The Public Press Blog

Once Magazine, an iPad photojournalism app, launches in San Francisco

There are promising media startups all over the Bay Area, and one experiment in high-quality photography is based in San Francisco and launches today.

It’s an iPad app called Once Magazine, and it’s founded by our very own Jackson Solway, who designed the first print edition of the Public Press last year and also directed photography for local publisher McSweeney’s on its 2009 San Francisco Panorama newspaper project.

Solway has been slaving away with a handful of ultrabright colleagues in the company’s sparse Dogpatch headquarters focused on creating what they say is a first — an app for the iPad that takes photojournalism to a new level by giving it the attention and design sensibility it deserves. There are many undereployed but brilliantly talented photographers out there with too few paying outlets.

Once Magazine is unique in that it relies mostly on app sales through iTunes, so you know it will be very attentive to the response it gets from its audience. There are other players ostensibly in the field, including the Guardian in the UK and National Geographic, but none that we know of with the kind of focus of Once.

The idea is simple, Solway explained in a recent chat: Gather the best photojournalists from around the world and display a rotating gallery of narrative photography shot with a journalistic sensibility — telling a story about a subject somewhere in the world that could be thought of as news, with short well-edited summaries and some multimedia add-ons.

We think it’s a promising model, and one that deserves immediate downloading by anyone with an iPad. Check it out: http://bit.ly/p8n4q6. The first issue is free. Next month’s issue is $2.99. Makes me want to run out and join the iPaderati.

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The launch was a silver lining of sorts that came a day after the Bay Area News Group announced that it would “improve” its coverage by consolidating more than a dozen newspapers that are already owned by one mega Denver-based company into three newspaper titles — leading to “efficiencies” that would allow the MediaNews group to lay off about 120 people. Oh happy day. Except for residents of the East Bay and the Peninsula, who will lose the venerable centenarian mastheads of the Oakland Tribune and the San Mateo County Times.

In the spring 2011 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press we focused on the woes of the downsizing commercial press over the last 10 years. As contributor David Weir wrote, the picture for a robust Fourth Estate may appear grim with the layoff of hundreds of local journalists, particularly in newspapers, but there are about 5,000 media startups right now in and around San Francisco working hard to shake things up — mostly through new platforms and novel technologies. San Francisco, meet Once Magazine.

SF Public Press partners with KQED Public Broadcasting on Networked Journalism project

KQED Public Media is partnering with the San Francisco Public Press and three other Bay Area nonprofit news organizations to share news stories on the radio and online. The project, called “Networked Journalism,” is an initiative incubated by J Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

We are thrilled that KQED, the largest public broadcaster in the region, is reaching out to startup news organizations such as the Public Press that are expanding the definition of public media. We have gotten coverage of this partnership and congratulations from all across the country, including Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard and the magazine of the public broadcasting industry, Current.

We think this will help position the Public Press as a leader in public media locally as we seek funding, public attention and future collaborations. KQED will be featuring our reporters on air on a regular basis in short radio “debriefs” about our stories. We don’t typically do breaking news, but original stories that explain the context of the news. This emphasis on news partnerships is a great follow-up to KQED’s recent emphasis on shoring up its own newsroom operations, hiring more journalists and scheduling additional time on the air for local news.

We are very heartened that KQED has come to see us as a reliable and professional news source in the two years we have been in operation. Our coverage complements the kind of stories aired on KQED. We are focused on San Francisco-specific stories that no one else is covering — particularly those that address the concerns of under-served audiences. In addition to explaining how the San Francisco budget affects social services and other government programs, the centerpiece package of our latest print edition, we also cover public transportation, housing and homelessness, the nonprofit sector and “low finance” — the ways working people get access to capital.

The San Francisco Public Press published its fourth ad-free print newspaper edition last week, an issue that included an edited transcript of an episode of the KQED Radio program “Forum” with Michael Krasny. We have worked with more than 20 nonprofit news and civic affairs organizations over the past year to provide a print hub that pulls the best from local public media. We look forward to working more closely with KQED to shore up this mutually beneficial cross-fertilization. 

