Voices Heard

Inside launches new community news initiative

By R.E. Graswich
August 2020

Inside Sacramento is looking for a few good community journalists. But not just from any community. We are interested in writers from neighborhoods that historically don’t get much attention from traditional media—unless the news is bad.

We want to see Sacramento’s underserved communities from a different, deeper, more personal perspective. This means we want stories by and about people who really know the neighborhoods.

A little background:

My list of serious journalistic accomplishments could fill a tweet, but one moment stands tall: the day Dori Maynard hired me to work for the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

Dori was Bob Maynard’s daughter. Bob and his wife Nancy founded the Institute for Journalism Education, which was renamed in his honor after his death in 1993. The Maynard Institute is a big deal in the news world. It’s the oldest organization dedicated to diversifying American newsrooms.

Diversity meant everything to the Maynard family. Bob Maynard was the first African American publisher of a major daily newspaper, the Oakland Tribune. When Maynard took over the Tribune in 1979, he looked around the newsroom and noticed the people there didn’t look much like the community they served. He set out to improve that. Dori continued the Maynard Institute’s work until her death in 2015.

Dori hired me in 2014 to run Sacramento Voices, a news and feature website created by people who grew up or lived in underserved neighborhoods. Oak Park, Fruitridge, Valley Hi and Meadowview were well represented. The program produced some wonderful work. But after two years, our funding from The California Endowment ran out. We closed.

Today, Inside Sacramento Publisher Cecily Hastings wants to rekindle the spirit of Sac Voices. Motivated by the social upheaval that followed the killing of George Floyd, she wants to open Inside’s website, InsideSacramento.com, and printed pages to stories by community journalists with personal connections to neighborhoods typically overlooked by local media.

“Inside has always been a community publication,” she says. “We celebrate Sacramento’s beautifully diverse neighborhoods. It’s time for us to expand our coverage within those neighborhoods, to find issues and people who don’t get their stories told.”

Nobody can tell those stories better than people who grew up there or live there.

If you are a writer with a community story to tell—maybe about an amazing neighbor, a legacy business or an injustice—please let me know. I’ll work with you and help you get published at Inside.

Together, we’ll produce stories that look like Sacramento—a perfect way to continue the mission of Bob, Nancy and Dori Maynard.

R.E. Graswich can be reached at regraswich@icloud.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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