Lookout Update: We’re doing more in ‘24. Will you?

Staff photo 2023

Has there ever been a time like this, a time of great uncertainty, hard-to-place anxieties and a wonder about what our Santa Cruz County, the country and the world will look like over the next several years? I recently returned from a conference on the future of journalism in Philadelphia, those angsts very much in the air.

Luckily, I returned to Lookout. As usual, our office hummed with energy, curiosity and drive. Yes, all 15 of us working to produce Lookout every day for you share these wider concerns. But every day, we buckle down to produce news and features that focus on what matters most to our readers – our own communities, building our own strengths, forthrightly dealing with our own problems here at home, even as we keep an eye on that wider world.

So this month, let me give you a glimpse of what you and we have built together at Lookout, in Santa Cruz County, and what more is on our agenda for onrushing 2024. But before I get to that, as we intend to do more for Santa Cruz County, let us ask you to do more as well.

We want you to join us as a paying member. We’re glad you read our newsletters and get a quick look at the news, and maybe our briefings — five days a week in Morning Lookout and Lookout PM or in the politics, food and culture newsletters — seem sufficient. We’re glad to send them to you, but as free products they don’t generate MEMBERSHIP revenue – key to keep Lookout growing and paying the journalists who bring you the news. We’re an intensely mission-oriented small business, and membership, along with advertising, is what keeps it growing. So, please take us up on our fall membership offer, below.

As Lookout celebrates its third birthday in late November, we’re thriving. Against the national trends of news fatigue and news avoidance, readership keeps growing. Santa Cruzans are optimists. The business is strong, with our Marketing Partners advertising program now working with more than five dozen local businesses and nonprofits. Our unique student engagement programs now reach more than 5,000 local high school students throughout the county. Our events are packed, from Wallace Baine’s Abbott Square Trivia Tuesdays to “Inside Santa Cruz” at the Santa Cruz Wharf and Little Shop of Horticulture (and more coming soon, including oyster shucking with H&H Fresh Fish Co. and an apple-pressing event with Santa Cruz Cider Co., co-hosted by Lily Belli).

Through the summer, we’ve been laying plans to expand what we give you everyday.

Wednesday, you saw the launch of Jessica M. Pasko’s new weekly column. This Week in Santa Cruz County Business” appears every Wednesday. Entrepreneurship is the engine of the future here, and Jessica brings her experienced hand to cover that long-neglected topic. Just two weeks ago, we launched our high school sports coverage, appearing each Monday, led by Cabrillo College grad Thomas Frey. Community Voices contributor Claudia Steinbach just debuted her occasional “Aging in Santa Cruz County” column, recognizing with humor and grace a profound demographic phenomenon happening here. And in a couple of weeks, local wine expert Laurie Love kicks off her every-other-Wednesday column on regional winemakers.

With 2024 shaping up as one of the most important election years Santa Cruz County will see, we’re already deep into campaign coverage. Correspondent Christopher Neely showed, with analysis and color, what he and Lookout will be up to, as he detailed the unprecedented visits to the county of the top three Democratic candidates for retiring Dianne Feinstein’s U.S. Senate seat. Lookout covered well the ins and outs of the 2022 election, and we’ve dedicated ourselves to further building on that in the electoral year ahead.

There’s lots more planned – as correspondents Wallace Baine, Lily Belli, Max Chun, Chris Neely and Hillary Ojeda, visual journalist Kevin Painchaud, Managing Editor Tamsin McMahon, Morning Lookout editor Will McCahill and Community Voices editor Jody K. Biehl – scope out the year ahead.

We look out for the future of Santa Cruz County. Help us do more and more of that for you: Become a member today.

With great appreciation.

Ken Doctor, CEO & Founder
Lookout Local | Lookout Santa Cruz


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