Local news gets a boost: Publisher Cityside launches a Richmond site
on November 17, 2023
A new local news outlet plans to start covering Richmond this spring.
The nonprofit journalism organization Cityside, known for the Berkeleyside and Oaklandside news sites, said it hopes to launch a third publication, Richmondside, by the end of March.
Chief Content Officer Tracey Taylor said they are opening the new site after receiving an “overwhelmingly positive response” to community outreach.
“We’ll hopefully be able to do very consistent, regular reporting, which helps people understand what’s going on in their cities,” she said. “We really want to foster civic engagement with our work.”
The decision came after Cityside hired four community consultants and interviewed over 150 people in Richmond over a six-month period.
Managing Editor Jacob Simas said Richmond is “underserved” by news outlets, and many residents rely on word of mouth for important information.
Taylor noted that city hall and the public school system are two areas of interest for Richmondside coverage. She also hopes Richmondside will provide practical information such as election guides and vaccination information.
“Strengthening the local media ecosystem is a good thing,” said Malcolm Marshall, publisher and executive editor of the nonprofit Richmond Pulse, which has been covering Richmond for many years. But Richmond is a “different nut to crack,” he added. “You have to pass the Richmond smell test. And you do that by going all the way to the grassroots.”
Richmond Confidential, a product of the UC, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism, has been covering the community since 2009, though only recently has its coverage been year-round. And Chevron started a community news site, The Richmond Standard, nearly a decade ago. Bigger news outlets such as the San Francisco Chronicle and East Bay Times offer occasional coverage.
Cityside’s announcement noted that Richmondside will emphasize collaboration with other local news outlets rather than competition.
Marshall said he’s open to such collaboration and has met with the organization once, but added, “No one has made me an offer yet.”
Cole Goins, community engagement coordinator for Cityside, said it’s important for any new newsrooms to make sure they are “rooted in community, in response to the needs and wants, the dreams of the communities that they serve.”
Richmondside plans to start out small, according to the announcement, with a physical location, one editor and one reporter.
“Ideally, we hire someone who grew up in the community,” Taylor said. “But that is not a requirement.”
The plan is to continue community outreach, she said, including open-invite meetups with Cityside at Richmond coffee shops this month and in December.
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