Since I finished hosting Insight on NPR affiliate Capital Public Radio in March 2012, I have lived in New York City, freelancing a bit, blogging about theater at www.stagetology.com, working on a book and writing, performing and recording a one-man show about my experience in the 2008 housing collapse. Underwater: The 100-Year Flood, was chosen as the All For One Theater Festival’s Work-in-Progress for 2013-14. Work continues.
As a journalist, in February 2016 I became Chief Writer of Japanology.org, an English language web magazine based in Kyoto, Japan. Japanology.org will explore the culture, cuisine, art and travel options of Japan. It will launch in June 2016.
MAJOR WORK EXPERIENCE, 1983-2012:
Capital Public Radio, National Public Radio affiliate
Guest host, Insight on Capital Public Radio, 2008-2012
Interim host, Insight on Capital Public Radio, December 2011-March 2012
After three years as a regular guest host for this hour-long, live interview show, Barton took over the show on an interim basis in December 2011, after the departure of longtime host Jeffrey Callison. Barton was chosen for this position after three years as Callison’s regular substitute. During that time, Barton’s skills as an interviewer, particularly in the live, off-the-cuff format, matched the show’s format so well.
Also useful is Barton’s ability to quickly dig into a wide variety of subjects – 25 different interviews in a typical week – and his ease in many subjects. Just as important is his ability to put his guests at ease and thus, to get the best information and conversation out of them. It will be interesting to see where he goes with “Insight.”
Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief, November 2008-October 2011
As the founding Managing Editor and then Editor-in-Chief of the pioneering, nationally known hyper-local website SacramentoPress.com, Barton was responsible for the creation of the site’s editorial department and its introduction to, and establishment in, the Sacramento community and beyond.
During his nearly three years there, Barton established the site’s standards and processes, created new products (video displays, audio widgets, weekly features, layout features) and designed and established the weekly email newsletters Go.See.Do. and Your Sacramento Press Weekly Newsletter.
A veteran writer himself, Barton also guided the editorial department, hiring journalists, introducing them to sources, assigning stories and giving them daily editing and story advice as they established their beats. Doing line editing as well as guiding the overall direction of the coverage, Barton’s deep experience was essential in navigating this new form of hyper local daily journalism.
He also lent his experience to the development of the “community contributor” department, advising the “citizen journalists” who wanted to try their hand at journalism and offering advice to the former editorial intern who was hired to manage the community’s offerings. Barton also taught some of Sacramento Press’s most popular community workshops, on reviewing and editorial writing.
Barton was also the face of the Sacramento Press in the local community, “the soul of our operation” as the site’s co-founder Ben Ilfeld put (see his comments in the Testimonials section below). Speaking to university classes and seminars, professional groups and civic organizations, as well as at national conferences, Barton was (and continues to be) a tireless “evangelist” for this cutting edge, hybrid form of journalism.
Barton described his time at The Sacramento Press in an essay in the Columbia Journalism Review in November, 2011.
Legal correspondent, 2008-2013
Covering county and federal courts in Sacramento for the international news organization Bloomberg LLC, Barton has written about cases as diverse as the court battles over Proposition 8 in California, international copyright lawsuits and an embezzlement case against a major political fundraiser.
Working under Bloomberg’s exacting standards, Barton for a time also kept daily track of the legal dockets of both federal and superior courts for Bloomberg LLC, reporting to editors when something of interest to Bloomberg was coming, and learning the ins and outs of the online court docket system.
The Sacramento Bee
Senior writer, 1983-2007
The Bee was Barton’s journalistic home for nearly 25 years, first as the paper’s first full time Pop Music Critic for 12 years, then as a general assignment feature writer, religion writer, outdoor recreation writer and at-large culture critic. During those years, Barton wrote virtually every type of newspaper story: Interviews, trend pieces, news stories, opinion columns, first person features, news round ups, three-dot columns and concert, record, movie, theatre and comedy reviews.
