February 27, 2024


El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

Inland Empire Community News Ushers in a New Era of Ownership and Collaboration with KVCR, Preserving its Legacy and Embracing Modernization

4 min read
The San Bernardino publication known as Inland Empire Community News was launched as El Chicano more than 55 years ago. At a special event on Friday, May 12 in the KVCR TV studio, commemorating the publication changing ownership, co-founder and co-owner, Gloria Macias Harrison described why and how it all got started.

The Inland Empire Community News (IECN) marks a significant transition as Gloria Macias Harrison, former owner, and publisher, has announced the sale of the community news organization to long-standing employees Denise Berver and Manny Sandoval.

IECN has a rich history in the Inland Empire, with the Colton Courier beginning in 1876, Rialto Record in 1910, and El Chicano in 1968. El Chicano, founded by Bill and Gloria Macias Harrison, was established to change the negative perception of Mexican Americans and Chicanos in the area, educate the public on community issues, and provide a voice for the underserved and underrepresented.

Starting as a project of the University of California, El Chicano became an independent press in 1969 and has published a weekly newspaper every week for 54 years.

Publisher Emeritus Gloria Macias Harrison discussing how she and her husband Bill Harrison started El Chicano Weekly via a UC grant to combat negative Latino ethnic stereotypes in media and across the nation in 1968.

Gloria Macias Harrison said, “We wanted to change the public’s perception of Mexican Americans and Chicanos in our area; while educating the public on issues that affected the progress of our community. Today, I’m proud to have published a newspaper every week over the past 54 years that reflect our communities and their issues. I’m very proud to hand over the legacy of IECN to Denise Berver and Manny Sandoval, who grew up with the newspaper and understand the spirit behind the publications.”

Berver, a 28-year employee and former Legal Advertising Manager, and Sandoval, Managing News Editor, will now serve as co-owners and publishers of the respected publication.

A Colton native and IECN employee since her senior year of high school, Berver has built a strong reputation within the organization and community through her competence, efficiency, and trustworthiness.

Berver said, “I learned the business from the publisher, especially Bill Harrison. I operate like Bill does, ensuring everything runs smoothly for years. I look forward to advancing our publication and utilizing technology to expand and maintain our community ties. I accept the legacy and look forward to modernizing.”

Manny Sandoval, who began writing for IECN as a 19-year-old student at San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC), expressed his passion for the publication, stating, “Initially, I became inspired to write and passionate about spotlighting non-profit organizations when I was just 12 years old after experiencing the loss of my younger brother to cancer. My mom encouraged me to get out there, and it truly was a form of therapy that has since turned into a full-fledged career. For the past decade, it has been rewarding and a privilege to shine a light on the initiatives being executed and positive news across the Inland Empire.”

Sandoval continued, “I’m looking forward to continuing the legacy, collaborating and partnering with KVCR, SBVC’s Department of Film, TV, and Media, and Colton High School’s Pepper Bough to elevate our digital and print news coverage in the cities of San Bernardino, Colton, Rialto, and beyond.”

Bill and Gloria Macias Harrison are proud of the opportunities they have provided young people through their newspapers, stating, “We are very proud of serving our communities and the lives we have affected for people who have worked with us. The opportunities we provided to people over the years have landed former employees in PR, communications, national news companies, and government organizations. We’re happy to have been part of this for over five decades. We look forward to future collaboration with the IECN and remaining active in our community.”

The transition of ownership and KVCR partnership being moderated by the Honorable KVCR Executive Director Connie Leyva (far right).

As the new co-owners and publishers of IECN, Berver and Sandoval aim to preserve the legacy of the news publications while embracing modernization and new technologies. Both SBVC and California State University, San Bernardino alums are committed to maintaining the strong community ties the publication has built.

As IECN embarks on its new chapter, the communities it serves can look forward to an ongoing commitment to providing positive community news, highlighting local issues, and championing balanced stories that matter to the residents of the Inland Empire. With the combined experience, passion, and dedication of Berver and Sandoval at the helm, the future of IECN looks brighter than ever.

For more information about the Inland Empire Community News and its transition, visit IECN or follow them on social media @iecommunitynews.

The Rialto Unified School District’s Communication/Media Services Department supported Harrison, Berver, and Sandoval at the announcement event. RUSD Communications Agent Syeda Jafri is a former 10-year reporter for IECN’s Rialto Record.


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