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Inside CALmatters

Veteran Editorial Editor and Writer, Political Affairs Columnist  Joins Nonprofit Nonpartisan Public Interest Journalism Venture

Dan Morain, editorial page editor and political affairs columnist at The Sacramento Bee, is bringing his decades of experience and institutional knowledge to CALmatters, a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.

“I am proud to be joining CALmatters and excited about its collaborative model,” Morain said. “I cannot wait to work with CALmatters’ great staff and its partner news organizations to help tell the ever-changing California story.”

Morain, who has focused on state government and politics for much of his career, will take on a new role of building an expanded commentary and perspectives section of smart and diverse voices to share their insights about California’s biggest issues and challenges. He’ll also produce a daily newsletter starting in April featuring must-read content from across the state to keep readers in the know, and contribute his own insightful columns.

CALmatters will share Morain’s work with a network of more than 130 print, radio and online publications that it has developed since its launch as a nonprofit in 2015. Morain’s addition at this juncture reflects the spotlight CALmatters will shine this year on the vitally important 2018 gubernatorial and state legislative races, which will define California’s future.

“Dan knows the issues, the people, the process and where the secrets are hidden. His work will give readers a smart and simple understanding about what is happening and why,” said David Lesher, editor and CEO of CALmatters.

Morain has been The Sacramento Bee’s editorial page editor since 2013 and a columnist and editorial writer at The Bee since 2010. Morain spent 27 years at the Los Angeles Times, covering the California Supreme Court when Rose Bird was chief justice, the Legislature when Willie Brown was speaker and the Governor’s Office during Gray Davis’ tenure. His final assignment for The Times was to be part of the team that covered the 2008 presidential campaign. After nine months working in public relations for Consumer Attorneys of California, he joined The Bee’s editorial board. Morain is a California native. He and his wife, Claudia Morain, have three grown children. Morain will be working with his former colleague from The Bee, Dan Walters, who joined CALmatters last year as its first columnist.

The expanded commentary and perspectives will complement the news coverage CALmatters has provided from its team of 20 based in Sacramento and Los Angeles. Our experienced journalists provide coverage of major state issues in education, environment, healthcare, poverty, fiscal issues and politics. Their work is shared through in-depth explanatory projects, timely news stories, weekly news analysis and commentary, radio appearances, original data-driven stories, a subscription newsletter, public events and innovative social media.

“At a time when civil discourse often seems at risk, CALmatters is committed to creating a statewide forum for thought provoking ideas and insights to help all Californians become better informed about public policy issues,” said Publisher and COO Marcia Parker.

Readers can sign up for the CALmatters newsletter here. Visit CALmatters’ website,, as well as the nonprofit’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Follow Dan on Twitter @DanielMorain.

Want to submit a reader reaction? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Dan Morain with any questions,, (916) 201.6281.

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Donna Lucas

Donna Lucas

CALmatters welcomes Donna Lucas, President and CEO of Lucas Public Affairs, and Christy Remey Chin, a Venture Partner at the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, on to the CALmatters Advisory Board

“We are thrilled to have these two very talented and accomplished women join our advisory board,” said CALmatters Publisher Marcia Parker. “They have a broad range of experience, skills and networks.”

Chin, an advocate of social entrepreneurship and high-impact philanthropy, has been instrumental in growing the Foundation’s pipeline, portfolio support, and stewardship of its donor partners over the past decade. Chin has served on the boards of Accountability Counsel, Adventure Scientists, Blue Engine, CareMessage, Green City Force, Jacaranda Health, Students for Education Reform, Urban Teachers and Watsi. Her career includes impressive achievements at the Skoll Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Bedrock Capital Partners and Norwest Venture Capital and at a venture-backed company, The Frontier Group

She also chairs the board of Benetech, serves on the National Venture Capital Association board and is on the advisory board of Ashoka U. Chin received her MBA from the Harvard Business School and holds a BA in History from Colgate University.

Donna Lucas is often referred to as one of the most influential people in Sacramento. The Founder, CEO and President of Lucas Public Affairs has had a 30-year-career in which she has worked in senior executive positions both in public and private sectors. She was the deputy chief of staff for strategic planning and initiatives for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and chief of staff to First Lady Maria Shriver. She was the deputy press secretary for Gov. George Deukmejian, deputy treasurer for state Treasurer Tom Hayes, and California press secretary for the 1988 presidential campaign of George H.W. Bush.