The press statement by KQED:

* * *

For Immediate Release

Contact: Ian Hill

Tel: 415.553.2216, ihill [AT] kqed.org



KQED Launches Groundbreaking Partnership for News

Country’s most-listened-to public radio station collaborating with several independent local news outlets

San Francisco, August 10, 2011— KQED has become the first public media organization in the country to join a groundbreaking national program that connects broadcast and print news outlets with local online-first news organizations. The innovative collaboration highlights both the increased importance of blogs when it comes to producing community news and KQED’s commitment to providing Bay Area residents with a diverse array of news and information.

Through the Networked Journalism program, KQED is working with the Bay Area news organizations Berkeleyside (berkeleyside.com), Oakland Local (oaklandlocal.com), NeighborWebSJ (neighborwebsj.com), and the San Francisco Public Press (sfpublicpress.org). Each organization’s posts can be read on KQEDnews.org, covering topics ranging from city council meetings and crime to community fairs and transportation issues. Staffers from organizations collaborating with KQED also are contributing to stories produced by KQED Public Radio.

Networked Journalism is a national effort founded by J Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism that has helped established partnerships between online-only outlets and traditional news organizations like The Oregonian and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspapers. It is supported by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“We are enthusiastic about working with the Networked Journalism initiative.  And we’re excited about this opportunity to work with local news groups and organizations across the Bay Area to present a more diverse, more in-depth news service for our respective online news readers and radio listeners,” remarked Jo Anne Wallace, Vice President and General Manager, KQED Public Radio.

As part of the project, staffers from Bay Area news organizations are also receiving training at KQED in radio production and exploring networking opportunities, as well as other possibilities for collaboration. KQED Community News Coordinator Molly Samuel emphasized that working with KQED has many benefits for local news outlets.

“We’re planning events and training so partners can meet each other and expand their skill sets. That will mean that our partners can do even more effective reporting in their communities, and be able to sustain themselves, despite a tough economy and limited resources,” Samuel said. “More and better journalism can only be a good thing, not just for KQED News listeners and readers, but for the Bay Area in general.”

Networked Journalism began in 2009 by working with 25 websites. It has since expanded to include partnerships with 65 websites nationally.

About KQED

KQED (kqed.org) has served Northern California for more than 50 years and is affiliated with NPR and PBS. KQED owns and operates public television stations KQED 9 (San Francisco/Bay Area), KQED Plus (San Jose/Bay Area), and KQET 25 (Watsonville/Monterey); KQED Public Radio (88.5FM San Francisco and 89.3FM Sacramento); the interactive platforms kqed.org and KQEDnews.org; and KQED Education. KQED Public Television, one of the nation's most-watched public television stations, is the producer of local and national series such as QUEST; Check, Please! Bay Area; This Week in Northern California; Truly CA; and Essential Pépin.  KQED's digital television channels include 9HD, KQED Life, KQED World, KQED Kids, and KQED V-me, and are available 24/7 on Comcast.  KQED Public Radio, home of Forum with Michael Krasny and The California Report, is one of the most-listened-to public radio stations in the nation with an award-winning news and public affairs program service delivering more than eighteen local newscasts daily.  KQED Interactive provides KQED’s cross-platform news service, KQEDnews.org, as well as offers several popular local blogs, video and audio podcasts, and a live radio stream at kqed.org. KQED Education brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents, and the general public through workshops, community screenings, and multimedia resources.

SF Public Press Fall 2011 edition focuses on city budget — launch event Aug. 13

CONTACT:

Michael Stoll, Executive Director
Lila LaHood, Director of Operations and Development
(415) 495-7377 — news [AT] sfpublicpress.org
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
 

The San Francisco Public Press publishes its fall 2011 print edition — the fourth since launching last summer — on Wednesday, Aug. 10, with a special section on the prospect of better city budgeting, and engaging stories from 16 local public media and civic organizations.
 
The headliner for Issue 4 is a collaborative project with Shareable.net, a website focusing on the sharing movement, exploring how San Francisco’s perennial budget-cutting process might be improved. Reporters looked at the growing trend of “participatory budgeting,” the use of the Internet to promote transparency and the unfulfilled promise of government audits to identify and eliminate millions of dollars in waste.
 
