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Lila LaHood's blog

Start the presses! — SF Public Press is going to print


Come to a print-raising party at Tonic on Saturday, April 3, and join the leading grassroots campaign to advance local, ad-free, public-interest journalism in San Francisco.

All tips collected during the event will help SF Public Press produce, print and distribute a pilot newspaper this spring. We hope you’ll contribute.


We’ll offer chances to win one-year Public Press memberships and free copies of McSweeney’s award-winning San Francisco Panorama!


WHAT: SF Public Press Print-raising Party
WHEN: Saturday, April 3, 6-9 p.m.
WHERE: Tonic, 2360 Polk St. (at Union) in San Francisco


RSVP at eventbrite to help us plan accordingly.



SPJ forum TONIGHT: “Your Views on Local News”

Community members will have a chance to discuss their views about the local news with a dozen leading figures in journalism, education, business and politics at a town hall meeting produced by the Society of Professional Journalists on Thursday, March 25. Participants will talk about how the current crisis in the news industry creates opportunities for the public to help shape new kinds of journalism that contribute to a vibrant democracy.

WHAT: “Your Views on Local News – A Town Hall Forum” 
WHEN: Thursday, March 25, 5:30-7:30 p.m. 
WHERE: Koret Auditorium, SF Public Library, 100 Larkin St.

Admission is free. Sandip Roy and Hana Baba of public radio station KALW-FM will moderate. The program will be recorded and broadcast by SFGTV, San Francisco’s government channel. For a list of participants, please visit SPJ Northern California Chapter's Web site at 

Heralding the Panorama

Lila LaHood selling the Panorama.
Lila selling Panoramas like hotcakes in front of the San Francisco Chronicle. Photo by Christopher D. Cook/SF Public Press.

I woke up at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday to meet the San Francisco Panorama delivery truck at the McSweeney's office on Valencia Street. I had recruited half a dozen Public Press volunteers to sell copies of the singular single-edition broadsheet newspaper on street corners near our SoMa office. I might have lingered in bed, as the shipment from Paradise (near Chico Sacramento) was delayed a few hours, and then delayed again when the delivery truck got stuck in traffic on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge; this inspired much giggling in the Public Press office, since our reporters had spent three months reporting the Panorama cover story all about the troubled span.

After filling my gas tank and killing time with gingerbread and coffee, I headed to McSweeney’s to wait for the delivery. About 20 staff members and interns perched around the room. They wore bright yellow Panorama T-shirts meant to identify them as “newsies” when they hit the streets to hawk papers. Every mumble about the location of the delivery truck reverberated around the room. 

When the truck finally arrived around 11 a.m., the driver parked in Valencia’s middle lane and the newsies in their sunny T-shirts spilled into the street like so many chicks scrambling for scratch.

Fellow Public Presser Chris Cook and I loaded boxes into my car and headed for Fifth and Mission streets. My brother, Mike LaHood, stopped by to get Panoramas to sell in front of City Hall.

And then the papers started flying. Any concerns that we might have trouble selling a $5 newspaper on the street in San Francisco quickly dissolved. Our easiest sales at Fifth and Mission went to San Francisco Chronicle reporters on lunch break (we were stationed 20 feet from their front door) and to McSweeney’s fans pedaling up on bikes breathlessly explaining that nearby newsies had sold out of their paper stock. 

By mid-afternoon our Panoramas were gone, too. We had to dip into the Public Press reserves to get copies to Chronicle editors and columnists who wanted to inspect the hefty newsprint newborn.

I was excited about the arrival of the Panorama — as an avid reader and McSweeney’s fan, journalist and dedicated public media reformer — and felt bolstered by the communal sense of enthusiasm about this beautiful, content-rich, ponderous (at more than 3 lbs.) tribute to the best of print media traditions and bold expression of journalistic aspiration.

Photos by Steve Rhodes. (Embedded slideshow created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.)

