Teams like ours know the geographic location, cultural and historical context of the coverage area better than reporters working for large news companies.

Those of us at BenitoLink have gone to great lengths to gain the trust of readers and we are very grateful for the connection we have with our community. Because we work and live here, we learn important local-type stories from our friends and neighbors. Donating to BenitoLink during this fall fundraiser is another way to show your approval for the public service journalism that our local team produces for the residents of San Benito County.

“Local reporting on local topics” refers to small, hyperlocal reporting teams like ours, who are more familiar with the geographic location, cultural and historical background of the coverage area than reporters working for large media companies. information. Most of BenitoLink’s reporters live in San Benito County and have first-hand knowledge of the community and the people they cover. We are not saying that in the future all of our journalists should reside in the county, but we value those who do so highly. Your donation allows BenitoLink to keep these desirable journalists here in our county and not let their unique knowledge and connections slip away.

Here is the opportunity to get to know three of them better:

Robert Eliason – BenitoLink Reporter / Photographer: features, BL In-Depth and BL Longform articles

“About six and a half years ago, I was approached by South Valley Media and who had admired the photographs I had taken for El Teatro Campesino. I started shooting feature films and sports, in 2015 with a game of lacrosse, which was a challenge. I had never seen lacrosse play before and had no idea what was going on!

I started writing in 2019, when BenitoLink needed to cover a protest march and didn’t have a reporter available. Although I entered reporting through photography, I had taken advanced English classes in high school, followed by four years at UC Berkeley, specializing in Shakespeare and English Renaissance writers. I had also graduated from San Francisco State.

So after the first mission, BenitoLink asked me if I had any other story ideas to share. I just posted my 300th article for BenitoLink and find myself in the odd position of being read regularly and having a low number of subscribers. The idea that the community reacts to the work that I do is extremely satisfying.

Noah Magaña– Content manager and journalist BenitoLink: news, features, BL special reports

Content manager and BenitoLink reporter Noe Magaña playing soccer for SBHS against Gilroy High in 2008. Photo provided.

“I played football throughout my years in high school in San Benito. So I got into journalism because I was interested in sports coverage.

I wouldn’t say my interest changed after going to college and getting a journalism degree, but after that my interests definitely broadened.

Since I joined BenitoLink as an intern four years ago and started reporting, I have learned so much about the county. To start with, I drove on side roads that I didn’t know existed.

I also learned about local government, the issues each jurisdiction faces, and familiarized myself with planning and zoning.

I realized, after being pushed out of my comfort zone, how important it is to empower institutions and how much residents depend on in-depth and reliable news to be informed and involved in their community.

Jenny Mendolla Arbizu- BenitoLink Reporter / Photographer: News / Highlights

“I did not choose to become a journalist; he chose me. And I’m pretty glad that is the case. I knew I wanted to be a writer from an early age. But writer of what, I could never decide …

At the age of 9, I received my first journal as a gift. It was a change of life. Writing has become a daily therapy for me; a place where a child once shy, reserved and thoughtful, then a teenager, could share her day and her trials.

In the 1990s, San Benito High School still had a journalism program.  BenitoLink reporter Jenny Arbizuis is pictured here fourth from left in the top row.  Photo provided.
In the 1990s, San Benito High School still had a strong journalism program. BenitoLink reporter Jenny Mendolla Arbizu is pictured here fourth from left in the top row. Photo provided.

During my junior and senior years of high school, I was on the directory and newspaper staff. “The Baler” was my first taste of being in a newsroom. Sharing thoughts, opinions and ideas on the mainframe tables has been a glorious experience.

I obtained my teaching diploma and my master’s degree in elementary education. Turns out… I loved learning the art of teaching, but the act itself? Not really. I love children, but the many facets of teaching were too many for me.

As I took time off work to be home with my young son, a friend told me that a local newspaper was looking for freelance writers. This is how it all started. My interest grew by regularly writing cover articles.

Now I am part of the BenitoLink reporting team. We talk about what’s going on in San Benito County every week. Not the neighboring counties; San Benito County.

Meaty news becomes even more urgent to post when you know it’s affecting a friend or your community. When downtown Hollister was vandalized and flower baskets smashed, I ran downtown as quickly as I could to find out what had happened and let my community know. It was as important to me as I knew it would be to others.

I am local. We are local. Our office is in downtown Hollister. BenitoLink loves San Benito County because we are also part of San Benito County.

Our reporters, involved and familiar with the county, are a very valuable asset to BenitoLink. Support our local and committed journalists by donate to BenitoLink and take advantage of our incredible $ 40,000 Matching Opportunity. This support from San Benito residents Randy and Rebecca Wolf, Sallie Calhoun and Matt Christiano and the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) means we can double your donation until December 31st. Don’t miss your chance to keep this team engaged for you.