The package also includes examples of how budget cuts almost derailed some vital city services, such as naturalization services for senior citizens, and how nonprofit organizations are forced to lobby politicians to “add back” funds after the budget passes.
 
The 16-page, two-section broadsheet newspaper will be available for sale for $1 at about 50 locations around the Bay Area. The print run is 8,000 copies. Parts of the budget package will be published online first on Shareable.net and later on SFpublicpress.org.
 
The latest edition of the Public Press also features in-depth policy-focused stories from partner organizations such as KQED’s “Forum” with Michael Krasny, California Watch/Center for Investigative Reporting, KALW News, the San Francisco Neighborhood Newspaper Association, California Northern Magazine and new partners such as the bilingual newspaper El Tecolote and the Public Policy Institute of California.
 
“The fall issue focuses on vital public policy choices facing the city of San Francisco in an unprecedented era of year-after-year budget cutting,” said Michael Stoll, the organization’s executive director. “It shows that small startup public media organizations can do important public-interest explanatory news reporting and fill in some of the gaps left by the ever-shrinking commercial press.”
 
The papers will arrive on Wednesday, August 10, at 6 a.m. and go on sale immediately at the Public Press office at 965 Mission Street, Suite 220, in San Francisco. Newspapers will be distributed to Bay Area retailers throughout the day. A regularly updated list of retailers carrying the paper can be found on the website: http://sfpublicpress.org/where-to-buy-the-newspaper. Also, check our Twitter (http://twitter.com/sfpublicpress) and Facebook (http://facebook.com/sfpublicpress) pages for live updates on where to get a copy.
 
LAUNCH PARTY: NOON ON SATURDAY, AUG. 13, CRISSY FIELD. The Public Press is sponsoring a “print launch picnic” on Saturday, Aug. 13, to celebrate Issue 4 and the more than 50 people who put it together. Drop by the East Beach picnic area at Crissy Field between noon and 3 p.m. for a family friendly afternoon of food, drinks and games. We’ll also be handing out free copies of the newspaper. Please remember to RSVP so that we bring enough food: http://sfpublicpress-picnic.eventbrite.com. Volunteers will be collecting donations — “sliding scale, pay as you wish” — at the picnic.
 
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The San Francisco Public Press is a local, nonprofit, noncommercial news organization covering local public-interest journalism — with a focus on economy, civics and streetscape — in the Bay Area. We aim to do for print and Web what public broadcasting does for television and radio. We produce news online daily and in a quarterly print newspaper.
 
Sign up for our newsletter: http://www.sfpublicpress.org/newsletter

Public Press coverage of Bay Area media meltdown featured on national #wjchat

This week’s #wjchat, a weekly chat for Web journalists on Twitter, was on a topic that is significant to journalists and nonjournalists alike: the future of journalism jobs.
 
The chat was founded by Robert Hernandez, assistant professor of professional practice at the University of Southern California, Annenberg’s School for Communication and Journalism, and Kim Bui, social media and communication editor at KPCC 89.3-FM in Pasadena.
 
According to the organizers, the focus for this week’s conversation was inspired by a series of articles on the Bay Area media landscape that was published by the San Francisco Public Press this spring.
 
@wjchat This #wjchat we're talking the future of journalism jobs - inspired by @sfpublicpress recent report: http://bit.ly/jvMQgK Send us Qs!
 
The stories in the package include: a quantitative and qualitative analysis of how news organizations in the Bay Area are coping with smaller staff, the influence and emergence of thousands of new media startups in the area, and the impact of the shortage of ad-revenue on local broadcast journalists. The stories are available online and in the spring print edition.
 
Some of the key questions discussed in this week’s #wjchat session are:
  1. @wjchat Q1B What skill sets would you need to get hired in this new future? #wjchat
  2. @wjchatQ5 Are core journalistic ethics changing in this new landscape? Should they? #wjchat
  3. @wjchat Q7 Are failing news orgs worth saving? Is this evolution and natural selection at work?
We thank the organizers and participants of #wjchat for this discourse.
 
Discussions like this are crucial to the revitalization and reinvention of the news industry both locally and nationally. Some hold the view that journalism is facing dark times that can only be rectified by the bright glow of content-rich news websites on computer screens, smart phones and tablets. Some believe that dusting off and resuscitating rusted printing presses can be of immense value to the community, especially in eradicating the digital divide.
 
