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Sierra News Online – Who Are These People?

My name is Gina Clugston, and I am the owner, publisher, editor, reporter, photographer, community liason, business manager and chief worrier at Sierra News Online (SNO). I started this little project sitting at my kitchen table in 2012, and have devoted every waking hour, and half my sleeping hours (just ask my husband) to the care and feeding of SNO.

My most frequent partner in crime is Kellie Flanagan, who is the Managing Editor, always keeping her finger on the pulse of the mountain community. While you will generally see me standing beside the road at an accident, taking notes at a Town Hall meeting, or hanging around a fire line for the real-time reports, Kellie is at the desk posting as quickly as possible to bring you live, developing news. She tells the stories of the people who make our communities work, writes the pieces that touch your heart, does the networking with service organizations and contributors, moderates the calendar and submissions, and keeps things flowing on the website, Facebook and Twitter.

Anyone who knows me knows that I like to work behind the scenes. You don’t see me posting editorials or even putting my picture on the website (Kellie made me do it last June and I still want it taken down). Now, it’s time to speak directly to our many readers about what keeps SNO showing up on your rectangles every day.

With both print and online publications searching for a way to remain sustainable, I created SNO with a vision of community participation and support. I am thrilled with the many contributors who provide valuable content, with our awesome advertisers, and with the members who have signed up to voluntarily champion the cause with monthly donations. I am now making a big push to ask the rest of you to join us.

I have been financing SNO for over four years and, while I love this job and the communities we serve, I need to be able to hire some help. This thing has grown far beyond anything I could have imagined, and I hear from people every day how much you love the site and appreciate what we do. So, I’m asking you to share the love by registering for a modest monthly contribution to help put gas in the tank and hire more staff .

I don’t take a salary from SNO; in fact, it costs me money to provide this service. I put every nickel back into the website and pay our very small, part-time staff of two – Kellie who writes, manages and edits, and Lisa Clark who handles sales and marketing.

I am very proud of the quality of our product and we want to maintain the level of service we provide, and continue to cover stories you care about. We need you in the game in order to keep the bar as high as it has been set.

It costs money to gather news. For those who say ‘’I’m not gonna pay for that,” it’s fine. However, for those who have thought about becoming a sustaining member of SNO and just never have gotten around to it, or for those who rely on us to let you know what’s going on and appreciate what we do, this is your chance to take five minutes right now to click here and sign up to make a difference. In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to get behind things that matter to you. Meanwhile, I’m going to dedicate about 18 hours today to making sure I’m doing the best job I can for you. Just like I did yesterday, and will do again tomorrow. We’re all in this together!

The world works best when fueled by an attitude of gratitude, and I want to express my thanks to everyone who has ever sent us a story, posted a calendar event, written an article, made a suggestion, clicked on a story, shared a Facebook post, told a friend about us, sent us an email, taken the time to send a check, become a member, write a comment or upload a photo. SNO is a virtual community public square, and every contribution, whether content or currency, makes it better.

We are on a mission to find and acknowledge 200 Friends in 200 hours. Here is your opportunity to be part of the solution to the quandary of how to keep local, community news alive. Every day SNO is there for you, so please be there for us. Become a True Friend of SNO now!

What we do with your sustaining membership contributions:

  • Pay for a Virtual Private Server to host the website
  • Upgrade to the latest and greatest templates available
  • Purchase new plugins and software to make sure we are responsive and mobile-friendly
  • Buy equipment and supplies (radios, cameras, phones, scanners, notebooks, computers, fire gear, etc.)
  • Put gas in the tank and repair the SNOMobile to respond to live breaking news (that little green Mariner is nearly 12 years old!)
  • Pay people to do stuff – web design, graphics, trouble-shooting and fixing things when they don’t work right
  • Pay for phone, internet and any other geeky stuff needed for live communication
  • Avail ourselves of professional services
  • Contribute to community organizations
  • And most of all, hire another reporter

Please click here to become a member of the team that supports Sierra News Online. For those who don’t wish to do online donations, you can join those who choose to mail a check to PO Box 333, North Fork, CA 93643.

Thank you for listening and being part of the SNO community!

Gina Clugston
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
Sierra News Online
April 20, 2016


  1. Gina is being a bit modest in her appeal for financial help. She has given her heart & her money to the mountain community to bring us the most up to date news we have ever had. She works very long and very hard, but that is just half of the equation about Gina… She is a genuine person who loves our mountains and the people who live here. Many times I have seen her looking very tired, yet she is always kind and considerate, working to keep SNO relevant to our lives. She, her staff, and our community deserve all the donations you can comfortably give to SNO.

    Please don’t take for granted the great resource she has provided. If SNO were to disappear from our “rectangles” we would all miss the community based news and information it provides.
    Don Grove

    • I can’t agree with Don more. SNO and particularly Gina, are a real feather in our Mt. Community’s cap.

      Thanks Gina for all you do . I can remember when there was no SNO and we never knew what was going on and when and where to participate in the great happenings up here.

      I joined up. How about you?

  2. SNO’s fair and unbiased reporting has been a crucial asset to our community. SNO consistently comes out in a professional and newsworthy manner, due to the sacrifices made by Gina and her staff.

    It is always a challenge to run an online newspaper in a small community where support and resources might be scarce. Our community owes a great deal to SNO for keeping us informed of what’s happening in our community and how it will affect our lives.

    I would urge everyone to make a contribution or subscribe to a membership, so we can keep this valuable asset in our community.

    Terre Sparkman

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Sierra News Online

Sierra News Online