CALmatters is pleased to announce three new additions to our Sacramento-based team, starting in January. Since our launch in 2015, the new positions will grow CALmatters’ total staff to 18 full time members. The jobs — for social media, videography and higher education coverage — will expand CALmatters’ coverage and improve our ability to explain important state issues through new storytelling formats.
“This is a big boost for CALmatters to attract top-level talent with the cutting-edge expertise it takes to communicate in today’s rapidly changing media landscape,” said David Lesher, editor, CEO and co-founder of CALmatters. “We are grateful to the donors who make this work possible and who support our non-profit mission to increase awareness, accountability and transparency about the major issues in California.”
Meet the new team members:
Byrhonda Lyons will produce video journalism at CALmatters. She developed social media strategies and video content that significantly increased traffic for environmental government agencies in California and Montana. She is the creator and host of a podcast on American history and former morning drive host on public radio in Montana. She was a writer and editor for publications in Oakland and in San Quentin state prison. She has a masters degree in journalism from UC Berkeley.
Felicia Mello will cover higher education for CALmatters. She is an award-winning, multimedia journalist with experience producing stories online, in newspaper and magazine print publications and on radio. She was an editor at patch.com and director of an online publication in Las Vegas. Her freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, the LA Times Magazine and National Public Radio. She has a masters degree in journalism from UC Berkeley and she speaks fluent Spanish. CALmatters thanks the College Futures Foundation for supporting this position.
Trevor Eischen is the social media editor for CALmatters. He was the Social Media Editor at Politico in Washington, DC. where his work and strategies have increased Facebook and Twitter traffic more than 200% in 2.5 years. Trevor was responsible for training a 200-person newsroom and distributing multimedia political news on a range of online platforms. Earlier, as the Senior Web Producer at Politico, he worked with developers to optimize the user experience. Trevor has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and history from the University of Missouri.
The additions in January follow recent CALmatters announcements about the hiring of Priyanka Sharma-Sindhar to a new position as Director of Revenue and the election of Richard Koci Hernandez to the Board of Directors. Priyanka, a former marketing director at Informa and entrepreneur who launched one of the first hyper-local news sites in California, will lead CALmatters work in developing earned revenue. Koci, as he is known, is an internationally recognized innovator in multimedia and an associate professor at UC Berkeley. He is working with CALmatters and Byrhonda, a former student of his, to develop CALmatters video strategies.
CALmatters, an independent and non-profit organization, is now the largest news media covering state policy issues in California. Its work is shared with more than 130 online, print and broadcast media partners statewide. Its reporters cover all of the major issues in California including education, the environment, healthcare, poverty, politics and fiscal issues. It has ongoing and major collaborative projects with the Los Angeles Times and with leading radio stations under a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. For more more information, go to calmatters.org where we encourage you to sign up for our newsletter and to support our work by becoming a member of CALmatters.
Marcia Parker, the publisher and COO of CALmatters, was honored this month at the 140th Annual Winter Meeting of the California Press Foundation with the Jack Bates award. Named after the executive director of the California News Publishers Association, this award is given to “an individual for distinguished service to the California Press through effective leadership in addressing newspaper challenges and assisting journalism education.” Previous award winners include Richard Cameron, a journalism professor at Cerritos College, and Karlene Goller when she was the deputy general counsel at the Los Angeles Times..
Marcia joined CALmatters in February to help our nonprofit news organization build a sustainable business model. When she’s not raising money, she’s working with our 137 media partners, doing community outreach across the state and much more. Marcia recently also accepted an invitation to join the board of the Institute for Nonprofit News.
Despite our crazy schedules at CALmatters, Marcia manages to find time to mentor journalists, advise media startups through the Matter accelerator, lecture on innovation ot Northwestern University’s San Francisco campus and be actively involved with the Online News Association.
After a long career in newspapers in many decision-making roles, including as managing editor of the Contra Costa Times, she taught at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism for several years and ran summer professional development programs for California newspapers and training programs for high school journalism teachers. She later managed AOL’s Patch hyperlocal news sites on the West Coast.