There is much debate and discussion within the journalism community about what is next, what to expect, and what paths to take in terms of finding jobs in the field, maintaining journalistic ethics in a rapidly mutating digital environment, and producing long-form and investigative features in newsrooms where journalism jobs are evaporating, among many other questions.
 
But undoubtedly, the future of journalism will touch all of us.
 
With this in mind, the voices of community members are just as important as the voices of journalists in building the news ecosystem of the coming years.
So to continue the conversation, we ask everyone:
 
How have the loss of journalism jobs in the Bay Area affected you? Are the issues that matter to you being covered by your local news organizations? What types of innovations have you seen or would like to see in the news industry?
 

We want to hear from you. Share your responses and questions by leaving comments here, on Twitter (@sfpublicpress) or on our Facebook page. 

SF Public Press joins Reuters national nonprofit news distribution deal

The San Francisco Public Press will start distributing selected news stories through the Thompson Reuters newswire in a deal brokered by the Investigative News Network, the two organizations announced earlier this week.

Articles will be distributed internationally and available to all of Reuters’ customers — news organizations that distribute in print, online and in broadcast media. 

The network, a consortium of more than 50 nonprofit news organizations, many of them startups, was founded last year in an effort to share news stories and operational resources to increase the reach of the journalism the organizations produce. They include the Center for Public Integrity, California Watch, MinnPost  and the St. Louis Beacon. Seven members are located in the Bay Area. They are SF Public Press, California Watch/Center for Investigative Reporting, Spot.Us, Newsdesk.org, New America Media, Oakland Local and the G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism.

Of the members of the network, 30 are participating in the Reuters deal.

“Investigative reporting is at the forefront of our mission, and we’re excited to expand our reach and serve Reuters clients around the globe,” said Kevin Davis, chief executive officer of the Investigative News Network.

The Public Press already syndicates its stories to Yahoo! and the Bay Citizen, and is developing distribution relationships with other publishers. 

Pictures from the spring edition launch party 5/12/11

Thanks to everyone who turned out last Thursday night for the launch party for the spring edition of the San Francisco Public Press. We rocked the basement art space of the new location of the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts at 998 Market Street, full of interactive art. Thanks to Kristine Magnuson for the awesome photos.

Reporter Jerold Chinn and grants manager Theresa Seiger play interactive art installations. 

Reporter Angela Hart and News Editor Rich Pestorich represent.

Danielle Craig, former Public Press News Editor Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig and Executive Director Michael Stoll hamming it up.

Assistant News Editor Michael Levitin and friends.

Director of Operations and Development Lila LaHood (left, with falafel) and ubersupporters Michael Winter and Deepti Gottipati.

Intern-to-be Katie Lewin and lawyer-to-be Oliver Luby.

Big Brotheresque art piece overseeing the proceedings. Far right: Project Editor Liz Enochs chats with a skeletal print designer Jackson Solway.

The news, old and new, is our theme in the Public Press third print edition

Today we are proud to announce the publication of Issue No. 3 of the San Francisco Public Press — still in glorious full-color broadsheet.
 
The special section in the issue: a team project on the fall and possible rebirth of Bay Area news mediaJeremy Adam Smith reports on how half of Bay Area newspaper jobs evaporated on the last decade, while David Weir delves into some of the more than 5,000 San Francisco-based new media startups. The media project took a team of eight people months to report. It grew out of the work we did this winter to help produce the Bay Area Journalist Census for NOVA, a workforce development agency in Sunnyvale.
 
We will be rolling out stories online over the next few days. If you want to read them sooner, get a copy of the paper!
 
Issue No. 3 of the San Francisco Public Press, a broadsheet full-color local newspaper, will be available for just $1 at more than 50 retail outlets by Thursday, May 12, and now through online mail order ($4).
 
The “About Us” section of the newspaper on page 2 explains why we thought it necessary to turn the focus on our own profession:
 
Since the Public Press started publishing news online two years ago there has been an explosion of news-focused new media ventures locally and across the country. They range in scope from global to ”hyperlocal.” Cravenly commercial to naïvely idealistic. Amateur to professional. Earnest to downright sarcastic.
 
