Neo Journalism in Oakland

Is Oakland ready for it’s close up?

These days it seems there’s no shortage of news websites or blogs devoted to covering all things Oakland. In the last couple of years we’ve seen Oakland North come aboard, the launch of Oakland Local, The OakBook, and cool sites like A Better Oakland.

Old scribes like the New York Times are falling all over themselves trying to cover Oakland and the Bay Area, and even the yet-to-be launched The Bay Citizen promises to devote key resources to the city.

Last night, I stopped by the official launch party of OaklandSeen, a radio and news blog project put together by prominent Oakland citizen, Aimee Allison.

Not too long ago, Oakland was a dead zone for journalism. The Tribune had moved out of its iconic headquarters and the Chronicle only dropped in when there was a shooting or social unrest.

But with the demise of traditional print journalism, comes new opportunities for media outlets willing to chuck the old way and come up with a new plan.

What many of the new Oakland news organizations have in common is a grassroots feel and a promise to cover more than just crime and city hall. Also, reflecting the diversity of the city, almost all of these new organizations are run, in part, by women or journalists of color.

The days of just seeing news about murder, school board meetings, and ribbon cutting events in Oakland seem to be, thankfully, over.

I’ll leave aside the issue of providing living wages for writers, photographers, and radio folks for another time.

Instead, for now, I’ll celebrate this golden age in Oakland journalism.

–Jennifer Inez Ward

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