Week 6 Field Trip to SF Public Press

On Tuesday, March 3 we’re going to take a field trip to the offices of San Francisco Public Press, 44 Page St. between Franklin & Gough.  https://i1.wp.com/sfpublicpress.org/files/winter_2015_a1.jpgPlease try to get there by 1:15 p.m. Take the M Oceanside downtown and get off at the Van Ness Station. Walk southwest on Market toward 12th Street and then make a right on Page Street. Here’s a map. Street parking may be available if you decide to drive.

We’ll meet with Executive Director Michael Stoll, who will tell you about the founding of the nonprofit, public-interest news project. He’ll also tell you about the education story you’ll be writing for this class — and possibly for the Public Press. To prepare, please read  all stories in the Special Report: Choice Is Resegregating Public Schools and review the education assignment in the Reporting Assignment Pack. Each of you will be assigned to report on one or two schools in San Francisco (Students covering Oakland neighborhoods will report on a school in San Francisco).

We will wrap up about 2:30 p.m. to give you time to get back to SFSU for Jesse’s class.

Week 5 Field Trip to City Hall

We will meet this week at 1 p.m. on the steps of the entrance to San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Place, on Tuesday, Feb. 24. Meet at the entrance that faces Polk Street and Civic Center  Plaza. Here is a map and directions: http://sfgsa.org/index.aspx?page=1175.
Please try to get there on time so you’ll be able to take part in our tour led by Michael Pawluk, a SFSU journalism alum who now works as media director for the city’s General Services Agency.
From SFSU, the best way to get to City Hall is to take the M-Oceanside inbound/downtown to the Civic Center station and then walk west on Grove and north on Polk Street. You can’t miss City Hall, it’s the grand building with the dome.
If you plan to drive, metered parking is available on Van Ness, McAllister, Grove, and Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place. A CityPark underground parking lot is located on McAllister, between Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place and Larkin. For driving directions, please see the directions here, or visit Google Maps.
Be prepared to cover the 2 p.m. Board of Supervisors meeting. The agenda is available online. Please review it before coming to the meeting. The meeting will be held in the Legislative Chamber, Room 250, on the second floor.

You are expected to write a 350- to 500-word news story about one item on the board’s agenda and post it to iLearn by midnight on Wednesday, Feb. 25.

Week 4 Covering Local Government — Meetings and Elections

The agenda for today:

— News Quiz

Discussion of how local government works and how to cover government meetings.

Oakland City Council

SF Board of Supervisors

SF Supervisorial Districts by Neighborhood

Board committees

San Francisco Government TV

The lingo

  • Ordinance — legislation which amends municipal codes and makes laws; must be approved by 6 of the 11 supervisors. Ordinances require consideration at two separate meetings with at least five days intervening, a first reading and a final passage.
  • Resolution — a policy statement to express approval or disapproval; must be approved by 6 of the 11 supervisors.
  • Motion — a formal proposal for action
  • Environmental Impact Report — a report that provides the public and the decision-makers with detailed information about a project’s environmental effects, ways to minimize the project’s significant environmental effects, and reasonable alternatives to the project
  • Ralph M. Brown Act: “All meetings of the legislative body of a local agency shall be open and public, and all persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting of the legislative body of a local agency, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.”

Brown Act Primer: Access to Meetings, First Amendment Coalition

Pocket Guide to the Brown Act
A guide to the Ralph M. Brown Act

California Sunshine Ordinance: San Francisco
California Sunshine Ordinance: Oakland

How legislation is introduced, reviewed and adopted

Next week we will take a field trip to San Francisco City Hall. Meet on the front steps of City Hall, 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102. The front entrance is the one facing Polk Street and Civic Center Plaza. If you are traveling from SFSU take the M Oceanside line toward downtown and get off at Civic Center.  Walk north on Larkin or Polk Street and make a left on Grove. Directions to City Hall.

