I’ve worked as a journalist, so I understand firsthand the difficulties faced by reporters today. Our country’s founders envisioned a rich and thriving media landscape as an essential component of our civic institutions, understanding that an independent media that could report on our public affairs was integral to our democratic system.
Today, sadly, that institution is under attack by leaders who denounce reporters as the enemy of the people and by a profit-driven industry that squeezes profits out of local newspapers, with conglomerate owners often based across the country from the communities that rely on these papers to stay informed.
Here in Campbell, we’ve seen this process firsthand. First, in the corporate-owned Mercury News laying off staff and cutting its coverage of small communities, including Campbell. We also witnessed the shuttering of the Campbell Express—a local institution for nearly a century—which tragically ceased publication in 2020. Campbell residents still need to stay informed on what is happening in their community. That’s why supporting a local, independent, and thriving media is in all of our interests as citizens.
While our staff faces cutbacks and is forced to do more with less, I will take it upon myself to proactively send media advisories to a local media list, as well as proactively inform reporters in advance of key agenda items before Council meetings to keep our community informed.
In a post-pandemic world, I will ensure the City has access to secure and accessible digital systems to allow for City business and public accountability, as well as avenues for community engagement.
It is critical that the public is able to comment and actively participate in Council meetings regardless of whether they are held in-person or online.
As our City engages with the media, I plan to actively monitor the processing of public records requests. I will also ensure reporters, already strapped for cash, are not saddled with onerous fees for reasonable public records requests, as these are key to an open and transparent government.