2018 Founders Celebration Alumni Journalists Panel

  • Alumni Journalists Panel

    Martha MendozaMartha Mendoza (Kresge ’88, journalism and education)

    Associated Press correspondent and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner

    Writing wrongs

    Martha Mendoza is a correspondent for the Associated Press, focusing on technology, breaking news, enterprise and investigative reporting from Silicon Valley. Her investigative reports have won numerous awards and prompted Congressional hearings, Pentagon investigations, and White House responses. She is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize: in 2000, for Investigative Reporting as part of a team that revealed, with extensive documentation, how American soldiers early in the Korean War killed hundreds of civilians at the No Gun Ri Bridge; and in 2016, the Gold Medal for Public Service as part of a team that exposed slavery in the Thai seafood industry. She also received the Science-in-Society Award from the National Association of Science Writers in 2010 for a series that examined the threat of global drug-resistant infectious diseases on four continents.

    She was a 2001 Knight Fellow at Stanford University and a 2007 Ferris Professor of Humanities at Princeton University, and she was the 2002 UC Santa Cruz Alumni Achievement Award winner. She is a senior fellow at the Institute for Justice and Journalism, where she trains reporters about researching digital data and how to use public records. She also teaches in the graduate UC Santa Cruz Science Communication Program.


    Carrie KahnCarrie Kahn (College Eight/Rachel Carson College ’87, biology)

    NPR Latin America correspondent

    Southern exposure

    Carrie Kahn is NPR's international correspondent based in Mexico City, Mexico. She covers Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Kahn's reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning news programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.

    Prior to her post in Mexico, Kahn had been a national correspondent based in Los Angeles since joining NPR in 2003. During that time Kahn often reported on and from Mexico, most recently covering the country's presidential election in 2012. She was the first NPR reporter into Haiti after the devastating earthquake in early 2010, and returned to the country six times in the two years after to detail recovery and relief efforts, and the political climate.

    Her work included assignments throughout California and the West. In 2010 Kahn was awarded the Headliner Award for Best in Show and Best Investigative Story for her work covering U.S. informants involved in the Mexican drug war. In 2005, Kahn was part of NPR's extensive coverage of Hurricane Katrina, where she investigated claims of euthanasia in New Orleans hospitals, recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast, and resettlement of city residents in Houston. She has since covered her share of hurricanes, as well as fire storms and mudslides in Southern California and the controversial life and death of pop icon Michael Jackson. In 2008, as China hosted the world's athletes, Kahn recorded a remembrance of her Jewish grandfather and his decision to compete in Hitler's 1936 Olympics.

    Before coming to NPR, Kahn worked for two-and-a-half years at NPR station KQED in San Francisco, first as an editor and then as a general assignment reporter with a focus on immigration reporting. From 1994 to 2001, Kahn was the border and community affairs reporter at NPR station KPBS in San Diego, where she covered Northern Mexico, immigration, cross-border issues, and the city's ethnic communities.

    While at KPBS, Kahn received numerous awards, including back-to-back Sol Price Awards for Responsible Journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists. She won the California/Nevada Associated Press award for Best News Feature, eight Golden Mike Awards from the Radio & TV News Association of Southern California, and numerous prizes from the San Diego Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists of San Diego. She was also awarded three consecutive La Pluma Awards from the California Chicano News Media Association.

    Prior to joining KPBS, Kahn worked for NPR station KUSP and published a bilingual community newspaper in Santa Cruz.

    Kahn is frequently called upon to lecture or discuss border issues and binational journalism. Her work has been cited for fairness and balance by the Poynter Institute of Media Studies. She was awarded and completed a Pew Fellowship in International Journalism at Johns Hopkins University.


    Mike McPhateMike McPhate (Kresge ‘00, anthropology major, journalism minor)

    Mike McPhate is the founder of the California Sun, a daily newsletter that curates general interest news about California. Last year, he left the New York Times, where he was writing the popular California Today newsletter, to start the Sun, which has since grown to an audience of more than 15,000 readers. The newsletter operates as a sort of discovery engine for both hard news and stories that inspire wonder—often drawn from California’s history. It’s among a new class of media startups trying to find new ways to monetize journalism.

    McPhate held a number of jobs at the New York Times, where he spent six years. He edited the homepage and served as a reporter and editor on the newspaper’s so-called Express Desk, a sort of SWAT team focused on breaking and trending stories. Before that, he held various reporting and editing jobs at the Washington Post and New York Sun. He also wandered around South Asia as a freelancer for a few years between graduate school and his first real job.

    McPhate earned a master's degree in journalism from UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, as well as a master's in Asian Studies from UC Berkeley. He has been awarded numerous fellowships over the years, including a South Asian Journalist Association Tsunami Reporting Fellowship in 2005, UC Regents Graduate Fellowships in 2001, 2002, and 2003, and a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship in 2001.

    McPhate teaches occasional journalism courses at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He lives on the central coast of California with his wife and two young children.