ABOUT THE BENICIA INDEPENDENTBy Roger Straw and Nathalie Christian
Here’s a little history on the BenIndy (as it has come to be known), what it IS and what it IS NOT…
Benicia resident and journalist Roger Straw founded the Benicia Independent in November 2007, in response to widely perceived local attacks on the free press when the Benicia Herald editor was fired. Additional cutbacks in staffing at our local newspapers, the Benicia Herald and the Vallejo Times-Herald have since made the BenIndy an increasingly essential and highly respected source of news, information and commentary for the Benicia community, and beyond.
Although Roger positioned the BenIndy as his personal blog, acknowledging that “it is not and does not present itself as a mainstream news medium with ‘balanced’ coverage and a staff of reporters who interview and investigate,” he nevertheless maintained high ethical standards, citing sources and maintaining truthfulness and courtesy. The BenIndy has served Benicia with commentary, opinion, and occasional breaking news stories.
Since 2007, the BenIndy has championed electoral candidates, kept eyes on the environment, and spoken out for gun control, racial, cultural and gender justice, immigration reform and more. The Independent played an especially vital role in stopping Valero Benicia Refinery’s dangerous and dirty crude by rail proposal in a public campaign that Benicia Mayor Steve Young has called “the single most effective political movement in the city.”
In 2023, Roger retired from more than 25 years of public service in Benicia alone (more about Roger). In 2023, he enabled a transition team to transform the BenIndy into a NEW BenIndy. The transition team is working to keep the New BenIndy thriving, actively seeking and publishing submissions from community authors.
The Benicia Independent is not and has never been a social media forum like Facebook, Instagram, Nextdoor or Benicia Happenings. The care and feeding of an online community is beyond the reserves of the team’s time and energy.
In addition to the online site, a Benicia Independent newsletter goes out on an occasional basis to over 1000 subscribers. Subscribe here.