News website launched in Westwood — The Westwood Sentinel

The people of Westwood have a new news website — the westwoodsentinel.org.

According to a statement from the publisher, Justin Miller, “I am excited to announce the launch of a new news website for Westwood, California — The Westwood Sentinel. The site is already live and can be accessed at https://westwoodsentinel.org/

“Though not yet incorporated, we plan on pursuing a nonprofit model like other hyper-local digital newsrooms have lately been successful in implementing. To read more about our mission I invite you to visit the ‘About’ and ‘Donate’ pages on our site.

“Additionally, we have launched a crowdfunding campaign to help fund our start-up. On that page you can find more detailed information about me personally and my plans for The Westwood Sentinel. https://www.givesendgo.com/westwoodsentinel.”

According to the givesendgo post, “Hello, my name is Justin. I am a disabled combat veteran who recently moved to Westwood, CA, a rural town with a population of approximately 1,500 in Lassen County, Northern California. Like many rural towns in America, Westwood has no local news source. Lassen County is one of the 1,562 counties that suffers from dwindling local news coverage.

“Data collected in the Local News Initiative’s 2023 State of Local News report confirms what journalists have long known- communities with limited access to local reporting suffer lower voter turnout, higher levels of poverty, higher levels of government and business corruption, and pay more in taxes. Times have been tough for local news outlets, but a viable new business model is emerging. Many local newsrooms are seeking 501(c)3 nonprofit status and shifting their focus from advertising dollars to philanthropic dollars.

“I am founding The Westwood Sentinel as a free local news website to educate and inform the public, promote civic engagement, and further the well-being of the citizens of Westwood, CA and adjacent communities. As part of our mission, we will offer donation-based website design and management services to local businesses so they can establish and maintain an effective digital presence at minimal expense.

“We expect this to result in income which can be used to pay the future operating expenses of The Westwood Sentinel.”