California newspapers show resiliency through wildfires devastating the state

Newspapers are resilient. It matters not what the situation, what the weather or what else it might be, newspapers are going to focus on doing job one and that’s to get the news to the people. Perhaps it’s not always in printed form but they have other resources to use — websites, Facebook, other forms of social media. With the devastation in California, the California Newspaper Publishers Association offered this update on what some of the state’s newspapers are doing even while staff members’ homes burn.


Fire coverage and the posting of crucial community information continues, though the staff of the Malibu Times is still evacuated with the rest of the beach town amid the Woolsey Fire.

“We’re still evacuated and will put out the paper once we’re allowed back in to Malibu,” Publisher Arnold York emailed CNPA on Tuesday morning. “Meanwhile, it’s all online and social media.”

Co-Publisher Karen York shared advice for those who had lost property. The Yorks’ own home burned in the 1993 Malibu Fire.

A half-hour from Malibu, Thousand Oaks Acorn staff had just wrapped up their post-election Nov. 8 issue when the Borderline nightclub shooting happened, and then the wildfire broke out.

“When a story like that happens, you just can’t turn away from it. You’ve got to do it,” T.O. Acorn Editor Kyle Jorrey told the Los Angeles Times.

Staff at the Ventura County Star evacuated their homes during the fire, but all were able to return to find their places intact, News Director Darrin Peschka told CNPA.

On its editorial page, The Star said, “We urge you to educate yourself and get prepared if you’re not already,” referring both to fire and to live-shooter incidents.

Students at The Roundup newspaper at Los Angeles Pierce College covered the evacuation centers, both for humans and for animals, on their Woodland Hills campus.

Meanwhile, students at The Echo wrote, “We press on with the hope of being a public service” for their newspaper at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

In Butte County, where the Camp Fire has destroyed 6,522 homes and 260 commercial structures, editors told us that all of their staff members had been located.

“Many employees lost homes,” emailed David Little, editor of the

Chico Enterprise-Record and Oroville Mercury-Register. “Everyone’s alive after a few scares.”

“All of the staff is accounted for,” emailed Rick Silva, editor of the twice-weekly Paradise Post.

“We’re all sleep-deprived and have the thousand-mile stare, but we’re all accounted for,” Chico News & Review Editor Melissa Daugherty told CNPA via email.

Meanwhile, “I drove through with Bay Area News Group photographer Karl Mondon to get photos and video for our ongoing coverage,” E-R Editor Little wrote in his Sunday column. “I only cried three times. I thought I did pretty well.”

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