Civic Engagement

Engagement

Voice of OC is the one place where different points of view can all have their say. We encourage dialogue on any topic of interest in Orange County. This news agency serves Orange County residents like a 21st century public square, we are an open forum to express yourself coherently and respectfully which is the first step in civic engagement.

Our opinion pages reach, on average, 100,000 individuals who influence or make important decisions in your community.

We welcome all sides. Have at it. We want to hear from all points of view then we link the stories on the same topic so readers can decide for themselves.

Editorials

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices on civic matters. If you want to write an op-ed please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears.

Be credible. Check your facts. We do. So do others.

Let our readers know what your call to action or issue is. Be straightforward. Be civil. Tell us what you’re about. If that involves holding an agency or official accountable, aka: calling them out, feel free to do so. Keep in mind that this space is not about attacking others.

Length: Generally we ask for 750 to 1,000 words.

Links: Include links to relevant documents.

Photos: Enhance sharing by including your own photos, maps or other data.

Excerpt: Include an excerpt; a short synopsis of what your editorial is about.  The excerpt should give the reader a reason to read your editorial.

Headline: Suggest a headline, although Voice of OC editors make the final decision.

Bio: Include the author’s first and last name, town of residence and a brief biography, including affiliations with political parties, lobbying or special interest groups.

Writing: Avoid using ALL CAPS in stories. It’s the equivalent of shouting.

After Publication: Once you get published, share your voice through social media platforms.

Timing: Let us know if your issue is time sensitive.  Include related events or ways to get involved.

Community Forums

Election Debates

Voice of OC is at the front and center of election debates and forums all across Orange County throughout the year and particularly each election season. Voice of OC Publisher Norberto Santana, Jr. has moderated candidate debates for open positions from Orange County District Attorney to Irvine City Council candidates to Santa Ana Unified School District elected board seats.

Civic Training

We believe so strongly in getting the public engaged that we offer educational outreach to community groups and gatherings of citizens. These programs inform on a host of topics including: how local government works, the process for seeking public documents, the law around open government meetings, how news media works and how to express ideas in editorials.

Training & Mentoring

Our reporters and editors routinely speak, answer questions and present on panels to offer advice and guidance to developing young journalists and talented professionals at colleges across Orange County and at conferences across the nation. In addition, Voice of OC staff teach part-time in Chapman University’s journalism program and offer internship opportunities.

Media Presentations

Our work offers a unique and rich level of depth and insight into public policy and community issues — which often turns into our reporters and editors offering insights in other media outlets. Our staff has offered insight in everything from a pre-election night forum with a New York Times editor, appearing on KPCC radio and in Feet to the Fire forums on local politics.

Comments

You can make your voice heard by commenting on Voice of OC stories through the Disqus discussion area. Our goal is to provide a space for a vibrant and civil discussion.

If you have questions or believe your comment has been incorrectly moderated, please contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick.

While some news organizations employ full-time web moderators, Voice of OC does not and cannot actively moderate comments.

Voice of OC is not responsible for the content posted by its users. However, we have the right (but not the obligation) to review, screen and delete any content posted on our website.

We respect your right to participate in the conversation, but we also reserve the right to ban any users and IP addresses that abuse and violate our community rules.

• Don’t use obscenities. Disqus will block comments containing vulgar and obscene language. If you want to have your say, keep it clean.

• Stay on Topic. Comments should be relevant to the article. Our website is not a place for users to have one-on-one arguments and free-ranging conversation. Don’t use public forums for individual communications.

• Be yourself – and not someone else. Don’t pose as another person when you are posting on the site.

• Be Respectful. Focus your remarks on positions, not personalities. No personal attacks, name-calling, libel, defamation, hate speech, obscene or pornographic language.

• Do not include links. Comments containing links are automatically filtered to decrease the amount of spam comments.

• Flag abusive comments. Users can flag comments that violate our community guidelines. Comments that are flagged several times will be hidden from view.

• Rank up valuable comments. Comments with the most “up” votes will be moved up the queue. Use this feature to help other readers find the most relevant, insightful and interesting comments. Conversely, comments with a large number of “down” votes will be moved to the bottom of the comment thread.

• Spark a civil discussion. Disqus includes a reply feature that allows you to respond to a specific user’s comment. If you want to engage in a one-on-one dialogue, you can send other Disqus users private messages.