CalMatters was founded in 2015 to fill a critical gap in covering state government.
Today, the nonprofit and nonpartisan CalMatters news team celebrates eight years of informing Californians and revealing the actions and inactions of elected officials.
We mark this milestone while being recognized as the best nonprofit newsroom in America, a three-time first place general excellence California news organization, best website in the nation and the winner of our first Emmy award.
CalMatters “provides an excellent model for nonprofits that seek to explain, investigate, and look for solutions while holding those in power to account. Their work goes after the stories that other news organizations miss,” wrote judge Michael DeYoanna in an award given through New York University.
And judges honoring CalMatters’ first place for general excellence in the California News Publishers Association contest noted: “The reporting dives deep into complex topics while catching the eye with amazing visual content. The headlines are attention-grabbing, the photography is superb and each vertical has extensive, important coverage.”
Our newsroom stands at more than 45 journalists, an expansion from the original news team of six. More than 55% of our staffers are people of color, which we acknowledge is still shy of the statewide percentage of 63.5%.
We’re expanding our coverage every year, most recently adding beat reporters on community colleges, homelessness and the state’s business climate. This growth comes on the heels of hiring a new editor-in-chief, Kristen Go, to lead the newsroom.
“We’re growing smartly,” said CalMatters CEO Neil Chase, “adding coverage where it’s most needed, thanks to the generous support of donors who share our belief in the need for aggressive, high quality journalism in California.”
Vital election coverage
Our nonpartisan Voter Guide will be back in 2024, following on the success of the 2018, 2020 and 2021 guides. The 2022 guide was available in English and, for the first time, fully translated into Spanish. It included our award-winning Props-in-a-Minute ballot measure explainers, the interactive Gimme Props game, candidate pages offering a perspective on candidates’ qualifications for each office, live campaign finance information and a frequently-asked-questions section.
We reached at least 20%, maybe more, of the 11.1 million people who voted in the November election. Our Voter Guide was used by more than 2 million people; our proposition explainer videos were watched nearly half a million times on our site and YouTube; and our short radio and TV segments on election topics were broadcast across public radio and TV news stations, reaching millions of Californians. In addition, we had many more views of our work on the sites of our publishing partners across the state and on mobile platforms such as Apple News and MSN.
Here’s what readers had to say about our guide:
- “I’m always inundated when it comes to election time and oftentimes the propositions on the ballots are confusing. I appreciate how CalMatters lays it out in layman’s terms and is straight to the point so I can make my own informed decision.” – Jamie, Ventura
- “This is the third election I’ve gone to Calmatters for help breaking down the candidates and propositions in an easily understandable and navigable site. It’s an indispensable resource!” – Chris, Orinda
Quality of life
CalMatters continues to connect what happens in the state Capitol with the everyday lives of people across the state. From education to homelessness, the environment to justice, our news team equips people with essential information.
Here’s a look at some of our biggest stories from the past year:
- California spent $600 million to house and rehab former prisoners — but can’t say whether it helped
- ‘Go to the people’: Street medicine teams bring health care to the unhoused
- How Texas shrank its homelessness population — and what it can teach California
- What the decay of one mobile home park means for affordable housing in California
- Inside the California Capitol: How your state government works
- Trial by Fire: The trauma of fighting California’s wildfires
- Colorado River deal: What does it mean for California?
- California Toxics: Out of state, out of mind
- A failure to communicate: California government cuts back press access
- Race to zero: Can California’s power grid handle a 15-fold increase in electric cars?
- Fatal shootings: California’s bid to police its police is lagging
- No way out: Why a mentally disabled man was jailed nine years awaiting a murder trial that never happened
- Wage Theft: Car wash workers in $2.3 million case await pay 3 years later
- Schools in poorer neighborhoods struggle to keep teachers. How offering them more power might help
- Long COVID in California: ‘A pandemic of loneliness and social isolation and rejection’
- California is the first state to tackle reparations for Black residents. What that really means