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Five in Five: Kara Meyberg Guzman from Santa Cruz Local

By Sarah Vickers-Webb
Production & Editorial Assistant
Santa Cruz Tech Beat

April 17, 2020 — Santa Cruz, CA

“We start all our reporting by listening”

For our second Five and Five interview we spoke with Kara Meyberg Guzman, CEO and co-founder of Santa Cruz Local, a local news podcast, newsletter and website about public policy in Santa Cruz County. Over the five minutes, Kara answered five questions about adjusting to the “new normal” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like many businesses, the publication has switched to mainly online and phone communication during the shelter in place order. But that hasn’t stopped its reporters from reaching out for community input.

“We usually have these open newsroom office hours, where it’s kind of just like a listening post for the community office,” said Kara. “Obviously we can’t do that anymore because of social distancing guidelines. So we’re trying to adapt and do it over the phone and through surveys and online.”

While Santa Cruz Local currently reports on Santa Cruz city policy, they are working to expand coverage to the entire county. To meet that goal, they need additional staff and are holding a membership drive.

“Right now it’s just three of us on staff, and I’m the only one working full time. We are supported mostly through membership. Last year about 80% of our revenue came from members in our community so right now we are trying to reach 600 members. As of this morning, we have about 350.”

According to Kara, Santa Cruz Local is set apart from other local news sources by their depth, connection to the community, and commitment to finding solutions.

“It’s rare to find news outlets, especially here in Santa Cruz, that really want to listen to the community,” she said. “We start all our reporting by listening.”

Want more to hear more from Santa Cruz Local? Visit their website for more information on their podcast, newsletter, and membership options.

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