Mission & State, the much anticipated content operation headed by former Slake Media founder and LA Weekly editor Joe Donnelly, promises “narrative journalism from the heart of Santa Barbara.” Among the articles dotting today’s official website launch is a shining freelance example by Jervey Tervalon of that motto.
The New Orleans born, LA raised Tervalon was very much an African-American anomaly when he decided to study at UCSB in the 1970s. He frames the city’s homogeneous demographics with various anecdotes and reminiscences, including this ugly and embarrassing SBPD episode:
Not that Santa Barbara was immune from the sort of de rigueur profiling we were used to back in Los Angeles. I speak, of course, of the infamous Harlem Globetrotters arrests in 1984 when Santa Barbara’s finest, in a desperate search for black men of average height who had pulled a jewelry heist on State Street, apprehended at gunpoint three Globetrotters who happened to average 6 feet, 5 inches.
One interesting layout choice made by Mission & State is that article text is presented as a narrow left-side column, with lots of blank space on the right for the occasional simple graphic or image. We like it. Rounding out Donnelly’s full-time editorial staff are Yvette Cabrera, Phuong-Cac Nguyen, Sam Slovick and Alex Kacik. Congrats on the launch.