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A new editor for The Union: A familiar face takes the reins

Elias Funez has transitioned into the managing editor role at The Union newspaper.
Photo: Elias Funez

To readers of The Union, Elias Funez’ name is not unfamiliar.

Though he first came to The Union as a city government reporter, for the majority of his seven years here, Funez has served as multimedia reporter, a position that entails much more than just the photos he has snapped for the paper.

Elias (uh-LEE-us) has found himself chasing fires, trudging through snowstorms, capturing moments within city halls, and commemorating events—both celebratory and somber—throughout the community.



This past week, Funez began his tenure as managing editor for The Union, a position most suitable for the seasoned journalist. His intentions for the paper remain planted in telling local stories and breaking news that affects the community.

“I am trying to provide some sort of product that resembles what we are,” Funez said. “I am really just trying to put something out that is quality; local news (readers) can’t get anywhere else. I want it to continue to be a hub for the community to find out what’s going on.”



With sixteen years of journalism under his belt, Funez has past experience in reporting news as it is happening, often dropping everything to respond to an event overheard on the scanner he constantly carries.

He has worked for other news outlets as well including The Modesto Bee, the Merced Sun Star, The Tracy Press, and the Patterson Irrigator where he previously served as editor among other roles. On numerous occasions his photos have been picked up by the Associated Press for worldwide distribution.

“I am going to want to still try and incorporate photography into my coverage but with what I am doing, it’s going to pull (me) away from that,” Funez said. “We’re hiring two full time positions. I want someone who can do what I was doing – chasing fires, showing up to meetings, providing sports coverage and also someone who is a hard-nosed reporter who wants to go to cops and courts.”

He continued: “I know there might be some people concerned about a drop in fire coverage so that’s something I am going to do— (ensure) whoever we hire, that is going to be one of their roles too.”

Aside from being acknowledged by the public for his work, Funez has been the recipient of many journalistic awards, including a first place win for Investigative Journalism from the California News Publishers Association and first place in the News Photo category. Additionally, he has collected numerous awards, ranking in the top four, for his work in a number of competitions throughout his career.

Patterson volunteer firefighter Dallas Hernandez puts the first water on a working structure fire captured in 2014 by Elias Funez and won him a 1st place News Photo during the annual California Newspaper’s Association’s Better Newspapers Contest.
Photo: Elias Funez

Though times have changed at The Union, Funez is committed to continuing the community feel of the newspaper as it moves forward.

“This newspaper has been a part of the community since 1864,” he said, “and we’re not going anywhere. We are the ones who have our fingers on the pulse of Nevada County, so we’re going to continue to report on those things that matter.”

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com.

 


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