Editorial: A New Era in Local News
Stocktonia News Service plans to bring in-depth local news to Stockton.
As the board of trustees and dedicated volunteers work diligently to establish Stocktonia News Service, we strived to answer three important questions:
What is Stocktonia News Service? What do we hope to accomplish? Why do you need us in Stockton?
Beginning on June 1, we will provide those answers to you. Stocktonia News Service – or SNS – will fill the need for local news coverage in our city. Stockton is a big, diverse and complicated town, and this will not be an easy task. But a worthy mission is often difficult and exciting, and we welcome the challenge. And it’s important that you understand who we are.
A nonprofit approach to news
Stocktonia is a nonprofit (501c3) news website dedicated to providing local news coverage in Stockton and the surrounding area. We will be supported by donations from our readers and local businesses and grants from interested institutions. Our primary focus as we begin operations will be local government, public safety, education, business and community events and people, We plan to publish stories every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, plus offer live coverage of special events and some breaking news.
We are a proud member of the Institute For Nonprofit News, a group of more than 360 nonprofit news sites in 28 states and the District of Columbia. We take our inspiration from the success of so many of our sister sites. The surge in nonprofit news is tied directly to the steep decline in local coverage from legacy newspapers, creating “news deserts” around the country.
The University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media addressed the local news crisis in a 2020 report, stating, “In the 15 years leading up to 2020, more than one-fourth of the country’s newspapers disappeared, leaving residents in thousands of communities – inner-city neighborhoods, suburban towns and rural villages – living in vast news deserts. Simultaneously, half of all local journalists disappeared, as round after round of layoffs have left many surviving papers – the gutsy dailies and weeklies that had won accolades and Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting – mere “ghosts,” or shells of their former selves.”
The stakes are high. In the face of diminishing legitimate news coverage, opinion-based websites, blogs, and social media channels have filled the void for some readers. It has blurred the line between sensationalized opinion and real journalism. Stocktonia will take a more old-school approach to local news while using all the advantages of the modern media.
Straight forward approach to news
A true local news organization trusts its readership. As a nonprofit, Stocktonia will not endorse political candidates or causes. We will strive to provide straight-forward information showing multifacted sides of the issues. Readers can come to their own conclusions. We are launching our site before the primaries on June 7, to signal our efforts to help inform our readers.
Stocktonia will not be a daily newspaper, and does not promise immediate coverage of every crime or car crash, although there may be select breaking-news stories and videos. The majority of our content will be “trend” journalism, concentrating on why issues are important, how situations developed and views on how to deal with issues. We will also cover the activities and accomplishments of the community, and strive to have a robust array of opinion pieces provided in a respectful manner.
It’s an admittedly tall order for a new site, and like any startup, we’ll have our triumphs and challenges. But Stockton is worth it, and we’ll use a diverse group of veteran writers and new journalists to provide the best coverage we can. The community is also an important part of the equation, and we will be counting on our fellow citizens for support.
We hope you join us on the journey.
Scott Linesburgh is the Executive Editor of Stocktonia. He can be reached at email@example.com