Non-Profit, Online News Operation Planned for Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.: A public broadcaster, a J-School and a local businessman are collaborating on a non-profit news operation in the Bay Area. KQED Public Media, the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and Warren Hellman are launching an online news site. The Hellman Family Foundation intends to provide a gift of $5 million as initial seed money for the project. Once formed, it will seek 501c3 status and solicit support through public donations.

“The operating name, Web address, and key staff of the project will be announced in the near future,” a release from the triad said.

The operation will be staffed by professional journalists in conjunction with KQED and the journalism school, doing in-depth local stories. The “primary channels will be online and mobile, with public radio and television distribution planned through KQED.” The group said it’s also discussing content collaboration with The New York Times.

The impetus for the site was the decline in traditional news platforms. Newsrooms at Bay Area newspapers have diminished by half over the last five years, the group said.

“The impact is seen in the number of original, professionally written stories about the Bay Area, which at one major regional newspaper has declined from 100 to 40 stories per day.”