health Care” program. I can’t give all the details but he’ll be talking about the VC Bio Initiative that’s being put together with CSU Channel Islands and other organizations.

Finally, the Business Times has been talking to several organizations about ways to improve the visibility of arts and culture organizations in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

I’ve been encouraged by Business Times Hall of Fame member Sara Miller McCune, and others, to see if there are ways to get area corporations and foundations to support arts and for culture groups to get their message out.

One way for them to provide funding for these organizations is to participate in our annual Giving Guide alongside health care and human services organizations. We’re also looking at ways for our editorial department to quantify the growing role that arts and culture groups play in the regional economy and talk to experts about what that means.

The bottom line is that journalism doesn’t take place in a vacuum, it takes place in the context of a community. In an era of heightened hostility between the press and the public, that’s something that should not get lost or overlooked.

 • Reach Editor Henry Dubroff at hdubroff@pacbiztimes.com.

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