East Palo Alto Has a New Newspaper
East Palo Alto Today
East Palo Alto Today is the first locally produced newspaper the City of East Palo Alto has had in more than 20 years. The free biweekly paper will be distributed throughout East Palo Alto and the neighboring Menlo Park community of Belle Haven.
The public got its first view of East Palo Alto Today at a public unveiling Friday, December 16. The evening event was billed as a launch party to celebrate the paper's publication. The unveiling took place in the East Palo Alto Council Chamber. The adjacent Community Room was opened to accommodate food and beverages.
Speakers included Goro Mitchell, the executive director of the Community Development Institute, and Hema Sareen Mohan, the District Director and Press Representative for Senator Joseph Simitian. East Palo Alto deserves to have a newspaper, Mohan said. Mohan presented Henrietta Burroughs, the paper's founder and editor, with a Resolution from the California Legislature signed jointly by Senator Simitian and California State Assemblyman Ira Ruskin. The State Resolution commended the East Palo Alto Center for Community Media for launching East Palo Alto Today.
East Palo Alto City Council member Donna Rutherford said she was excited that East Palo Alto had a newspaper once again. Rutherford said that she would assist the paper's staff in finding funding for the paper.
Fifty to sixty people attended the paper's launch event. Attendees included East Palo Alto's City Manager Alvin James and the city's Police Chief, Ronald Davis. Most of those attending were East Palo Alto residendents. Others came from Palo Alto and nearby communities.
"I think the newspaper is long overdue," said Lorraine Holmes, an East Palo Alto resident for 50 years. She said, "The launch party for the newspaper was very good and very informative since it reached out to all aspects of the community."
Georganna Hymes, an East Palo Alto resident since 1959, said, "I think the newspaper is an excellent idea. Every city has one except us. Once people know we have one, they'll put articles in it." Hymes has lived in the Bay Area since 1947.
East Palo Alto Today is published under the sponsorship of the East Palo Alto Center for Community Media, a local n o n p r o f i t agency that was formed in 2003 to increase the number of media outlets in East Palo Alto.
Julie Patel, a San Jose Mercury News reporter, who has been volunteering on her own time with the East Palo Alto Center for Community Media since she was a graduate student in the Communication Department at Stanford University, said that the start of the paper was especially significant given the cutbacks that many of the nation's newspapers are experiencing.
Patel is the Director of the EPA Center's Mentorship Program, which provides journalism training to community residents to encourage them to write for the newspaper. The Mercury News is not affiliated with EPA Today.
Rachel Kinney, the Commu ni t y/ Vol un tee r Development Coordinator for the East Palo Alto YMCA said, "The energy and excitement around the launch of East Palo Alto Today was absolutely contagious. I believe East Palo Alto Today is going to be an asset to this community in that it will be a reliable, accurate and relevant vehicle of news-worthy information.
I especially admire the fact that key pieces of the paper will be translated into Spanish, which to me signals the paper's commitment to diversity and accessibility."