David Lesher Joins CALmatters as
CEO and Editor-in-Chief
SACRAMENTO, CA — (August 18, 2015) — David Lesher, a veteran reporter who is Government Affairs Director for the Public Policy Institute of California, will join CALmatters as Chief Executive Officer and Editor-in-Chief, the new nonpartisan public interest journalism venture announced today. Lesher assumes his new role August 24, 2015.
“Dave Lesher’s vision was a driving force in the creation of CALmatters, and there is no better person to lead the organization,” said Simone Coxe, CALmatters board chair and co-founder. “We are thrilled that Dave can officially take the helm as we move into uncharted waters and explore how to best inform and engage voters as we see rapid changes in how people get their news.”
Lesher is a founding board member of CALmatters, which was established in Fall 2015 to use deep reporting and strong storytelling to explain how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.
At the Public Policy Institute of California, a non-partisan think tank focused on state policy issues, Lesher worked to inform policy decisions by sharing the institute’s research with Capitol offices and through dozens of high-profile public events each year. Previously, he was a print journalist for nearly 25 years, largely at the Los Angeles Times, where he was a political writer, state Capitol reporter and assistant national editor for presidential campaigns. Lesher also has served as editor of California Journal magazine and as California director for the New America Foundation, a non-partisan Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
“Now is an exciting time to work on the frontier of a changing media environment, and I am thrilled and honored to have the chance to lead CALmatters as it experiments with innovative techniques and collaborative media partnerships to help people understand the important choices facing California today,” Lesher said.
As CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Lesher will have overall responsibility for both the news and business operations of the explanatory journalism venture. CALmatters President Kaizar Campwala will report to Lesher. CALmatters Editor Gregory Favre, a respected journalism veteran who led the editorial team through its inaugural launch, will become a member of the CALmatters board.
“It’s been an honor to work alongside Gregory to put CALmatters on the map with our first set of stories,” Campwala said. “With Dave’s leadership and Gregory continuing to share his expertise on the board, we will be well positioned for success as we develop additional journalism and data services, from a regular column to a legislative tracking database.”
Favre commented, “I am thankful that Simone gave this old guy the chance to launch a journalistic startup in this still young and ever-changing world of technology. What CALmatters is doing truly matters, and the staff has proven, with its first project on climate change, that it can make a difference. I look forward to continuing to contribute as a board member.”
“Gregory’s plan always was to help get us started and then move into the board position. He built a great editorial team, shaped our first content, and developed relationships that led to our inaugural set of stories on climate change being distributed by 42 newspapers and three radio partners across California,” Coxe said. “We are fortunate to have the benefit of his time, wisdom and reputation.”
CALmatters is a nonprofit journalism venture focused on engaging Californians in how their state government works and why it matters through in-depth, long-form journalism, making story content available in many forms for the web, print, television and radio. To learn more, visit www.calmatters.org, and connect with CALmatters on Facebook and Twitter.