Condemning Hate in Online Spaces

Dear Public Press community,

I need to tell you about an upsetting, hateful incident that occurred during a Public Press Live event we held as a Zoom webinar on Thursday, May 28. The Public Press takes this matter seriously, especially in light of the pain and grief expressed nationwide this week about the chronic mistreatment, disrespect and disregard for black lives. A few minutes into our discussion with students about their experience with and perspectives on distance learning during the pandemic, one or more people flooded the text chat with horrific racist epithets directed at La’Jaya Smith, a recent graduate from San Francisco’s Life Learning Academy. The Public Press condemns this kind of behavior and prohibits it on all platforms and venues under our control. As soon as we saw the disturbing comments, another staff member and I responded quickly to eject the attackers and suspended commenting for all participants.

Surviving the Pandemic: The Future of Local Media

The Public Press hosted a discussion April 30 exploring news media challenges facing community journalism before and during the crisis and how the future will require more diverse and sustainable business models that don’t rely exclusively on advertising. Our panelist were:

Martin Reynolds, co-executive director of the Maynard Institute
Michael Stoll, executive director, San Francisco Public Press

The discussion was moderated by Gina Baleria, assistant professor of communications & media studies at Sonoma State University, and host of the new podcast “News in Context,” that explores media bias and how information is delivered and consumed. It airs on KSFP 102.5 FM Fridays at 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Watch a full recording of the conversation.

Coronavirus Scams and How to Avoid Them

The Public Press hosted a conversation April 9 to help the community understand how to identify and prevent phone and email scams that target the vulnerable — the elderly, people who are isolated or who have limited digital literacy.

Neighborhood Meets Challenge: How S.F.’s Sunset Organized for Pandemic Aid

The Public Press hosted a conversation April 3 with Sunset Neighborhood Help Group founders Frank Plughoff, Bianca Nandzik and Stefan Nandzik about how they are coordinating a dynamic volunteer network to connect with elderly and at-risk neighbors who need help buying groceries and running errands during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meka Boyle, who first reported on the Sunset neighborhood’s call for mutual aid,  also participated in the panel, which was moderated by our publisher, Lila LaHood. Watch a full recording of the conversation.

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We Need Your Help to Cover the Pandemic

Since March 11, the San Francisco Public Press and “Civic” have accelerated to a pace we did not think possible for our small nonprofit newsroom. In two and a half weeks, we published 34 stories that brought as many visitors to our website as we saw in the last three months of 2019. I can tell you definitively: We did not plan for this. Instinct kicked in for those of us with daily newspaper, broadcast and wire service experience. The need is urgent.

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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.

The Role of Art in a Period of Political Turmoil

A group of local artists has organized an art show and public discussion about the intersection of art and politics. “The Role of Art in a Period of Political Turmoil” runs through Nov. 30. To celebrate the launch, there will be two events held at Spark Arts Gallery, 4229 18th St., in San Francisco:
Opening Reception Thursday, Nov. 7, 6 to 9 p.m.
“Art as Activism,” a panel discussion co-hosted by Manny’s Tuesday, Nov.

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No Ads? Newsprint? A Discussion of What Shaped the Public Press

San Francisco Public Press Publisher Lila LaHood talks with board chair David Cohn about the ideas — like going ad free and printing a physical newspaper — that would shape how the Public Press operates. “People who know the Public Press trust it in a very deep way, which, you know, you have to earn that trust.” — David Cohn, Public Press board chair