Santa Cruz, CA — Oct. 5, 2020 — Just a little more than a month until its launch, Lookout Local is announcing the hiring of Wallace Baine as City Life Correspondent. In that role, Baine will report and write not only across his familiar areas of deep interest — including arts, entertainment and culture — but also will chronicle the challenges the people of Santa Cruz County are facing as they uneasily approach 2021.
“There is no journalist more deeply experienced and knowledgeable about our county than Wallace,” says Ken Doctor, CEO and founder of Lookout Local and Lookout Santa Cruz. “We all realize that Santa Cruz County faces unprecedented challenges, given the serial challenges of our time. Wallace brings his talent, his enthusiasm and his sharp eye for the truths of our time to our readers. And his ability to capture the many and diverse characters that populate our little corner of the universe is unparalleled. We are so fortunate to have him join our diverse crew of local and incoming national talent as Lookout Santa Cruz debuts next month.”
Baine launched his full-time journalism career on a day Santa Cruz will never forget: Oct. 17, 1989. The rest of the nation watched the destruction in San Francisco from afar, as well as the Bay Bridge World Series become the “Earthquake Series.”
For Santa Cruz, it was a day that forever changed the place, and a catastrophe comparable to the ravaging fires of 2020.
Baine joined the Santa Cruz Sentinel in 1991 and established himself as the voice on music, movies, local art and entertainment and daily Santa Cruz life. His interviews, profiles and features form a living archive of recent history. Over the years, he has also written four books, and co-launched and led the top artist-recognizing Gail Rich Awards for 22 years. Since he left the Sentinel in 2017, he has been telling stories for the Good Times alt-weekly.
“I am genuinely excited about being part of an ambitious team of reporters and editors, designing and implementing a new model for local journalism that the entire industry will be watching with interest,” says Baine. “Yes, it’s about doing new models of journalism, but ultimately what we’ll be doing is about listening to and covering the people of Santa Cruz County.
“Like communities everywhere, we in Santa Cruz are experiencing unprecedented changes and struggles as we adapt to a public health crisis, an environmental crisis, an economic crisis, and a political crisis. How we respond and recover from this critical moment in history will define us as a community in 2021 and beyond. My new colleagues and I at Lookout are eager to tell those stories.”
Chris Fusco, Lookout Local’s founding executive editor, knows how much cities treasure their best storytellers, as he leaves a 20-year career in Chicago for Santa Cruz.
“When I first met Wallace, I couldn’t get over how much he knew about city and coast life — and that doesn’t even begin to touch on his skills as a talented and versatile reporter, writer and public speaker,” says Fusco, who is coming to Lookout from the Chicago Sun-Times, where he has served as top editor for three years. “In Chicago, we’ve got household journalism names like Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper. To me, Wallace is the equivalent in Santa Cruz County.”
Lookout Santa Cruz now completes its staff building within the next several weeks, as it readies for launch. Lookout’s news can be followed through the Friends of Lookout newsletter, available for sign-up at www.lookoutlocal.com.
About Lookout Local, Inc.
Lookout Local is a for-profit, public benefit company. Its mission, built into its incorporation, is crystal clear: To serve the news and information needs of its communities. Lookout Santa Cruz is the first of Lookout Local’s emerging network of local sites, with the intention of repopulating news deserts with a higher standard of journalism and a commitment to community betterment.
Knight Foundation, Google News Innovation Challenge, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation have all supported the founding of Lookout Local. In addition, the robustness of its staff building has been made possible through the local generosity of Meadow Fund and individuals, including Carol and Doug Melamed, Rowland and Pat Rebele, and Linda Peterson.
Both in its product creation and more widely, The Los Angeles Times is a strategic partner of Lookout. Lookout Local’s technology infrastructure is further powered by both Blue Lena and Pico.
For updated information about the Lookout Santa Cruz launch, please sign up for the Friends of Lookout newsletter.
Learn More: Lookoutlocal.com
Ken Doctor, CEO
Lookout Local Inc.