Hello, Westside Express readers

. I’m Christina Rocha, and I’m excited to embark on this journey as your newest reporter. Allow me to share a bit about myself and what led me to this opportunity.

I have been a Los Banos resident for most of my life since 2003, and as the small city grew, I grew right along with it. Witnessing the community change and develop throughout my own transformative experience from childhood to adolescence to early adulthood has kept this community very near and dear to my heart.

It wasn’t until the last few years that I fostered so much appreciation for Los Bans through several college courses requiring me to take a deeper look into my local community. Now, having almost completed my bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in sociology at California State University of Bakersfield, I have learned the importance of journalism and informing people about the world around them.

Not only was this importance realized through my education, but my growing concern about events that began back in 2020 provided me with newfound perceptions that have kept me glued to the news ever since.

Just before the national quarantine, I was a senior at Los Banos High School, unsure of what I wanted to do after graduation. Rather than not having any idea of what path to take, I had too many ideas. Being a multi-passionate person left me indecisive and afraid that doing one thing for the rest of my life would leave me unfulfilled.

However, all that time spent at home allowed for enough self-discovery to figure it out just before I started my first college semester at Merced College. As it turns out, I have an intuitive knack for writing, and so I dedicated my first two years to enhancing that skill through my associate’s degree in English.

My decision to apply for a bachelor’s in communications was primarily so that I could gain the skills that can be used in many fields, since every business and organization needs a good communicator who writes well. Since my specialty is needed everywhere, I wouldn’t have to stress finding a job.

While journalism was not my initial focus, my communications degree program meant I had to take many journalism courses. My exposure to this field through my degree path, along with my love for learning and keeping up with current events, cultivated an interest in pursuing the field of journalism.

Recently, I completed a profile story assignment for one of my classes on Sandy Lemas, a remarkable contributor to the Los Banos community. After my interview with her, she recommended me to people she knows at The Westside Express, essentially saying that I’d make a great fit for the team. 

The past four years have been a pivotal time in my life, and I’m grateful for where it has led me today. Writing for The Westside Express will be my first professional experience with journalism, and I’m thrilled to write for my local newspaper.

Christina Rocha