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Neil Chase is Chief Executive Officer of CalMatters.
CALmatters took home 23 awards, including nine first place winners, at the California News Publishers Association Journalism Awards dinner in Long Beach, CA.
The awards, given out May 4, celebrate the best journalism in the state. This was the first year digital news outlets like CALmatters could enter.
“We’re very proud of our very talented CALmatters team,” said Editor Dave Lesher, who also credited Managing Editor Vicki Haddock, Deputy Editor Shawn Hubler, Senior editor Dan Morain, and Contributing Editor Linda Rogers along with the reporters, videographer and news developer who were recognized.
Reporter Ben Christopher, videographer Byrhonda Lyons, news developer John Osborn D’Agostino won first place for Public Service for our 2018 Election Guide. The judges called the guide “an absolute wonderful example of public service.” … “The news organization did a comprehensive job of laying out all the issue and candidate positions in an online magazine format with videos. Then after the election, CALmatters came back and explained it all. A real reader service.”
CALmatters also took first place for the home page of our website and second place for General Excellence. “Rarely does a non-profit, community funded news Website rise to the level of what CALmatters offers,” the judges said. “When you visit CalMatters, you get the sensation that you are visiting a large news organization. And, of course, the journalism is superb.” Read More
Report for America, the national service program that places journalists in under-covered communities, is funding three reporters for an ambitious effort focused on California’s worst-in-the-nation poverty rate and the growing divide between the state’s rich and poor.
The project brings together CALmatters, McClatchy’s five California news organizations and the 25 Digital First newsrooms across the state in a first-of-its-kind joint reporting collaboration. The Report for America journalists will be based at The Fresno Bee, The Mercury News in San Jose and the CALmatters newsroom in Sacramento as part of a team we’re building to bring an unprecedented level of attention to this vital issue.
With millions of Californians living in or near poverty, we’ll cover the important legislative and policy issues and provide on-the-ground reporting about the people who are affected. This significant expansion of Report for America — which started a year ago with 13 reporters, is assigning 60 more in the coming year and plans to have 1,000 working across the country by 2023 — is the first step toward building a substantial longterm statewide initiative. Several donors have already contributed to the launch of our poverty coverage, and we’re in conversations with others who will help us scale it statewide. The coverage will be made available to our 160 media partners across the state, in multiple languages.
This expansion of Report for America is possible because of generous support from many sources, including these: Facebook Google News Initiative Knight Foundation Ford Foundation Heising-Simons Foundation Dirk and Natasha Ziff Galloway Family Foundation Craig Newmark Philanthropies The Tow Foundation Select Equity Group Foundation Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation The Lenfest Institute for Journalism The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation The Joyce Foundation The Steans Family Foundation Henry L. Kimelman Family Foundation Duo Collective
We deeply appreciate their support, and we’re grateful that Report for America is embracing and enabling our effort to bring this important coverage to Californians. Read More
Neil Chase, an experienced leader of news organizations and journalism innovator, will join CALmatters as Chief Executive Officer on January 2, the board of directors announced today.
Chase will assume the CEO position from David Lesher, CALmatters co-founder, who will continue to serve as editor. The addition of Chase reflects the growing demand and opportunity for CALmatters to expand its high-quality journalism and its mission to improve California’s democracy through more understanding, transparency and accountability.
Since 2016, Chase has been the executive editor of The Mercury News and the East Bay Times, winner of an all-staff Pulitzer Prize in 2017. Chase worked for more than 30 years as an editor, manager and marketer, in recent years building digital brands and audience as a senior vice president at Federated Media Publishing and as a consultant for major publishers and corporations. He has been a leading participant in national discussions about the future of journalism, including the emerging nonprofit sector. And he served previously as Managing Editor at CBS MarketWatch and Continuous News Editor at the New York Times.
“Dave Lesher and his team have produced impactful one-of-a-kind stories about state politics that have provided insight and analysis to the growing readership served by CALmatters,” said Simone Coxe, co-founder and board chair. “Neil’s marketing and business acumen will be critical as we expand our statewide reach and grow and diversify our revenue.”
CALmatters has grown rapidly since its founding in 2015. Today, with a staff of about two dozen in Sacramento and Los Angeles, it produces hundreds of stories each year that are posted at CALmatters.org and shared with more than 150 news organizations including all of California’s major newspapers and public radio stations. In 2018, CALmatters produced an award winning election guide and added a podcast, a daily newsletter, a forum for statewide commentary and a series of public events. It has also received several state and national awards for in-depth collaboration and innovative storytelling formats that included video and interactives. Read More
We are excited to share that CALmatters has won the prestigious EPPY award for our California election guide.
The guide was recognized as the Best Innovation Project on a website with under 1 million pageviews a month. Given by the Editor & Publisher magazine, the EPPY awards are intended to honor the best in digital media. The magazine’s staff recruited 49 judges this year to choose winners in 30 categories.
The CALmatters newsroom, which put in months of hard work into the guide, is thrilled to receive this recognition. “Every election year, news organizations face the big challenge of how to engage readers, viewers and listeners in what many citizens consider boring, even irrelevant to their daily lives: midterm elections,” said CALmatters Publisher Marcia Parker. “Traditional voter guides, information-packed as they are, don’t always help. This year, CALmatters set out to make the races and propositions accessible and meaningful with a unique approach. We positioned voters as the hiring committee evaluating candidates for the top jobs in state government.”
The election guide is a nonpartisan resource that comprehensively explains the propositions you’ll see at the state level on the ballot, reviews candidates for statewide offices and covers critical races. It is designed to deliver all the information voters need as they prepare to head to the polls. In addition to articles about the arguments and endorsements on each side, this guide also has an interactive ballot guide as well as an explainer video series. There’s also a fun interactive Gimme Props game. If you haven’t visited it yet, do check it out here.
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. Read More
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.” Read More
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. Read More
UPDATED: September 17, 2018.
CALmatters’ explainer on California’s high housing costs won a first-place award Saturday from the Online News Association.
NPR producer Niala Boodhoo, host of the award ceremony in Austin, Tex.: “The judges felt the winning package made excellent use of data, graphics and visualizations to clearly explain a complex, multi-layered problem in an engaging and easy to digest presentation.”
Californians: Here’s Why Your Housing Costs Are So High” was prepared by data and housing reporter Matt Levin, political reporter Ben Christopher, web developer John Osborn D’Agostino and Managing Editor Vicki Haddock. It was among 1,100 entries and won in the “small newsroom” category for features. It was released in August 2017, as the state Legislature was considering a package of bills to address the state’s affordable housing crisis. Read More
Three years ago our nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization, CALmatters, was founded with a simple mission: to explain how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters. We share our coverage of state government with more than 140 news partners big and small across California, who are dedicated to informing their communities.
Every day we work hard to create transparency and understanding in the policy process that allows decision-makers and civically engaged citizens to shape dialogue and encourages a healthy democracy with informed voters.
We put trust at the center of all we do and we deliver fair, accurate, and balanced coverage.
As a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization, CALmatters doesn’t have an editorial board and we can’t and don’t take positions on anything.
But we can and do stand today with the hundreds of news organizations that published editorials supporting freedom of press, as well as our media partners, and others across our state and nation like the Institute for NonProfit News, of which we are a member; veteran journalist and CALmatters board member Gregory Favre whose op-ed we published today; and all of us here at CALmatters, who, like our nation’s founders, believe that a free and independent press is vital to our democracy. Read More