Credit: Jun Starkey

Our new news reporter Ryan Cruz was born and raised in Santa Barbara, where he’s lived his entire life, aside from a couple of years of school in San Francisco. He comes to the Independent from The Channels at SBCC, and he penned ​— ​and photographed ​— ​this week’s cover story about the wheelie kids of State Street. He tells us more about himself below. 

What made you want to be a journalist? 

I’ve wanted to write since I was young. I can remember growing up reading interviews with skateboarders, athletes, or artists in magazines and just falling in love with this glimpse into their lives and thoughts. I love the idea of telling people’s stories and sort of serving as a historian for a moment in time. When I was working in kitchens, journalism was always this itch that I still wanted to scratch. Once I got the opportunity to return to SBCC and write for The Channels, I jumped all the way in and knew I wanted this as my career.

What do you hope to bring to the paper? 

I hope I can continue to tell the stories of the community where I grew up. Santa Barbara has a rich historical culture of Chicano and Indigenous people with amazing stories, and I want to keep exploring that.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? 

I love to cook. I worked locally under some great chefs at Sama Sama Kitchen and Revolver, and being in the kitchen taught me so many valuable life lessons.


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