The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people to stay home from work and school, but it has not suppressed a deep cultural impulse for expressing frustration, solidarity and demand for change through public protest. This year, that impulse has come from across the political spectrum, with early statehouse demonstrations decrying economic shutdown, followed by a national wave of protests against racism and police brutality. Marke Bieschke gives the conversation about these events and an even broader range of actions historical context with his new book, “Into the Streets: A Young Person’s Visual History of Protests in the United States.”
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.
The San Francisco Unified School District has announced that fall classes will begin on Aug. 17, and administrators are in the process of planning how campuses will function as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. They are challenged with figuring out how to keep students safe and make classes engaging whether they are held remotely or in modified classroom settings. We heard directly from students about what life has been like for them under the shelter-in-place order.
With some film festivals canceled or postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, independent filmmakers are being forced to rethink how to launch and promote their work.
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.
During the coronavirus pandemic, an organization called MedShare is helping to get essential medical supplies and equipment to the places they’re needed most.
Dr. Monica Bhargava, a pulmonary and critical care physician, emphasizes that social distancing and other protective measures are crucial, but that the health care system is likely to be seeing effects for months to come.
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
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
The San Francisco Public Press received support and assistance from many people who helped us secure our low-power FM construction permit from the FCC, raise funds for the project, develop the “Civic” show concept and launch the KSFP broadcast on 102.5 FM in San Francisco. More than 60 audiophiles attended our first radio-brainstorming meeting in September 2016. Over time, a small group coalesced into a steering committee withsupporting volunteers. We appreciate everyone who joined us and shared their inspiring ideas. From left: George Koster, Linda Jue, Megan Maurer, John Dillon
In particular, we thank Josh Wilson for encouraging us to apply for the construction permit: We wouldn’t be on air today without his enthusiastic nudging and guidance.