Editor's note: Solano NewsNet to go on hiatus starting October 1

A series of investigative reports will be published between now and then; website and other products to launch early next year.

(Graphic by Solano NewsNet)

A note on the future of Solano News Update from publisher Matthew Keys:

Earlier this year, I announced Solano NewsNet would transition from an occasional newsletter into a full-fledged digital news outlet, backed by several news products — including a website — to help cover the most-important stories that matter to our local community.

Since that pledge, Solano NewsNet has come a long way: We’ve grown our real-time Facebook group to more than 3,000 residents and workers, our social media presence has reached more than 10,000 “followers” across various platforms, and we’ve broken or covered several stories that have rippled through the local and national news industry:

  • Our story from January on a vandalism spreed at Vacaville’s City Hall was sourced by the national news magazine Newsweek;

  • We were the first news outlet to name a murder suspect at the center of a national news story involving social media, and the only local news outlet to diligently follow up on that case;

  • We were the first news outlet to report on a Vacaville man’s apparent abduction of a teenager from Maine, and the first to report on the man’s capture;

  • Solano NewsNet was the first to publish police dispatch audio from an officer’s encounter with an autistic teenager, information that was later used by the San Francisco Chronicle in their own story on the incident;

  • We broke the story of a lawsuit involving a county prosecutor who sued her boss for apparent retaliation related to a medical issue, a story that was later republished by the Davis Vanguard;

  • We invested thousands of dollars in equipment to cover Solano County news from all angles, and our photographs, videos and information have been re-used by KTVU Channel 2 (Fox 2), KPIX-TV Channel 5, KXTV Channel 10 (ABC10), KOVR Channel 13 (CBS 13) and KNTV Channel 11 (NBC Bay Area), among others.

Despite these achievements, Solano NewsNet remains scattered across a collection of platforms. While Facebook, Twitter and Substack have been great partners in helping us get our breaking news and community interest information out to thousands of residents (and thousands more outside Solano County), we still lack a place of our own to call home — our website isn’t finished, and the digital tools that were promised earlier this year still haven’t launched.

These issues, coupled with some events in my personal life that need addressing, have made it clear that it’s time to take a step back from local reporting. Starting October 1, Solano NewsNet will suspend publication across all digital channels. The suspension will allow me to address some pressing personal issues, remedy those, rest, and then re-focus on getting Solano NewsNet to where it needs to be.

To be clear, the decision to suspend Solano NewsNet is not about revenue — the service is largely self-funded, though some have generously donated and paid for subscriptions through Substack because they believe in what Solano NewsNet stands for and want to see it continue. It will — but to grow, it needs to stop, at least for a little while.

Until our October 1 shut-off point, Solano NewsNet will publish a series of investigative reports that have been in the works for months. One of those reports was published earlier today. Early next year, Solano NewsNet will return with a brand-new website, other digital properties and a path toward profitability. We will re-launch as a self-supported business, one that keeps in place the subscription model but moves away from donations as a way to support the operation (don’t worry, Solano NewsNet — including our breaking news reporting that has helped us earn our reputation — will still remain free to read, it will just exist in more places). As I’ve found over the last few months, creating a business out of nothing takes a lot of time and effort. Stopping Solano NewsNet now is the right move to free up time to make that possible, while also addressing other things that need addressing.

While I truly believe most people will support this decision, I also understand there are a few who have paid for subscriptions to Solano NewsNet who may feel now that they are not getting what they paid for. I take those considerations seriously: Last week, I suspended recurring payments on all paid subscriptions. Those who pay by the month will not be billed again until we re-start our operations. Those who have paid for a year will have their subscriptions extended accordingly. Annual subscribers who purchased their subscription within the last 90 days can request a pro-rated refund by e-mailing matthew@solanonews.net (these requests must be received by Friday, October 1 at 12:01 a.m.).

Next year cannot come soon enough. See you all then.

Best,
Matthew Keys
Publisher, Solano NewsNet