On the opposite side of the country, three time zones away, is the second largest population of New York Times readers. The Times wanted a way to capitalize on this following, so on September 6 it introduced a morning newsletter, California Today.
California Today Editor Julie Bloom says the newsletter fills an important void and that they have seen a lot of readership since launch. “What happens in California has a huge influence on the rest of the states,” she says. She is a California native and says working on the newsletter has been a nice way to stay connected to her home state.
The Times has seen success with newsletters in the past with New York Today and the Daily Briefing. It is something readers can check each day, giving them all the information they need in one place. The newsletter is available on The Times’ homepage and mobile app.
California Today relies on readers to say which issues matter and what they want to read. “Newsletters are more personal and have a voice,” Bloom says.
She is located in New York, but throughout the day she works with writer Mike McPhate, based in California, to compile the newsletter. McPhate writes the stories and curates news links the readers would find interesting. He links to different news articles or Times pieces of note. They have asked Times reporters based in California to contribute as well.
Bloom edits the publication each morning before it’s delivered at 6 a.m. PT to the readers. So far, they have covered issues like the drought, homelessness and infrastructure.
“We wanted to give [readers] more of what they want in terms of New York Times quality journalism in California,” Bloom says.
The response to the newsletter has been overwhelmingly positive. Since launch, they have received over 1,000 emails in response, telling them what readers want to see and what they care about.
Though it is still young, Bloom wants it to continue to grow and become the go-to place for California news.
“The overwhelming response from readers is saying we need a publication like this that’s being serious about the issues we care about,” she says. “I am impressed by the desire for substantive coverage.”
Kirsten is the Social Media and Blog Editor at the News Media Alliance.