People of Sacramento commenting on the news: Jaime Wilson

Jaime Wilson, digital media coordinator at the Sacramento Zoo
Jaime Wilson, digital media coordinator at the Sacramento Zoo. Photo: Kevin Fiscus.

(This is the seventh installment in a weekly series with people who don’t work in journalism commenting on the news. Photography by Kevin Fiscus. If you’d like to participate, message or tweet me.)

Meet Jaime Wilson.

She’s 41, a Humboldt State graduate, grew up in what was an unincorporated part of Placer County (now Granite Bay), lives in Natomas and works as the digital media coordinator at the Sacramento Zoological Society.

Jaime is among the first locals I got to know through Twitter and later met in person. She’s tipped me off to more great things in Sacramento than I can recall and is as woven into the social fabric of the community as anyone. She serves as treasurer for Social Media Club Sacramento, shares her successes and failures in gardening at My Pale Green Thumb, worked on a project to help homeless children with Leadership Sacramento’s Class of 2014 and is a passionate BIG Day of Giving supporter.

We reconnected on a muggy day earlier this month at Track 7 Brewing Company to talk about media consumption, the city of Sacramento and her thoughts on the news.

Like many natives, she’s felt the allure of other cities. After leaving and returning multiple times, she’s here to stay. She’s lived in Sacramento for the last 15 years.

“About 10 years ago, I had to start admitting I really liked Sacramento.”

I asked her how she’s seen the city change. She can remember coming downtown when she was younger to hang out at the Java City on Capitol Avenue and New Helvetia Roasters and Bakers on 19th Street. There were few restaurants and many blighted buildings.

Now, “you can’t walk a block without hitting a decent-to-good restaurant,” she says.

She’s seen the food scene mature while dining with a group of friends that come together every Thursday. When they first starting going out in 2003, a party of 15 would be seated without waiting long. Now, they make reservations.

“It’s interesting to see Sacramento figure out it can go out on a school night,” she says

She values the “rich, deep conversation” going on about food. Chefs are visible, collaborative and a strong presence. “Real people, cooking real food.” She sees an opportunity for the farm-to-fork movement to extend to ethic cuisine. What can Vietnamese and Ethiopian chefs bring to the table? “I’d like to hear that story,” she says.

I asked her about something another participant mentioned. What will the city look like in 10 years and will he enjoy it in his 40s? She wasn’t worried for him. Energy and creativity expended now, she says, will change to something else. “You write your own damn story.”

She used the recent success of local breweries as an example. They’re the extension of twentysomethings engaging at local coffeehouses during the ’90s. They grew up, married and had children. They still want to be social and engage. “It will evolve with them.”

She hopes for similar growth and opportunity elsewhere. While she expects the Golden 1 Center to bring more national entertainment to the city, she would like to see a stronger local music scene and concern for the arts. They’re struggling and “in need of a wider base of support.”

And yet two artistic projects excite her: the E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts at the shuttered Fremont School on N Street (“I like the idea of re-using that spot.”) and the Warehouse Artist Lofts on the R Street corridor (“It sounds like you could do another one.”).

Jaime answered the following questions by email about how she gets the news. Text submitted May 13.

How do you get your news?
Is by osmosis an option? Most of my news consumption is via social media but not necessarily from a primary outlet. I tend to follow people who curate the news for an audience such as @natomasbuzz for my local neighbor news, @cowtowneats for my local foodie news, etc. I am an NPR commute listener as well but have found myself tuning out more and choosing podcasts to disconnect from the weight of the world. I find that I get overloaded by news sometimes and need a more positive start to my day.

What’s the first news event you remember?
Mount St. Helens erupted on a Sunday in May 1980 when I was 6 years old and I remember hearing about it on KFBK in the back of my parents blue Volvo 240 station wagon on the way to school the next morning. A few days later all our cars where covered in a thin layer of ash.

What content do you pay for?
I’m a freeloader. Working for a nonprofit I benefit from their subscriptions to print like the Sacramento Business Journal, Sactown Magazine, Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s. The Sacramento Bee is there as well but I only search out articles I hear about through other channels.


What’s the last great thing you ate?
This might be the hardest question. As a food lover, I could list off so many things from home-cooked meals and dive bars to a perfectly made BLT and Italian white truffles. But I’ll have to go with French onion dip made with foie gras at Mulvaney’s B&L on leftover chicharones after the Bacon Fest chef competition with a glass of Redbreast.


Who’s doing it right in news?
The Daily Show. I like my news with some humor but still with content and some different points of view.

Name the three most important issues facing Sacramento.
(1) Homelessness is the one that stands out most for me. With all the development downtown, streetcars, new bridges spanning between Sacramento and West Sacramento – we are doing big things and making a name for ourselves but to be a successful city we can’t just hide or displace the homeless we need to strive more to help find solution and it’s extremely complicated. There has been good progress in the past decade but there is much more to do.

(2) I also think economic development will be what stabilizes our long-term grow. Barry Broome being placed as the CEO of the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council seems promising and I’m hopeful they will make an impact.

(3) With any large change there always seems to be backlash. I sincerely hope that even if we don’t personally like the changes, that we will try to see the benefit for the area and be more supportive or be an agent for change. The sniping and complaining without action does nothing to help the situation.

What do you absolutely hate about the news?
The rhetoric. Hearing both sides to a story is great. It balances and provides details to make informed decisions or opinions but I feel that just trying to fill time with noise leaves everyone worse off. I would like to believe that people take the news with a grain of salt, but fear that they will believe anything on news outlets.

What’s the most important issue to you that’s not being covered well enough?
I would like to see more coverage on Sacramento’s sustainability – where we succeed and where we need improvement. I think we have a lot of space for rooftop gardens and improvements need to be made for the biking community.

If you could be anywhere, an-hour-and-a-half drive away, where would you be?
The ocean or a High Sierra lake. I love the water and feel best with a nice breeze and cold water. Plus that means I’m probably hiking so that make me even more happy.

Follow Jaime (@scribbykitty) on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.

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