KQED, UC Berkeley J-School Prepares to Launch “Bay Area News Project”
This is pretty awesome. And hugely ballsy considering the recent fate of print journalism. But maybe the marriage of print and online--with the print being a "best of online"--has legs?
In a completely non-ironic and potentially exciting move, KQED and the University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism have snatched $5 million in kindling to start the Bay Area News Project. The money is being fronted by the Hellman Family Foundation to create online (and sideline print) media outlets as a “nonprofit, nonpartisan publicly supported news organization.” The first post on their fledgling Twitter account (@bayareanewsproject) announces that they’ve joined forces with the New York Times and the rumor is that it’ll be basically a New York Times West. The veritable Grey Lady herself said — one day after the NYT’s involvement was announced — opines that it’ll be “the largest and most ambitious of dozens of similar local news operations that have cropped up around the country.”
The venture is set to launch next year, which is really just around the corner in old media time, and to get a good sense of what the various people involved have to say about the scope and intention of the next possible Chron/Gate/Examiner killer, there’s a lot to be gleaned in KQED’s roundtable audio interview from Friday. Forum’s recent episode with host Dave Iverson The Future of News? is worth a listen. The topic of local news coverage here in the heart of technology (and the Hollywood of tech) is nothing if not a morbid topic, and there have been many contenders for the title they’re going to be more than a few rounds in the ring for. They’re hiring for freelancers right now (email: jobs at bayareanewsproject dot org). Although on Iverson’s show, when directly asked by a caller self-identified as a journalist, they said there would be compensation but were not transparent about any pay scale. I guess we’ll have to wait until they choose a name for more details (BANP is a temporary title). But they do tell us that distribution will be through a website, mobile applications, KQED will funnel them through radio and television dissemination, and they’re “exploring” print options with the NYT.