Take a look at our Cover banner in this week's print edition and you'll notice a change -- we're now in Volume XXIV.
That's right; it's a time for celebration here as the Embarcadero Media East Bay Division marks its 23rd anniversary. The debut edition of the Pleasanton Weekly published on the final Friday of January 2000: "Read All About It! Community newspaper comes to Pleasanton".
While 23 may not be a marquee anniversary, it is still an outstanding accomplishment worthy of praise and pride among our dedicated nine-person East Bay staff of editors, reporters, ad sales representatives, administrative associate and publisher -- in addition to the designers, business associates, marketers, executives and support staff based at our company's Palo Alto headquarters.
As I told our entire team by email on Monday:
"Starting our 24th year -- surviving and thriving through multiple recessions, a worldwide health pandemic, company reorganizations and ever-evolving industry expectations -- is such an amazing achievement for our team. Your contributions are integral to our ongoing journalistic success. We continue to be the standard for quality, engaging news coverage in Pleasanton and the entire Tri-Valley."
We're so proud to be able to bring you the best in community journalism that the Tri-Valley has to offer on a week-to-week basis in the newspaper and day-to-day (sometimes hour-by-hour) on our three websites: PleasantonWeekly.com, LivermoreVine.com and DanvilleSanRamon.com.
Remarkable growth for a satellite division born with just a single publication during an era many associate with the start of the "death of the newspaper industry".
Our editor emeritus Jeb Bing, who was the founding editor, and inaugural managing editor turned Tri-Valley Life editor Dolores Fox Ciardelli (who each retired in recent years) both reflected so brilliantly on that first year for the Weekly in columns written upon on our 16th and 20th anniversaries, respectively.
What stood out to me looking back over their articles were the emotions still imprinted upon them from the debut year -- the excitement and the effort involved to establish from scratch a weekly newspaper in a community like Pleasanton.
Those feelings mirror my experience with the Weekly 23 years later.
That rush of adrenaline at reporting or editing a breaking news story or signing off on the print edition. That anchor of fatigue amid a late-night post online or an early-morning source meeting. Plus nearly every other professional emotion in between.
That's life in journalism, especially at a dedicated local company like ours. And there's some comfort for me in knowing that the Pleasanton Weekly has been like that since Day 1.
I hope that mindset resonates with our readers. I certainly think it was reflected by our work in the East Bay Division during our 23rd year.
I had the chance to go back over our work from throughout 2022 using two different lenses in recent weeks – as I compiled our Year in Review features and as I prepared for our CNPA California Journalism Awards submissions.
What a standout collection of stories and photographs we produced in 2022: the general election, the primary election, the Housing Element debates in five cities (sorry Danville: four cities and one town), government meeting coverage, community features, heartfelt profiles like World War II veteran Joe Alvarez or Mothers Against Drug Deaths founder Jacqui Berlinn, heart-wrenching homicides, fatal crashes and public figure obituaries, high school sports accomplishments, pointed opinion pieces ... the list just goes on.
I'm so proud of the high-quality work our editorial team produced during the past year, and I can't wait for you to see all of the great coverage we have in store for Year 24.
For me, it all goes back to the groundwork laid by Jeb, Dolores and that original team in 1999/2000, and later cemented when Gina Channell Wilcox took the reins as president/publisher of our division in 2006.
Community journalism is in our blood; it's in our heart. Honestly, I hope it's in yours as well.
Coming out of the throes of the pandemic, this is another critical year for us and we can really use your support. No, I'm not just talking about our annual memberships (though that is very important to the company, of course).
What I really mean is editorially. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have a news tip for us. Be open and honest with our reporters if you're interviewed as a source. Call us out if we're not cutting it. Praise us when a great article catches your eye; share it on social media. Bring our print edition with you on vacation for a Take Us Along.
Here's to the year ahead.
Editor's note: Jeremy Walsh is the editorial director for the Embarcadero Media East Bay Division. His "What a Week" column publishes on the second and fourth Fridays of the month.