It’s an exciting day for our staff and, we hope, residents and business owners in Redwood City like you. As the Redwood City Pulse officially launches as a 24/7 online news source and gathering place for one of the Peninsula’s oldest and largest cities, we want to invite your full participation in our mission to engage and inform all corners of the community, from Emerald Hills to Redwood Shores to North Fair Oaks.
This diverse community deserves quality professional journalism that presents the facts and context of local issues and controversies, celebrates the people who are doing good and shines a light on community needs that may not be adequately being addressed by government, businesses or nonprofit organizations.
Who are we and why do we think we can fill this need?
Embarcadero Media, our organization, has a solid reputation, built over more than four decades, for fair reporting, ethical editorial and business practices, presenting diverse opinions and not being beholden to any special interests. Our reporting is always designed to inform, educate, inspire, and celebrate, not shape public opinion in one political direction. We endorse local candidates and ballot measures for readers interested in our editors’ thinking, but we focus on careful analysis and unbiased reporting. When we undertake investigative reporting, it is with great care and well-sourced.
Forty-two years ago, almost to the day, I took a leap of faith that residents of Palo Alto would embrace a local news organization devoted to intelligent, high-quality reporting of local news. With the financial help of fifteen local families who shared my concern over the April 1979 merger of the Redwood City Tribune and Palo Alto Times into a regional newspaper, the Palo Alto Weekly was launched just six months later. Those families all agreed that they would have no input on editorial content. During the last 42 years, not one has even attempted to influence our editorial decisions. In most cases, children of that original group have now inherited their parents’ small (5-8%) interest in the company.
Throughout the last four decades, as other news organizations have abandoned or reduced local news coverage, leaving communities without professional news reporting, Embarcadero Media has grown into a respected independent news organization serving Menlo Park, Woodside, Atherton and Portola Valley (with The Almanac newspaper and website); Palo Alto, Stanford and East Palo Alto (with the Palo Alto Weekly and Palo Alto Online); Mountain View (with the Mountain View Voice, now a purely online news site); and Pleasanton, Danville, San Ramon and Livermore (with the Pleasanton Weekly and three different websites). We are one of the largest, if not the largest, independent and locally owned news organizations in the Bay Area.
We are also passionate about the future of local journalism and its transition to online publishing. The Palo Alto Weekly was the first newspaper in the United States to publish its entire content on the web in 1994. Our websites have repeatedly been recognized by professional journalism associations for their digital news coverage and innovation. In the last five years, we’ve also launched TheSixFifty.com, an online lifestyle magazine on the culture of the region served by the 650 area code, and Peninsula Foodist, a blog and newsletter on the unique food and restaurant scene. And last month, we began a high school sports e-newsletter, Peninsula Preps Playbook.
We began planning for the Redwood City Pulse more than three years ago, but put it on hold when the pandemic hit last year. This spring, we decided to move forward and recruited two outstanding journalists to lead the effort. In the weeks and months ahead, you’ll get to know both Editor Michelle Iracheta and Reporter Leah Worthington. They will anchor the Pulse but will also be supported by our 15-person Peninsula editorial team and freelancers. Both are bilingual in Spanish, something we felt was critically important to enable strong coverage and interactions with the entire Redwood City community. We hope you will get to know them and take the opportunity to suggest story ideas, give feedback and post your news and event information.
Our goal is to engage with all parts of the Redwood City community. We’ll be holding regular outreach events to hear your ideas for what we should be covering, facilitate discussion and debate of community issues, and help you get your views heard by city and school leaders and other residents. We want to publish your guest opinions and comments on what’s happening in Redwood City. If you have an interest you are passionate about, we invite you to propose a blog on our site. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I also want to acknowledge the support we’re receiving from the Google News Initiative, which has many programs globally to assist news organizations in serving their local communities. Through its partnership with a Canadian firm, Village Media, Google is underwriting some of our infrastructure and marketing needs, including the technology platform on which the RWC Pulse website is built. We’re grateful to both companies for the help they’re providing.
At a time when some people have concerns or suspicions about the media, we urge you to be open-minded and share your criticisms and suggestions for how we can do better. Our company has worked hard to build our reputation for accuracy, accountability, humility, listening and community engagement. With your help, we are looking forward to building a successful community website for Redwood City!
Bill Johnson is the founder and president of Embarcadero Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 650-223-6505.