Alumna fights for local newspapers

Thursday, June 25, 2020
Barsotti, Brittney

By Cash Martinez

When Brittney Barsotti graduated from SF State in 2012, she didn’t know quite what she wanted to do with her journalism degree.

“I cared about (an) informed constituency. I saw that as the vehicle for change,” said Barsotti, a former managing editor of Golden Gate Xpress, SF State’s student newspaper. “When I started to realize that I could work from the inside out to make that change, I started to consider law school.”

Today, Barsotti works as an attorney for the California Newspaper Publishers Association, and she credits her success in the legal field to her journalism background.

“Communications writing, reaching out over social media, researching -- these are all skills I acquired at SF State, and skills that have put me ahead in my career.”

As a journalism student at SF State, Barsotti focused on covering stories about policy and legislation. During the 2008 recession, she reported on state budget cuts and how they were affecting the university. Her interest in legislation, Barsotti said, had a significant influence on her decision to attend law school.

However, it was Barsotti’s media law professor and the journalism department’s attorney, Jim Wagstaffe, who gave her the push she needed to apply. Despite tuition costs, Barsotti felt in her heart that it was the right thing to do.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do after law school, but I just had that feeling in my gut that I could help people.”

Barsotti found her time in law school equal parts fulfilling and challenging. She says that anyone considering law school has to take steps to care for themselves.

“Your writing skills, your ability to work under a tight deadline, being able to work under pressure -- all of these things are going to put you ahead of your other classmates. But you also have to know how to take care of yourself, or you will crash and burn.”

In response to COVID-19 mitigation efforts, Barsotti currently works from her home in downtown Sacramento, but she says her work with CNPA has only increased as a result of the shutdowns.

Barsotti has been working on a PR campaign for legislation that will provide relief to local newspapers, as many news publications continue to face mass layoffs and loss of ad revenue, which have only gotten worse as a result of the pandemic.

The relief effort includes providing benefits for publication subscribers, which Barsotti feels is necessary amidst the pandemic.

“We want to make sure that people who have taken their responsibility to be informed constituents seriously get a benefit for that.”

In addition to her legislative duties, Brittney operates CNPA’s legal helpline, answering legal questions from members.

Barsotti believes that now, more than ever, journalism is an essential service to the American public, and a service that she will continue to fight for in the coming months.

“We’re in unprecedented times. It can be scary, but accurate information is more important than it’s ever been.”