Nuala Bishari selected by ProPublica

Public Press Reporter Nuala Bishari Selected for ProPublica Local Reporting Network Fellowship

ProPublica, a national nonprofit investigative journalism organization, has selected San Francisco Public Press reporter Nuala Bishari as one of three fellows for its Local Reporting Network. Bishari and the Public Press’ editorial team will work with a ProPublica senior editor to co-publish her local accountability stories about housing and homelessness for a year, starting April 1. ProPublica will also provide expertise in data, research, engagement, video and design. Other newsrooms participating in the Local Reporting Network this year are Open Vallejo, a Bay Area nonprofit startup, and Outlier Media in Detroit. This group of projects is made possible by a grant from Knight Foundation.

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Seth Rosenfeld Wins Local Freedom of Information Award for Report on Ride-Hailing Safety

A regional journalism organization recognized freelance investigative reporter Seth Rosenfeld with a freedom-of-information award this week for his Public Press series exposing secrecy and lax state regulation of the burgeoning ride-hailing industry. Rosenfeld spent five months in late 2019 and early 2020 digging into the cozy relationship between the California Public Utilities Commission and the companies it purportedly regulated, Uber and Lyft. In “Ride-Hailing’s Dark Data,” launched online in January 2020 and as a print edition cover story, Rosenfeld found that for six years the commission withheld from public view annual safety reports detailing the industry’s troubling record of crashes and injuries, with sometimes deadly consequences.

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Covering Coronavirus and the New Normal

With the global coronavirus outbreak bearing down on us, the Public Press is committed to serving the community with relevant, timely and accurate information about public health and the response by local institutions. We pledge to remain nimble in our news coverage and provide clarity about important developments where needed. We’re focused on following storylines we have tackled for a long time — vulnerable populations including the homeless, the housing insecure, youth and those reliant on public health services — and safety information of direct utility to the general public. We realize it will be a long time before many people feel comfortable attending public in-person events. We are postponing most of the half-dozen gatherings we were planning for the coming months, and are exploring hosting virtual public meetings and online forums. Stay tuned for details.

A Free Press Is Taking Root in South Korea

Top: Je Kyu Ko, editor of Sisa-IN, with a papier-mâché caricature of North Korean “Rocket Man” Kim Jong-Un. Below: Speaking at the Korea Press Center in December, and a visit to Sisa-IN’s headquarters with INN director Sue Cross. Corruption of national leaders. A fragile democracy teetering between constitutional order and authoritarianism. A desperate populace leaning on journalists to hold the powerful to account.

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Journalist Discusses Reporting on Local Governments’ Slow Response to Sea Level Rise

Public Press Executive Director Michael Stoll talks with journalist Kevin Stark about Stark’s reporting that showed how local governments were slow in responding to the predicted effects of sea level rise on the Bay Area waterfront. “So I think the scientists were hesitant to get out and say you shouldn’t be building, but what they were saying is that you should be planning for the future in a way that recognizes that the water is going to rise, and you need to either learn to live with it, or you’re going to regret it.” — Journalist Kevin Stark

But Why a Radio Station? Michael Stoll of the Public Press Explains It All

San Francisco Public Press Executive Director Michael Stoll talks with Jennifer Waits, who hosts the radio show “Radio Survivor,” about why and how the Public Press launched a low-power FM radio station. 
“We always thought of ourselves as a newspaper based on a public broadcasting model, and now we’re a public broadcaster based on a newspaper based on public broadcasting. We really feel at home in the spirit of it, but the technical and logistical challenges to get a whole radio station set up were enthralling.” — San Francisco Public Press Executive Director Michael Stoll

Looking Back on First 10 Years of the San Francisco Public Press

San Francisco Public Press Executive Director Michael Stoll and Publisher Lila LaHood look back on a decade of working in a nonprofit news operation they founded — including the hurdles they had to overcome to establish nonprofit status for the Public Press — and look to the future. “We are hewing much closer to the ideal of public media, which is to be a public trust, first and foremost, and not try to commoditize the news. You can do different kinds of journalism … if you start out from a place of public service.” —  Michael Stoll, San Francisco Public Press executive director

A Decade of Defying Downward Expectations

In February 2009, our freshly launched website featured just a handful of stories. So, we were surprised when a reporter from the Wall Street Journal called wanting to know whether the San Francisco Public Press, which was planning to officially launch in March, was going to “replace” the San Francisco Chronicle. Facing falling revenues (it said it lost $50 million the previous year) and a protracted labor dispute, Hearst Corp. said that unless it was able to make steep staff reductions within weeks, it would sell the paper or, if no buyer emerged, close it. The threat earned national headlines, and though the Chronicle remained open for business, it lost many good reporters and editors.