Media coverage of the San Francisco Panorama mentioning the Bay Bridge Report:

San Francisco Panorama — “Forum” with Michael Krasny, KQED Public Radio (12/8/09)

Dave Eggers, newspaper publisher? — David Ulin, Los Angeles Times (12/8/09)
San Francisco Panorama hits the streets — Steven T. Jones, San Francisco Bay Guardian (12/8/09)
Panorama!! — JD Beltran, (12/8/09)
McSweeney’s “Panorama” Newspaper Arrives -- With Special Probe of SF Bay Bridge Project — Editor & Publisher (12/8/09)
McSweeney’s Bay Bridge Investigative Report Released — Jay Barmann, (12/8/09)
Case Study in Collaboration: Spot.Us, Public Press and McSweeney’s — David Cohn, PBS MediaShift Idea Lab (12/8/09)
Dave Eggers’ One-Day-Only Newspaper — Stacey Delo, MarketWatch (12/8/09)
A heartbreaking work of newspaper genius -- at $16 a pop — Will Bunch, (12/8/09)
McSweeney’s San Francisco Panorama Sells Out Immediately — Rhonda Winter, Eco Localizer (12/8/09)
Too Big to Comprehend — Andy J. Wang, Curbed SF (12/8/09)
The Expense of Fixing the Bay Bridge — Michelle Quinn, New York Times Bay Area Blog (12/9/09)
The Birth of Panorama, a Drink and Then Sleep — Anna Bloom and Gerry Shih, New York Times Bay Area Blog (12/9/09)
McSweeney’s looks to save print; 320 page newspaper results — Betsey Reinsborough, (12/9/09)
Wednesday Foodie Edition — Armand Emamdjomeh, Mission Loc@l (12/9/09)
Getting Misty-Eyed Over Dave Eggers Newspaper Experiment — Elizabeth C., (12/09)
The SF Bay Bridge: Made in China and Costing a Fortune — Marian Wang, Mother Jones (12/10/09)
A newspaper to inspire you all over again — Alan Mutter, Reflections of a Newsosaur (12/10/09)
SF Panorama: Definitely Worth the $16 — Jess Hemerly, 7x7 (12/10/09)
McSweeney’s Proves Print Isn’t Dead — Claire Suddath, Time (12/11/09)
SF Panorama offers a 21st century model for newspapers — Zoe Corneli, “Crosscurrents” on KALW News (12/15/09)

Include interest when reporting projects' cost, Rosalind Gammon, (12/14/09)

10th Annual Expo for Independent Arts and new Symposium for Artists

I'd like to promote two great events hosted by Independednt Arts & Media, The Public Press' fabulous fiscal sponsor. Here's a note from Clare Morales Roberts, Indy Arts' executive director:

KALW's Crosscurrents Radio talks to City Budget Watchdog

Holly Kernan, news director at San Francisco's KALW, interviewed Kevin Stark, one of our City Budget Watchdog reporters, for Crosscurrents on June 22.

Here's a description from "The city is trying to find ways to close a nearly half billion dollar deficit, which means cuts. After the board of supervisors reworked Mayor Newsom's proposed budget last week, the debate seems to be centered on funding public safety or funding public health programs. Reporter Kevin Stark of the Public Press has been following the city’s budget blues and joins us now to help us sort out the budget quandary."

And here's a link to the segment:

KQED interviews Public Press project director

In the wake of Hearst Corp.'s announcement Tuesday that it will impose extreme budget cuts at the San Francisco Chronicle and possibly sell or shutter the paper, KQED's Kelly Wilkinson interviewed Public Press Project Director Michael Stoll about developing models for sustainable news organizations.

The interview first aired on Feb. 25, 2009. You can listen to it here:


Forum focuses on 'Crisis at the Chronicle'

KQED's Forum devoted an hour to discussing the possibility that San Francisco could lose its only major daily newspaper. Host Michael Krasny led a conversation with Carl Hall, local representative of the California Media Workers Guild; Louis Freedberg, director of the California Media Collaborative; and Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The show first aired on Feb. 26, 2009. You can listen to it here:

Volunteers, we need you now!

Thank you to everyone who has already contributed time, energy and inspiration to The Public Press, and to those who have made recent and renewed offers to volunteer as we prepare to launch our local newsroom. With News Editor Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig directing editorial staff, we're ready to make volunteer job assignments.

Please take a few minutes to fill out this volunteer job survey. You will have an opportunity to choose from a list of specific job titles. What kind of help do we need? All kinds. We're looking for journalists as well as volunteers with diverse skills to help in the newsroom and with general operations. After you submit your responses, you will hear from Michelle or one of our operations team leaders to confirm your availability and job assignments.

If you have any questions about this survey, please contact Lila LaHood at lila [at]

See you in the newsroom!

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