Media experiments - Page 3

Can Bay Citizen and other news start-ups revive Bay Area journalism?

The Bay Citizen brings big money and experienced journalists to San Francisco

SF Public Press has pursued a model like Bay Citizen's for two years. But without millions of dollars in seed money, it's still hobbling along as basically a volunteer newsroom despite getting around $35,000 from San Francisco Foundation, another Hellman-funded enterprise. "It's an uncertain model. It's a leap of faith for the writers to get involved with this," said project manager Michael Stoll.

Yet Public Press is still moving forward with a newspaper (due out June 15) featuring content culled from a wide variety of local partners ranging from the Commonwealth Club and World Affairs Council to local public radio stations, local blogs, and The Bay Citizen. "We're calling it both a pilot and a prototype," Stoll said. "We want to get people's reactions."

Weber says he's also eager to see how people react to The Bay Citizen when it launches May 26, because it will need to quickly establish itself. At the rate The Bay Citizen is spending, Hellman's money won't last more than a couple of years, and the financier told us he may be willing to put in a bit more, but he's going to want to see a plan for financial stability that doesn't involve him underwriting operations forever. It's an experiment, but one most observers say is worth trying.

"We need to keep experimenting," Goebel said, "because not every experiment is going to work."


The Bay "Citizen" might not appeal to a million or so non-citizens all over the Bay Area with its inaugural story on how horrible it is to pay property taxes on mansions in Pacific Heights. But what do you expect from a vanity media project funded by super-decadent Pacific Heights socialites and leveraged buyout pirates?

I feel sorry for the reporters who were lured into this trap by Hellman, a guy who ran Lehman Brothers, which is no longer there. And he was one of the founders of the infamous merger between Stanford Medial Center and UCSF Medical Center, which no longer exists because it collapsed under the weight of its own misbegotten purpose (there was none) within a year, causing irreparable damage to two medical institutions.

I wonder if Bay Citizen will do a story on how Hellman & Friedman uses CalPERS like a piggy bank to finance leverage buyout deals that kill companies with debt and vaporize working class jobs?

Don’t worry: Bay Citizen will be gone when Hellman and his billionaire friends get bored telling reporters what they can report on. My god: the $400k a year publisher was a flack for the oil industry! And proud of it.


Posted by Peter Byrne on May. 27, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

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