Commentary: Has the Vanguard Changed Its Coverage?

Shot from the cliffs at Pismo Beach following a storm - getting away helped gain perspective
Shot from the cliffs at Pismo Beach following a storm – getting away helped gain perspective

Ever since the election results came in – if you can believe, just three weeks ago – the Vanguard has been on the fly attempting to assess the new world we live in and contemplating its place.

At the top, our readers need to understand that there are only two employees of the Vanguard – myself and my office assistant, Miranda Donahue.  We have a volunteer moderator of the comments, a volunteer editorial board that operates in an advisory capacity, and a volunteer copy editor.

The second thing everyone needs to understand is that on Wednesday, November 9, we were ten days from an event that was needed to fund our operations for the rest of the year.  So my focus was divided between covering the new world and selling tickets and making sure the event was a success (which it was).

The Vanguard Editorial Board has not met and discussed coverage since the election, and won’t until tonight.  Plus the world is moving fast and so, like everything, this is a work in progress.

I am understanding of people questioning our post-election direction because, frankly, I have spent three weeks doing exactly that – along with everything else I have to do on a daily basis to make sure the Vanguard continues to run.

Frankly, and I’ll be perfectly honest, there were days when I really didn’t have the stomach for the daily Davis land use wars.  My kids had friends who were packing to leave, the mayor has a grandson who is afraid that his father is going to be deported, there are hate crimes and hate incidents happening in and around our community, and I need to worry if UC Davis is going to put up a few houses on the Russell Boulevard fields?

A lot of this stuff is going to impact our community, whether it’s changes to climate change policies, penalties for Sanctuary Cities, mass deportation (or not), exclusion of Muslims, the new Attorney General, etc.  Davis isn’t a bubble and this is what people were focused on in the days and weeks after the election.

How could we pretend that none of this was happening and have nothing but a series of articles on Russell Fields (which we still managed to cover a lot and I’m not suggesting isn’t an important issue)?

Just today, Alan Hirsch, a member of our editorial board, submitted a transcription of the mayor’s speech at an event where 700 community members showed up at Central Park the weekend after the election – how do we not cover that?

While I understand people have questions about our editorial direction, it’s important that people understand that articles on specific topics are not places to have this discussion.  That’s one reason I wanted to write on this subject today even though this is again a work in progress.

That said, while I think this election is extraordinary and the fear (justified as well as overwrought at times) was unusual, I don’t think our coverage is really that different.

It has been eight years since we have had a new president, and the Vanguard was extremely different in 2008 than it is now.  Most of our posters were not here in 2008 – although a good number were – so they may not have that perspective.

The issues facing us are very different as well.  In 2008, the focus was really on the economy, which became a huge theme for the Vanguard and had a clear and defined local dimension that we have not strayed from – which is the budget and revenue issues.

But there have always been national issues that the Vanguard has covered.  As I pointed out in a comment on Tuesday, climate change has been one of them.  And you can do a Google search of “Obama Climate Change” and find a lot of articles.

Another big one has been the national police discussion.  Again, you can find a lot of discussion of Obama and AG Eric Holder on this topic.  Police issues were the launching issue for the Vanguard back in 2006.

With our focus on civil rights and social justice, it is natural that we would look into issues like police, the DOJ, how the federal government will enforce drug laws in light of Prop. 64, and immigration issues (which again we have covered over the years).

The Vanguard made a conscious effort in 2016, unlike 2008 and 2012, not to try to cover the national election.  That does not mean that the Vanguard will not cover administrative policies that impact local governance and issues of civil rights and criminal justice reform – we have always covered those.

We have had a general policy against inserting national politics issues into reader discussion of local issues because we found that discussions quickly got off track and local discussion was muted.  That will not change.

So how much will the Vanguard change?  Hard to know.  It’s difficult to predict what the world will look like in a few months.  Maybe things don’t change a lot.  Maybe things change a whole lot.  Like everything involved with this endeavor, it is a work in progress.

I urge patience, go with the flow, and roll with the punches because we are in uncharted waters and that makes things unpredictable and interesting.

Thanks for reading.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

37 thoughts on “Commentary: Has the Vanguard Changed Its Coverage?”

  1. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > That said, while I think this election is extraordinary and the fear

    > (justified as well as overwrought at times) was unusual, I don’t

    > think our coverage is really that different.

    By fanning the flames of the overwrought fear you are pushing the blog closer and closer to the “fake” news sites that said things like “What will happen after Muslim Obama imposes sharia law” eight years ago.

    David might not think his “coverage is really that different” but I would be surprised if even one other person says that…

    Rather than articles about “fear” of mass deportations or the “fear” Muslim registry why not cover the (rare) thing the President does that actually impacts Davis (or at least CA)?

