Is Helping Save Local News For Emeryville Worth $5?

Published On January 8, 2021 | By Rob Arias | About

The ongoing shelter order has been catastrophic for many sectors of small businesses and local news publications are no exception. Simply put, when local businesses and residents are struggling, there’s a “trickle down” on local news in the form of a loss of advertising revenue and paid subscribers.

2020 was an absolute bloodbath for news orgs. Gannet, Vice, Buzzfeed, The Examiner and Bay Area News Group are among the many that experienced layoffs and furloughs. According to the New York Times, over 37,000 news industry jobs were lost following the initial lock down. According to Pew Research Center, U.S. newspapers have shed half of their newsroom employees since 2008.

With such a hyperfocus on national news, local news seems to be getting swept aside. At a time when arguably local news is the most critical, we are also among the most vulnerable.

“The day I run into a Huffington Post reporter at a Baltimore zoning board hearing is the day I will no longer be worried about journalism.
–‘The Wire’ creator David Simon

Emeryville: Former News Desert

When we launched our platform in 2011, Emeryville was what many call a “news desert.” A community that was not covered comprehensively by any regional news publications. The impacts of a lack of news on a community are well established with lower resident engagement and voter turnout and higher levels of corruption and fiscal malfeasance. In a city like Emeryville with a notorious history of corruption, our work is critical in staving this off.

This NPR Hidden Brain podcast titled Starving the Watchdog details the impacts a community feels when stripped of a local news source. With an abundance of social media and free blogs, many are reluctant to voluntarily pay for online content they once paid for in printed form. The impacts of the loss of local news are measurable in higher taxes but what’s more concerning is the stories that never bubble to the surface.

Covering Emeryville during unprecedented times

Wether you’ve been following since our inception or just recently, I hope you appreciating our comprehensive coverage of our small city. Crime, business, transportation, development, local government, history … we cover it all.

While the pandemic has put constraints on our coverage, I’m personally very proud of the way our freelance reporters have responded. Sarah Belle Lin stepped it up early to provide in-depth coverage of city hall as well as vulnerable populations like the homeless and seniors. Her tenacity as a reporter is unmatched and The E’ville Eye and Emeryville are lucky to have her as a contributor.

E’ville Eye contributor Sarah Belle Lin in a bank of reporters covering the Estrella Vista press conference in July, 2019.

Joey Enos has reprised some fascinating historical accounts including The Sherwin-Williams ‘Cover the Earth’ sign, the demise of Berkeley Farms and the creation of the Emeryville Peninsula.

Bobby Lee has been a steady contributor for years. Local Realtor Nicole Gruen has diligently added her insights to our Real Estate & Rental markets. Cindy Warner keeps an eye on the Emeryville Marina for us. Regarding my personal situation, a full-time day job and a lack of daycare has stifled most of my free time to write stories but I’ve done my best to prioritize important ones.

The E’ville Eye runs a lean operation with almost all our revenue going toward paying our contributors.

Not just Local News, Community Journalism

The E’ville Eye is isn’t just local news, we’re community journalists. All of us live within or near the community and are vested in trying to stay on top of our dynamic 1.2 square mile mile city. We strive to be sincere, honest and bold.

We fundamentally believe that every resident should have access to information and we hope you’ll agree with us by showing your support.

“ee-sq-ad”

Free E’ville Tee with your Support

Printed on heathered Bella+Canvas unisex tees, they are personally designed by E’ville Eye editor Rob Arias and printed locally at TNT’s screen printing.

Support us at just the $5/mo. or $50/yr. level (one year commitment) and we’ll mail you this free tee. Your support goes toward providing the community with the relevant, honest, hyperlocal news that you’re accustomed to.

Feature Image: Editor Rob Arias interviewing Governor Gavin Newsom in Emeryville (Photo: Sarah Belle Lin / July, 2019).

About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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