Meet Report for America corps member Melissa Montalvo

Report for America is currently accepting corps member applications through Jan. 31. To help prospective Report for America corps members better understand what it’s like to be part of our corps, we’ve asked members of our current cohort to share what their experience has been like. Today, we spoke with Melissa Montalvo, of The Fresno Bee, who says if you’re thinking about applying, “go for it.”

Being a Report for America corps member has completely transformed my career. I applied to Report for America with the intention of initiating a career change. In the past, I worked in nonprofits and the entrepreneurial space, but they never felt like the right fit. So, I started to do some freelance writing and to take a few journalism courses, which only confirmed that I was interested in making this change. Report for America gave me my first newsroom job and additional support and training to be able to succeed in the role.

I’ve only just completed six months, and I’m really looking forward to deepening the coverage of my beat now that I’m adjusted to the city and the newsroom.

I feel very lucky to be working for one of the most important newspapers in California and to be in a region that could use much more oversight. Starting a new job and new career during the pandemic has been strange, but The Fresno Bee made it easy for me by both making me feel like a part of the team but also respecting my corps member duties.

Some of the most rewarding aspects of my work include being part of a team of reporters that strive to serve their community and hold the powerful accountable. And I hope to continue to do more accountability stories in the new year. The Central Valley is home to one of the most wealthy industries, agriculture, yet some of the highest rates of concentrated poverty in the nation. I’m thankful to be on The California Divide project that explores these inequalities.

To anyone thinking about applying to Report for America, go for it. You’ll gain access to a network, mentorship, and a chance to grow your career. The benefits reflect the effort you put into it — so take advantage of all the stellar trainings and webinars and resources that Report for America makes available to you. Make sure to put in the effort to get to know your colleagues to read from reporting to make connections far and wide because you are not alone- everyone wants to see you succeed.

Revisit some of Melissa’s work as a Report for America corps member below:

Reminder: Report for America is currently accepting applications for open corps member positions. The deadline to submit a complete application is Jan. 31.  Apply today! Interested in learning more? Join us for an upcoming information session (Jan. 13, 2 p.m. ET), browse open beats, and learn more about the benefits of becoming a corps member.

We expect to receive well over 2,000 applications for our newsroom openings this year—for 150 open positions. We want to read yours now. If you have questions, contact us at [email protected].

About Report for America

Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities. Launched in 2017, Report for America is creating a new, sustainable system that provides Americans with the information they need to improve their communities, hold powerful institutions accountable, and rebuild trust in the media. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization with an established track record of training and supporting teams of emerging journalists around the world, including the recent launch of Report for the World in partnership with local newsrooms in India, Nigeria and Brazil.