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We are excited to announce the newest addition to The Sacramento Press team – Jared Goyette.
Jared is the fourth editor in chief The Sacramento Press has had since it launched in 2008.
For the past three years Jared was the online producer for The Miami Herald, writing headlines, selecting the front page stories, editing images and managing social media accounts. On top of managing the morning shift at The Herald, Jared founded a hyperlocal publication called Open Media Miami.
Open Media is the community news partner of The Herald and covers the downtown and Midtown areas of Miami.
Jared said he started Open Media Miami because he “wanted to experiment with online news coverage … and immerse (himself) in the topics and issues that fascinate (him): local news, civic engagement on the web, urbanism and online journalism from the ground up.”
He has grown that site from a staff of one blogger (Jared) to an operation with two editors, a part-time writer, a small sales team and a handful of freelancers.
Having been the publisher of Open Media, he brings with him the experience of growing a neighborhood news site. He has organized community socials and candidate debates, served as a spokesperson and salesperson for Open Media Miami and worked tirelessly to break stories around the clock.
So why did Jared move across the country to take a job with The Sacramento Press?
“I believe that for local journalism to stay both relevant and sustainable, we must preserve what’s valuable from traditions of the craft while being unafraid to embrace the open, participatory, constantly evolving, and innovative nature of the web,” he said.
“The way SacPress is built, both as a company (as part of Macer Media) and as a site, reflects an understanding of this reality in ways that are hard to find in the industry. As a sustainable model for a news and social media operation that has both professional reporters and an active group of over 2,000 citizen journalists, SacPress is breaking new ground, and is one of a few sites across the country that is in the process of defining what the future of local news might look like. That’s exciting to be a part of and was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.”
When asked what he is looking forward to about working at The Sacramento Press, he said, “The energy in the office is great and it’s going to be fun to work with a talented, small team, in which everyone knows each other and is working toward the same goals. It’s a privilege to work for a site with such an active community, and I’m looking forward to getting to know our readers and contributors at our events and around town.
“Also, there is a reason why journalists and reporters are so often featured in the movies or on TV shows – we’re right in the middle of the action. We have, as they say, ‘A front seat to history,’ and Sacramento, with the railyards, the arena deal, and so much else in flux, is at an interesting point in its history right now. I’m going to give this job everything I have and enjoy it at the same time. You can’t ask for more than that, and I’m eager to jump right into it.”
Jared joins a fabulous editorial team – City Politics Reporter Melissa Corker, Business Development Reporter and Copy Editor Brandon Darnell and Intern Coordinator Elizabeth Orfin. During my time here, I’ve really enjoyed working with Melissa, Brandon and Elizabeth. Here’s what I can say about our team:
Melissa enjoys reading city reports and attending City Council meetings more than anyone I’ve ever met. She is a self-proclaimed “policy wonk” and you could call her the energizer bunny when it comes to covering everything on her beat. She approaches all of her stories with zeal (and coffee in hand) and a bubbly sense of humor. She absolutely loves her beat and her job and we couldn’t be happier to have her on our team.
Brandon keeps our content clean and balanced with his keen, copy-editing eye. He edits all in-house content on top of being a full-time reporter. He also works closely with our interns, sharing his journalistic expertise and photography knowledge. Brandon is a great storyteller and does a wonderful job of focusing on the people behind the businesses he profiles, the surrounding area and the history behind the building.
Elizabeth loves to edit. She is a former Sacramento Press intern who now coaches our interns with reporting, writing and staying organized. She is extremely detail-oriented and is the glue that holds our internship program together. She is always looking for ways to improve how we do things and she’s extremely efficient so as soon as she has an idea it gets put into action immediately.
When asked what new approaches Jared plans to bring to The Sacramento Press, he responded by saying “Online journalism can have a lot in common with a radio. You have a live stream of content, you’re taking questions and input from your audience, and you’ve got to be on your toes to update any developing stories.
