We are very grateful for Julie’s leadership and for her work that has shaped California Today over the past four years. As we bid him farewell, we asked him to share some of his experience.
Do you remember the first California Today you edited? What were the great stories of the state at the time?
The first edition released on September 6, 2016, with a call for readers to tell us about the issues they care about most and want us covered. Wildfires, housing and voting measures were all in the foreground – issues that are still extremely relevant today.
The idea was to hear and speak to readers more directly, and to use all of the incredible expertise of our reporters in California to help them stay informed. We also wanted to highlight local journalism across the state at a time when many media outlets were under threat. My favorite early editions relied a lot on our readers, they helped us report the terrible Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire, shared mid-term opinions, and gave us tips on where to find. hidden gems like this one from a Napa drive:
“Everyone comes to Napa Valley for wine. Only a handful of people know about Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. The hike is beautiful and the first mile, in a beautiful shaded forest, ends with a plaque commemorating the site of the cabin where Stevenson spent his honeymoon with his new wife, Franny, in 1880. ”
– Kathie Fowler, Napa
What do you think has changed the most in the state since then?
Looking back, it’s amazing how much hasn’t changed. Our first editions were all devoted to forest fires. We have spent much of the year focusing on homelessness and how conditions in the Oakland camps resemble those in the developing world. The wealth gap has been a constant theme and it looks like it’s only getting worse.
Over the past year or so, it has been remarkable how Californians have come together to fight the pandemic and it is reassuring to see how well the state is doing now. But it also feels like many problems have only gotten worse. I know people who are considering moving because they don’t want to risk losing their home to another fire.
As my colleague Adam Nagourney put it: “The Californian sense of exception – of why someone would live elsewhere – is not as strong as it used to be. And as Conor Dougherty points out, over the past few years there has been a pretty collective recognition that the current path is not sustainable and that we need a serious course correction, but as always, there is. little agreement on what exactly to do.
You’ll still help guide California coverage into your new role, but is there anything you particularly want to continue reading, as a Californian yourself?