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The Story of Mosaic

A 30-Year Journey 

When Mosaic embarked as a high school journalism workshop focused on Latino students, the prospect of reaching its 30th year seemed unlikely. Co-founder Joe Rodriguez, uncertain about the program's survival after its first year, vividly remembers the moment when the inaugural Mosaic class went home with their newspaper.


"That was one of the proudest mornings of my life," Rodriguez reminisced.


In 1993, Rodriguez, along with journalists Donna Kato, Manny Gonzalez and Rosana Madrigal, established the Mosaic Journalism Workshop during a time when non-white voices were scarce in mainstream news media. Their vision: immerse teens in a two-week whirlwind of real-life reporting experiences.

A Summer Tradition: "Newspaper Boot Camp"

Since then, Mosaic has gathered a diverse mix of teenagers at San Jose State University for a "newspaper boot camp." In a short time, high school students transform into working journalists, navigating interviews, tight deadlines and multiple rounds of editing.


"We wanted to give students the experience of a real newsroom," co-founder Donna Kato said.

Amanda Rivas, now a project manager at KNBC, expresses gratitude for the confidence Mosaic instilled in her: "It helped me in so many ways with confidence. Going out there, cold-calling people — it’s not easy. And to be able to do that when I was 17 was really, really cool."

Journalistic Success Stories

Of the 300 Mosaic alumni, 15 percent have pursued careers in journalism. Alumna Kelly Yamanouchi, from the class of 1995, recalls being inspired by the Mercury News reporters. 


"I want to tell stories that other people will be captivated by," said Yamanouchi, who covers the aviation industry for the Atlanta Journal Constitution.


Marcos Cabrera, a student from the first Mosaic, describes the program as "a game-changer" that gave him the confidence to pursue a journalism career.

"Maybe the rest of the world considers you high school students, but when you’re here, you’re a Mosaic reporter," he said.

The Addition of Mosaic Vision 

With the addition of a school-year program, Mosaic aims to refine the skills of our alumni, provide mentorship and offer support to high school journalism teachers. Venturing into multimedia journalism, including podcasting and videography, we aspire to equip our students with added useful skills and broaden our impact. We aim to initiate journalism programs in underserved areas, replicate our successful model in diverse communities, and become a vital source of community news. Visit this page to explore recent stories crafted by Mosaic Vision students.

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