Mission & Values

Mission

Our mission is to consistently deliver fair, focused and thorough journalism on quality of life and arts issues for Orange County communities while encouraging civic engagement and civil discourse through our editorial pages and social channels.

Values

Accuracy

Accuracy is our most important standard. We take every effort to uncover and present the truth in a fair, focused and thorough manner. If we make a mistake, we openly acknowledge it and file a correction.

Independence

Voice of OC is independent and nonpartisan. We are not beholden to advertisers, sponsors or power-brokers guiding what we publish through money and influence. We tell each story as is — regardless of who or what is at issue.

Community

We write stories for and about the various communities of Orange County. Our opinion pages, comment sections, social channels and community forums encourage a respectful exchange of perspectives.

Transparency

Public records belong to the public, but bureaucrats don’t often agree. Voice of OC is tenacious in pursuing public records and has won more lawsuits seeking disclosure in the last decade than any other local news agency.

Board of Directors

Wylie A. Aitken, Chairman

Wylie Aitken is a nationally recognized trial lawyer, Top 500 nationally and Top 100 in California. He is founding partner of Aitken-Aitken-Cohn in Santa Ana and was the youngest president in history of the California Trial Lawyers Association. Aitken is one of the O.C.'s most important philanthropists. Activities include: Chapman University Trustee, Orange County Performing Arts Trustee, South Coast Repertory President's Circle and CSU Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation President’s Circle.

Barbara Venezia

Venezia is a journalist, author, producer and podcast host. She started her media career in Orange County on local access televison in 1988 with her first show, "Networking Orange County". From 1992-1998 Venezia produced the comedy cooking show “At Home on the Range” with co-star John Crean. Since 2007 she has written social and political commentary for the OC Register, LA Times Daily Pilot and on occiasion for Voice of OC. In 2010 she helped co-create "Feet to the Fire" political forums. She shares her time betwern homes in Newport and Las Vegas. 

Erwin Chemerinsky

Erwin Chemerinsky, the inaugural dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine, is one of the nation’s most respected constitutional scholars. Chemerinsky, who is now the Dean of the Berkeley School of Law, also taught for years at the University of Southern California and has written extensively on the U.S. Supreme Court. He also has remained active in public policy debates, with a central role in the LAPD Rampart scandal investigation and the crafting of a new charter for the City of Los Angeles.

Colleen Clark

Colleen Clark is a respected finance professional with more than 25 years’ experience. A graduate of CSU Fullerton, she spent five years with the international public accounting firm of Deloitte and 20 years as the CFO and Finance Director for public agencies including the County of Orange, City of Irvine and Transportation Corridor Agencies.  She managed the issuance of over $5 Billion in tax exempt bonds, managed investments of over $1 Billion and developed and managed multimillion dollar annual budgets.

Norberto Santana, Jr.

Norberto Santana Jr., is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than two decades reporting experience across Southern California's top news publications, most recently engaging Orange County government institutions and decision makers as the founding publisher of the nonprofit digital newsroom, Voice of OC. As publisher, Santana oversees all newsroom, engagement and fundraising operations and writes a weekly opinion column on Orange County government.

Diversity

Inclusiveness is at the heart of thinking and acting as journalists.

The complex issues we face as a society require respect for different viewpoints. Race, class, generation, gender and geography all affect point of view. Reflecting these differences in our reporting leads to better, more nuanced stories and a better-informed community. We seek diverse voices in our staff. We are interested in hearing from different ethnic, civic and business groups in the communities we serve.

Ethics

Honesty

• Never plagiarize.

• Always attribute.

• Label advocacy and opinion.

Diversity

•  Seek sources whose voices we seldom hear.

•  Avoid stereotyping.

•  Challenge personal values and experiences during the reporting process.

Accountability

•  Respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity and fairness.

•  Acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly and prominently.

Independence

• Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

• Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel or any special treatment that may compromise integrity or impartiality.

• Deny favored treatment to donors or special interests.

Anonymous Sources

•  Consider sources’ motivations before promising anonymity.

•  Reserve anonymity only for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm and who have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere.

•  Explain to the audience why anonymity was granted.

Accuracy

• Verify that all facts are accurate.

