This story first appeared in inewsource’s weekend newsletter. Sign up for it here.
Nine years ago this week, inewsource opened its doors for the first time. Our newsroom has come a long way since then. Here’s a bit more about our history and growth from founder and executive director Lorie Hearn:
Our first office space was in San Diego State University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies where we were given a few desks in exchange for my teaching a course on investigative journalism. We had some seed money, but the early years as a startup nonprofit news organization were tough. At one point, I didn’t take a paycheck for eight months.
Fast forward to 2018, with much thanks to our dedicated board and civic-minded readers, our budget has grown to $1.2 million and we have eleven full-time staff. Our growth reflects our impact in the community.
A few examples: We uncovered the city of San Diego was not following Charter Section 225, which requires disclosure of investors in any development by the city. Our consistent reporting on the lack of adherence to the law and subsequent lack of transparency thrusted it onto the upcoming November ballot.
We exposed mismanagement practices at the North County Transit District in 30-plus stories that resulted in changes in practices and greater transparency in the district and our first national award from the organization of Investigative Reporters and Editors.
For the first time, voters in the county have access to all campaign donations, expenditures and other materials for county elections online.
Please accept my thanks for your part in making inewsource a success. We have much more in store for you.
– Lorie Hearn
New five-part series on key ballot measures starting Monday
Monday kicks off our weeklong Follow The Money series on five key ballot measures voters will decide on Nov. 6. Reporters Jill Castellano and Brad Racino will start the week with a breakdown of the money behind Proposition 6, the measure to repeal California’s gas tax increase.
The other ballot measures they’ll cover include:
- SoccerCity and SDSU West
- Requiring all county elections to be decided in November
- The San Diego Unified School District bond proposal
- San Diego government transparency measure
This was an ambitious multimedia project created and directed by Brad, whose radio and TV expertise made it possible. But he couldn’t do it alone. He needed Jill’s data and political reporting skills to pull off this series. Together they made a fun and informative series that we hope helps voters understand what will be on the ballot in November.
The series will be available on our website, as a podcast on iTunes, and on KPBS radio and TV.
Behind the Pentagon Papers
Daniel Ellsberg, the anti-war activist best known for leaking documents about the Vietnam War, spoke at San Diego State University on Tuesday to a packed audience. He discussed nuclear war and disarmament, and what might have happened in the Vietnam War had President John F. Kennedy not been killed.
If you missed Ellsberg’s chat, don’t worry!
inewsource filmed the two-hour event, and the video will be made available to the public soon. Stay tuned.
UPDATED: County campaign finance data
We just updated our searchable campaign finance database for San Diego County, so you can see who’s funding which campaigns, and what candidates and groups are spending money on for the November election. This database now has more than 47,000 transactions, including some 34,000 contributions totaling more than $21 million.
You’ll only find this at data.inewsource.org because, honestly, you almost need a degree in mathematics and computer science to make sense of what’s displayed on the county’s website. But that’s part of why we exist. Read about why this information matters here.
Need a quick guide on how to use this database? You can find that here. We hope you enjoy searching it as much as we enjoyed building it.
(Oh, and did we mention that we also built one for the city of San Diego? It’s fully automated and updates daily. You can search it here.)
CATCH UP ON PAST ISSUES OF THE WEEKENDER:
Sep. 29, 2018 – Meet our newest intern, Valley Center horse nonprofit remains open.
Sep. 22, 2018 – Earl McNeil, kindergarten vaccination rates, “Doomsday and the Pentagon Papers.”
Sept. 15, 2018 – Q&A with Lorie Hearn, inewsource reporting impacts Sweetwater school district, campaign finance, HiCaliber.
Sept. 8, 2018 – Breaking down the gas tax repeal initiative, new database, trouble in Sweetwater.
We’ll let you know when big things happen.