Santa Cruz Local is a local news podcast, newsletter and website about public policy in Santa Cruz County. We started this company because we saw holes in our county’s news coverage, and we believed our community deserved better.
MISSION: We produce fair and accurate local journalism that holds power to account.
VISION: When we are all watching and engaged in our local government, our needs are addressed, democracy works better and our community is stronger.
VALUES: We value integrity, transparency, public trust, and quality over quantity. We aim for truth, depth, context and analysis, not virality, online engagement and speed.
Our founding principles
- Journalism comes before profit. We believe journalism is a public good. Our mission of creating fair and accurate local journalism that holds power to account drives all business decisions. Our company exists to benefit the public, not to maximize profit.
- The community helps us create valuable stories. We want to involve you in our process and decision-making so we can base our reporting on your needs. We want our reporting to help you watch and engage with our local governments and institutions. Our reporting should help you make better-informed decisions about your lives, your public institutions and your vote. Read more about our approach to community engagement here.
- We seek the truth, no matter who it comforts or afflicts. No donor, investor or advertiser of Santa Cruz Local will have weighted influence on or early access to any journalism we produce.
- We value our employees and respect their time. We will pay a fair and competitive salary. We love our work, but balance comes first. Full-time employees will work 40 hours a week, no more. Also, we pay equal wages for equal work across gender, race, sexual orientation and age.
- We will be transparent. Even though we’re a private company, we will publish the same kind of financial information that a nonprofit would. We want to show you what we’re doing with your financial contributions. Also, like the public institutions we cover, we will publish our salaries. We also will publish a list of our donors. If a story involves a major donor or investor, we will disclose that. All our writers will have a bio that includes an ethics statement.
- Accuracy, thoroughness and fairness come before speed and style. Our stories give context and explanations. We want to foster informed, healthy discourse. We’re not after your clicks. We’ve designed our company so that the community, not website traffic, drives revenue. The top sources of our revenue will be major donors, grants, memberships and crowdfunding.
- Locals come first. We want to support locals, since locals support us. We will work with Santa Cruz County vendors as much as possible.
- We will look for solutions. We will look for successful models in other similar cities and compare them point by point with what Santa Cruz is doing.
- The more media literate our community is, the stronger our democracy. We want to show our community the value of fair and rigorously fact-checked journalism, and how that’s different from bloggers and entertainment. We want to show our community how to identify misinformation.
Who we are
Kara Meyberg Guzman / CEO / Co-founder
From 2017-18, Kara Meyberg Guzman served as the Santa Cruz Sentinel’s managing editor, the first woman and first person of color to hold the newspaper’s top editor position. Prior to that, she covered transportation, government, environment and education as a reporter and oversaw the website as the digital manager. She has a biology degree from Stanford University and lives in Santa Cruz. [Kara’s ethics statement]
Stephen Baxter / Editor / Co-founder
Stephen Baxter is a veteran newspaper reporter who has won five awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association. He holds a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. His work has appeared in the San Jose Mercury News, Associated Press, CBS News “48 Hours,” MotherJones.com and the Santa Cruz Sentinel. He lives in Santa Cruz. [Stephen’s ethics statement]
Natalya Dreszer / Community Engagement and Business Development Coordinator
Natalya produces events to build trust and meaningful conversations with the community. Natalya also helps run membership drives and fundraising. Natalya recently graduated from McGill University. Before that, Natalya graduated from Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz.
Haley Williams / Graphic artist
Haley Williams previously worked as design editor and was a senior editorial board member at The Daily Californian in Berkeley. Prior to that, she was an illustrator and infographic artist for the publication. Until March 2019, Haley managed sustainability communications for Driscoll’s in Watsonville. Haley lives in Santa Cruz and does volunteer design work for local nonprofits. She is volunteering with Santa Cruz Local.
Jerimiah Oetting / Science reporting intern
Jerimiah Oetting is a graduate student in the UCSC Science Communication Program. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, he put his ecology degree to use for the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service, where his many “jobs” included tracking down endangered toads and conducting forest health surveys across California. As an intern with Santa Cruz Local, he hopes his reporting will keep the community informed during these very uncertain times.
Want to learn more about our company, our podcast, our memberships and how to support local journalism? See our FAQ page.