With our 16th anniversary just around the corner, I thought I should introduce our staff members to give you a fuller picture of the people behind Noozhawk and why your support is so critical to our success.
— Bill Macfadyen, Noozhawk founder and publisher
Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk’s managing editor, oversees daily news coverage and special projects, as well as internship and freelance partnerships with UC Santa Barbara student journalists. A Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo journalism graduate, she also sits on the department’s advisory board.
What inspired you to become a journalist?
Journalism seemed like a great way to learn new things, do something different every day, and have an excuse for asking lots of questions. My high school English teacher recruited me to be editor of the student newspaper, and I was hooked.
A journalism degree from Cal Poly is widely respected in the news world. What attracted you to the online-only Noozhawk, which was not even 2 years old when you started?
I didn’t know much about Noozhawk when I approached founder and publisher Bill Macfadyen for a job, but I was drawn to its model and its ambition.
I was excited about joining Noozhawk because it was a news organization that let me focus my time on impactful local reporting and have a lot of ownership over what I was working on.
In a sense, you and Noozhawk have grown up together professionally. How have you made an impact on Noozhawk, and how has Noozhawk made an impact on you?
After nearly 14 years at Noozhawk, I’ve seen the organization grow from two reporters writing about Santa Barbara and Goleta to a larger team covering all of Santa Barbara County, every day.
My role has grown a lot, from being a reporter to an editor guiding the everyday news coverage and implementing plans to make the whole Noozhawk organization better.
I’ve been able to experience nearly every type of newsroom job — writing stories, taking photos, editing and posting stories, managing reporters, social media posting, making newsletters, getting grants and fellowships, and developing special reporting projects.
We’ve built something amazing and I’m proud to be part of it — and excited to make it even better in the future.
Can you give an example of the advantages that Noozhawk brings to covering a story like Santa Barbara County’s ambulance services contract?
Noozhawk staff writers excel at the governmental watchdog reporting that keeps readers informed. The ambulance services contract process is a story that’s bureaucratically complicated but has a huge impact for the community.
The county Board of Supervisors voted last month to give the county Fire Department permits for 9-1-1 emergency call response, interfacility transfer and critical care transport ambulance services. American Medical Response (AMR) has been the provider in most of the county for decades, and starting in March, that will change to county Fire.
Noozhawk reporters know the community well, and that has an advantage for reporting impactful local news stories.
We will be dedicating time to reporting on the transition and what all of this means for people calling 9-1-1 for help, or people waiting for an ambulance to transport their loved one from the hospital to a skilled nursing home.
What’s a current story or issue you’re excited about?
Housing. Everyone knows about the problems, and we want to report more on possible solutions and the roadblocks to those solutions.
Santa Barbara has always been an expensive community, and some areas we want to explore with future stories include barriers to first-time homeowners, barriers to downsizing, what affordability actually means, and deeper dives into what kind of housing the community needs versus what’s being developed.
What are some of the biggest challenges Noozhawk faces in covering the community, and how is Noozhawk meeting them?
One challenge to local journalists is that there are fewer of us, which means more to cover with less people.
In-depth reporting often gets cut when there are fewer journalists in a community, because it takes time and it takes reporters with a lot of local experience and contacts — some communities don’t have them anymore.
Veteran journalists can provide nuance and context for big issues. That institutional knowledge is invaluable to a newsroom and to a community, because you don’t know what you don’t know.
How You Can Help
If you would like to support Giana Magnoli and Noozhawk’s ongoing coverage of Santa Barbara County sports, click here to make an online donation.
You can help Noozhawk by becoming a Hawks Club member and donating monthly.