Easy access to unfiltered information has blurred the lines between true professional journalism and the random opinion of anyone with internet access.
Journalism as we know it is in a time of transition, but there are fundamental principles of integrity, transparency and accuracy that must be taught to the next generation in order for fact-based news to survive amid the chaos.
Voice of OC has had a small fellowship program designed to train young reporters in these fundamentals in real time, covering real local news. Going beyond the classroom theories, our fellows are asked to set aside their personal opinions, be accountable for what they write, meet deadlines, make sure their story presents context and is fair to all points of view. It’s a lot to learn, but crucial to their credibility and ours.
Since our founding, Tracy Wood was passionate about mentoring young reporters through rigorous, no excuses journalism. She had been doing this for years before at the Register, Times and UPI. Under her direction, young reporters became, like her, not just a reporter, but a seeker of truth.
Every one of our reporters began as a fellow in their final year of college. In a sense, they have trained, like a soldier, under live fire.
The Tracy Wood Fellowship honors her legacy as a journalist and mentor. It allows us to expand our mentorship program to pay our fellows and increase the number of reporters we can send out into the community to bring you the critical information you need to participate in your government.
As the program evolves, we will add stories of our Fellows and their challenges, accomplishments and impact. And, as Tracy would say, we will continue to “Get it first, but first get it right.”
Please support training young journalists to carry on the professional legacy exemplified by Tracy Wood. Even better — a recurring monthly or quarterly donation ensures that the Tracy Wood fellowship program will continue for years to come.