The Public Press Blog

Noah Arroyo Discusses Veritas Lawsuit on “Your Call”

Noah Arroyo, assistant editor for the San Francisco Public Press, was a guest this morning on “Your Call” on KALW 91.7 FM. He spoke with host Rose Aguilar about his reporting on a tenant lawsuit against Veritas, one of San Francisco’s biggest landlords. Watch and listen to the conversation in the Facebook Live video below. The segment featuring Noah begins about 37 minutes into the program.

Live now on Your Call's media roundtable: we’re discussing anti-abortion legislation across the country, the Trump administration’s attack on the Title X family planning program, and the impact of the Global Gag Rule on women’s health around the world We will also talk about California's affordable housing crisis and a lawsuit against Veritas, San Francisco's biggest landlord. The firm is accused of trying to force out rent-controlled residents. Join us with: Jodi Lynn Jacobson, president and Editor-in-Chief of Rewire.News Tara Todras-Whitehill, photojournalist, multimedia producer and co-founder of Vignette Interactive Noah Arroyo, assistant editor at San Francisco Public Press

Posted by Rose Aguilar on Friday, April 5, 2019

San Francisco Public Press Seeks Radio Producer

[See also: Radio Host / Reporter]

The San Francisco Public Press is a nonprofit news organization that provides independent analysis of government and other powerful interests through in-depth investigative reports published online and in a quarterly print edition. We cover politics, housing, education, environment, labor, economics, immigration, health, public safety and a range of other topics. You can learn more at our website, sfpublicpress.org. We are expanding the scope of our work with more frequent, detailed coverage of local government by adding podcasts and terrestrial radio broadcasts via a new independent radio station.

We are seeking an experienced radio producer to develop, record and distribute a daily audio program focused on San Francisco City Hall. The radio program will consist of one-on-one interviews and roundtable discussions about timely topics with elected officials, city employees, subject-matter experts and community members who care about important local issues. Segments will audio and video stream online and go live on KSFP, a low-power FM radio station that begins broadcasting on 102.5 FM in San Francisco this summer. Segments may also run on local and regional partner public radio stations.

The show will guide listeners through the daily news of local government and provide context and depth for complex, evolving policy stories, well before they’re placed on a ballot or presented publicly by agencies. The show also will tackle civic education topics. Our goal is ambitious: To create the essential audio news source about the inner-workings of one of the world’s great cities. And you will have a role in collaborating to build an audio news product from scratch, and continuing to refine it based on responses from listeners and the community.

WE’RE SEEKING A 3/4-TIME PRODUCER WHO

  • Is well versed in the issues in local news, passionate about public affairs and committed to diverse community programming.
  • Can multitask many jobs that span technical editing, equipment management, journalism and people management.
  • Is up to date with current technologies for live and time-shifted broadcast distribution.
  • Can work independently and can collaborate with others in a small team.

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES


  • Managing communication with audience during the show via phone, email and social media.
  • Supporting host during shows and subbing in for the host when needed.
  • Working with host to produce podcast segments.
  • Writing summaries of segments and posting to sfpublicpress.org and social media.
  • Managing college interns.
  • Coordinating with and assisting director of membership and community on live events.

EXPERIENCE & KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED

  • Three+ years experience in audio engineering, production and content creation.
  • Mastery of digital audio editing and digital asset management.
  • Expertise in audio studio equipment setup and maintenance.
  • Demonstrated competence in interviewing for audio broadcast.
  • Familiarity with crafting social media posts.

PAY & BENEFITS

  • Thirty hours per week compensation commensurate with experience, in the market range for comparable positions in nonprofit local independent news.
  • Health insurance and flexible spending plan.

WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU

  • Resume, including your e-mail address and phone number.
  • A thoughtful cover letter about what you’d bring to the Public Press and its radio startup, KSFP. We want to hear your ideas for making civic policy into relevant, engaging audio. How would you create distinctive local news content that connects with listeners? Do you have experience in entrepreneurial journalism, program creation and audience development? Can you thrive in a small-team environment? What is your technical editing background? Have you ever set up or renovated an audio studio?
  • Three examples of your radio/audio work: Shows or podcasts you have hosted or produced, reporting, and/or promos you have scripted or produced.
  • Three examples of your writing. Can include radio scripts.
  • Three professional references.

All application materials must be RECEIVED by close of business on Friday, April 19. [NOTE: DEADLINE EXTENDED]

Please submit all materials to:

ATTN: Michael Stoll, Executive DirectorSan Francisco Public Press44 Page St., Suite 504San Francisco, CA 94102

OR

jobs <at> sfpublicpress <dot> org

The San Francisco Public Press is committed to diversity and seeks to reflect the cultural richness of the Bay Area in its editorial content production, community engagement and work environment. The Public Press encourages and actively recruits applicants representing a broad diversity of backgrounds including but not limited to age, national origin, ethnicity, race, religion, ability, sexual orientation, gender or political affiliation.

 

San Francisco Public Press Seeks Radio Host / Reporter

[See also: Radio Producer]

The San Francisco Public Press is a nonprofit news organization that provides independent analysis of government and other powerful interests through in-depth investigative reports published online and in a quarterly print edition. We cover politics, housing, education, environment, labor, economics, immigration, health, public safety and a range of other topics. You can learn more at our website, sfpublicpress.org. We are expanding the scope of our work with more frequent, detailed coverage of local government by adding podcasts and terrestrial radio broadcasts via a new independent radio station.

We are seeking an experienced radio / print journalist to host a daily audio program and post news articles focused on San Francisco City Hall. The radio program will consist of one-on-one interviews and roundtable discussions about timely topics with elected officials, city employees, subject-matter experts and community members who care about important local issues. Segments will audio and video stream online and go live on KSFP, a low-power FM radio station that begins broadcasting on 102.5 FM in San Francisco this summer. Segments may also run on local and regional partner public radio stations.

The show will guide listeners through the daily news of local government and provide context and depth for complex, evolving policy stories, well before they’re placed on a ballot or presented publicly by agencies. The show also will tackle civic education topics. Our goal is ambitious: To create the essential audio news source about the inner-workings of one of the world’s great cities. And you will have a role in collaborating to build an audio news product from scratch, and continuing to refine it based on responses from listeners and the community.

WE’RE SEEKING A RADIO / PRINT JOURNALIST WHO

  • Is a news hound, with an insatiable appetite for and familiarity with local current affairs.
  • >Has experience and fluency in sparking open and in-depth conversation and dialogue.
  • >Can be welcoming while maintaining a critical distance from sources who may opine on controversial topics.
  • Knows how local government works and who the key players are.
  • Maintains high editorial standards and sound news judgment.
  • Can work independently and can collaborate with others in a small team.
  • >Demonstrates excellent writing, editing, and fact-checking skills and can work on short deadlines.

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Hosting a daily show featuring live on-air interviews, with introductory scripts based on research.
  • Generating guest lists and show ideas, and pre-recording interviews when necessary.
  • Reporting on local policy issues when news breaks and coordinating with senior editor on web and print stories.
  • Working with a producer to refine, post and promote podcast segments and Facebook Live broadcast.
  • Collaborating with Public Press editorial staff to facilitate in-depth reporting projects.
  • Assisting with social media, community engagement and live events.
  • Making occasional public appearances consisting of interviews and panel moderation.

EXPERIENCE & KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED

  • Three+ years radio experience in news reporting and public affairs programming.
  • Mastery of, and comfort with, on-air live interviewing techniques.
  • Advanced digital audio editing skills.
  • Familiarity with crafting social media posts.

PAY & BENEFITS

  • Full-time compensation commensurate with experience, in the market range for comparable positions in nonprofit local independent news.
  • >Health insurance and flexible spending plan.

WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU

  • Resume, including your e-mail address and phone number.
  • A thoughtful cover letter about what you’d bring to the Public Press and its radio startup, KSFP. We want to hear your ideas for making civic policy into relevant, engaging audio. How would you create distinctive local news content that connects with listeners? Do you have experience in entrepreneurial journalism, program creation and audience development? Can you thrive in a small-team environment? What stories are under-reported in the city? What voices have been excluded from the airwaves?
  • Three examples of your radio/audio work: Shows or podcasts you have hosted or produced, reporting, and/or promos you have scripted or produced.
  • Three examples of your writing. Can include radio scripts.
  • Three professional references.

All application materials must be RECEIVED by close of business on Friday, April 19. [NOTE: DEADLINE EXTENDED]

Please submit all materials to:

ATTN: Michael Stoll, Executive Director, San Francisco Public Press, 44 Page St., Suite 504, San Francisco, CA 94102

OR

jobs <at> sfpublicpress <dot> org

The San Francisco Public Press is committed to diversity and seeks to reflect the cultural richness of the Bay Area in its editorial content production, community engagement and work environment. The Public Press encourages and actively recruits applicants representing a broad diversity of backgrounds including but not limited to age, national origin, ethnicity, race, religion, ability, sexual orientation, gender or political affiliation.

A Decade of Defying Downward Expectations

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.

While the question from the Journal reporter was absurd, the crisis that brought it to that point was real. Ten years ago, the bottom was falling out of the daily newspaper business model. Media pundits were warning that local, ad-supported journalism was an endangered species. So a group of us started the Public Press as a nonprofit, with the quixotic idea of keeping independent, professional muckraking alive through a community-support model.

One of our first big projects was an investigative reporting collaboration with the local independent publisher McSweeney’s called the San Francisco Panorama. We collaborated on producing a 10,000-word exposé detailing how the cost overruns on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge grew over more than two decades of planning.

By 2010, we started publishing our own ad-free, quarterly newspaper. In early issues, we exposed backroom deals between developers at Treasure Island and allies of former Mayor Willie Brown, profiled real estate speculators sitting on entire neglected blocks of Market Street, and mapped a broken city transit network with data showing how poor neighborhoods got the slowest bus service.

We specialized in stories about under-covered issues and the interests of under-served audiences. We requested public records, sought out whistleblowers and used datasets to tell provocative stories.

Twenty-seven roughly-quarterly print editions and more than 3,000 articles later, we have refined our methodology and won more than a dozen journalism awards on other topics, including the resegregation of the city’s public schools, the persistence of thousands of unoccupied residential hotel rooms while neighbors languish in homelessness, the stalled efforts to enforce earthquake retrofitting in residential buildings, and widespread Bay Area waterfront development that seemed to fly in the face of new climate change warnings, with scientists saying sea levels could rise as much as 10 feet within a human lifetime.

For 2019, we plan to expand into audio, build a new website, host civic education events and delve into stories about environmental justice, affordable housing, digital privacy, education financing and more.

We are in an aggressive growth phase, thanks in part to support from about a dozen foundations. But our community of more than 550 individual supporters now cover about a third of our costs.

As we start our 10th anniversary year, we’re asking for your help to keep independent, influential and accountable local journalism growing. Consider giving online or by sending a check to 44 Page St., Suite 504, San Francisco, CA 94102.

We are grateful to all of our supporters. The Public Press wouldn’t be here without you.

Michael Stoll, Executive Director

Lila LaHood, Publisher

A version of this post was first published in Issue No. 27 — the spring 2019 print edition — of the San Francisco Public Press.

Live From the Issue 27 Launch Party

Thanks to everyone who joined us Wednesday, March 20, at The Green Arcade to celebrate the launch of Issue 27, featuring reporting on a lawsuit filed against San Francisco’s largest landlord, the city’s “privacy-first policy” mandated by voter-approved Proposition B, and claims by environmentalists that fast-track housing policy talks did not include them — plus a first-hand account of San Francisco’s biennial homeless point-in-time count.

