I'm a journalist with a focus on technology and social justice issues. I graduated from San Jose State University in May 2020 with a B.S. in Journalism after reporting for print, video and digital publications. My reporting and photos have been picked up by professional outlets online and in print.
As executive editor (aka editor-in-chief), I led the Spartan Daily to win the 2019 best California college newspaper as judged by the California College Media Association and then again by the California News Publishers Association. Under my leadership, the Daily won more awards in a single year than in recent memory — including work under my own byline, which have won national and state awards. I led a team of more than 30 student editors and reporters in putting out a print newspaper three times a week. After that, I created the position of Science & Tech editor for my final semester at SJSU, writing more in-depth features and columns.
I also contributed to "Millions Misused", which alleged that San Jose State University mishandled $6.3 million in donations. It won second place for best in-depth news story in Associated College Press's 2019 Story of the Year competition and second place for best sports investigative story in the College Media Assocation's 2018-2019 Pinnacle Awards contest. Despite initial pushback from the university on the accuracy of our reporting, a California State University audit confirmed the basis of our reporting.
As a reporter and later editor, I would regularly aim to create cohesive news packages, connecting similar stories together to produce high quality, in-depth coverage. Stories would be planned out ahead of time to ensure a good fit when putting it all together. The special content would also be used to attract special advertisers, raising extra funding for the program.
At the 2020 ACP San Francisco conference, Fighting "fake news" won 2nd place best newspaper special edition. I broke down how the issue was created on my blog.
|“||Check out the full-page infographic written by Kunal Mehta and designed by Marci Suela. Work like that will keep newsprint relevant, simply because it’s (not yet) easily transported to a phone or even a laptop.||”|
|— The CCC Awards, Design Winners Weeks 3-5|
Right after the COVID-19 pandemic forced students to learn remotely, my tips on how to survive "Zoom University" in collaboration with Marci Suela won in the College Coronavirus Coverage contest, organized by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society for News Design and others and placed as a finalist for best informational graphic in ACP's 2020 Design of the Year contest.
During my time on the Daily, I won the following awards (a full list of awards won during my tenure as executive editor is on my blog):
- 2020 ACP: Pacemaker finalist (Spartan Daily staff)
- 2020 ACP: 4th place best informational graphic (shared with Marci)
- 2020 ACP San Francisco Best of Show: 2nd place best newspaper special edition (Spartan Daily staff)
- 2020 CCMA: 1st place best newspaper (shared with Nick, Jana and Victoria)
- 2020 CNPA: 1st place general excellence (Spartan Daily staff)
- 2020 CNPA: 1st place best enterprise news story (shared with Lindsey, Jana and Mauricio)
- 2020 CCMA: 2nd place best editorial (shared with Jonathan)
- 2020 CCMA: 3rd place best newspaper inside spread design (shared with Lindsey and Marci)
- 2020 CCMA: 3rd place best social media reporting (Spartan Daily staff)
- 2019 Pinnacle Awards: 2nd place best sports investigative story (contributing credit)
- 2019 ACP: 2nd place best in-depth news story (contributing credit)
As a writer on La Voz, the student newspaper of De Anza College, I won the following award:
- 2018 Journalism Association of Community Colleges: 2nd place opinion story (for Fight Nazis with peaceful condemnation, not punches)