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Sacramento OBSERVER Publisher and President Larry Lee announced this week that award-winning veteran journalist Stephen Magagnini will join The OBSERVER as Editor-in-Chief.  

Magagnini has been a working journalist for 45 years, 42 of them at daily newspapers in Florida, Texas and California, writing about people of color whose stories were often forgotten. From 1993 to 2018, Magagnini served as an award-winning diversity writer for The Sacramento Bee. Magagnini’s work has appeared in dozens of newspapers around the country, including The Washington Post and New York Times. 

“We are very excited about Steve joining The OBSERVER,” Lee said. “His knowledge, experience and sensitivity will be a valuable asset to our newsroom and the community we serve. This is an important time for The OBSERVER as we look to grow our ability to address the needs of Sacramento’s African American community, and having a decorated journalist of Steve’s caliber assist in that mission is thrilling.”

“I am honored to join The Sacramento OBSERVER, one of the most respected Black newspapers in America, heir to a long tradition of giving voice to the voiceless, fighting injustice, and chronicling the struggles, triumphs, and surprises to be found in Black Sacramento, California and the nation,” Magagnini said. 

The majority of Magagnini’s career has been spent covering diversity, including race relations, ethnic affairs, immigration, tribal and spiritual affairs, and civil rights. He has reported from 19 countries and cites the three weeks in 1994 he spent in South Africa covering the nation’s first-ever free elections — leading to the election of Nelson Mandela — as his favorite assignment.

Since 1986, Magagnini has mentored thousands of young journalists at Sac State, UC Davis, USC and other universities. His classes at UC Davis include Journalism, Advanced Reporting (Investigations and Narratives), and Covering Diversity, a course he created in 2019 with the backing of the University Writing Program. 

 Magagnini completed a Freedom Forum Fellowship in Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii, a Jefferson Fellowship at The East-West Center, and a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University. The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism honored him with a Lifetime Achievement award for diversity coverage. His work appears in two anthologies of Best American Newspaper Writing and another anthology on diversity reporting, The Authentic Voice.