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By Eric Johnson
Published May 22, 2023

CALocal Wins Two Big Journo Awards

You probably know that The Newsletter goes out only to California Local members and subscribers—folks like yourself who’ve signed up to join our family and support our work. Today I am writing to bring the good news that we have just been given two big awards by the California News Publishers Association (CNPA). 

We learned Thursday morning that our Santa Cruz Rail Trail ‘Tracker’ won a Third Place award for Public Interest Journalism. This is a category that many people in our industry care the most deeply about, because it involves having a real and demonstrable impact in our community—and as you are no doubt aware, that’s why we are in this game to begin with.

The  award-winning “Tracker,” by the way, is a news product devised by our co-founder Chris Neklason, who defines it like so: “Article that acts as a portal for information about an ongoing process, tracking it and adding and updating information over time.” And here’s what the CNPA judges said about this one.

One-stop shopping for readers interested in this local issue. A model for presenting comprehensive information on a subject of public interest—a contentious one—from all kinds of angles and all kinds of sources. Allows readers to access journalism as well as primary sources, a nod to the “do your own research” approach. All of it is in easily digested writing and images. Informative and inviting through expert use of media.

We are deeply honored that our industry peers have given us this recognition. Speaking of which.

California Local Wins First Place CNPA Award for Story Presentation Page Layout & Design

My friend and colleague Chris has thought long and hard about the best ways to present news and information in a way that helps keep people engaged; NewsOS, our Content Management System, is a result of years of his work toward that end. Kara Brown, our designer, has decades in the biz, and is committed to creating a user experience that inspires feelings of delight. Apparently their collaboration is golden.

I am pleased as punch to tell you that we have been named the best-looking journalism website (in our 100,000 uniques-per-month division) in the state of California. And here, “best-looking,” as in all online endeavors, includes functionality. 

We are fiercely committed to creating something good in the online world—by bringing you news you can trust and helping you stay connected. 

As you will see below, there is more on its way.


New Feature: Find Your Reps

Our work is guided in part by our motto: “We make it easy to citizen.” (I hope I don’t need to remind you that “citizen” is a verb.) This week we made it even easier by rolling out a new feature that puts your local elected officials one click away. Here’s how that works, and some tips on effective civic communications.


Conveniently Contacting Your Elected Representatives

Time to step up and speak out.
We've made it one-click convenient for members to contact their elected representatives.

Tips on Contacting Your Elected Representatives

Your elected representatives want to hear from you.
Voting is just the beginning. Stay connected with your representatives to make sure your government is working for you.

Longtime Public Official Talks to Local Leaders

Politics is the family business for Ryan Coonerty, and after years serving as an elected official in Santa Cruz, he is hosting a podcast focused on local electeds.


An Interview With Ryan Coonerty

Then-Santa Cruz County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty speaks at a TEDx event in 2020. “As a local official, every day I get to wake up and try to take action to make our community a little bit better place.”
On the Santa Cruz City Council, then as mayor, and then as county supervisor, Ryan Coonerty learned to love politics.


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