Think-tank Pacific Research Institute has announced it will launch a Sacramento-based investigative reporting Web site in January.
The San Francisco-based institute has retained veteran journalist Steven Greenhut, who most recently served as deputy editor and columnist for The Orange County Register, to establish and lead the site, called “CalWatchdog.” Greenhut will serve as editor-in-chief.
CalWatchdog is part of a wave of nonprofit journalism ventures that have cropped up in recent years as traditional newspapers have slashed budgets and laid off staff. Foundations and donors are funding this new forum for journalism. Ventures such as CalWatchdog aim to fill the gap left by declining newspaper coverage of state issues.
CalWatchdog plans to serve as a one-stop-shop for information on California government, with original news content, investigative reports and a comprehensive aggregation of relevant news stories.
Greenhut authored the 2004 book, “Abuse of Power: How the Government Misuse Eminent Domain,” and in 2005 won the Institute for Justice’s Thomas Paine Award for his writing promoting freedom.
“As the journalism profession evolves, the new focus will be on transparency rather than on the old contrived standards of objectivity,” Greenhut said in a news release. “Sacramento is a target-rich environment — a world of massive bureaucracies that spend taxpayer dollars with wild abandon. There are stories that need to be told.”
Weintraub to Web
After nine years at The Sacramento Bee, columnist Daniel Weintraub’s final column as a regular feature in The Bee published Oct. 18.
With initial funding from the California Endowment, Weintraub also is venturing into the world of online journalism, creating and editing an independent, nonpartisan California health policy Web site. The site is set to launch as early as February.
“I will be covering health policy and other health-related issues (environment, land-use, transportation, economic policy) in the Legislature and other places around the state,” Weintraub wrote in an e-mail. “I will also be building an online community of people from around the state who have an interest in the issues I’m writing about and want to share their experiences and perspectives on the site.
“The idea will be to fill some of the gap left by the shrinking of the old line media coverage of public policy and to connect the policy-makers with the people out there who have to live with those policies, or the lack of policy where there should be some,” he said. “I’ll have some help from freelance researchers and writers and interns.”
Weintraub has been reporting on California policy and politics for more than 20 years. He’s been a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, capitol bureau chief for the Orange County Register and public affairs columnist for The Sacramento Bee.
On Oct. 18, Weintraub also began writing a weekly political column for the New York Times’ Bay Area edition. He also is continuing to contribute to the Bee’s opinion pages as a freelance writer.
Laid off journalists create ‘Arts Alive’ show
Consultant Sue Peppers, who formed a business group of laid off or freelancing media professionals, said Media Associates Group (MAG) has created a 30-minute show featuring Sacramento’s Second Saturday Art Walk.
The program is set to air Tuesday on KVIE Public Television (Channel 6).
Peppers, who owns television production company Peppers TV, said her company, like other media companies, is struggling.
“We’re all trying to reinvent ourselves,” she said, adding that she’d heard from a number of prominent folks in town who’d lost their jobs in radio, TV and newspapers. They were looking for work.
“I thought we may as well tie our rickety raft together to see if we could build a ship,” Peppers said.
“Arts Alive: Second Saturday” premieres at The Foundry, 10th and R streets, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. 3. The show will then air as part of the “Arts Alive” program, a collection of stories within KVIE’s ViewFinder series. It is set to air at 7 p.m. Nov. Wednesday and repeat at 4 p.m. Nov. 6 and 6 p.m. Nov. 8.
“Arts Alive” programs on KVIE are funded in part by the Sacramento Cultural Arts Program of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission with support from the city and county of Sacramento.
Peppers said she negotiated a price on the program, and MAG retained the rights to the show.
“They paid us not a high rate, but you know what, we got paid,” she said, declining to disclose the amount.
A number of MAG members worked on the project, including videographer Rusty Rogers and producer and host John Iander, a former longtime reporter for KOVR-TV Channel 13.
Sierra College Press debuts ejournal on Sierra Nevada region development
Sierra College has an academic press, unique among community colleges, that recently published an electronic journal, “Building of California,” which is the latest edition of “Snowy Range Reflections: A Journal of Sierra Nevada History and Biography.”
“Snowy Range Reflections” focuses on the history and biography of the 3,200-square-mile Sierra Community College District, while “Building California,” considers infrastructure development in the Sierra Nevada region. Sierra College history professor Dan DeFoe is executive editor of the eJournal, which publishes twice annually.
Sierra College Press is in its second year of publishing two eJournals twice a year, said Gary Noy, director of the Center for Sierra Nevada Studies and editor-and-chief of Sierra College Press.
Sierra College Press also publishes an eJournal on the Sierra College Natural History Museum.
Noy said Sierra College Press is unique among community colleges.
“As far as we know, this is the only academic press operated by a community college in the United States,” Noy said. “Surprisingly, there are only 31 university presses in the U.S.”
An academic press is the publishing arm of a college or university. It’s similar to a publishing house. University of California Press, for example, publishes books and journals for academic and general readers in all fields of inquiry.
Sierra College launched Sierra College Press in 2002 and efforts have been under way since 2004 to make it a “full-blown academic press.”
“We’ve really just started in the last few years to build this up,” Noy said. “We’re breaking ground. This is definitely unique among community colleges.”
‘Gold, Granite and Grit’
In other Sierra College media-related news, the college has completed its second television production, a 30-minute program entitled, “Tales of the Sierra Nevada: Gold, Granite and Grit,” which is set to air on KVIE in November.
The documentary, written and directed by DeFoe, premieres at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 on KVIE-TV (Channel 6) program, “ViewFinder.” Additional airings are scheduled Nov. 12 and 14.
Noy said the broadcasts are all volunteer efforts that not only educate the public, but help give the college’s brand a higher profile.
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