Last Monday, June 11, 2012, was the one-year anniversary of oc-breeze.com.
We allowed our web gnome out of the cage, tossed some confetti and got back to work.
In keeping with the opportunity for self-indulgence, I’ll give a short history of how we got here.
In the beginning, there was Guy
Orange County Breeze actually starts with our Big Kahuna Ad Director, Guy Cariglio — because he’s been in the newspaper business for decades.
After working at other newspapers large and small, on both the West and East Coasts, Guy landed in Los Alamitos in June 2009.
At that point, Orange County Breeze wasn’t even a gleam in anybody’s eye. No one had any notion of starting a local general news source.
January 2010, January 2011, he hired our editor, Shelley Henderson.
Shelley had retired from the University of Southern California a handful of years before, and turned to freelance writing to keep herself busy and avoid gardening and cleaning house. She had a lot to learn about freelancing as a writer and photographer — but at least her spanking new Canon Rebel digital SLR camera didn’t eat film. Taking lots of bad digital photos just meant that lots of bad digital photos got deleted.
(Shelley would like to thank Jerry Bernstein of the Hews Media Group for accepting her newbie freelance articles and photos, then gently recommending how they could be improved.)
In parallel with freelancing, Shelley wrote a blog, Red County, California, that covered mostly the “city hall beat” in Cypress, plus odds and ends that caught her interest.
Before saying yes to her new gig as Guy’s editor, Shelley asked if she could continue freelancing and maintain her blog. The person in charge (above Guy’s rank) said that freelance sales to competitors were a no-no but her own websites were A-OK.
In the middle, there was team work
So Shelley went to work for Guy for eight months — deadlines! dummies! ad design! article flow! delivery snafus! bad jokes! worse puns!
As you can imagine, she learned a lot about newspaper operations.
It’s unclear what Guy learned, because he allowed himself to be lured away by a job offer from the Los Angeles Times.
Not wanting to face the headaches without the bad jokes and worse puns, Shelley gave notice and went back to work for herself… at Orange County Breeze.
In the end, Orange County Breeze
A small office was available upstairs on Los Alamitos Blvd. A website already existed, stood up in a weekend in
June 2010 June 2011 to see how long it would take.
Content at the website came from articles Shelley wrote herself and photos Shelley took herself, plus news releases from a variety of sources.
One of Shelley’s daughters served as “unpaid office intern” until she went back to school in Philadelphia.
Guy kept in touch from the wilds of the Valley, visiting every so often.
Shelley kept after him to come back, but Orange County Breeze can’t compete with the Times compensation package.
What lured Guy back was the community.
Friends kept emailing and calling Guy, asking when he would return — until he finally did!
Once he said yes, plans for a print edition leaped ahead: a printer, a distributor and lots and lots of amiable arguments over what the new monthly print publication would look like and how it would fit with oc-breeze.com.
With one month’s print publication behind us, we’re looking ahead to our second issue and beyond. We encourage all our readers to suggest ways to improve not just the print publication, but also our website and our daily news summary (sent out in an email some time between midnight and 8 a.m.).
Thank you to our communities for all the support given us. We look forward to delivering the news our communities deserve — with attitude! — for a long time to come.
- Orange County Breeze featured on LATV-3′s Your Los Al (oc-breeze.com)
- The premiere print issue of Orange County Breeze is here! (oc-breeze.com)
- Where our readers are in May 2012 (oc-breeze.com)
- Orange County Breeze ribbon-cutting Wednesday morning (oc-breeze.com)
- Change in personnel at Orange County Breeze (oc-breeze.com)
- Sources of visitors to oc-breeze.com (oc-breeze.com)