The Vallejo Sun: Illuminating democracy in Solano County

At the Vallejo Sun, our mission is to shine a light on the workings of democracy, politics, and government in Solano County. 

We believe that informed communities are better able to engage with their government and contribute to a healthier democracy. Research shows that communities without a strong print or digital news organization have lower voter participation and more corruption. But as media companies shrink around the country, in depth journalism is harder to come by.

The Vallejo Sun recognizes the critical role of journalism in combating misinformation and holding power to account. We aim to create a sustainable space where committed local journalists can practice their craft and keep their community informed.

We pledge to uphold the highest standards of journalistic integrity, fairness, and inclusivity in our reporting. We strive to amplify the voices of all community members, particularly those who are historically marginalized or underrepresented, to ensure a robust exchange of ideas and perspectives. We are committed to rigorous fact-checking, transparent corrections, and ethical reporting practices to earn and maintain the trust of our readers.

We work to always have a reporter monitoring public meetings. We work to routinely make records public. While not every meeting will result in an attention-grabbing headline, and not every record produced will have a startling revelation, we work to keep public business public.

To provide more information about our coverage and processes, we've answered some frequently asked questions below. If you have any feedback on our mission or questions that aren’t addressed below, please contact us at

How do you handle corrections?

The Vallejo Sun strives for accuracy and reliability in all our reporting. However, errors do occasionally occur despite our best efforts. When factual errors are brought to our attention, we are committed to promptly correcting them and maintaining transparency with our readers. Requests for corrections are handled in accordance with our corrections policy, which states that the request will be reviewed and if we issue a correction, it will be disclosed in the story.

Do you use anonymous sources?

The Vallejo Sun occasionally grants anonymity to sources in order to convey important information. We will only use anonymous sources when we feel the information they’re providing is essential to the public interest and cannot be obtained through other means. We take steps to corroborate their statements with additional evidence whenever possible and seek out a named source that can provide the information. 

We disclose the use of anonymous sources to our readers whenever they are employed in our reporting and we will explain why the source must remain anonymous to the extent that we are able. The identity of any source cited anonymously is always known to the reporter. We use anonymous sources strictly to obtain information and we do not include speculation or opinion from anonymous sources.

We refer to the Society of Professional Journalists guidance on anonymous sources, which instructs reporters to Identify sources whenever feasible and to always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity.

How do you handle conflicts of interest?

Vallejo Sun reporters are required to follow our Conflict of Interest Policy which requires individuals to disclose any personal, financial or other potential conflicts of interest to their editor or supervisor and recuse themselves from coverage where conflicts may arise. In the event that a conflict cannot be avoided, it will be disclosed in our coverage.

Do you give special treatment to advertisers or donors?

The Vallejo Sun is committed to maintaining editorial independence and integrity in all of our reporting and decision-making processes. All editorial decisions are subject to our Editorial Independence Policy and we do not allow external influences to compromise our editorial standards.

While we rely on advertising and donations to support our operations, these revenue sources do not impact the content or direction of our coverage. Advertisers and donors do not have any control or influence over the editorial content we produce.

Is your publication biased?

We often get asked – or even accused – about the bias in our publication, particularly when it comes to contentious topics such as police, homelessness, and education. 

As people who follow these topics closely, we can’t help but form opinions about them, but we try to leave that at the door while we’re writing.  Our stories are rigorously edited and fact checked to ensure that every article published meets our standards for fairness and independence.

We try to include all relevant voices in our stories, and present their point of view fairly and accurately. Usually, if someone’s voice is left out of a story, it’s because they didn’t get back to us, or declined to speak with us. Just because we include someone’s voice doesn’t mean we agree with their point of view. We try to paint as complete a picture of what’s happening as we can.

But we also believe that good journalism can and should make judgment calls based on the evidence available. For example, if we uncover evidence that an elected official broke the law, we would report that the evidence available suggests that the official broke the law. 

And we wouldn’t give a lone voice the same weight and authority as substantial evidence against their position. A good example of this is regarding climate change. The overwhelming majority of scientific evidence suggests that humans have a role in a changing climate, and dissenting voices do not have the same authority of evidence backing up their statements.

Finally, our publication is written by different people, and we all have different opinions and don’t necessarily agree with each other. Sometimes people write in and say that they’ve deduced our opinions, but they are often wrong. Please keep that in mind if you think that you’re hearing the writer’s opinion in one of our stories.

How do you cover elections?

We typically cover elections in three stages in order to be fair to all candidates and provide voters with the best information:

  1. After ballots are finalized, which happens about three months ahead of an election, we publish a story about who is running and briefly describe what we know about them. Since many candidates have not published extensive information about themselves at this stage, these stories are necessarily incomplete. Similarly, some potential candidates may announce a run ahead of an election, but then don’t take the steps to appear on the ballot, so we don’t cover any candidates until they are officially running.
  2. We then reach out to all the candidates running for office and either request a live interview or provide a questionnaire. While we ask similar questions of each candidate, we endeavor to tailor the questions to their experience and expertise to provide a holistic portrait of them. As ballots are distributed, we publish an election guide with profiles of each candidate. This also includes information about the endorsements and contributions they’ve received. Throughout the campaign, we also cover forums and debates to elaborate on the distinctions between the candidates.
  3. On Election Day, we report results as they come in. We’ll also keep an eye out for any statements from candidates as returns are coming in, particularly if any candidate concedes or declares victory. We don’t have the expertise to declare winners, so we’ll just tell you what the results are and what other people are saying about them. All votes aren’t counted on Election Day, so we’ll keep reporting until all votes are counted. 

Will you profile a candidate or the event they’re holding?

We want to make sure that our coverage is equitable, so we won’t write an individual profile of a candidate and don’t cover events unless they’re debates or forums where all candidates have been invited to participate. We realize that this may be frustrating for some people who may want to see a particularly popular or engaging candidate covered in more depth, or may want a reporter present at their event, but we think that this is important to ensure fairness in our coverage.

Does your publication support one candidate or another?

We do not endorse candidates for office and we endeavor to be fair to everyone we cover. That means trying to understand their positions and communicating them accurately. But it can also mean asking hard questions, particularly when it comes to factual accuracy, and making sure that we apply the same scrutiny to everyone we cover. No one running for office should expect an interview with the Vallejo Sun to be softball questions. But they can expect us to be accurate and fair in our presentation.

That said, reporters are human beings, and of course we have opinions. When you spend a lot of time reading about a candidate and interviewing them, it’s hard not to form an opinion about them. But we don’t think having an opinion prevents us from fairly and accurately communicating another person’s position, and we find that people who we’ve interviewed tend to agree.