    P.S. If Trump was really a racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim he would not have received so many votes from Hispanics and black Muslims that immigrated to the US (like President Obama’s brother Malik):

    1. Robert Canning

      Do you believe that because some proportion of our population voted for him it “proves” he is none of those things?  How do you account for the many lies he has told over the years? Or his apparent lack of basic knowledge of world affairs? Do you believe, as his apparent HHS appointee does, that the ACA was an affront to religious liberty?

    2. Tia Will


      If Trump was really a racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim he would not have received so many votes from Hispanics and black Muslims that immigrated to the US (like President Obama’s brother Malik)”

      Rather than judging a person’s character or intent based on support or lack thereof from others, I prefer to judge them by their own words and actions. I have previously provided you with actual racist statements of the president elect himself in the form of his taped comments on Judge Curiel, who he directly stated could not be fair because of his “Mexican heritage” and many years ago had stated ( also on tape) that he believed in his own superiority because of his “good German blood”. Both racist statements by any definition.

      But I did as advised and waited to see what his actions as president elect would be. And what we saw was his elevation to his inner circle of two known racists ( let’s just call the “alt-right” what it is so as not to be “politically correct”) Bannon and Sessions. Again, not as put forward by the “left wing echo chamber” but in their own words and actions, also previously documented for your reading pleasure on previous threads.

      As for the anti-immigrant – “build a wall” and “extreme vetting” as though two years+ of “vetting” were not enough

      For anti – Muslim – ” a ban on Muslim immigration” and the creation of a Muslim registry in his own words

      So one is presented with a couple of possibilities. Either the man is a racist, anti immigrant, and anti Muslim….or he is a liar who would say anything to get himself elected. Since I do not like binary thinking, I am certainly open to other theories on what could explain his behavior. Do you happen to have any ?  Because this is all I can think of at the moment.


      1. quielo

        There is no doubt that Trump is a despicable person and that is without even delving into  attitudes about race. Trump lacks any moral principles at all so I don’t believe he is a racist as that would involve actually having a principle.

        That being said he is hardly unique in this respect. Al Sharpton has stayed in the game based purely on self interest and we all saw his principles on display in the Tawana Brawley episode.

        It will be interesting to see the reaction of Trump voters to what will come. In the meantime what about restaurants?

        1. Tia Will

          Hi quielo

          About those restaurants. Put together an article and I will most assuredly read it. I am always looking for an as of yet undiscovered good place to eat. Downtown favored, but all others considered as well !

    3. Tia Will

      “By fanning the flames of the overwrought fear”

      The very use of the word “overwrought” fear is so dismissive and condescending that it would be humorous if the entire situation were not so very serious for many.

      How can people not fear deportation when the president elect made it a centerpiece of his campaign?

      How can people not fear that they would not be allowed back in the country if they happen to be Muslim and they happen to have traveled to a country which is predominantly Muslim and has been impacted by terrorism when the president elect has said that he would consider stopping re entry ?

      How can Muslims not be afraid when the president elected has stated explicitly that he would “absolutely” establish registries for Muslims ?  This includes members of my own extended family.

      How can women who are currently getting their contraception through Planned Parenthood not be afraid of unintended pregnancy when the choice of Tom Price for Health and Human Services virtually  guarantees the defunding of Planned Parenthood ? Likewise for women whose contraceptive, STD screening and prenatal care is covered by the ACA currently ?

      How can people who are dependent upon the ACA or Medicare not worry about loss of the only health coverage they have been able to obtain ? This would include patient’s of mine diagnosed with cancer after not having access to care for years. Will they not be able to continue treatment ? Many just don’t know. Only overwrought fear there right ?

      Should we not worry about those whose only care will once again be through Emergency Rooms ?

      There is nothing at all “overwrought” about any of these fears. They are based on the words of our president elect, not nightmare scenarios drawn up in some left wing spin room. So which is it SOD and BP. Do we take the president elect at his own words as captured on tape many times, or do we just assume that he was just lying to get elected ?  Or maybe some third alternative that I have not considered and you have not pointed out to me ?


  2. Barack Palin

    Trump is not even the President yet but he’s already helping our economy:

    President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence struck a deal with Carrier on Monday, saving “close to 1,000” jobs in Indiana by preventing the air conditioning company from moving its production lines to Mexico.

    Not to mention the current “Trump Rally” on Wallstreet.

    1. Tia Will


      In the interest of fairness, I can see one way in which the president elect has helped our economy in a very real way. The 25 million dollar law suit that he has settled over his bogus “Trump University” will doubtless help the finances of those he bilked out of their money. So I do give credit where credit is due.

