Friday, May 20, 2016

Press Club presents journalism awards to high school students

Bay Area student journalists received 47 awards of excellence on Thursday (May 19, 2016) from the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club. The awards ceremony was held at the San Mateo County History Museum, 2200 Broadway Street in Redwood City.

Judges selected winners from 441 entries from student journalists throughout the Bay Area. Awards honored work completed in newspapers, websites and yearbooks during the 2015-16 school year. Entries were judged by professional journalists associated with the Press Club.

Carlmont High School’s “The Highlander” won the First Place General Excellence award for newspapers, and Junipero Serra High School’s yearbook won the First Place General Excellence award for yearbooks.

High School 2016 Annual SFPPC Student Journalism Award Winners 
#1 — NEWS 
• First Place: Santa Clara High School, “School crosswalk endangers students” by Hannah Shin
• Second Place: Carlmont High School, “Jewish students face conflict: prom or Passover?” by Aria Frangos
• Third Place: Carlmont High School, “Scots spread love” by Jill Albertson

• First Place: Aragon High School, “Every Bit as Human as Everyone Else” by Michael Herrera, Anders Zhou
• Second Place: Washington High School, “Ansley Guillebeau: 2338 Miles Away From Sweet Home Alabama” by Hanaki Sato
• Third Place: Santa Clara High School, “Student Battled Anorexia Because of Modeling Standards” by Sadia Hasan
• Honorable Mention: Carlmont High School, “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” by Kelly Song
• Honorable Mention: Carlmont High School, “Social Anxiety” by Megan Tao
• Honorable Mention: Carlmont High School, “Genderfluid Flows Through Carlmont High School” by Holly Chen
• Honorable Mention: Aragon High School, “How Old are You?” by Annika Hom, Katie Savage

• First Place: Eastside College Prep, “Girls hoops are golden” by Vanessa Ibarra
• Second Place: Carlmont High School, “Sequoia hold on to Terremere Trophy” by Bijan Khalili, Minh-Han Vu
• Third Place: Carlmont High School, “Sun sets on girls soccer with a tough CCS game” by Aria Frangos

• First Place: Eastside College Prep, “Let's wipe out the Drama disease” by Staff
• Second Place: Convent of the Sacred Heart, “Racial insensitivity triggers community discussion” by Staff
• Third Place: Eastside College Prep, “Wake up and read the 'For Sale' signs” by Staff

• First Place: Carlmont High School, “Are liberals really open-minded?” by Anya Marie Meredith
• Second Place: Carlmont High School, “Why Is It So Hard to Get a Great Bagel in California?” “Coming to America” and “Story of a second semester senior” by Kelly Song
• Third Place: Eastside College Prep, “A word from the wise: Owen the Owls speaks out” “Remember R-e-s-p-e-c-t? Let's show some” “Not in my house!” by Isaac Olvera

• First Place: Carlmont High School “Super Bowl City policies spark 'Tackle Homelessness' protest?” by Han Vu
• Second Place: Aragon High School, “Seussical: Oh, the thinks you can think...” by Scott Liu
• Third Place: Eastside College Prep, “Sophomore Isaiah Meacham calmly waits for the technician to finish placing the needle in his arm” by Roberto Perez

 • First Place: Aragon High School, “Your Food, Your Choice: The Rise of Customization in Restaurants” by Jenney Zhang
• Second Place: Carlmont High School, “Boxed water VS bottled water: do the differences outweigh the similarities?” by Estella Lippi
• Third Place: Junipero Serra High School, “Light Shapes Our Way (Title Page for Yearbook)” by George Anagnostou

• First Place: Eastside College Prep, “Sophomore Alayah Bell faces tough defense from Village Christian High School during the state championship game on Thursday at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento” by Elizabeth Perez
• Second Place: Carlmont High School, “Carlmont proves to be a competitor at track PAL” by Avery Adams
• Third Place: Aragon High School, “Track and Field Teams Compete at San Mateo Bearcats Invite” by Scott Liu

• First Place: Washington High School, “The Eagle: May 20, 2015” by Winny Huang
• Second Place: San Mateo High School, “San Mateo Hi: December 10, 2015 and March 10, 2016” by Tiffany Lee, Cindy Zhang, Ellen Zhu
• Third Place: Washington High School, “The Eagle: March 18” by Nicole Bergelson

• First Place: Carlmont High School, “Scot Scoop News” by Sarah Schisla, Taran Sun, Aria Frangos, Sophie Haddad, Megan Tao
• Second Place: Mills High School, “Mills Thunderbolt” by Daysia Tolentino
• Third Place: San Mateo High School, “The San Mateo Hi” by Rachel Kirkes

• First Place: Aragon High School, “The Aragon Outlook” by Staff
• Second Place: Carlmont High School, “Scot Scoop News” by Sarah Schisla, Taran Sun, Aria Frangos, Sophie Haddad, Megan Tao
• Third Place: Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, “The Broadview” by Staff

• First Place: Junipero Serra High School, “Midweek Chic” by George Anagnostou, Cole Moscaret
• Second Place: Junipero Serra High School, “The Final Yard” by Cole Moscaret
• Third Place: Mills High School, “Back on Track” by Staff

