Published Sept. 15, 2020
It launches with three original articles that reflect the site’s desired range. One is a feature-length news article about local media coverage of a recent extremist political rally. Another is an OpEd about campaign finance reform and Joe Biden, and the third is this one describing what inspired creation of this site.
The ethos of The Sacto Politico reflects my journalistic background. This means to never cut corners with the facts, and to continually tell audiences something they didn’t know but probably should know.
Inspiration for this site began during my 2020 primary campaign for Congress. While not new to politics, I was a first-time candidate. I chose to run mainly to fill another gaping void in the political landscape. Not only had the Democratic incumbent never been primaried by a fellow Democrat, voters in my district hadn’t had a choice of two Democratic Congressional candidates in an astounding 22 years. It was a very unhealthy situation for our local democracy. So given my knowledge and experience of politics, my wife and I decided, “Well, if not us, then who?” and we launched the campaign.
We ran hard for nine months, but despite earning valued endorsements from local political clubs and the weekly Sacramento News & Review, no other major media would cover our primary campaign. A couple outlets even directly told me they thought our campaign was of little news value for their audiences.
They said this despite the campaign breaking real news about our opponent. For example, we established he had taken tens of thousands of dollars in donations from many of the largest U.S. opioid companies. He did this despite being a doctor and knowing how hard the opioid epidemic had hit the greater Sacramento area. Plus, all of his opioid donors were (and still are) being sued by Sacramento County to recoup tens of millions dollars in public health costs.
The sound of media crickets to this and other stories we broke reminded us of The Washington Post’s great motto/warning: “Democracy dies in darkness.”
So like my decision to offer myself as candidate for office, I stared at this media void and said “Well, if not me, then who?” After all, I have worked in media and government for the majority of my career. Occasionally one of my OpEd essays has run somewhere, such as last week in the San Francisco Chronicle, but especially in these times, we each need to be the change we wish and to contribute our voices as best we can.
I don’t have any grand predictions for this site. It starts as a free bi-monthly publication generating no revenue. It begins simply with the highest of journalistic standards and purest of civic intentions. It does not fear aggravating any entrenched power. After all, anyone in a position of public trust who resents or resists public questioning doesn’t deserve that trust.
This site will ask questions of those powers, out of both fairness and responsibility. Its content will be guided a mission to fill the media gap and publish news no longer covered by the main media outlets (but which was once meat-and-potato news content). An if you are passionate about a topic not addressed here, consider pitching me and writing it yourself.
Just email email@example.com.
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Welcome to SactoPolitico.com
Original political reporting and analysis about Sacramento, California & beyond.
By Jeff Burdick
Today marks the launch of the SactoPolitico.com, a new regional source of political news and analysis. This is content that has become increasingly rare here in Sacramento (or “Sacto,” for short) and California. This site will help fill that gap with the information needed to hold more accountable elected and non-elected powers, as well as ourselves as voters.