Voice of OC Publisher Norberto Santana Jr will be recognized this week by the nation’s top news editors for his leadership in training and hiring diverse news leaders. 

Voice of OC Publisher Norberto Santana Jr

“Your unselfish contributions as an investigative reporter, editor, mentor, lecturer and now as editor and publisher of the Voice of Orange County stand out as a journalist who has worked to elevate others and serve his community. You were nominated by your staff, in itself a heartfelt recognition.”  said News Leaders Association President Manny Garcia, who serves as the Executive Editor of the Austin American Statesman newspaper,  in announcing the Robert G McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership

McGruder was a trail blazing African American journalist who spent his career breaking racial barriers and encouraging his industry to do the same. His career prematurely ended in 2002 after a 20-month battle with cancer. He is remembered for his excellence in journalism and his string of  “firsts”: first black editor of  the Daily Kent Stater, first black reporter at The Plain Dealer, first black president of the Associated Press Managing Editors group and first black executive editor of the Detroit Free Press.

“I am honored and humbled to stand alongside Robert G. McGruder, advocating for a fair shot for all kinds of voices in America’s newsrooms,” said Santana. 

Santana is being recognized alongside S. Mitra Kalita, curator of a New York nonprofit newsroom, Epicenter NYC and co-founder of  URL Media, who received the News Leader of the Year award.

The Diversity Leadership Award honors the spirit of McGruder by celebrating news executives that carry on his legacy of ensuring that news leadership jobs include people of color and that a diversity of voices is represented in training, promotion and hiring.

Past award winners include Miami Herald Publisher David Lawrence and Pulitzer Prize winning Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts and Peter Bhatia, editor at the Detroit Free Press.

The News Leaders Association represents the nation’s top editors and publishers. Founded in 1979 the NLA supports all aspects of open government and free speech. 

They are best known for their sponsorship of the annual Sunshine Week activities throughout the country that remind local leaders of the importance of First Amendment rights. 

Santana will be recognized in a virtual ceremony May 20 during their annual convention.

Voice of OC was also recently recognized by Cal State Fullerton University for its commitment to student journalists with the James P Alexander Internship Site of the Year award.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.