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
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
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.
A panel of experts and stakeholders explained the state of the homelessness crisis at our January 2018 event, Solving Homelessness: a Community Workshop, an event that overlapped with our continuing print and online coverage of the issue. Photo by Garrick Wong // San Francisco Public Press/Renaissance Journalism
We honestly didn’t expect the issue of homelessness in San Francisco to find resolution anytime soon. But this fall, with November’s passage of Proposition C — the business tax that could generate as much as $300 million a year for housing and homeless services — we saw the search for solutions jump off the pages of newspapers and into the real world. Over the last year and a half, the Public Press has returned again and again to investigating broken systems for providing housing and social services. We have explored creative ideas from community members who are bent on solving the ongoing humanitarian crisis on our streets.
At the Impact Hub in the Mission District, a workshop tackled problem-solving for initiatives by the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. Photo by Garrick Wong // San Francisco Public Press/Renaissance Journalism
It was a dizzying day at our Jan. 25 conference, Solving Homelessness: A Community Workshop. With dozens of speakers and hundreds of side conversations among the 200 attendees, it was clear that the reporting we’ve done at the Public Press to gather and investigate just a few of the most intriguing ideas for solutions to the human rights crisis playing out on our streets daily has just scratched the surface. By engaging the community, we opened ourselves up to criticism but also reaped the reward of an activated public.
Starting this fall, the Public Press is reporting on new and creative solutions to homelessness. And because we know we don’t have all the answers, we’re engaging the community to gather fresh ideas and inspire action.
In the Summer 2017 issue of the San Francico Public Press, we examine the city’s efforts to help homeless people through initiatives in place for years and ones that are expanding under the new Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. Some are experimental, which can be challenging for the people seeking services and for those trying to administer them while working out policy kinks.