• Focus on accuracy, rather than speed of publication.

• Use original sources whenever possible.

• Present information in the proper context.

• Identify sources clearly.

Fairness

•  Diligently give subjects of news coverage the opportunity to respond to criticism.

•  Avoid surreptitious methods of gathering information.

•  Hold people in power accountable.

•  Give voice to the voiceless.

Public Access

•  Ensure that government bodies conduct the public’s business in the open.

•  Ensure public records are made public.

•  Provide access to source materials when it is relevant and appropriate.

Respect

•  Use heightened sensitivity when dealing with people who are inexperienced or who are unable to give consent.

•  Realize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than people who seek power, influence or attention.

•  Consider the long-term implications of the reach and permanence of publication. Provide updated and more information as appropriate.

FAQ

Corrections

Voice of OC is committed to telling readers when an error has been made, the magnitude of the error and the correct information, as quickly as possible. This commitment and transparency is applicable to small errors as well as large, across all Voice of OC content and products. All corrections can be seen HERE. If you would like to report an inaccuracy, email either admin@voiceofoc.org, nsantana@voiceofoc.org or twood@voiceofoc.org.

Editorial Independence

Our news gathering is independent of commercial or political interests. We do not accept gifts of any kind in order to avoid any conflict-of-interest or appearance thereof. The newsroom is insulated from donors, sponsors and advertisers by a firewall.

Actionable Feedback

Our audiences are frontline witnesses to life in Orange County - public safety, politics, housing, social movements, schools, culture - and your insights can help shape our news agenda. We invite your comments and complaints on news stories, suggestions for issues to cover or sources to consult. We believe that news organizations have a responsibility to engage with the public on the values, issues and ideas of the day, and that we have much to gain in return. Your comments, questions and suggestions can be sent to the team as a whole at admin@voiceofoc.org or by contacting a specific member of our staff.

Founding

Voice of OC was founded on June 3, 2009. The first news content was published on March 31, 2010.

Masthead

NORBERTO SANTANA, JR., Publisher, nsantana@voiceofoc.org

TRACY WOOD, Civic Editor, twood@voiceofoc.org

Ownership Structure

Voice of OC is a non-profit news agency. A thorough explanation of our funding, a link to our Guidestar page and our financial disclosure forms can be accessed HERE. We are guided by a board of directors.

Trust Project

Voice of OC is a participant in the Trust Project, a collaboration among news organizations around the world. Its goal is to create strategies that fulfill journalism’s basic pledge: to serve society with a truthful, intelligent and comprehensive account of ideas and events.

Privacy

Voice of OC is committed to privacy of our users. We retain the right to update our privacy policy, and if we do so we will post a notice on this privacy policy page of the change.

Email Subscriptions

We collect your email address if you choose to subscribe to one of our email newsletters or email news alerts. Other optional information that you enter when subscribing – such as your first and last names or city are simply so that we can deliver more personalized email newsletters. We DO NOT sell, rent or market your information to any other parties. We retain your information only as long as necessary to provide your service. When we send emails, it collects some data about which users open the emails and which links are clicked. We use this information to optimize our email newsletters and, as aggregate information, to explain what percentage of our users open and interact with our newsletters.

Donations

When you donate to Voice of OC, the information you include is stored in our Kindful and Stripe donation systems. Only the last four digits of your card are viewable in our internal-only private systems. Other information that you provide us – such as your first and last name, address, email and phone number – are only stored in our internal system so that we can communicate with our donors. We DO NOT sell, rent or market your information to any other parties.

Analytics

Our web traffic is automatically tracked by Google Analytics. This includes but is not limited to: your IP address, the name and location of your Internet Service Provider, the type and version of your web browser, the length of time you stay on our website, search queries, the pages you view, the website that sent you to our website and the average number of pages you viewed. We use this information so that we can understand how people use our website so that we can continue optimizing the site design and experience. We DO NOT sell, rent or market your personal information to any other parties. We may use aggregated information for marketing or information purposes – such as how many of our users come from Santa Ana or Irvine, or how many of our users are within a certain age range.

Changing Your Personal Information

If you would like to update or delete the information they provided to us, they can do so by sending an email to Voice of OC at admin@voiceofoc.org.