Mastodon East Canyon 22X Neighborhood Council: Subscribe to "Seriously!" The East Canyon 22x Weekly Newsletter

Subscribe to "Seriously!" The East Canyon 22x Weekly Newsletter

Meet Hyper-Local News

by Jenny Zilliac, Steering Committee Chair

In this current CRAZY ERA, one of the most difficult problems facing folks in Oakland and across the United States is a lack of quality local news. People who love to think about these kinds of things might notice the irony in the fact that the full force of the Information Age has deprived us of easy access to quality information while bombarding us with infinite flavors of harmful substitutes. It's analogous to what the increasing abundance of cheap, processed foods has done to our health. Quality matters in both news and food.

As 2019 came to a close, I made a decision to shift gears from a volunteer focus on combatting racism in our Oakland neighborhoods to a focus on community building. Gradually, over years of trying to come to terms with racism and other social ills, I have come to the conclusion that our biggest problem is that we don't know each other. I decided to leave Neighbors for Racial Justice and join the steering committee for our 22x neighborhood council. 

On February 29, 2020, a brand new steering committee gathered for a "22x Getting to Know Each Other" meeting at Dimond Cafe. It would be six months before we gathered in person again, carefully meeting masked and socially distanced in John Zaro's lovely backyard due to the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines.

In the first months planning for my role on the neighborhood council steering committee, I sketched out big plans for cooperative neighborhood gatherings in Dimond Park. I was excited about the support I felt for the gatherings from my fellow steering committee members. But. Then. COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, those plans were a no-go for at least the next year or two. As a steering committee, we had to come up with entirely new plans. I'm proud of the determination we brought to our roles and the excellent work we accomplished. I'm proud that we are such a supportive, cohesive group! At the same time, I feel like there is more we can be doing to build our community, and I believe that the sharing of information is key. And now...

I feel a new sense of passionate purpose in my community volunteer role, and it emanates from my excitement about our new, hyper-local weekly newsletter, Seriously! What's my vision, you may ask? Well, I'll tell ya'!

It goes back to what I expressed in the first paragraph: One of our most pressing societal problems is a lack of quality local and hyper-local news. Most people, when faced with a problem, have some desire to solve the problem, whether it's a minor problem or a major problem, a personal problem or a societal problem. But the question of "how" often serves as an immediate, fatal stumbling block in a short-lived effort. In this current CRAZY ERA, determining the "how" of problem solving has become close to impossible for folks with already busy lives because of the vast quantities of low-quality information that is all around us.

My goal with Seriously! is not to become a heavy-hitting news outlet. Far from it! I just want to let you know when the public meetings are! And when the community events are! And to highlight excellent examples of local news stories that you might otherwise miss from, for example, city and county web sites and existing news organizations like the Oaklandside.

Please check out Seriously! for the week of August 26. If you imagine yourself benefitting from a weekly dose of hyper-local news like this, please subscribe. Hope you enjoy!