Invest in young journalists

Cristal MIranda

My name is Cristal Miranda.

I’m a first-generation Mexican American Chicana, a mom, a wife, and I love hiking.

I graduated from San Diego City College with an Associate in Sciene (AS) in Radio and completed two certificates, one in News Production and the other in Performance.

I had a dream about working in radio, and that dream came true. I worked for iHeart radio as a board operator for about two years and loved every minute of it. My confidence grew, and I learned A LOT about myself during this discovery process.

The picture above was taken right before I went live for the first time on my college radio show. I was shaky and nervous and had so much support! I loved that the Meet the Artist podcast connected artists with other people through conversation with the audience.

In my spare time, I book, host, produce, interview, edit, and post my own podcast called MC3_SD. I interview San Diego locals- artists, and creatives and search out community stories that make San Diego the eclectic city it is! There are MANY stories to tell, so much love to shine on people by giving them an opportunity to open up and flourish.

I recently was hired at Fox 5 San Diego as a Studio Technician, and this Fall, I will study at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) under the Media Communications-Production program.

My hope in my new role at Fox is to bring diversity, demonstrate Latino/a strength (perseverance), knowledge, and culture. I want to bring ideas that will hopefully change others’ perspectives. I want to showcase what it is to be a hard worker with integrity, experience, and a smile.

School wasn’t an essential part of growing up when I was young. I mean, if I got “C’s” and passed, my mother wasn’t too worried about the state of my educated health. Before I knew it, here it was senior year. When I passed Creative Writing with my first A, I genuinely started to cry. Channeling my creative side became my strong suit.

When entering City College, I met many mentors who helped me tremendously, above and beyond. One of those essential people who guided me was Laura Castaneda.

Hugo Balta presents Cristal with the HZF Scholarship

Laura encouraged me to seek out scholarships that would help me financially on my path to completing schooling. To that end, she introduced me to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ). The organization is a strong platform for networking with many professionals who are willing to answer the questions of aspiring journalists coming into the field. It felt like home to me.

Through the NAHJ San Diego/Tijuana professional chapter, I became aware of the Hortencia Zavala Foundation scholarship. And thanks to the award I received in 2018, I was able to purchase a laptop and complete online schooling. Winning the HZF scholarship gave me a boost to keep going! Even to the point of being accepted to my dream University. Scholarships like HZF provide young people like me, with the start we need to succeed.

I know there’s much more to learn, and I am humbled by the opportunities already given to me. I encourage others to invest in young journalists like myself by supporting organizations like HZF.

Hortencia Zavala

The Hortencia Zavala Foundation (HZF), established in 2016, is in honor of Hugo Balta’s maternal grandmother. A non-profit organization, HZF has collaborated with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) in awarding scholarships to 10 students.

Please consider making an investment in the future of journalism by making a donation to HZF via PayPal:, GoFundMe:, or Zelle under

Hugo Balta is the founder of HZF, twice national president of NAHJ, and owner/publisher of New Hampshire Latino News, part of the Latino News Network.

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