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Goodbye CGB, Hello Write For California

What’s in a name, anyway? The CGB crew you know and love is moving to a new website, and we very much hope that you’ll come with us!

Colorado v California Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

13 years isn’t just a long time for a thing to exist on the internet. 13 years is a long time in the human lifespan.

When California Golden Blogs first appeared online, I was busy graduating from Cal and nervously contemplating finding a job. CGB’s founders were only recently out of college as well. In that time span we’ve had writers arrive, write for years, get hired as paid journalists, and retire. Many of us former youngsters are now firmly middle aged, with spouses, mortgages, children . . . phew, life comes at you fast.

It is with some sadness but also lots of excitement that we’re announcing our departure from California Golden Blogs, and the debut of our new website, Write For California. This website may continue to exist, and we wish future managers and writers no ill-will. But for us, it was time for a change.

When Vox announced a major restructuring for California-based websites and ‘employees’ in response to California Assembly Bill 5, we were faced with a few choices. We could fade gently into the night and retire. We could try to work within the rather odd confines dictated by Vox’s AB5 policy, and continue to toil in the page view mines.

Or, we could take this as an opportunity for long overdue change, and do something different, on our own terms.

You might have noticed that we haven’t been writing as many articles lately. There’s a good reason for that. Over the last month or so we’ve been working furiously to transition our work to a new platform, and today is the day that we finally get to share that with all of you.

We are all very proud and excited to announce* the launch of a Write For California. We really hope you come by and read!

*If you’re a Very Online Cal fan, then you already know all this. In an entirely fitting CGB finale, one of our founders leaked the new website on Saturday night. No amount of planning can deny chaos wrought by the trickster god TwistNHook.

Why are we making this change? There are lots of reasons, even beyond the initial catalyst of getting ‘fired’ by Vox because of AB5. Here are our reasons:

1. Editorial independence. CGB, or whatever it is about to become, won’t be run by us, or even necessarily by a Cal fan. It’s possible that whomever Vox hires to run things will run this website with the spirit that we have operated under over the last 13 years. But maybe not! By striking out on our own, we’re guaranteeing that what we create is what we want to create – honest, authentic, and passionate.

2. Less of a focus on page views, #content, and search-engine-optimization, more of a focus on creativity and community. I’ll be honest - over the last few years, Vox has gotten increasingly focused on content for the sake of content, numbers of articles for the sake of reaching that number, and less on whether or not that content is what we’re interested in creating. This in turn has led to a writing staff that is less creative, less engaged, more prone to burnout. By restarting at a new location, we hope to re-energize the passion and creativity that we think is in the DNA of California Golden Blogs, and help sustain a great website and community for you, Cal fans.

3. A new publishing partner with new possibilities. Like our past and future colleagues at Golden State of Mind Let’s Go Warriors, Write For California will be joining Substack as a publishing platform. Why are we moving to Substack? Well, in part because we will be able to quickly get back to doing what we’ve always done – writing about our love of Cal sports. If you compare an article at CGB vs. a future article at Write For California, it’s going to look largely the same (But no banner ads at Write For California!)

But Substack also supports a great setup for creating and sending newsletters right to your e-mail inbox. We will likely be soliciting reader feedback shortly on what you would like to see on a newsletter (and, if you’re not a newsletter type of person, you can opt out and still read W4C just like you did CGB) as we explore this new option.

What does this mean for you, the user? Well, we’re hoping that W4C will provide the same level of Cal coverage you’ve come to expect, but perhaps with a bit more creativity and personality. The timing of our contracts expiring with Vox happens to coincide with the beginning of spring football, so we’ll be inaugurating Write For California with lots of on-the-ground Spring football coverage from Rob and other writers. Our Bears are beginning prep for perhaps the most highly anticipated season of Cal football in a decade, and we’ll be covering it all along the way.

Over the next few months we’ll be providing all of the content you’ve come to expect: wrap ups as basketball season comes to a close, coverage of (hopefully!) the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and all of the Cal athletes headed across the Pacific, and some articles looking back on a decade of Cal sports. We’re also looking to do some new things, and we’ll slowly be introducing you to our writers, whether new or familiar faces.

Mostly, we hope that you head on over, read our stuff, follow us on twitter, listen to our podcasts, like us on Facebook, and engage with the Cal community. Today’s a great day to share an interesting link in the DBD. Of all the things that CGB accomplished, we’re most gratified to be part of a community, and we very much hope that the community follows us to our new home.

And even thought this isn’t a goodbye, this is still a good opportunity to express our gratitude. Thank you, Cal fans, for reading and engaging with us these 13 years at CGB. Thank you, Cal athletes, for representing the University of California with your talent, drive, and spirit, and for giving us a reason to exist. Thank you to everybody behind the scenes who have contributed to the success of this website, and thank you to everybody behind the scenes who helped make this transition possible.

See you on the other side!