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Posts Tagged ‘Warren Hellman’

Chronicle Wants To ‘Smash’ Competitors; Is This Sad?

San Francisco ChronicleChronicle Metro Section Editor Audrey Cooper sent out a memo to staff last week that touched on Warren Hellman‘s Bay Area News Project. While she didn’t mention it by name, she did say that her staff will “smash whomever is naive enough to poke their noses in our market.”

Eve Batey, who is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal, thinks that’s sad.

Everyone who is wringing their hands and saying WE NEED TO SAVE NEWSPAPERS is afraid we’re going to lose smart, professional stories from people who will uncover injustice and change lives and do all that other stuff that only a free press can do. They are probably right — we do need people doing that (personally, I’m just not convinced that newspapers are the only way this will get done). But here we have the section head of our City’s major paper (sorry Examiner!) saying “fuck that shit, we just want to DOMINATE.”

Batey says that healthy competition will get everyone in the Bay Area to “raise their game.” Which is probably true (plus it may mean more employment options for newshounds). But we’re not totally sure that Cooper’s one sentence of encouragement to her staff is equivalent to saying “Screw all y’all, we’re the only game in town.”

What say ye?

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In California, Startup Journalism Outfits May Be Bucking The Trend

In California, two new reporting startups will pay the salaries of “more than dozens” of journalists and pay up to 120 Berkeley grad students for their work.

Financier Warren Hellman is investing $5 million in an as-yet-unnamed nonprofit journalism venture that will launch next year and cover politics, social issues, and education. That site will employ “dozens” of journalists, use content from and provide content to NorCal’s public radio station KQED, and pay Berkeley grad students.

And the Center for Investigative Reporting’s newly-launched California Watch employs an editorial team of eight, in addition to managers and directors.

This may be outside the norm, the Wall Street Journal and The Business Insider report, as new business starts are actually down per the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent reports. And venture capital funding was down 44% in the first half of 2009.

After the last recession officially ended in November 2001, it took about a year and a half before folks began launching startups again. So while everyone’s talking about how small businesses create jobs, remember that you have to have the small business before it can create anything.