        1. Tia Will


          Tia, there’s nothing fair in any of your comments about Trump.”

          Not even the one’s where all I have done is to point out that he actually has said what others have said that he did not say so that everyone could hear it in his own words ?

          Those have seemed pretty “fair” to me, except perhaps for those who happen to find the tapes of him making his most egregious comments inconvenient.


      1. hpierce

        Tia… the words “bogus”, “bilked” are unproven and hence ‘inflammatory’… had it gone to trial, I believe both terms would have been substantiated…  I sympathize with your position, but BP is substantially correct in the “unfairness” thing in your 7:25 post…

        Damn, I hate agreeing with BP!

        There are other posters who lose credibility in adding unsubstantiated adjectives… or just too many… as I’ve told Frankly before… worse yet the f@@@@@@@@@@@@2g adjectives/adverbs… and I can say that because I’ve likely done it.

        1. Tia Will


          I actually agree with you in the case of this single post. The words “bilked” and “bogus” are unproven and I breeched my usual stance that one is innocent until proven guilty. My error.

          However, contrary to BP’s claim that “none” of my posts have been “fair”, I have also posted a great deal about our president elect that is completely fair and completely factual since it involves tapes demonstrating him saying the words that I claimed that he said, and this is being ignored by both SOD and BP. I can think of nothing more “fair” than providing links to one’s actual spoken comments.

    2. hpierce

      Some problems in your narrative, highlighted by your cite…  Carrier announced,during the campaign, that they intended to move 2000 jobs to Mexico (see your cite)… Carrier already has many “jobs” in Mexico… so, instead of moving 2000 additional “jobs” to Mexico, they have agreed to move only 1000?  Net decrease of 1000 ‘american’ jobs… “the art of the deal”?  And, what was promised to Carrier to only move 1000 jobs to Mexico?

      Other ‘problem’… “the markets” don’t like uncertainty… hell yes there was a “bump” when things resolved… the likelihood is that had Clinton won,there would have been a similar “bump”… you appear not to follow long and short trends in the “markets”…

      I’ll wait for at least 18 months before I change my investment rates or allocation choices, except to do minor “rebalancing”…

      Am convinced that the “bump” was reasonably expected by “resolution” of the election, and that only a fool would think this is a significant trend, based on the election results… the numbers just don’t support that… [unless you are a ‘day-trader’… I’m not]

      Damn weak [ignorant?] argument that you made…

      1. Barack Palin

        Trump saved 1000 jobs from going to Mexico, you can try and twist that anyway you like but it’s damn weak [ignorant?] to see that any other way.

        The markets know Trump will be much better for the economy in the long run than either Obama or Clinton, therefor the Trump Rally.

        1. hpierce

          Respectfully, you cannot substantiate the market assertion, and ask anyone if it is sufficient and worthy of admiration cutting an arterial bleed in one half…

          I also take strong exception to the word “twisting”… particularly when I try to point out someone is “spinning”…  the fact is, apparently, that Carrier will be sending more jobs out of the US, and we have no idea what “concessions” were promised.  Fact.

  3. Tia Will

    I would like to point out the the president elect had many, many years in which to move his own manufacturing plants back to the US which he now claims to care so very much about, and yet did not choose to do so. I do not see his “saving close to 1,000 jobs” by leveraging someone else into doing what he would not do himself as a positive or even demonstrating basic honesty. It would seem that he is content to force others to do his bidding while not seeing fit to do the same himself.

    By the way, does anyone know if the president elect has chosen to move any of his own off short businesses back to the states and what the current progress on that would be ?

  4. Topcat

    We have had a general policy against inserting national politics issues into reader discussion of local issues because we found that discussions quickly got off track and local discussion was muted.  That will not change.

    Yes, there are plenty of places we can go to read or hear about national issues. Speaking for myself, I would like to see the Vanguard focus on local issues and leave the political battles and culture wars to other venues.

      1. hpierce

        David… do you fully understand the historical and cultural roots of the concept of a ‘sanctuary city’?  Native Hawaiian culture had it, and shows up in Hebrew scripture, and Christian practice [there may well be other traditions that I’m not aware of]… it was to protect those whose guilt was unclear, to be protected from death… but those given sanctuary were not “free”, as most would think of that concept… generally, they had to stay within the confines of the place giving sanctuary..

    1. Topcat

      Which is fine – but here’s an example – Sanctuary City issue – there is a local component to it.

      Yes, a lot of national issues do have a local component.  I can come up with a lot of examples.  It would be nice if the discussions here focused on the direct local consequences of the national issues.