We will tour City Hall with Michael Pawluk, a SFSU journalism alum who now works at City Hall, and then we will cover the 2 p..m. Board of Supervisors meeting. Please download and study the agenda, which will be available online on Thursday or Friday.

Sample Board of Supervisors agenda

Sample news stories about a board meeting:

Week 3 Public Records


This week we’ll explore the world of public records — what’s available, how to access them, how to use them and how journalists use documents to report stories.

Your guide will be Nicole Allensworth, the librarian assigned to work with the Journalism Department.

Here is the webpage for the Reporting class. It includes links to many of the agencies you’ll need to access for your public records assignment, due next week.

You can find more information about accessing public records in California from the Knight Digital Media Center at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

We’ll also have a news quiz and go over the entrance exam. Finally you’ll have time to meet with the student you interviewed last week and go over your profiles.

For next couple of weeks:

Write your Business or Real Estate story, due 2/17

Find answers to the Public Records assignment that’s included in the Assignment Pack. It’s due 2/24.

Week 2 Developing a Beat/Interviewing

Week 2 Feb. 3 Developing a Beat/Interviewing
Today we’ll discuss the triumphs and challenges you faced in your first week of neighborhood reporting. Also on the agenda:

  • News Quiz
  • Entry exam — common mistakes
  • What makes a good pitch?
    * Concise but informed
    * Why should people care? Why it’s relevant, important or otherwise newsworthy
    * Why now? Look for news peg whenever possible
    * Whiff of the meat — telling details that will capture people’s interest
  • Real estate/business story pitches
  • Reporting skills: How to get information, developing your reporting style, finding story ideas, taking notes, cultivating sources
  • Interviewing
  • Profile examples:
  • Interviewing exercise: Interview a classmate. Write a 300- to 400-word bio we can post on Bay News Now. Bring the profile to class next week. Your partner will help edit it.

For next week:

Report and write your business/real estate story.

Prepare for the Community Journalism Forum during class on Sept. 15 (in HUM 308) by reading the publications/blogs of our guest speakers:

Please prepare at least one or two questions for the panelists.

For your blog:

  • Write an About page for your blog that includes information about you and how you plan to cover your neighborhood. Make it professional and engaging.
  • Work on your blog theme, choosing one that reflects your neighborhood. Add photos to the header to tailor your blog to your neighborhood.
  • Add some links to businesses, resources and publications relevant to your neighborhood. For examples see Castro Continues and PlanetCastro.
  • Add a brief post to your blog. It could be some photos, an interview, a news brief — something that shows you’re keeping on top of the neighborhood.

Welcome to Reporting San Francisco

Welcome to the website for Rachele Kanigel’s JOUR 300 Reporting course, Spring 2015

Week 1 Jan. 27

The agenda for today:

  • Introductions
  • Entry exam
  • Review syllabus
  • Choose neighborhood beats
  • Bay News Now

    In this course, students cover a neighborhood as his or her “beat.”  Each neighborhood will be assigned to only one student in the class. Here are the neighborhoods you can choose from:

San Francisco:

1.  Richmond

2.  Sunset

3.  Park Merced, Stonestown, Lakeside, SFSU

4.  Marina and Pacific Heights

5.  Western Addition/NoPa

6.  Fillmore

7.  Haight Ashbury

8.  Castro

9.  Ingleside

10.  Noe Valley

11.  Russian Hill and Nob Hill

12.  Civic Center/Mid-Market

13.  Mission District (may be divided in two — Inner Mission and Outer Mission)

14.  Bernal Heights

15.  North Beach

16.  Chinatown

17.  Financial District

18.  Tenderloin

19.  South of Market

20.  Bayview/Hunter’s Point

21. The Presidio

22. Potrero Hill

23. Hayes Valley

24. Japantown


1.  Fruitvale

2.  West Oakland

3.  Chinatown

4.  San Antonio

5.  Elmhurst

6.  Temescal

7.  Montclair/Oakland Hills

8.  Piedmont Avenue


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.