You can watch the whole program here.

Journalism and the Arc of Social Justice

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.

Our recent efforts started in summer 2017, when we reported that lack of capacity was straining the city’s “navigation center” shelter model, which aimed to break down tent encampments and move people into permanent homes.

Then that fall, we published a package of stories exploring solutions to homelessness, in the run-up to a day-long conference in January where we gave the stage to community leaders proposing ideas for opening up more housing, improving medical treatment for people living on the streets and reconnecting people with families.

The cover story in our solutions issue revealed data about the shockingly high vacancy rate in single-room occupancy hotels, which our reporters found could — if rented and refurbished by the city — house more than 40 percent of the people sleeping on the streets. This November, that edition of the paper won awards for community reporting and graphic design from the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The investigative story, by freelance reporter Joe Eskenazi, was so widely read and influential that its findings were circulated in the June 2018 mayoral election, as candidate Mark Leno made filling those rooms the top plank in his political platform. Two other candidates echoed that idea on the campaign trail.

The problem of homelessness is multifaceted, and so we continued to report on broken systems that receive little public scrutiny over many months. Last spring we examined programs that send homeless families to apartments outside of San Francisco, and found that a lack of follow-up made it unclear whether the program had succeeded at its ambitious rehousing goals.

When we started this reporting, we never had a specific policy agenda to push, other than responding to the feedback of several hundred Public Press members, newsletter subscribers and social media fans who said homelessness and the housing affordability crisis had left them feeling disempowered. More than anything, San Franciscans want to know how they can help.

Proposition C, a grassroots initiative, was controversial to be sure. Mayor London Breed and other prominent politicians opposed it, and they were joined by vociferous tech titans suspicious of wasteful bureaucracy. But after the measure’s success at the ballot box, conversation moved quickly to how the city could get to work making the most effective, accountable use of existing and expanded funding.

The Public Press, as regular readers know, does not do advocacy journalism. We don’t make endorsements, and we don’t tell people how to vote. Yet we are encouraged that a problem that has victimized so many poor and infirm people, and scared and saddened some of those lucky enough to have homes, is finally at the forefront of public policy — and that San Francisco is no longer ignoring its most heartbreaking inequity.

Michael Stoll, Executive Director

Lila LaHood, Publisher

Against the Algorithm

Lila LaHood, publisher, and Michael Stoll, executive director. Photo by Daphne Magnawa // San Francisco Public Press

Though the newspaper and sfpublicpress.org are still the main ways we communicate with readers, like many news organizations we’re always looking ahead toward changes in how people consume local news.

We recently tried a new way of connecting directly with readers craving insider info on city politics: Project Text, a two-month pilot in partnership with the Alpha Group at Advance Digital. We deployed veteran political reporter Joe Eskenazi to serve up daily text message tidbits — and several scoops! — around the June election. We love that so many people engaged with Joe and shared their own insights. We hope to launch another topic-focused text project this fall — stay tuned for details.

In the meantime, we encourage San Francisco news mavens to join us as eager followers of Mission Local (missionlocal.org) where Joe was recently hired as managing editor.

Many of you follow the Public Press on social media, and we will keep posting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But Facebook has caused a lot of problems for journalists recently by changing its rules about what it calls “political content.” To combat fake news, the social giant started limiting distribution of journalism about politics along with political ads. This policy also applies to news stories referencing topics Facebook classifies as “national issues of public importance,” defined as: abortion, budget, civil rights, crime, economy, education, energy, environment, foreign policy, government reform, guns, health, immigration, infrastructure, military, poverty, social security, taxes, terrorism and values.

In response to pushback from media outlets and journalism organizations, Facebook modified the policy and now captures promoted news stories (i.e. whenever publishers pay for increased visibility) about political issues and political ads in separate archives. To boost stories on the platform, journalists who cover hard news now face extra layers of authorization and scrutiny.

