I’m extremely pleased to report that selected articles from Xconomy San Francisco are now appearing at The Bay Citizen, San Francisco’s nonprofit online news source. Under a partnership agreement worked out this month, The Bay Citizen will republish several Xconomy stories every week, bringing additional technology and business perspectives to to the startup publication’s already strong focus on local politics, arts, culture, and community.
Everyone knows that the news business is changing fast in the Internet age, and that journalists are having to adapt to find new ways to reach readers. But that doesn’t change the definition of good journalism, which you will find in abundance at The Bay Citizen. Through their coverage of pressing stories like the state budget crisis, the San Francisco mayor’s race, medical marijuana, and the Mehserle case, the publication’s lean and mean staff of 15 editors, writers, reporters, and interns are showing why journalism still matters to local communities. The team is loaded with people who have deep institutional knowledge of California and of journalism, learned at places like The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, NPR, and Salon.
I had lunch last week with The Bay Citizen’s founding editor-in-chief, Jonathan Weber. He’s well known in journalistic circles, and around the Bay Area technology community, as the former editor-in-chief of The Industry Standard, and before that as Silicon Valley correspondent for The Los Angeles Times. Weber sketched out the backstory at The Bay Citizen, which came together this spring after a year-long study of the local journalism scene commissioned by San Francisco investor and philanthropist Warren Hellman.
Hellman is the co-founder of private equity firm Hellman & Friedman and also co-founded Hellman, Ferri Investment Associates, which changed its name in 1982 to Matrix Partners. His fear was that layoffs at The San Francisco Chronicle and other traditional publications would undermine community awareness of civic and cultural news. To address the problem, the Hellman Family Foundation contributed $5 million this January to create a new public service journalism organization.
That organization, originally known as the Bay Area News Project, raised a matching $5 million from a large group of foundations and individual donors, and opened its virtual doors on May 26 under the name The Bay Citizen. In addition to its online reporting, the publication provides about four pages of news per week for the Bay Area edition of The New York Times, and is involved in an educational partnership with the Graduate School of Journalism University of California at Berkeley.
A number of local independent publishers syndicate their stories in The Bay Citizen, including Berkeleyside, More Marin, Richmond Confidential, SF Streetsblog, and Tablehopper. Xconomy—which already has a number of syndication agreements with publications such as The Boston Globe, Motley Fool, The San Diego Union-Tribune, SeattlePI.com, and The Seattle Times—is proud to join the list of Bay Citizen partners. The Bay Citizen republished its first Xconomy story on Thursday: The MacGyver of Silicon Valley, my story about Jason Hartlove, the turnaround CEO at Palo Alto-based Nanosys.
At the risk of making this story sound like a press release, I asked Weber to say why the partnership with Xconomy makes sense from his perspective. “Xconomy’s coverage of technology and Silicon Valley is a great addition to the Bay Citizen, and a great complement to our staff coverage of major civic issues around the Bay Area,” Weber said. “We’re delighted to be working with them.” Likewise, Jonathan!