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Welcome to our second dispatch sharing updates from the new local journalism platform that we're building to serve Oakland. You're getting this email because you signed up for our newsletter, attended one of our events, or talked with someone from our newsroom. Want to unsubscribe?
Hello to the nearly 1,500 people already subscribed to this newsletter! Read on for more about our Jan. 27 community event, plus updates on our progress in key areas (including hiring!) and ways you can help.

Setting the scene for our Jan. 27 event

Over the next few months, we're going to host a series of conversations across Oakland. We'll ask for your ideas on how we can create a community-centered newsroom and support ways for community members to get involved in our work. 

The first of these events happens Jan. 27 at StudioToBe in Old Oakland. We’ve had a lot of interest, and this month’s event is nearly at capacity! If you can't make it, or aren't able to register in time, there’s good news: we’re already working on another event in late February in Fruitvale, and you’ll get a chance to sign up through this newsletter soon.

In all of these conversations, there are a few “big questions” that we’d really like to get your thoughts on:

  • How might we produce and share fact-based news, information and storytelling in Oakland beyond publishing articles on our website?

  • How might we support people and organizations who are already key sources of information for communities across Oakland? 

  • How might we ensure we're serving and including Oaklanders who have been historically marginalized or misrepresented by media coverage?

If you have thoughts to share on these questions but can’t make it to one of our events, feel free to respond directly to this email—we’ll read everything you have to say.

News about our newsroom-in-progress

  • Hiring. We’re developing an inclusive hiring process to build a newsroom that reflects the people and communities of Oakland. Early in February, we’ll publicly post job applications—on Berkeleyside, on our temporary Oakland site, and on many job boards—for five reporters and two senior editors. We’ll also outline how we aim to reaching and recruit candidates who are grounded in communities that have been underrepresented in newsrooms for far too long.

  • Newsroom HQ—ideas wanted! We're currently on the hunt for office space, asking ourselves important questions about where our team should be located and how we can maintain a meaningful presence in communities across Oakland. If you have any ideas or know of a good office space for rent, please let us know—just respond to this email. 

  • Designers wanted! We are looking for Oakland-based web design firms to design our Oakland news site. They must be experts in WordPress and preferably have experience designing content-driven sites or news sites. We are also looking for a local designer who specializes in visual identity for our name. (It's taking some time to find the right name for our newsroom, but we're getting close!) Have recommendations for a brand designer or design firm in Oakland? Let us know!

  • Digging into your input. We've been gathering feedback and insights about Oakland's information needs from people across the city, through one-on-one conversations with community leaders, messages we've received in response to our announcement, social media conversations, and an online survey we've made available for anyone to share their thoughts. We've received nearly 200 responses to our online survey, so keep the feedback coming! We're excited to share back what we've learned so far across all these channels—that's the focus of next month's newsletter.

Examples of community-centered journalism that inspire us

We wanted to share a few examples of local journalism initiatives—some based in Oakland, some from across the country—that have already inspired the development of our newsroom. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, and there are plenty of other local journalists who are doing exemplary work.

That said, we hope these examples give you a more concrete idea of what we mean by "community-centered journalism," and will offer food for thought for you to bring to the conversations on Jan. 27 and beyond.

  • Since 2010, Oakland Voices, a project of the Maynard Institute, has trained and supported Oakland residents to tell stories about the communities they call home. We admire how Oakland Voices has helped residents shape narratives about their city, and want to support opportunities like these to help people learn the tools of journalism and share their own stories. 

  • City Bureau, a civic-journalism lab based on the South Side of Chicago, runs a program called Documenters that trains—and pays—citizens to monitor government meetings and share information with their wider community. We're big fans of how City Bureau has become an engine for civic engagement in Chicago.

  • Working with communities across the country, the Listening Post Collective has created a playbook for anyone to survey information needs in their community and develop media projects that can help meet those unique needs. Oakland's own El Tímpano, a two-way journalism platform serving Spanish-speaking residents, was inspired by this model, and we've taken a few pages out of the Listening Post playbook for our own pre-launch community listening efforts. 

Thank you so much for reading this far and for all your interest in our progress. Don't hesitate to reply to this email if you have any ideas or questions—we'd love to hear from you.

With gratitude, 

Tasneem Raja, Editor-in-Chief

Cole Goins, Contributing Editor for Community Engagement

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