We’ve decided not to pursue authorization for this service, which we think could have unforeseen consequences for participating news organizations. You’ll still see our stories on Facebook, but we’ll depend on organic distribution, since most of our stories will get caught in the political and issues-of-public importance-filters. We’re not alone in our thinking and are heartened to be part of a national coalition of news organizations appealing to Facebook to change these rules. We’ll let you know what happens.

In the meantime, the best and most certain way to get updates about the latest Public Press reporting and events remains our email newsletter. Sign up here — sfpublicpress.org/newsletter — and you’ll always be in the know.

Lila LaHood, publisher
Michael Stoll, executive director

Challenge Grant From Jonathan Logan Family Foundation

The San Francisco Public Press is pleased to announce an exciting $25,000 challenge grant from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation. The foundation also made a gift of $25,000 in unrestricted funding. 

To trigger the match, the Public Press must raise $25,000 in new contributions. The goal is to draw support from new members. But if you’re already a member, you can still help! Increased contributions from existing supporters qualify, too.

The Public Press will receive the match as soon as we reach the goal, and we’re aiming to raise $10,000 by June 8.

Your support is essential for the Public Press to continue producing local, public-interest journalism for San Francisco and the Bay Area. Join us for this match and double the power of your donation!

Thank you for helping us access this wonderful opportunity.

Jonathan Logan Family Foundation logo

David Cohn Leads the Public Press Board

In January, the Public Press board of directors elected nationally recognized journalism innovator David Cohn as its chair. David replaces independent filmmaker Marc Smolowitz, who stepped down after having expertly guided the board through its incorporation in 2009. Both David and Marc helped start planning for the Public Press in 2007.

David, who lives in Berkeley, has dedicated his career to journalism in unconventional ways. He founded Spot.Us and Circa, which pioneered crowdfunding and mobile journalism respectively. Later he became an “intrapreneur” for Al Jazeera, helping to launch AJ+. Currently he directs the R&D team of Advance Digital.

“I've been involved with the Public Press since it was just an idea,” he said. “I’ve always been impressed with the determination, ethics and quality that permeate the entire organization, from top to bottom. I'm humbled to be the chair of the board, and I expect great things in the coming year for the organization. The Public Press has a ton under its belt already, and the current media environment demands more from the journalism community.”

10 Things I Learned About Homelessness at Our Community Workshop

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. Many attendees — neighbors distressed by the sight of people living on the sidewalks and in marginal shelters, as well as subject experts who have devoted their lives and careers to helping stabilize people’s lives — said they learned new things and got inspired to follow up with proposals for fixes to broken systems.

I was surprised to learn a few things too. Here are 10:

