The Oaklandside, which was funded with $1.56 million from Google News Initiative, officially launched in Oakland on June 16, reports Poynter.
The unique thing about the newly launched non-profit, online newsroom is that it began operations before its official launch as the pandemic stopped everything else.
“We’re journalists,” said Tasneem Raja, editor-in-chief. “We need to get to work.”
Prior to its launch, Raja and her team had one-on-one conversations with community members discussing what they want journalism to do for Oakland, what they want to participate in, and what stories need to be covered.
A team of seven journalists, including arts and community reporter Azucena Rasilla, housing and homelessness reporter Natalie Orenstein, Ashley McBride, who covers education, and Jacob Simas, managing editor, got to work and covered protests and schools and launched a newsletter.
As per Raja, The Oaklandside will focus on offering information, context and history. “We’re also looking to be the place where you’re going to hear perspectives and voices that you’re just not going to hear in other places,” she said.
Until today, The Oaklandside’s work appeared on Berkeleyside. Now, the site has more than 5,000 Twitter followers, and about as many newsletter subscribers.
“This is really more about Oakland and what Oakland needs right now. For us, the thing that feels the most meaningful is just showing up and asking ourselves, ‘How can we best serve Oakland in this moment?” concluded Raja.