A year ago today, Voice of OC launched as Orange County’s first nonprofit investigative news agency. In honor of our birthday, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and give heartfelt thanks to those who have supported us.
From the outset, our aim was to provide a shot in the arm to local government coverage in the county, which has waned in recent years as corporate news outlets have suffered through one downsizing after another.
We’ve administered that shot. Over the past year, our four-person staff has produced more than 900 original posts and stories — all of them focused on making local government more transparent and accountable.
They’ve included in-depth investigations into the Orange County Fairgrounds deal, California’s High-Speed Rail program, double dipping by public officials and bad practices in the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. We’ve also put the spotlight on public record stewardship by city officials in Irvine and Anaheim and forced more openness in Santa Ana.
Beyond our traditional investigative work, we’ve established a constant presence on First Amendment issues with our regular Who Says You Can’t Fight City Hall feature, developed a groundbreaking healthy communities beat and forged an important partnership with PBS SOCal, which is now Southern California’s only PBS television station.
And judging by comments from policymakers and powerbrokers from across the political spectrum, as well as others in the media, we’ve done what we set out to do.
Here is a sampling of what’s being said about our work:
Voice of OC has really provided a tremendous service of reporting on issues that people care about. It’s done a tremendous job of investigative reporting, asking the hard questions and getting the tough answers. — State Sen. Lou Correa
Voice of OC is one of the many organizations that clearly understand there’s a gap between what used to be provided by news sources and what we have today. It’s trying to find a place for journalism in this complex world, finding out how to finance it, considering what’s the right tone…It’s really cutting edge. — Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson.
Over the last year, what we’ve come to expect from OC Voice is great reporting and in-depth investigative journalism. Norberto Santana and his team have been overtly non-partisan, with an eye to revealing the truth wherever it is obscured. It’s already hard to think of this county without OC Voice. — Jon Fleischman, editor of the Flash Report.
Voice of OC has become something much more significant than a startup news organization — it’s become critical part of our community and a model of hope for the future of journalism. — Nick Berardino, General Manager of the Orange County Employees Association.
We are both gratified and humbled by all the support and goodwill we’ve received. And trust that we will continue working tirelessly to pry open the doors of local governments and let the people of Orange County know what is really happening at their City Hall.
But in order to keep up our good work, we need your help. Please go to our Donate Now page and give what you can. Trust that your donations will be immediately put to work in the fight to make our democracy what it should be — accountable to the people.
— Voice of OC