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Before we launched The Oaklandside just over a year ago, we knew that we would have to set a higher standard for ourselves as journalists working in a city that’s often been unfairly covered by the media. So instead of launching into reporting, we started by listening to Oakland residents about what they want journalism to do for Oakland.

People told us they want a newsroom that reflects the diversity and complexity of Oakland. They want us to share the mic so that the people we serve can tell their own stories, and they asked us to collaborate with other local storytellers, media makers, and trusted sources of community information. Holding ourselves to account on these commitments led us to create Mission Metrics, a way to track the impact of our reporting, including through direct community feedback.

We are not alone in taking this approach, but this is not how journalism has worked traditionally.

With a view to exploring how local and national news organizations can avoid repeating mistakes of the past, our Editor-in-Chief, Tasneem Raja, spoke to internationally acclaimed journalist (and former KRON East Bay bureau chief) Soledad O’Brien, and Maynard Institute Director and former Oakland Tribune Editor-in-Chief Martin Reynolds. All three tell compelling stories of newsrooms where coverage was about a community, but not necessarily for that community.

The video recording of that conversation (above) was first streamed on June 15, 2021, as part of The Oaklandside’s one-year anniversary event, Live-ish, a three-day celebration of our newsroom’s first year, featuring community conversations, short documentaries, panel discussions, and musical performances by local artists.  

Blue Shield is the presenting sponsor of Live-ish.

Tracey Taylor co-founded Berkeleyside and, subsequently, Cityside Journalism Initiative, the nonprofit parent organization to both Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Prior to that, she was an editor and journalist whose work was published in The New York Times, the Financial Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others.