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California Local—Two Years of Virtual Community Building

Publisher Mike Gelbman delivers a report on our media allies, local directories, marketing services, and more.

PUBLISHED OCT 19, 2022 12:00 A.M.
The Giant Sequoia, like this one in Yosemite National Park's Mariposa Grove, is one of the two fastest growing trees in the world. The other is the Coast Redwood. Ahhh ... California.

The Giant Sequoia, like this one in Yosemite National Park's Mariposa Grove, is one of the two fastest growing trees in the world. The other is the Coast Redwood. Ahhh ... California.

Photo by Jane Rix, Shutterstock

After more than a year of building out NewsOS, the content management system that California Local co-founder Chris Neklason developed, we went live in August 2021 in eight counties: El Dorado, Monterey, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Benito, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. We also created portals for the Tahoe-Truckee region and our statewide offerings.

California Local is set up to connect the dots between community members, elected officials, and the local nonprofits that serve their communities.

We do this by providing content including statewide news coverage, Explainers that put the news in context, and daily news from our media allies and other credible local media outlets.

Our government directories list elected and appointed officials from the state level down to the local community level. And our community group directories have more than 1,500 listings providing information on who they are, how to volunteer, and how to give.

So after two years, here is where we stand.

The California Local Media Alliance

Our media allies are local newsrooms that keep you informed so you can more effectively participate in democratic governance: Our slogan is “We make it easy to citizen.” (Where “citizen” is a verb.) California Local understands that every community’s stories are best told by those who live and work in those communities. By partnering with local media, we can promote these good stories.

We currently have 17 member newsrooms, which you can find on the California Local Media Alliance page. Each of these publications has its own page on California Local, where we post images and headlines and point individuals to the media outlet’s website to read the stories.

Government Directories

From the state level down to your city council, you can find 616 elected representatives and 1,746 public agency appointees in California Local’s database. We provide you with background information and make it easy to reach them via  email, links to their websites, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

On each public official’s page we provide information about their background and how to contact them. We also list upcoming meetings on our government calendar.

Community Groups

We have more than 1,500 community group listings in our database. When you view a community group you will find a brief description of what they do, as well as links to their email and website, access to newsletters and press releases, and feeds from their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. We also make it easy to donate and volunteer with the click of a button.

Through our community group ally program, we invite individuals from any nonprofit organization to become administrators for their page, where they can add additional information such as a mission statement. Community Group admins are also able to add events to our calendar.

All of these features are free, by the way.

Facilities

Need to find a park where your kids can play? Or a dog park, library, or a museum? We have close to 1,000 public facilities in our listings to help you enjoy where you live.

Maps

In Santa Cruz County we have built out digital maps that help with bird watching and safe cycling. We can also help you find dog parks, county parks, schools and libraries, as well as the completed sections of the Santa Cruz Rail Trail. Find them all at Maps of the Santa Cruz Region.  

As we build relationships with cycling organizations, bird clubs, etc, in our other counties, we will work with them to create maps to serve their communities.

NewsOS as a Publishing Platform

In September 2022, Sacramento Digs Gardening became our first alliance member to begin publishing on our proprietary content management system, NewsOS. The blogging platform they were using is being phased out, and we saw an opportunity to help.

As with all allies, SDG has its own page on California Local, where co-founders Debbie Arrington and Kathy Morrison post articles, recipes, and lists. Because they publish on California Local’s platform, we are able to promote their work on our Sacramento homepage and elsewhere on our network.

Impactful Marketing

At California Local, one of the important things we do is tell stories about the good work being done by local nonprofit community groups. Many organizations lack the resources to hire full-time marketing specialists or contract with big advertising agencies to get their message out. That is where we come in.

We are proud to be working with the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation: I invite you to check out the Impact Report that we created for them back in August to find out about the amazing things they are doing to help their community.

We also want to tell the stories of the good work for-profits companies are doing to enhance their communities—how they and individuals within their organizations give back to their communities.

Join us!

As we continue to evolve, we are excited about how far we have come, but we are even more excited about where we are going. Come be a part of the California Local family, as an individual or organization, and let’s work together for your community.

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