Jose Antonio Vargas debuts film at SJSU, receives Hearst award

Vargas’s film puts a personal face on the 11 million undocumented people in America today

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas has chosen the San Jose State University for the West Coast university debut of his documentary film.

“Documented,” which was screened in a March 10 community event, showcases Vargas’s life as an undocumented person and puts a personal face on the 11 million undocumented people in America today.

He received the 2014 William Randolph Hearst Foundation Award from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, ranked one of the top journalism programs in the U.S.

Vargas, who enjoyed developing his writing skills here in Bay Area schools as a teenager, is a former reporter for the Washington Post. He founded Define American, a campaign that seeks to change the conversation on immigration reform here in America.

Following the public screening, School Director, Professor Bob Rucker, presented Vargas with the Hearst award along with SJSU Journalism professor and Bay Area TV News journalist Lloyd La Cuesta.

“In my mind, this SJSU journalism event is an opportunity to engage journalism students specifically, the journalism profession at large and of course the San Jose area community,” said Vargas, who spent the day talking with SJSU Journalism students and the campus community. “(My efforts) touch on so many issues that are not only related to immigration, citizenship and identity, but also strikes at the heart of the changes afoot in journalism.”

The Hearst Foundations was established by William Randolph Hearst as a national philanthropic resource for organizations working in the fields of education, culture, health and social services. The Hearst Award goes to an individual who, through their reporting, demonstrates journalism excellence.

In the SJSU history, six graduates have won the coveted Pulitzer Prize in Journalism.

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