As I transition away from my role as executive director at the San Francisco Public Press, I am filled with gratitude to the community of collaborators who helped build it and optimism for the future of local journalism.
For 15 years, we’ve worked to establish an investigative workshop for the city and region grounded in idealism, resilience and innovation. Now, I’m shifting my focus to environmental and science writing, putting the organization’s direction in the capable hands of co-founder Lila LaHood.
awards from the San Francisco Press Club in the organization’s 44th Greater Bay Area Awards
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.
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.
The website SFist on Thursday accused the San Francisco Public Press of inaccurate reporting and fabricating a source in an article on a private company that cleared a homeless street encampment last month. These allegations are false. The Public Press stands behind our story and two follow-up articles by reporter Nuala Bishari.
While awards should never be the sole arbiter of quality, we’ll take the recognition when offered! We’re proud to announce two new awards
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.
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.
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
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