All this experimentation is crucial if journalists are to continue their role in preserving democratic self-governance by keeping the powerful accountable. Our focus in issue No. 3 of this newspaper: what, if anything, will emerge from the rubble of the Bay Area’s once formidable local press infrastructure. See page B1.
 
As David Weir, one of the founders of Salon.com and the Center for Investigative Reporting — both incubated in San Francisco — writes in this issue, this city will be the birthplace of the new news.
 
The Public Press is one such experiment. We combine the approach of public broadcasting (requesting small donations from satisfied listeners during pledge drives) with newspaper sales and a subscription model. What we don’t do is sell eyeballs to advertisers. We think freedom from commercial messages allows us to do more independent reporting about the whole community, not just the elites whom advertisers covet.
 
It has been a hard slog gathering the resources to produce what we’re planning to turn into a quarterly journal of public policy and culture for San Francisco. We are still mostly volunteers — professional journalists who believe in the mission of the organization — but we take our work and our commitment to serving the community seriously.
 
In other words, we want to hear from you. What should we be doing? Send us your thoughts. And please, if you like what you see here, send us your Starbucks frappuccino money: http://sfpublicpress.org/donate.
 

SEND US YOUR THOUGHTS: NEWS [at] SFPUBLICPRESS [dot] ORG

 

EVENT: Spring print launch party at GAFFTA on 5/12

We're celebrating the spring print launch of the
San Francisco Public Press
with one big

PARTY!

Thursday, May 12, 5:30 - 9 p.m.
Gray Area Foundation for the Arts
998 Market St. (Warfield Building), San Francisco

RSVP: http://sfpublicpress2011spring.eventbrite.com/

Join us for drinks and appetizers,
and pick up a complimentary copy of the newspaper!

Music by DJ Ario.

Come check out GAFFTA's new home and experience
TRANSMUTATIONS: Sound, Data, and Mechanics

— a site-specific interactive art installation by sonicSENSE

(We're fans of news and art that you can touch.)

Raffle gifts provided by Philz Coffee.

• General admission: $10 via eventbrite or $15 at the door.

• Public Press members (join today!) and contributors to the spring print edition get in free.

We will accept cash, checks and credit cards (via Square) at the door.

EVENT: SF Bay Area Journalist Census presentation and discussion

 

Please join us for a presentation and discussion of the

San Francisco Bay Area Journalist Census 2000-2010

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

6 to 8 p.m.

World Affairs Council of Northern California

312 Sutter St., San Francisco

6 to 6:30 p.m. — Reception with refreshments

6:30 to 8 p.m. — Presentation of the report, followed by a panel discussion with audience participation.

Find out how job loss has affected journalists in the Bay Area since 2000, talk with a few who have navigated the rapidly shifting media landscape and hear employment experts discuss where the job market is headed.

RSVP at http://journocensusevent.eventbrite.com

We hope to see you there!

Preliminary report summaries available at http://journalistcensus.org.

The San Francisco Bay Area Journalist Census a workforce study assessing changes in the media industry and job dislocation among Bay Area journalists, is sponsored by NOVA, a federally funded employment and training agency based in Sunnyvale. This event is cosponsored by the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Renaissance Journalism Center at San Francisco State University.

Preliminary Reports from SF Bay Area Journalist Census

The San Francisco Bay Area Journalist Census 2000-2010 has released preliminary reports from a study of employment trends among Bay Area journalists:

Do these findings reflect what you've observed? Let us know what you think here, on journalistcensus.org or by sending an email to info@journalistcensus.org. Some response comments will be included in the final report, which will be released on or about Thursday, April 14, followd by a presentation and discussion at a public event in San Francisco on Tuesday, April 19. Details to follow.

The Journalist Census is a project of the North Valley Job Training Consortium (NOVA), a federally funded nonprofit employment and training agency based in Sunnyvale. NOVA will produce a public report on the Journalist Census findings and will use the study to plan and support future training and workforce development programs in the Bay Area.

SF Public Press helped with efforts to contact current and former Bay Area journalists for this study. We'll be incorporating the findings in the media reporting project described in this Spot.Us pitch.

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