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.
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.
A group of local artists has organized an art show and public discussion about the intersection of art and politics. “The Role of Art in a Period of Political Turmoil” runs through Nov. 30. To celebrate the launch, there will be two events held at Spark Arts Gallery, 4229 18th St., in San Francisco:
Opening Reception Thursday, Nov. 7, 6 to 9 p.m.
“Art as Activism,” a panel discussion co-hosted by Manny’s Tuesday, Nov.
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 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
Journalist Sara Bloomberg looks back on her coverage of the 2015 San Francisco election and the millions of dollars poured into the campaign, as well as her reporting on the criminalization of homelessness. “Part of handling data in my reporting is to look for errors … there are mistakes, these data sets are human reported. Humans make errors.” — Journalist Sara Bloomberg
Journalist Angela Woodall looks back on her reporting for the Public Press on the deep, but then not immediately visible effects of San Francisco’s affordability crisis, and how campaign ad language made its way into news coverage during the 2015 election. “It comes with the territory of the San Francisco Public Press that whatever reporting you’re doing is going to look beneath the surface and have a much deeper dive on whatever topic it is.” – Journalist Angela Woodall
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.