  5. SODA

    Thx David for addressing this and I wish your Ed Board a healthy discussion tonight!

    I find myself less interested in reading about national politics on the DV for 2 main reasons: I read about them in a number of other sources and while the DV can provide a different slant I don’t often read through the article and find myself not interested in commenting. There are so many avenues for the info and discussion elsewhere whereas THIS is the ideal place for local news. Where else can we get both the facts and follow up discussion?

    The other reason is that we get the same commenters playing the same violin on national stories (yes often on local too). Just look at most of the comments made before mine. Must are about the national scene not about DV coverage!

    So my vote is local.

    1. Tia Will

      TopCat and Soda

      I have a somewhat different perspective on this. I find very little in our current national political situation that will not resonate in our lives locally. Environmental concerns apply to us all, health and wellness issues apply to us locally and personally as well as nationally, educational issues apply to us as they do to everyone else, how we handle implicit and explicit threats to minorities of all types applies to all of us, not only in our status as a sanctuary city but in how our teachers, school counsellors, school nurses and public officials respond to stressors that many of us are feeling.

      So I will go into tonight’s discussion with an open a mind as possible. However, I do feel that the results of this election are so unique, and for many so overwhelming that I believe that it would be irresponsible not to have some coverage of this event, hopefully with the addition of how it ties into our local and regional situation.

    2. Barack Palin

      Don’t you think Obama’s presdiency was stressfull to some too?  Yet hardly an article in the V regarding anything Obama for 8 years.  Let’s not kid ourselves here, the only reason we’re seeing so many articles about Trump on the V is because it’s the other party that won so it’s now okay to bash the presidency on the V.

      1. Tia Will


        As a member of the Vanguard editorial board, and as an individual reader here on the Vanguard, I have invited you personally and as a member of a group who seem to feel that they are underrepresented on the Vanguard to submit your own articles. They would have been published here just as all but one of mine have been. If people want broader coverage and discussion, there is nothing stopping them from submitting an article.

        Alternatively, if you do not feel that you have the time to write and submit, I would be happy to synthesize any information that you direct to me about any issue within my area of expertise, which for this purpose I would include any health and wellness issues whether individual or community, and I will write and submit anytime after my retirement in March. The only stipulation that I would make is that you allow me to state which poster made the request and the specific information that you had me base the article on. I would be happy to write the article from “your” point of view and would only insert my opinion in the comments area.

  6. ryankelly

    Media of all sorts need to stop giving equal coverage to minority issues and causes.  This goes for the Vanguard.  I suggest that you discuss national politics only in the framing of how it is impacting local people.  There is one or two commenters that step into defend Trump and his actions regardless of information about the negative impacts on their neighbors, but that shouldn’t stop you from highlighting what is happening.  We have a substantial number of people who believe that they or members of their family are at risk of deportation in our community – including students who have followed the rules and registered through DACA.  This is a real issue for people in our community.  Trump is appointing people to positions of power that can disrupt our lives in so many ways.  Not only are people worried about deportation, but also losing access to healthcare – both through the cancellation of Obamacare coverage, but now we are hearing about a reduction in Medicaid and Medicare coverage for our seniors.  These are national news issues, but the Vanguard could cover the local impact more.

      1. ryankelly

        Jose Granda and his opposition to school taxes was where the Vanguard has gotten it right.  The Vanguard gave him equal space for a candidate profile, has given him an opportunity to explain his views re: taxes, etc.  But no more than that.  Not every issue needs both sides to be given equal weight.  The Vanguard, especially, can have a viewpoint and doesn’t need to be “balanced.”

  7. tribeUSA

    DG and Vanguard staff–you’ve done a good job with the Vanguard and continue to do so–the only newer thing I don’t like is the ‘ignore’ button; which is a sad commentary on a growing social trend toward intolerance of differing opinions; and the building of digital walls, which further the creeping balkanization of our society. To those that use the ignore button; I would point out that you are missing out on learning more about your adversaries (consider the possibility that you might not know everything about them; or ask yourself why you don’t care to know)! I commend DG himself for allowing posts that are strongly and heatedly opposed to opinions and viewpoints expressed in his articles–DG has a great record in tolerance of dissent; wish that we could all share in that spirit more.

    1. Tia Will


      I accept that mine is a minority opinion on the editorial board on this issue. I agree with your sentiments about the “ignore” button. We all have come equipped with our own individual “ignore functions” in the form of our eyes, brains and fingers. No one is forced to read the commentary of any particular poster and skipping their comments is as easy as scrolling down. I also agree with your suggestion that it might be more valuable to actually read and consider the comments of those that clearly see issues differently than we do rather than to simply read the comments of those whose opinions we find compatible with our own.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for