It’s a Small World

25 years, but some things don’t change

By Cecily Hastings
April 2021

The essay below appeared in February 1996 in our first Inside East Sacramento. I found it recently in a book of the first year’s editions my husband made for me as a gift.

My first reaction was astonishment. As I read, I realized little has changed with our mission after 25 years.

Last month, Inside Sacramento was honored with two special awards. First, we were selected as part of “10 News Publishers That Do It Right 2021” by the trade magazine Editor & Publisher.

“Our 10 news publishers had to learn how to navigate a brand-new world. Whether it was pivoting to virtual work to offering creative and innovative advertising packages to address the needs of their communities, they were able to find a silver lining during a very tough season,” the editors wrote.

“Even with the COVID-19 shutdowns, (Inside Sacramento) maintained profitability in 2020 and avoided layoffs. In 2021, the company also aims to help local restaurants recover by offering scholarship paid advertising plans funded by a COVID city creative grant it received.”

Additionally, Editor & Publisher selected our COO Daniel Nardinelli for its “25 Under 35,” recognizing Next Generation News Leaders across the country.

In both categories, Inside Sacramento was the only local publication based in California.

I’ve also selected three more of my favorite covers shown above.

After nearly three years as editor of the East Sac News, I decided East Sacramento merited its very own homegrown publication. After all, East Sacramento is a fascinating corner of the city. It has a diverse population, ranging from college students and young families to retirees. It’s physically beautiful, with distinctive architecture, wonderful parks and lovely shade streets. It features a flourishing neighborhood preservation movement and a vibrant small business community. In an era of inner city decline, East Sacramento is a model of what an urban neighborhood can be.

Each month this publication will take a probing look inside East Sacramento. You’ll find articles on our schools, restaurants and small businesses. We will discuss the neighborhood’s wonderful older homes and gardens, and the interesting people who live in them. You’ll see stories about how we’re trying to preserve our heritage, which includes both our historical buildings and the rich heritage of our longtime residents. Anyone who knows me well is aware that I am an unabashed fan of East Sac.

We will cover our city government and politics from the perspective of how decisions affect our lives both positively and negatively. I’m still amazed at how little people know about their city government. We can’t depend on politicians and the Bee to give us everything we need to know about our community.

While the management of our city has become much more user-friendly in the last several years, I still see politicians operating behind closed doors negotiating deals that will affect our community for many years into the future. It often appears less a matter of right or wrong, than what is politically correct at the time.

We named this publication Inside East Sacramento for a specific reason. For many folks, East Sac has come to represent the community of neighborhoods bounded by the freeways, the river and the railroad tracks. But drawing lines based upon a set of freeways has disconnected us from people who once were our neighbors located to the south and west.

So while our primary audience is residents of East Sacramento proper, we will be including information pertinent to all neighborhoods east of Downtown. My experience has shown we have much more in common with these areas than we may realize. Midtown has more than a dozen active small neighborhoods and hundreds of great shops, restaurants and cultural activities enjoyed by many Sacramentans. If you’re not yet a fan of Midtown, we encourage you to get to know our historic and unique neighbor.

Just because we are living inside East Sac does not mean we’re not affected by problems outside our boundaries. We cannot simply bury our heads in the sand, believing it won’t happen here. Many of the problems facing East Sac, including graffiti vandalism and theft, have been plaguing the neighborhoods surrounding us for years. We need to care about the problems of our neighbors. If we don’t, one day soon we’ll face much bigger problems closer to home.

All great cities are a sum of the diversity of their neighborhoods. It has been my pleasure to discover that the people living inside East Sacramento play important roles throughout our city and region.

One final word, and it may be the most important. We want this publication to be fun to read and look at, and full of new discoveries. We will also strive to provide you with information that will make you a more informed citizen. Each and every one of us needs to find something to offer back to our neighborhoods. After all, it’s great neighborhoods that make great cities.

We also want to challenge you to see things from the perspective of your neighbors, whether you agree with them or not. We plan to put in practice the saying, “Let’s disagree without being disagreeable.” We’re constantly on the lookout for the people, places, ideas and imagination that give our portion of the city its unique spirit and flair.

Please feel free to pick up the phone and call us. After all, we (and the many small businesses that make this publication possible) are your neighbors.

That perhaps, more than anything, is what we hope to present to you, our readers, as we join together in defining East Sacramento for ourselves and articulating a vision of what we can be.

Cecily Hastings can be reached at Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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