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Bill Macfadyen: Noozhawk Welcomes Tom Bolton as Executive Editor

Veteran newsroom leader will be bringing a sharper focus to Web site's expanded news coverage

Entrepreneurialism has been defined as “the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”

I love that quote by Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson because it captures the spirit of what we’ve tried to do with Noozhawk. For us, the pursuit of opportunity is in our DNA.

Noozhawk was founded in 2007 to take advantage of an opportunity to provide mainstream, professional daily news for Santa Barbara and Goleta. Almost every step we’ve taken since has been to maximize opportunities we’ve identified — K-12 education, the nonprofit community, public engagement, our Prescription for Abuse series, and dozens of other innovative features, strategies, collaborations and partnerships.

We’ve fully embraced the chaos of New Media as a hybrid news publication, utilizing the best tools and practices available at any given time and nimbly adapting to circumstances as they arise. We’re doing something right because readership and revenue continue to grow.

Today, in probably our biggest opportunity to date, I’m excited to announce the addition of my friend and longtime colleague, Tom Bolton, as Noozhawk’s executive editor.

Tom is an award-winning editor with nearly 35 years of journalism experience, the last 20 or so as a senior news executive in Santa Barbara County. Tom and I worked together for 15 years at Santa Barbara’s daily newspaper under The New York Times ownership and, in 2002, we co-founded the ill-fated South Coast Beacon newspaper. As vice president of news for Lee Central Coast Newspapers, he led the Santa Maria Times’ newsroom from 2003 until earlier this year while also supervising the Lompoc Record, the Santa Ynez Valley News and other local Lee publications.

While integrity has been a hallmark of Tom’s leadership, equally important has been the first-rate journalism that has been produced under his hands-on direction. His staffs are always well-trained, thorough, disciplined, hard-working and, above all, fair — just like Tom.

It’s a wonderful match for Noozhawk because we’ve already got a staff defined by those traits. I’m looking to him to further refine our news operation to ensure that we continue to sharpen our focus and sharpen our elbows.

With the addition, Noozhawk now has three experienced news professionals editing what we publish — Tom, managing editor Michelle Nelson and yours truly — and I can state with confidence that, locally, we stand alone with such a commitment to professional standards and results. That’s an important distinction as traditional news media crumble and uneven alternative sources emerge from the rubble.

While Noozhawk will continue to expand in areas where we know we excel, we’re also looking to strengthen our overall news coverage so our readers can remain confident that they’re getting the freshest news around. By bringing Tom aboard, I can spend more of my time on the entrepreneurial side of the business so we can do even more.

As we look around Santa Barbara County, we see opportunity in every direction. We believe we have a New Media model that is best suited to take advantage of the circumstances of the times, and we’re excited to have the privilege to pursue it here.

Please join me in welcoming Tom, who can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here to read more about him and the rest of the Noozhawk team.

If you’d like to support us in our work, click here to join our Hawks Club or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for advertising and sponsorship information.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

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