“I want to bring more of that live and interactive sensibility to SacPress. We’ll still have features, but there will be more immediacy to our day-to-day news coverage, with more reporting, and wider a mix story formats coming from our staff writers. We’ll do what the story calls for, be it a few graphs, a Q&A, or a full feature with a video, a searchable database and a map.”
Citizen journalism is at the core of The Sacramento Press, and when asked about citizen journalism, Jared compared journalism to an art form that should be shared.
“My view is that journalism and writing are crafts that should be celebrated and shared with as many people as possible. It’s the same with other crafts or art forms, like acting or playing the guitar. Say, for instance, I’ve been playing the guitar for a few years and you want to learn, so I teach you a few chords. Or maybe you already know how to play and you teach me some songs that you know, and vice-versa. Maybe we write a song together. Does any of this threaten me as a guitarist? Would it make sense if I started complaining that the price of guitars was too low and that therefore, no one was attending my concerts? Of course not, but that’s the kind of sentiment you hear from some critics of citizen journalism.
“If people are writing, in a civil and transparent way, about issues that are important to their community, that’s fundamentally good for society. I’m passionate about journalism and writing and I’m happy to share what I’ve learned from others, just as I’m certain that I still have a lot to learn myself,” he said.
Jared has a degree in geography and urban studies from Temple University, but all of the jobs he’s held after college have been at news publications, so I asked him how he got into journalism.
“I grew up in a household where we watched the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour
every night and argued about politics. I’ve been an online news junkie since the time of dial-up modems and ‘You’ve got mail.’ I had planned to go into policy work or maybe law school, but I kept being drawn back to writing and journalism. I was, just as I am now, driven by the love of the craft, an intense curiosity, and the desire to use the tools of journalism to fight for what is right and fair,” he said.
“It may sound cliché or overdone, but George Orwell was a big hero of mine. One afternoon, while in an exchange program in Brazil about eight years ago, I was listening to a Christopher Hitchens lecture on the life Orwell, in which he said something to the effect of, ‘If any of you have ever thought seriously of taking up the profession of writer… don't give up. The life I have been trying to describe is an exemplary one. It will repay your study.’
“In that moment, something clicked. I decided to go for it, and haven’t looked back since. I volunteered, I freelanced, I interned, I got one job, then another, and another, until I eventually ended up at the Miami Herald, and now here. I love what I do, and I love the fact that if I do it well enough, I can help solve problems and improve people’s lives. It’s not like that all the time, but that possibility always exists, and that’s what makes me come back everyday wanting to do better than the day before.
Jared just moved to the heart of Midtown, which has been our main coverage area at The Sacramento Press. I asked him what excites him about living in the central city.
“It’s the right city at the right time. My wife and I have moved around a lot over the last few years, but she’s about to finish her doctorate in audiology and our daughter is almost two and a half. We wanted to be in a place where we could start thinking about schools, getting a house, and more long term plans.
“Every city has its challenges, but one thing that stood out about Sacramento for us is that it’s affordable, and that a higher quality of life is accessible here for middle class families than in places like Miami (where we came from) or than in bigger, more expensive cities like San Franciso or New York.
“We live right in the middle of Midtown, and I have to say that the grid is phenomenal. There are so many restaurants and cafes, each one with its own particular personality. The old Victorian houses here have character. It’s easy to get around – there are bike lanes and broad sidewalks, and the streets are lined with trees. I’ve walked for miles over the last week, through downtown and Midtown, and I still have a lot to explore. This is a great place to live.”
When I first started at The Sacramento Press, I was an intern, working to realize the founders’ dream of creating a neighborhood news site in Sacramento. I’ve seen a lot of changes and a lot of growth in the last three and a half years, but I’m very happy to be leaving the newsroom in such good hands.
Jared can be reached via email at email@example.com, on Twitter @JaredGoyette or on his public Facebook feed at facebook.com/JaredMGoyette.