Voice of OC Launches

Today, March 31, 2010, Hard News Has Found a New Home in OC. With the launch of the long anticipated Voice of OC there are new reporters on the beat in Orange County.

From their initial story at www.VoiceofOC.org:

We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to producing hard news about politics and government in Orange County. We use the tools our democracy gives us to get at what is really happening in every nook and cranny of the county’s mega-government agencies and it’s 34 cities from San Clemente to La Habra.

And when we uncover news, we don’t mince words. We write with the authority that comes from our hard work and expertise in politics and government. In many respects, we are a response to the dire situation facing the news media today.

Newspapers and broadcast outlets — including those that serve Orange County — have suffered tremendous staff reductions in recent years. As a result, there are far fewer journalists keeping watch on the county’s powerbrokers than there should be.

In short, the county’s residents need more boots on the ground. More reporters showing up at city halls. More questions being asked of those elected or selected to serve the public.

Our primary goal is to give readers actionable intelligence on the government agencies their tax dollars pay for. Sometimes it will be in the form of a standard news story, other times it will be a two-paragraph post or a three-question Q&A. When it’s warranted, we will write long-form investigative stories.

Read more here.

An interesting note is that not everyone seems to be happy about the launch of this new investigative news source. In particular, the IT geniuses at the County of Orange. While websites such as the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles Times, and every political blog in Orange County are accessible through the county internet system, Voice of OC directs users to the following notification.

Request Blocked by URL Filter Database

I mentioned this matter to Norberto Santana about a month ago when the first pages of his site went up. He told me today that he “had mentioned the problem to the county and got some run-around BS answer.” He was surprised that they had not fixed the problem.

Seems to me they don’t want anyone to know that VoiceofOC exists, and certainly don’t want anyone to find the website.

I’ll let you know if they ever get around to uncensoring independent media.