Somehow, after stumbling into both, journalism and Long Beach took in a wretch like me.

This is an important thing to note when it comes to the tale behind this massive new media endeavor that myself and an impressive team of journalists, investors, writers, and simply good people are taking on—a team, mind you, that want nothing short of creating a better Long Beach.

I was always a vagabond. Plagued by a lack of connection within my small mountain town—one driven by the fact that I was queer, skeptical, and inherently allergic to monotony–I headed down the hill with deuces up and jumped from place to place while trying to maintain my education. I lived in Fullerton. I lived in Sunset Beach. I lived in Tanzania for a bit. Denmark for another. I was all over the place—and purposefully.

Then I discovered Long Beach.

I became enamored, as it somehow created tangible reflections of the chaos of my head: the aura and characters of neighborhoods could alter as quick as you become obsessed with them, folks came from every pixel along the human spectrum, and spaces simultaneously showed a deep history with dots of the now.

I had to tell the stories of Long Beach. But like many of my fellow cohorts in the graduate writing program we were struggling to pay for and complete, writing jobs were nonexistent.

Enter Shaun Lumachi, one of the founders of the Post and a spirit that unfortunately passed too soon. For some reason, still unbeknownst to me, he read my absurdly loquacious, often angry rants online. Perhaps even more baffling, he eventually offered me a position at the Post that led to me becoming Executive Editor. Reflecting sadly back on my fellow graduates, I sat in the oddly blessed position of being a paid writer. I still feel it was undeserved but I did my best, dealt with the trolls and applause alike, and—perhaps most importantly—I fell in love with news.

It has given me a career in writing, a title that provided both humility and pride. I’ve had work published in and on KCET, LA Weekly, OC Weekly, the Long Beach Business Journal, the Long Beach Post, all the while having my own site, Longbeachize, that saw over 85,000 visitors last month. (And fear not, Longbeachize isn’t going anywhere but, happily, will expand by becoming an extension of the Post itself—more on that later.)

All these highlights are not entirely my own though; they’re largely a part of Long Beach itself and, in this sense every piece of news is inherently connected to both its author and the community it is about.

Good journalism? Great journalism? It is this almost-impossible concoction of work, intelligence, talent, and an unabashed curiosity paired with a trust from the community —and in a time when social media dominates the interpretation and consumption of news in such a way that it puts everyone, myself included, into philosophical silos, good local journalism is a crucial cog in the functioning of our future.

The work behind any quality writing or journalism is tiring, consuming, and it requires more than one person. I can write, write, write—but if I don’t have readers, if I don’t have collaborators, if I don’t have extra minds, if I don’t have a community, the work of the pen is rendered impotent.

Newsrooms are collaborative, living spaces which serve as public trusts and, if I can hope to achieve anything in this very large endeavor, it is the hope that Long Beach will have a source of information that it can depend on in order to guide its future, protect those that have invested in it, and give voice to those who don’t have them.

Here’s to Long Beach—onward and upward.