Barton is a clear, versatile and fast writer who quickly gets to the gist of the topic at hand. Just as importantly, Barton is able to quickly find a unique, insightful angle that can make even familiar topics fresh. Barton has tackled hundreds of subjects including:
- A mentally disabled young man’s foray into home ownership (for which Barton won the Alta California Regional Center’s Journalist of the Year, 2002);
- A woman’s 200-mile hike to honor the memory of her recently-deceased husband (see Testimonials);
- The physics (and psychology) of fire-walking;
- A Fourth of July essay on notions of independence;
- An in-depth exploration of international variations on the donut!
In addition, Barton has written hundreds of in-depth profiles of newsmakers, including Paul McCartney, William Kunstler, Sheila Kuehl, Al Franken, Barbara Bush, Don Henley, Terrence McKenna, Ashley Judd, Barbara Ehrenreich and Yoko Ono.
As a staff writer for The McClatchy Company’s wire service, Barton’s work appeared in dozens of papers around the United States, including The Miami Herald, The Rocky Mountain News, The San Diego Union Tribune, The San Francisco Examiner, The St. Petersburg Times and The Orange County Register.
– Arts Journalist of the Year, 2011
Arts and Business Council of Sacramento
– Journalist of the Year, 2002
Alta California Regional Center, a mental health organization
– Nominee for VIBE (Visionaries In Building Excellence) Award, 2011
– Nominee for VIBE (Visionaries In Building Excellence) Award, 2012
2010 Knight-McCormick Leadership Institute at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
2010 Knight Digital Media Center “Web Publishing for Independent Journalists” Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley
2010 Fellow at the California Endowment’s Health Journalism Fellowships at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
2011 Fellow at the NYC Hyperlocal Newsroom Conclave New York University Arthur R. Carter Journalism Institute
2011 American Society of Newspaper Editors
Participant, Joint Conference with the Inter American Press Association in San Diego, CA
WORK IN OTHER MEDIA:
KFBK 1530, News Talk radio
“Plugged-in with David Watts Barton”
As a regular guest on the afternoon drive time broadcast, Barton gives his thoughts on current entertainment options in Northern California. Over subsequent years I have appeared as an expert guest, usually to talk about music news.
Upon leaving The Sacramento Bee, Barton’s first move was to launch a blog, BloggingtheGrid.com, one of the first local websites to cover events in Sacramento’s central city, from breaking news to entertainment reviews. BloggingtheGrid.com prepared Barton to enter the world of online hyperlocal journalism that would continue and expand with his work at The Sacramento Press.
Capital Public Radio, KXJZ 90.9 FM
In his role as Editor-in-Chief of The Sacramento Press, Barton created a weekly spot in which he discussed local issues in the news on “Insight.” After leaving Sacramento Press, Barton declined the offer to continue as the spot’s sole guest, instead suggesting and helping recruit a small group of rotating guests from other local media outlets, among them one of his young reporters at Sacramento Press. Within weeks, he had become the actual host of the show.
TV: KVIE (PBS in Sacramento)
Barton appeared as one of two guests on the Charlie Rose-like half hour interview show “Studio Sacramento,” discussing the state of downtown, proving himself as adept at being interviewed as being the interviewer. (See video page on davidwattsbarton.com.)
Under the Gum Tree
Horizon Air magazine
American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE)
Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)
Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA)
National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA)
Certified Diversity Facilitator, certified by the Newspaper Association of America, 2002-2003.
Leadership Sacramento, Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce
“Arts, Culture and Entertainment in Sacramento” talks, 2008, 2009
UC Davis Extension
“The Future of Writing,” a panel at the UC Davis Extension Creative and Non-Fiction Writing Programs, 2009
Sacramento Public Relations Association
Panels on working with new media, 2010, 2011
In addition to the above, Barton has spoken over the years to dozens of university classes, professional groups and civic organizations, including University of California, Davis; California State University, Sacramento; American River College; Cosumnes River College and elsewhere.