About Us July 2017

About us

Our mission: To provide cross-cultural feature-writing and bold investigative reporting in the Chico area of the Northern Sacramento Valley.

ChicoSol is a nonprofit news organization covering issues overlooked by traditional media that are starved for resources or intimidated by controversy, providing a digital platform and partnering with other outlets to distribute our work. Our stories cross cultural borders, including those related to race, ethnicity, immigration status, language and class, and examine how power and policy affect the most vulnerable communities.

We follow the stories that often get dropped by print newspapers as we seek those who are accountable and those who can help find ways to address the community’s most vexing problems. In short, we believe that fact-based journalism nourishes democracy, that truth is sunlight.

Our objectives:
  • To provide in-depth features that encourage and enlarge community discourse;
  • To provide investigative reporting in the community’s interest;
  • To mentor student journalists and provide a publication outlet for young writers.
Subscribe now with a 2017 donation to our NVCF fund or to find out more about becoming a subscribing member, scroll down to “Become a member.”
Past & future

ChicoSol was launched in 2007 as a bilingual classroom teaching tool by Editor Leslie Layton, then an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Journalism at California State University, Chico, and a freelance writer. It rapidly evolved into a bridge between the campus and the community and  soon began serving professional writers as well as a student journalists as a digital publication platform.

We developed a readership in the community through a free subscription system and published stories in both English and Spanish. ChicoSol became part of the New America Media  (NAM) national ethnic-media network and operates as a nonprofit under the North Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) umbrella.

Dozens of ChicoSol stories have been reprinted by or published in partnership with the Chico News & Review, and dozens of our stories have reached a broader audience after being reprinted by NAM or other media outlets.

ChicoSol has flourished in part because the for-profit print newspaper model is in trouble and readers are seeking alternative outlets. It’s also flourished because we focus on covering stories that are often neglected because of cultural barriers or because they demand ongoing reporting resources. We’re grateful for the donations we have received on an annual basis from the NVCF  Annie B’s Community Drive, which ended in 2016.

ChicoSol was re-launched in May 2016 with a new design that makes our stories more easily readable and searchable and encourages readers to comment and connect with our social media accounts. We have since formed our first advisory board, and we’re developing a membership program to grow and sustain the vital investigative reporting and feature writing we’re providing.

In March 2016, we co-sponsored an immigration information fair with Orland Unified School District, OneJustice, Legal Services of Northern California and other nonprofit organizations through a new civic arm that we plan to further develop. We believe that through civic action we can facilitate outreach to the immigrant and broader communities, providing information that will help area residents access resources and better understand their rights.

Who’s driving the new ChicoSol:

Leslie Layton, editor: Leslie is a bilingual freelance journalist who has worked extensively in both Mexico and California. Her writing has been published in Business Week, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Sacramento Bee, and other major and local newspapers and magazines. She spoke last month as a presenting panel member at the Investigative Reporters & Editors annual conference in Phoenix, AZ.

Dave Waddell, news director: Dave is a professor emeritus in the Chico State Department of Journalism. He worked for 20 years for daily newspapers before joining the CSUC faculty. For 15 years, Dave served as adviser to the award-winning student newspaper, The Orion. Waddell was twice honored by Chico State for his diversity recruitment efforts, and is now focusing on investigative reporting as ChicoSol’s news director.

Kate Sheehy, community outreach coordinator: Kate has spent the last several years covering immigration as a reporter for National Public Radio affiliates across the country. Reach out to her at sheehyjournalist@gmail.com.

Contributors: Lindajoy Fenley, administrative assistant; Karen Laslo, freelance photographer.

Become a member of the ChicoSol community and help sustain our work

Becoming a subscribing member — whether you contribute on an annual or monthly basis — requires a tax-deductible donation of any size that you can afford and means you are standing up for free and independent journalism at a time when the press is under attack. Your contributions make it possible for ChicoSol to operate as a nonprofit, free of corporate advertising or for that matter, any advertising at all. Your support makes our work possible, and we believe, makes Chico a more informed and more democratic community. Click here now to become a member of the border-crossing news community by making a PayPal deposit.

To donate by check, write a check to ChicoSol and send it to NVCF, 240 Main St., suite 260, Chico, CA 95928. 

Once you’ve made a contribution, write us at chicosolnews@gmail.com and ask to be added to our email alert list. If you’d like, we’ll drop you a line whenever we post a new story from the time of your donation to the end of that particular calendar year.

More contact information:

Follow us on Facebook at: ChicoSol.org – Facebook and on Twitter at: @ChicoSolNews.

Fellowships and Honors

NAM Energy & the Environment reporting fellowship 2013

NAM Education reporting fellowship 2010

NAM Health reporting fellowship 2010

NAM Documenting Hate fellowship 2017

NAM Ethnic Media reporting honor “CSUC Grad Awaits ICE Decision”2010

John Swett award “The New Segregation” 2010 in collaboration with the Chico News & Review

Articles about ChicoSol

Teaching Tool: Reporting via ChicoSol.org,”  Inside Chico State, Feb. 15, 2016

Shining a Light on ChicoSol,Chico News & Review, July 3, 2008