About Us April 2021

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 not-for-profit news organization covering issues overlooked by traditional media that are starved for resources and unable to provide the in-depth coverage investigative reporting produces. We provide a digital platform and partner with other outlets to distribute our work and support the work of others. Our stories span 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 2021 donation to our NVCF fund. 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 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 that has since terminated operation. We continue to collaborate with Ethnic Media Services (EMS) because we believe that delivering information to minority audiences is crucial in a state as diverse as California. ChicoSol is able to accept tax-deductible donations as a fund 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, EMS 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 resources.

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. We believe that through civic action we can facilitate outreach to the immigrant and broader communities.

In 2017, ChicoSol built a membership program to grow and sustain the vital investigative reporting and feature writing we’re providing. Some of our members donate monthly; we thank all who have made generous contributions to this enterprise.

We worked for several years as a media partner with ProPublica on its important Documenting Hate database and reporting project, and were pleased to become a media partner of KIXE to help promote the station’s “Third Thursday Film & Discussion” series.

Who drives 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 in 2017 as a presenting panel member at the Investigative Reporters & Editors annual conference in Phoenix, AZ.

Lindajoy Fenley is our administrative assistant who handles some of our accounting and contributes articles. Lindajoy is also a bilingual writer and teacher who worked as a financial journalist in Mexico City.

Dave Waddell is our former news director and contributes investigative reporting. Dave is a professor emeritus in the Chico State Department of Journalism and worked for 20 years for daily newspapers before joining the CSUC faculty and becoming adviser to the award-winning student newspaper, The Orion.

Karen Laslo is an experienced freelance photojournalist and local blogger who contributes photography.

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

Becoming a subscribing member 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 without corporate advertising or for that matter, any advertising at all. Your support makes our work possible, and we believe, makes Chico a better informed and more democratic community. Click here now to become a member of the border-crossing news community by making a deposit.

To donate by check, write a check to ChicoSol c/o NVCF and mail it to NVCF at The Foundation Building, 1811 Concord Ave., Ste. 22, 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.
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