Santana: Fight Fake News, Fund Local News

JULIE LEOPO, Voice of OC

Voice of OC Publisher Norberto Santana, Jr.

For the past several months, our newsroom has gone deep-dive on election reporting, ensuring Orange County residents have the very best information as we go into a historic vote next Tuesday in national mid-term elections that could tip the balance of power in Washington, D.C.

Indeed, the results from four key congressional district races across Orange County – from the 45th and 49th in South OC to the 48th along the coast to the 39th in North OC – will tell us a lot about where Orange County is headed.

Voice of OC reporters applied their expertise this election season, by partnering with the New York Times and Southern California Public Radio (KPCC), to offer community members great reporting along with polling and discussions around this historic vote.

That’s the kind of coverage this newsroom consistently brings Orange County, going on for a decade now.

These editors, reporters and photographers are there for you and your family, protecting your quality of life on a daily basis.

This month, you can be there for them – with a special opportunity to invest in a special nonprofit newsroom that keeps an eye out for residents every day.

A special collection of national foundations – led by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation – have banded together to create a special fund called NewsMatch – where local donors can have their contributions to nonprofit newsrooms matched up to $1,000 by the foundations until Dec. 31.

We’ve also partnered with the New York Times for our Fall fundraiser, offering discounted Times subscriptions for Voice donors. People who start a recurring donation to Voice of OC of $20 a month or $240 a year will receive a one-year digital subscription to The New York Times.

Keep in mind that the day after Election Day, there will be a host of difficult challenges facing whoever wins.

You want a local newsroom ready to hold them accountable.

Over the past decade, Voice of OC has consistently put community members in a position to enact real changes – by getting them real information, in real time.

And the impacts are real.

This year, Judge David O. Carter called out our newsroom’s coverage of the homelessness crisis as a real catalyst for change and solutions.

Our reporting also has directly moved the dial on transparency across the board and also spurred change on a host of specific issues like district elections in cities like Anaheim and Sunshine ordinances in Santa Ana along with county reforms like a new animal shelter system and a county ethics commission.

As a newsroom, we also keep innovating.

We’ve brought residents directly along by opening up our platform to include a very inclusive Opinion section, where all sides are welcome and encouraged to engage in civil debate.

Defending our collective First Amendment rights also has been hardwired into our mission. We’ve successfully litigated three separate lawsuits to ensure open records, winning nearly $500,000 in attorney fees for these public access battles.

In Orange County, officials know this newsroom will stand up to defend the First Amendment.

This year, we also launched a new weekly podcast, On OC, featuring unique voices talking about government and politics across our region.

We also recently expanded to offer Arts and Culture coverage, not just at Orange County’s premier arts institutions but also out in the communities staying connected with the best in local productions.

We want to keep expanding, adding more reporters and are looking to add more cities as well as coverage of schools and the outdoors next year.

The future for this kind of community media is bright.

Join us.

Make a difference.

Donate now.