Oakland's Lake Merritt in winter 2021. Credit: Amir Aziz

We are honored to share that the Society of Professional Journalists Northern California Chapter has awarded The Oaklandside its 2020 Excellence in Journalism award for community journalism in the print/online category.

The SPJ judges selected The Oaklandside for its reporting on Alameda County loosening shelter-in-place restrictions, how community members coped with the pandemic, reflections from longtime Black community organizers on protests against police brutality, student leadership of marches, an explanation of their community listening process, and more.

“The last twelve months of pandemic, protests against police brutality, and attacks on our democracy have proven all over again that local communities need and deserve access to the kinds of journalism we’re devoted to at The Oaklandside,” said editor-in-chief Tasneem Raja. “We’re here to share information resources for people dealing with incredibly complex systems, to help preserve Oakland’s histories, and to amplify community voices so we can all better understand this beautiful city and shape its future. We’re humbled and grateful to earn this recognition within a year of our launch, and do watch this space—we’re just getting started.”

Launched in June 2020, The Oaklandside began publishing as the pandemic was deepening and just before racial-justice protests swept the nation. Since then, The Oaklandside’s team has grown to include three editors, four reporters, a visual journalist, and dozens of freelance contributors who cover arts, entertainment, food, music, business, education, housing, city politics, law enforcement, public safety, and more in the city of Oakland. The newsroom has also partnered with El Tímpano, Oakland Voices, and Youth Beat to serve and reach more Oaklanders.

The Oaklandside’s sister publication Berkeleyside was also honored with three awards this year for food reporting, feature reporting, and longform storytelling.

The Oaklandside and Berkeleyside are part of the Cityside Journalism Initiative, a nonprofit network of local reporting platforms dedicated to building community through journalism.