Wednesday, March 24, 2010

San Francisco's new digital paper closer to launch; venture follows Gannett's The Bold Italic start-up

Organizers have named the non-profit venture The Bay Citizen and announced the appointment of a fourth key executive: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Fainaru of The Washington Post will be managing editor for news. He joins CEO Lisa Frazier, Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Weber, and Chief Technology Officer Brian Kelley. The Citizen is now hiring reporters, too.

The venture's launch, expected in late spring, comes after Gannett started The Bold Italic, an entertainment-focused site that debuted in San Francisco last fall. Sites like the Citizen are starting across the country as established local newspapers and television stations cut back their own operations.

The Citizen had been known as the Bay Area News Project. Its news coverage will include government and public policy, education, the arts and cultural affairs, the environment, and neighborhoods. Some of the venture's content will be distributed via The New York Times' San Francisco Bay Area zoned section. The Citizen is backed by $5 million from San Francisco financier Warren Hellman, with contributions sought from the public.

Earlier: Prominent Gannett editor Ward Bushee was named top editor of the dominant San Francisco Chronicle two years ago. He was hired by former GCI executive Frank Vega, the Chronicle's publisher, who has appointed other Gannett executives as well.


  1. What is going on in SF to warrant all this attention by newspapers? The NYT has a special SF section, and the WSJ is starting theirs. There is also a huge fight underway between the alternative newspapers in SF, and Billy Dean Singleton has surrounded the city to take on the Chronicle. Looks like a great news war is underway.

  2. San Francisco is just an hour north of Silicon Valley, and has become a hub of digital media start-ups. It's a petri dish for new ideas. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and others have offices in the city, or in some cases are headquartered there.

  3. The Bay area also has a large affluent population. Advertisers want to reach those people. Hence the interest.

  4. On a tangent... Some former Tucson Citizen staffers have started up an online news operation called the Tucson Sentinel. It's aiming to work on a non-profit basis. The website is and while they have a strong site, they don't have many readers yet, judging by the lack of comments on most stories.

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