  1. Mark Farrell wants to be the homelessness mayor.  That’s what Jeff Kositsky, the director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, told me after rushing in after a series of meetings with the new mayor about his priorities Farrell — the surprising choice for a caretaker mayor after his colleagues on the Board of Supervisors ousted the board president, London Breed, from her temporary job — is very focused on making progress on homelessness, he said. But what can he possibly get done before the special election in June? 
  2. Wheels for the homeless are a sticking point. Kositsky clashed with activist Amy Farah Weiss, whose Saint Francis Homelessness Challenge advocates building temporary structures on wheels organized into ad-hoc clusters on city or donated private land. Kositsky is a fan of building a range of experimental small housing structures, including legal accessory dwelling units in backyards and basements. But anything with wheels, which are hard to get to conform to building and health codes, is a problem for a city department focused on permanent housing.
  3. Alaska is the socialist vanguard. Ken Fisher of the Economic Justice Project/Truth Be Told presented one of the more in-vogue, if quixotic, ideas — universal basic income. Granted that there aren’t many scenarios in which local and state government could provide large checks to every citizen to cover the basic cost of living here, he did provide one counterintuitive example: the Alaska Permanent Fund for decades has given checks to every resident as a dividend from oil industry royalties. Where is California’s commodity windfall to level the playing field for the poor?
  4. S.F. really is a homelessness “magnet.” The third rail of homelessness policy in San Francisco is the so-called magnet theory — the question of whether, by providing generous services and subsidized housing, City Hall is drawing homeless people here. Kositsky pointed out that in recent surveys, about half of the newly homeless in San Francisco came from somewhere else (mostly other cities in the Bay Area). That’s a different slice on the same survey that also says that about 70 percent of all  unhoused homeless were living in the city when they became homeless. I asked him if the data on churn in the newly homeless lent credence to the “magnet theory.” He said no. His point was that we need regional solutions, in which cities cooperate to help people out of homelessness where they come from. However ...
  5. We theoretically can afford to house everyone. “The reality is that we’re serving about 20,000 people a year, with about a third of our budget,” Kositsky said of his department in a talk at the close of the event. “We just cannot build our way out of this.” In fact, he could afford to do it — with a budget of about $750 million a year. That’s three times the current budget. It’s not cheap, but it’s also not technically impossible, considering the city’s budget this year is topping $10.1 billion.
  6. There are many missing persons. One of the most surprising presentations was by Kevin Adler, whose nonprofit organization, Miracle Messages, helps connect homeless people with their loved ones. Some people struggle with mental illness and thus problems doing the research themselves. Others are ashamed. The organization reunites them with family members and friends who can help support them either here or in other parts of the country.
  7. Welcome, village people. Several presenters envisioned micro-housing — tiny, private abodes that can be built for a few thousand dollars each. These are not exactly Weiss’s idea of mobile structures, but rather permanent small villages. The key to neighborhood acceptance, said architect Charles Durrett, is attractive design.
  8. Not in my parking space. You’ve probably heard the phrase “not in my backyard.” Architect/designer Richard Tsai has produced renderings of his proposed “Park Shelter”: beautifully furnished industrial shipping containers that can each fit into a standard parking space. The approach is sound, assuming the requisite political will: The streets are public property that localities can put to a public purpose, and there are more than enough parking spaces to house every homeless person in one of the steel boxes, he said. But what is lacking is the consensus that spots for cars should be sacrificed to get people out of being exposed to the elements in tents, sleeping bags, cardboard boxes (or even their own cars).
  9. Businesses, too, can help. On a panel of people who have experienced homelessness, Shanna Orona (a.k.a Couper) has quite a story to tell. She was a firefighter who lost her job and split with her domestic partner, and through the economic tumult ended up on the streets. She said that when she was living in a tent, people wouldn’t look her in the eye. It was humiliating. The Impact Hub San Francisco, a co-working space in the Mission District where the conference was held, offered her a space in their parking lot for a micro-home on wheels built by St. Francis Homelessness Challenge. In exchange, she helps out with events and logistics. More businesses could do the same, though it’s not at all clear this is a scalable solution. (Read more about Couper and her box home here.)
  10. People care. Of about 200 people who attended the event for the whole day, many were already working on solutions through their jobs or activist projects. But probably the majority were average concerned residents, looking for a way to help. The conference was a chance for them to get up to speed quickly and offer their reflections on solution ideas that were already in motion. And in afternoon workshops, nearly everyone had a chance to speak and offer their own ideas.

At separate breakout groups, participants discussed possible solutions involving mobile transitional villages and services beyond housing. Photo by Garrick Wong // San Francsco Public Press/Renaissance Journalism

At separate breakout groups, participants discussed possible solutions involving mobile transitional villages and services beyond housing. Photo by Garrick Wong // San Francisco Public Press/Renaissance Journalism

Did you attend “Solving Homelessness: A Community Workshop” on Jan. 25? Did you come away with other assessments? What made a big impression for you? What are the most promising — and most problematic — proposals for solutions? Add your thoughts in the comments below, or on our Facebook page. And sign up for our email newsletter for updates and follow-ups on the event.

Syndicate content