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Cataloging the impact of local journalism.

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The Weekly’s editorial staff

The Weekly’s editorial staff has a little fun with a group photo.

When the pandemic first forced us all to shelter in place, we here at the Weekly had to make some changes. We developed tools to produce our newspaper remotely; we started wearing masks to interviews; our distribution team navigated around closed businesses. We started this daily e-newsletter, Monterey County NOW, to bring our readers news of the day. We also did something new with our business model to adjust to a changed environment: We began a direct appeal to our readers, asking you for your financial support to help us fund our newsgathering mission. 

Sara Rubin here, happy to report that two years in, thanks to you, our readers, it is working. You have always been a critical part of our mission, and now you are also a critical part of our enterprise. I want to share with you some of the impacts of your investments in our first-ever impact report. (You can also pick up a hard copy of this impact report on newsstands this week.)

While this school year just ended, Mary Simon is already busy preparing for the next. Out of her house in Monterey, she’s been running a classroom supply store—where all the goods are free to teachers—since 2021. 

Over 70 new donors have made contributions to Simon’s project, called The Sandbox, since they read a feature story by Pam Marino in the Weekly that was published on May 12. “It’s been very fun, and so gratifying,” Simon says. 

This is the kind of impact that is incredibly gratifying to us, too. 

We are local journalists who are members of the same communities our readers live in, and every day we are reminded that it’s our readers who we serve. Part of what is so satisfying about journalism at the local scale is that we can see the impact our stories have. Associate Editor Tajha Chappellet-Lanier recently wrote about the thrilling first Shakespeare production by New Canon Theatre Company, and it sold out (I know because I couldn’t get in). After we reported on a bizarre lawsuit filed by Carmel Unified School District against a man for seeking public records, the district dropped the suit. 

There is a special kind of gratification that comes to us as journalists with that feedback, knowing our work is making a tangible difference for people.

It’s a bonus when we get recognition from professional colleagues as well, and we are proud to have been recognized last month with 12 California Journalism Awards for our work in 2021. 

You make our work happen.

The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories.

We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community.

Journalism takes a lot of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the Weekly is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here.

Thank you.

JOIN NOW

I’m especially proud of two first-place recognitions we received. One is for our coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic. “The gold standard for this competition,” the judges wrote. “Nice reporting and writing throughout. Puts a face on the impact of Covid throughout all segments of society; obviously a tremendous amount of time and effort went into this, and it was well worth it.”

The other is in the category of public service journalism, for our years-long effort to mobilize the community to take a stand against anti-Asian hate. “This is journalism in action,” the judges wrote. “By consistently beating the drum and shedding light on a divisive festival, this news organization helped make positive change. This was well-researched. Really solid, comprehensive journalism.” 

One of the things that I love about journalism on this scale is that all of us can make a difference. Election outcomes may be decided by a handful of votes, as is the case in two important elections in the June 7 primary—the results are expected to be certified tomorrow, and we are watching to see the outcome in Del Rey Oaks where the fate of Measure B determines the future of a 28-mile regional trail network. The official vote tally as of June 23 shows the trail, known as FORTAG, surviving by just 15 votes. In the race for county supervisor in District 2, Glenn Church is headed to a runoff with either Kimbley Craig or Regina Gage; Gage currently leads by 21 votes. (You can view these results and others on our tracker, created by staff writer Christopher Neely.) 

There’s an opportunity to be heard at this level, and we strive to inspire our readers to make themselves heard. One reader recently wrote in to tell us that because of our coverage of the collapse of a would-be Homekey project in Pacific Grove, they are inspired to begin attending and speaking up at City Council meetings.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for supporting local journalism. I am proud of the impact of the Weekly and Monterey County NOW, and we appreciate your support.

Read full newsletter here.

Sara Rubin loves long public meetings, red pens and reading (on newsprint). She has been editor of the Monterey County Weekly since 2016, and has been on staff since 2010.

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