An AlumKnight’s journey to inclusive storytelling in the Pacific

Posted on Jun 25 2021


Born and raised on Rota, Mount Carmel School’s 2016 AlumKnight Thomas Mangloña III was acutely aware of the disproportionate amount of media coverage among the various islands of the CNMI. From a broader standpoint, Mangloña recognized throughout his high school career that the richer stories available in the Pacific region were at a more severe disadvantage.

Consumed with the value of storytelling, Mangloña attended University of California, Berkeley and pursued a bachelor’s degree in media studies. He expanded his experience in media and journalism at UC Berkeley by working and leading the university’s campus TV station. Throughout his undergraduate studies, Mangloña enjoyed analyzing the effects of media on society, motivations for media consumption, and global media networks.

Committed to gaining as much experience in this field, Mangloña worked as a correspondent for Pacific News Center and KUAM News during winter and summer breaks. While in college, he also interned at ABC7 News in San Francisco and became the communications assistant at the Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion’s office at UC Berkeley and the Pacific Islanders in Communication organization.

Upon graduation in 2020, Mangloña gained admission into Stanford University’s master of arts journalism program. The two-year program covered a variety of critical topics including journalism law, multimedia storytelling, public affairs data analysis, and a graduate journalism seminar—all of which prepared his cohort with the tools to conduct practical, collaborative, and  advanced journalistic reporting and writing in the specific practices and standards of health and science journalism.

Mangloña’s professional goal is to uplift the vast stories that exist in the Mariana Islands and larger Oceania. “To this day there remains no newspaper or reporter on the island of Rota. Rota, and even Tinian, are under-covered for reasons beyond the community’s control,” he said. “I do not see a journalist’s role as ‘giving voice’ because our communities have always had a voice. I see a journalist’s role as ‘passing the mic’ with rigorous reporting. It has always been my personal mission to amplify the stories that are underreported across the Pacific, especially at home.”

As part of his efforts to “pass the mic,” Mangloña co-founded the Pacific Islander Task Force under the Asian American Journalists Association, or AAJA. The primary purpose of the task force is to increase engagement, understanding, and awareness of Pacific Islander membership within AAJA. From a regional perspective, the task force aims to represent the indigenous peoples of Oceania, composed of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia.

“My colleagues and I want to ensure that AAJA fulfills its mission to serve all Asian American Pacific Islander journalists by recognizing and uplifting Pacific Islanders. It’s especially important that through the task force, we can help provide tools to assist journalists covering Pacific Islanders or Pacific island communities to ensure fair and accurate coverage. I am proud to be doing this work with Anita Hofschneider, Rachel Ramirez, Lauren Kawana, and Katlyn Alo,” Mangloña said.

At this time, Mangloña is scheduled to start a production internship with ABC News’ Good Morning American this summer in New York. Just recently, Mangloña was also featured on PBS to discuss his thesis documentary, “The Ocean is the School.”

While reflecting on his academic and professional journey from Mount Carmel School to Stanford University, Mangloña said, “Mount Carmel School was one of the first places I felt I could thrive as a ‘whole person.’ In addition to the wonderful educators, the artistic environment nurtured creativity in me and my classmates. It was where I realized my potential as a storyteller. I truly believe in the power of telling our own stories as we have always done. I hope to return home to report on a regional level with impactful visual journalism.” (PR)

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