Alisa Joyce Barba

January 18, 2013

Photo Alisa Joyce BarbaEngaged and informed-- that's been Alisa Joyce Barba's mantra throughout her journalism career and as KJZZ's Senior Editor for Fronteras: the Changing America Desk. 

Barba is an award-winning journalist, producer, writer and editor with more than 25 years’ experience in commercial and public broadcasting.

One of her primary responsibilities now is to work with KJZZ News Director Peter O’Dowd and Managing editor Al Macias to help drive the content, style and focus of the Changing America Desk. 

While she often works remotely from her San Diego base, she makes it a point to immerse herself in the communities she’s covering-- visiting sites to get first-hand accounts or sending field correspondents to report back to her. Armchair journalism is not a comfort zone for her.

Barba traveled to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico with Fronteras Desk correspondent Mónica Ortiz Uribe in January 2012, to see for herself what life is like in one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

“My reasoning was easy, simplistic,” said Barba.  “I regularly ask Mónica to go into Juárez; I often insist she travel to Juárez in pursuit of some of the stories that document the mayhem and brutality of that city. If my job is to assign her to go, then I should be willing to go as well.”

Before her tenure with the Changing America Desk, Barba served as NPR’s Western Bureau Chief for 12 years. During that time, she was responsible for the editorial content and production of member station, reporter and staff pieces featured on All Things Considered and Morning Edition.

While monitoring news in the western US, she specialized in covering border and immigration issues and won numerous awards for editing series and stories on issues ranging from the failed "war on drugs," western water policies, and border corruption. 

Prior to her work with NPR, Barba was a producer for ABC News in Beijing, covering, among other stories, the Tiananmen Square uprising.  In addition, Alisa was a producer and reporter for MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour in New York and Washington D.C 1989-1995.

Independent of NPR, she won the coveted Dupont Award for her work as Executive Producer of the 2001-2002 documentary Culture of Hate: Who Are We?  Barba also won the Jerry Schumacher Award for Best Program about Health Care Issues: Under the Knife: San Diego Medicine Confronts the Bottom Line in 1997.

Her journalism work has focused heavily on immigration, military and health care concerns. She holds a Master’s Degree in Chinese History from UCSD and a BA from Middlebury College.

Barba has become a trusted pundit for local, national and international media outlets such as KPBS’s Midday Edition, PBS NewsHour and BBC News, providing expert analysis of how the day’s news affects people living in the Southwest.

Contact Alisa Barba at abarba@rioradio.org.