Saddleback Valley News/OC Register Readership Meeting in Mission Viejo

Let me open this post by commending Ron Gonzales, News Team Leader and City Editor Theresa Cisneros of the Orange County Register for hosting a Readership Meeting in the Saddleback Room of the Mission Viejo city hall this evening. They also brought Reporter Erika Ritchie and Community Reporter Amanda Glowish to participate in what amounted to a “focus group” evaluation of the local Saddleback Valley News.

In the nearly two hour exchange with residents of the city we covered a multitude of local and regional issues, several of which we suggested requiring further investigative reporting. Beyond that we made suggestions for improvements to the paper and were given an update on future positive changes to come.

With topics that are related to ongoing city funded Capitol Improvement Projects, and other expenditures, we were disappointed that not a single member of our five member city council took five minutes to make a cameo appearance to hear our concerns at this publicized meeting. I can only surmise that they already have all of the answers even before knowing the questions on the many topics we discussed.

As I am sending email copies of this report to each council member I will not be listing specific issues that the residents raised. Let them read about it in the papers as they are published.

We did express our gratitude for specific stories and publication of some of our Letters as well as their support for community activities such as the annual Fun With Chalk Festival.

We were asked to provide suggestions about future columns and encouraged to send data and photos on stories that we feel should be covered. That’s cooperation! While our council has to some degree shut down “open government” we at least have the local Saddleback Valley News leadership that is willing to listen to valid documented concerns and hopefully will give equal coverage to our side of the story.

In time I hope to report back as to how effective we were in convincing the O.C. Register staff that we are coming from facts and figures, not emotion, as our tips become future news reports.

About Larry Gilbert