Lucas serves on several boards including the Crocker Art Museum, John Burton Advocates for Youth, College Futures Foundation, All About Sacramento, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Maria Shriver’s Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. She is on the Executive Committee on the California Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is Chair-Emeritus of the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

They join advisory board members: Mekahlo Medina, Emmy Award-winning co-anchor, technology and social media reporter for NBC4 Los Angeles; Douglas McGray, Editor-in-Chief of The California Sunday Magazine; John Thornton, Founder of the Texas Tribune; Richard Tofel, President of Propublica, and; Ernest Wilson, professor of communication and political science, and founder and director of the USC Center for Third Space Thinking at USC’s Annenberg School of Communications.

Launched in 2015, CALmatters is a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters. Environmental regulation, education, health care, criminal justice, economic inequality – the debates on these issues and others have a profound impact on the lives of 38 million Californians and beyond. Our team of 20 + experienced journalists, with the time and resources to dig deep, is committed to meaningfully informing Californians about the players, politics, and interests that shape the issues that affect their lives. To ensure we reach many Californians, we work with more than 140 media organizations throughout the state that have long, deep relationships with their local audiences.

Media outlets interested in becoming CALmatters media partners should contact Editor-in-Chief Dave Lesher at

Want to submit a reader reaction? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Dan Morain with any questions,, (916) 201.6281.

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We at CALmatters are excited to share that Health and Welfare Reporter Elizabeth Aguilera has been selected by the California Latino Journalists News Media Association (CCNMA) as one of the 15 Most Influential Latina Journalists of the Year.

“In this time of division and misunderstanding, it’s more important than ever that we recognize voices who bring context and knowledge to their beats. We are honored to join with Hispanicize as we shine a light on L.A. Latina journalists who are working hard to uncover stories that might otherwise go untold and who bring nuance and perspective to ongoing news stories,” said CCNMA president Laurie Ochoa.

CCNMA said that the criteria for choosing the 15 honorees was the work they’ve completed in the past year, the impact of that work and each honoree’s reach and influence in the communities they cover. They will be honored Oct. 12 at a breakfast at the Intercontinental Hotel in Century City, CA., during Hispanicize LA, an annual conference for Latinx professionals in content creation, journalism, marketing & entertainment.

“We’re very proud that Elizabeth has been recognized by CCNMA for her work,” said Dave Lesher, CALmatters co-founder and Editor in Chief. “Her coverage of topics including health care, immigration, and inequity here is extremely important in California.”

Want to submit a reader reaction? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Dan Morain with any questions,, (916) 201.6281.

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Sept. 5, 2018 10:00 am

New K-12 Education Reporter To Join CALmatters

Publisher and COO
CALmatters K-12 journalist Ricardo Cano

We’re very pleased that Ricardo Cano is joining our CALmatters team next month to cover K-12 Education in California.

Cano joins CALmatters,  the state news nonprofit dedicated to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters, from the Arizona Republic, where he spent three years as the education reporter. There he covered breaking news and produced enterprise reporting, explanatory videos and data-driven features. Cano has been a finalist for three awards, a Livingston Award for Young Journalists honoring outstanding achievement by professionals under the age of 35, an Education Writers Association award for data journalism and two consecutive Arizona Press Club awards for public service journalism.

“We are excited that Ricardo will be joining the team,” said David Lesher, CEO, editor in chief and co-founder of CALmatters. “He is a solid journalist who has demonstrated data and multimedia skills as well as a passion for education issues.”

Cano’s stories at the Arizona Republic included a data-driven report on how Arizona has been hiring unqualified teachers and another data series uncovering an alarming percentage of unsafe school buses. He juggled those projects with multi-media reporting and responsibility for regular coverage and analysis of all education news, including that state’s turbulent teachers’ strike. When voters in key Arizona neighborhoods faced outrageous lines at the polls, Cano went to his local polling spot and hung out past midnight to interview the last person to cast a ballot—an immigrant from Guatemala who had languished in line more than five hours. “Cano is a relentless reporter and a quick study with terrific instincts,” said CALmatters Managing Editor Vicki Haddock.

A bilingual journalist, Cano will be returning to California. Madera is his hometown and his journalism degree is from Fresno State. He will start at CALmatters on Sept. 10.

Want to submit a reader reaction? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Dan Morain with any questions,, (916) 201.6281.

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