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El Cerrito Patch Celebrates Its First Birthday Today

The unknown El Cerrito Patch born on Aug. 31, 2010 is not the same El Cerrito Patch you see today, thanks to our many valued contributors and readers.

Community journalism can mean many things.

It means providing community news, yes, but as El Cerrito Patch celebrates its first birthday today, I am deeply gratified to report that it has come to mean a lot more than that in the past year.

What El Cerrito Patch does is not just for the community. It is of the community and by the community.

For starters, nearly all of the content and photos comes from members of our community. Some are veteran journalists, who have kindly devoted their considerable skills and knowledge for modest pay to producing what has been an extraordinary collective panaroma of our world — the celebrations, the losses, the politics, the histories and the myriad other varieties of life as it plays across our local stage.

Equally impressive have been the articles and photos from contribubors without a traditional journalism background. Some are many years retired, some are yet in high school or even middle school, and many are somewhere in between.

Also playing a prominent role, of course, are the community bloggers who post under the relatively new "Local Voices" banner on the homepage.

And just as important have been the many readers who have sent us news tips and suggestions for ways to improve what we do. Some of our biggest stories have come from reader tips, and numerous reader suggestions have enhanced how we do our jobs and present information.

And then there are the reader comments, which create one of the most interesting and often informative forums on the site. And when you also add in the events listings and announcements, not to mention the letters to the editor and the Q&A section, you can see the rich, active, multi-level public engagement that the community has created on the web site called El Cerrito Patch.

My role is called "editor," which means I do a lot of traditional editing tasks on articles, but in the bigger picture, in this new expanded and interactive world of online journalism, my role is more like a combination of custodian, traffic cop and attendant at the lost and found desk, just to name a few.

So when I ask you to join me in celebrating El Cerrito Patch's first birthday today, I am also asking you to wish yourselves Happy Birthday!

Patrick Taffe August 31, 2011 at 07:02 PM
Congratulations to the El Cerrito Patch and to Mr. Burress! It's fantastic -- we've learned so much from you about our community in the past year.
Tanya Grove August 31, 2011 at 08:07 PM
Happy Birthday! I don't even live in El Cerrito, but I keep reading it because it's interesting to know what my neighbors to the north are doing. (I live in Berkeley.)
Charles Burress (Editor) August 31, 2011 at 08:20 PM
Thanks for the well wishes. Patch and all those who contribute to it have allowed me too to learn a lot about our community. And I too keep up with happenings in Berkeley, where I once lived many years ago. I can think of many types of bridges between our two communities.
Deb September 01, 2011 at 05:55 AM
Happy Birthday, EC Patch! This has been such a wonderful addition to our community. Many many thanks. It brings a stronger sense of connection. (I even have family on the East Coast that read our Patch to find out about the going-ons in my town.)
lisa martinengo September 01, 2011 at 03:08 PM
Yes, congratulations for getting Patch to its first Birthday! Echoing Deborah B's comment; it is a fun, useful and informative addition to the El Cerrito scene.
Al Miller April 17, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Happy BD, EC Patch, and thank you, Charles, for your many hours spent on our behalf tracking down stories, attending Council meetings to keep us informed, stirring up discussions, getting us involved, but most of all, creating a "there' here in El Cerrito that has become a focal point of our community that was lacking before you brought EC Patch to us. May you and our Patch have many, many more happy returns.
Charles Burress (Editor) April 18, 2012 at 08:40 AM
Al, many thanks for the kind words, and even more thanks for your contributions to Patch and especially to our community.

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