The Ways Cal Coast News and Dave Congalton Target Female Journalists Are Disturbing

Aaron Ochs
11 min readJul 27, 2022

For several years, Cal Coast News co-founder Karen Velie has publicly alleged that any and all criticism of her reporting is rooted in misogyny — not that she knowingly, egregiously and regularly publishes false claims. Discussing the difference between fact or fiction is a genderless construct. But as recently as July 6, Velie stated on 920 KVEC’s Dave Congalton Show that any pushback she and her colleagues have received was gender-based.

Meanwhile, Velie recently came under fire for publishing an article on July 22 with co-author Josh Friedman about a former female SLO County journalist “outing” an affair she reportedly had with a local police officer. Family and friends of both the journalist and the officer took exception to how their relationship was “severely mischaracterized” by Velie and sought corrections to no avail. Neither party was reached out to by Velie or Friedman. I won’t be going over any specifics about the article here.

On July 27, Velie spoke about her article on-air with Dave Congalton. During that segment, Congalton pushed the narrative that the female journalist had “psychological problems,” and that the newsroom she used to work for should have intervened and opted out of covering her story. Velie added that a lot of people are “talk[ing] about” her alleged “psychological problems.”

But for someone who allegedly cares so strongly about female journalists being targeted due to their gender, the website has allowed their comments section to fester with derogatory comments about the journalist Velie wrote about. And Cal Coast News contributor Kevin P. Rice, who has his own history of rabid misogyny, made a disparaging comment about her personal looks. One user referred to her as a “cheap woman” while another referred to her as a “vindictive bitch” when compared to Amber Heard. Heard was previously married to actor Johnny Depp and had accused him of domestic violence. This year, Depp successfully sued Heard for defamation and was awarded $10.35 million in damages. Heard is appealing the verdict.

Velie’s comments and her handling of that story bothered several female journalists who’ve alleged they were subjected to her rage— either based on her disdain for the publications they worked for…

Aaron Ochs

Author, artist, advocate and entrepreneur from Morro Bay, California.