Locally focused journalism in San Francisco took another big hit today with the announcement that The Bay Citizen — which was founded by the late Warren Hellman in 2009 specifically to augment declining reporting on San Francisco and the Bay Area — is being folded into Center for Investigative Reporting [Updated below].Read more »
This Sunday is the last day The Bay Citizen – the nonprofit San Francisco newsroom started two years ago by Warren Hellman, the local philanthropist who died in December – will be producing content for The New York Times, as it has been doing throughout its existence. The question now is what are Bay Area citizens losing and what are we gaining?
The Bay Citizen was taken over by the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting, creating the country's largest nonprofit news organization, a merger that will be completed next week. Under the direction of veteran local journalists Phil Bronstein, Robert Rosenthal, and Mark Katches, the combined newsrooms won't be covering breaking news or press conferences, focusing instead on investigations and “accountability journalism” delivered under those two brands and CIR's California Watch, in collaboration with newspapers and broadcast outlets around the state (read ourprevious stories for more details on each entity).
Journalism in the Bay Area has been in decline for many years, with corporate consolidations, shrinking newsrooms, declining print readership, and struggles with how to pay full-time reporters when content is offered free-of-charge on the Internet. And with its waning institutional strength, the Fourth Estate has lost some of its ability to watchdog the powerful, creating a dangerous situation in a country founded on the belief that a free press is an essential safeguard of liberty and fairness.Read more »