Lookout staff celebrating Lookout's first birthday.
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Into 2022: Holiday Happenings at Lookout

Juko Holiday, Matt Ryan, Hector Borjas, Renee Fenker, Marti Mariette, Pablita Lazo, Maria Rodriguez and Kris MacKellar. These are all names that were probably unfamiliar to you a month ago. About a week ago, we started bringing them to public light, shining the attention that such “Unsung Heroes” in our community deserve. The “Unsung Santa Cruz” series – “regular folks doing great things” – runs through Christmas Day, and you’ll soon meet five more of your fellow Santa Cruz County citizens who make a difference every day.

Unsung Santa Cruz: Juko Holiday, Matt Ryan, Hector Borjas, and Marti Mariette.

That’s one of the joys for those of us at Lookout, now 14 strong, bringing you the untold stories and the people behind them that makes our county tick, as we enter our second year of publishing.

We marked 2020 just a year ago, and our “Looking Forward, Looking Back” series provides a bridge to the new year. Between now and year’s end, Wallace Baine will update you on the folks we featured in our “21 for 21” series a year ago and reflect on what we have won and lost in this difficult year. And we’ll sum up the most impactful stories of 2021, while we preview what we know to be among the biggest issues of 2022.

You’ll want to read all of that and lots more to come, and the only way to do that is to be a Lookout member. If you’re not one yet, sign up here, and consider us the perfect last-minute, easy-to-fulfill, damn-the-supply chain gift as well. Each and every membership propels Lookout forward and allows us to increase our coverage and staff. It was wonderful to meet many of our members at our First Anniversary Celebration at the MAH a couple of weeks ago, and we hope to meet more of you next year.

Lookout celebrates its first birthday at a small gathering outside the MAH in downtown Santa Cruz.

Ah, 2022. My wife Kathy just found the sum-it-up-card-of-the-holidays, simply stating “Happy New Year 2022: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” and had begun assembling them for sending when true to the message, our home went stone cold for 36 hours this weekend, amid an on-again, off-again PG&E outage.

In the newsroom, as we put the finishing touches on that year-end series, we gear up once again for the story, and the virus, that won’t go away. We know Omicron is coming with a vengeance. We will do our best, as we’ve done from the launch of Lookout in the deep COVID winter of 2020, to let you know everything we can as quickly as we can so you can make your own best decisions and keep safe. (And may you find whatever gets you through this next crisis. One of my faves: the top work of now-95-year-old Mel Brooks, even the quite timely three-minute title tune “High Anxiety,” as Mel channels Sinatra.)

Meet the Team

That’s Giovanni Moujaes below, showing off our new signage at Lookout HQ, next to the Metro Station on Front Street with Director of Sales, Ashley Holmes. Gio is a native San Diegan – it turns out that all but two of us are native Californians, and we’ve naturalized Wallace, given his Golden State cred.

Ashley and Gio at Lookout's office in Downtown Santa Cruz.

Gio is a bit of an everyman, and Lookout is putting each of those skills to good use for you. Schooled at USC’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism and skilled at KTLA, a top fast-moving Los Angeles TV broadcaster, Gio’s touch will soon be felt in many ways. A smarter and deeper social presence. More video storytelling. A series of newsletters he’ll launch with our correspondents. Officially, he’s got a great digital title of our time, Director of Audience Growth. You will also see him out in the community, but feel free to say “hi” to giovanni@lookoutlocal.com.

Lookout in the Schools

I wrote about our ambitious student access and engagement program in October. We’ve had a great fall getting it into place at both Cabrillo and UCSC, and have lots of plans for January. We are glad to partner with the Student Union Assembly Office of the President and with Merrill College early in the year as we talk with and sign up students.

The program is an unusual one, and a hallmark of the Lookout model. Paying members make Lookout possible, but we want to reach as many people locally as we can with a new standard of high-quality, trustworthy local news. Donors have made it possible for all the Cabrillo and UCSC to get Lookout, and we thank them much for their generosity.

Further, we aim to extend that program. First up: Completing our funding for Pajaro Valley Unified School District’s 6,000 high school students and then the other 7,000-plus high school students in the county’s other districts and private schools. If you are interested in supporting this program, please contact me.

Accelerate Your Giving

We’ve all been inundated with fundraising appeals as the tax-deductibility bell tools. This year, we’ve begun our ambitious plan to find numerous ways to support generosity at home. Please put to good use our Accelerate program, highlighting seven high-achieving worthy non-profits, who will show you how they would put your money to good use.

Happy Holidays to you and see you in ‘22.

Ken Doctor
CEO & Founder