First Place: Junipero Serra High School

First Place: Carlmont High School, “The Highlander” by Staff
Second Place: Aragon High School, “The Aragon Outlook” by Staff
Third Place Tie: Convent of the Sacred Heart, “The Broadview” by Staff
Third Place Tie: San Mateo High School, “The San Mateo Hi” by Staff
Honorable Mention: Eastside College Prep, “The Eastside Panther” by Staff
Honorable Mention: Santa Clara High School, “The Roar” by Staff

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Press Club seeks board members

The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club is accepting applications for its board of directors. Working journalists or public relations professionals in the Bay Area are welcome to apply. At a minimum, a director is expected to attend 6-10 board meetings a year. But the club is an all-volunteer operation and directors are needed to roll up their sleeves and help with contests, high school presentations and events. One need the board has is a director with a background in bookkeeping or accounting. If you're interested or just want to find out more, please contact club President Antonia Ehlers.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

BANG brings on new top editor, cuts 11 copy-editing positions

In a two-day period, the Bay Area News Group got a new newsroom leader and announced that it was reducing its copy desk staff by 11 people. President and Publisher Sharon Ryan announced April 21 that Neil Chase, who most recently was a consultant, will become executive editor of the group of newspapers and websites that includes the Mercury News, East Bay Times and 30 weekly publications. The next day, BANG’s managing editor/content, Bert Robinson, sent this memo describing how the company will deal with the elimination of 11 copy editing positions. “The bottom line is that we will be eliminating a layer of valuable editing across most of the copy desk — what is known in desk parlance as the rim,” Robinson wrote.

Monday, April 4, 2016

RIP Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County Times

Final Editions
After 142 years, the Oakland Tribune today printed its last edition. So too did the San Mateo County Times. The Trib will be replaced Tuesday morning by the East Bay Times, a consolidation of the Tribune, Contra Costa Times, the Daily Review in Hayward and The Argus in Fremont. Similarly, the San Mateo County Times will become the Mercury News. The South Bay paper is dropping "San Jose" from its name. The consolidation came with about 20 layoffs in the newsrooms of these publications. All are apart of the Bay Area News Group. Subscribers in Oakland, Fremont and Hayward will receive news inserts bearing the old dailies' names each Friday.

Ronn Owens to stay at KGO

Long-time KGO radio host Ronn Owens won't be going to sister station conservative KSFO 560, contrary to what the station announced four days ago.

When Cumulus Media, owner of KGO 810 and KSFO 560, fired most of the KGO newsroom crew on Thursday and reformatting the station, it also announced that Owens would be moving from his morning slot at KGO to afternoons at KSFO. Yesterday, the station reversed course.

Why? Two different stories have emerged.

Management told the Chronicle that his fans didn't want him changing stations, and they apparently flooded the station with complaints on Friday. Owens is a liberal who probably wouldn't be a good fit on a station with hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

The other story, according to media blogger Rich Lieberman, is that Owens had a contract that requires he stay on KGO. Apparently management didn't read the contract before announcing the switch, and neither had Owens, who announced the move on his show Thursday. But Owens' agent found the clause requiring him to stay at KGO.

So when the "new" KGO premiers tomorrow (April 5), Owens will be back on the air, though his show will be shortened from three hours to two. He'll work 10 a.m. to noon.

The new KGO schedule looks like this:
• Armstrong & Getty, 6-10 a.m.

• Ronn Owens, 10-noon

• Ethan Bearman, noon-2 p.m.

• Brian Copeland, 2-4 p.m.

• Chip Franklin, 4-7 p.m.

• DreX, 7-10 p.m.

Friday, April 1, 2016

KGO-AM fires most news staffers in advance of a format change, Ronn Owens goes to KSFO

KGO-AM 810 on Thursday fired more than 20 of its employees, including nearly everyone in its newsroom, and transferred longtime host Ronn Owens to sister station KSFO 560, which has conservative hosts.

Starting Tuesday, the team of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty, who had been doing the morning show on Talk 910, will move to KGO and replace the morning news from 6-10.

At noon Thursday, KGO began playing a recording of people talking about San Francisco and songs about the city. The recording will apparently be played over and over on a loop until the new format begins at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Atlanta-based Cumulus Media, the owner of KGO and KSFO, wasn’t talking about the changes Thursday, but several radio industry websites said KGO’s new lineup will feature new local hosts and nationally syndicated programming. Long-form news programming will not be part of the mix.

The move comes at a time when the ratings for radio stations across the country are falling because listeners are switching to online services like Pandora or satellite programming.

For more than 30 years, KGO-AM was the top radio station in San Francisco in terms of ratings and revenue. When Cumulus acquired the station in 2011, it dumped several popular hosts including Gil Gross, Gene Burns, John Rothmann, Len Tillem, Bill Wattenburg and Ray Taliaferro, in favor of an all-news format with the exception of Owens’ show. Ratings plummeted. The station eventually returned to the talk format except during the morning and afternoon drive times, but the audience didn’t return.

Thursday, the station fired more than 20 employees without any advance notice. Media blogger Rich Lieberman, who broke the story about the changes at KGO, said those who were shown the door include anchors Jennifer Jones-Lee, Jon Bristow, sportscaster Rich Walcoff, reporters Jason Middleton, Kristin Haynes and Kim McCallister, afternoon host Chip Franklin and production man Mike Amatori, the voice on many commercials on KGO.

Owens’ move to “Hot Talk” KSFO might be awkward since he’s politically middle-of-the road. The rest of KSFO’s schedule is filled with conservative hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Sean Hannity.

Owens, in his last show on KGO yesterday, wondered how he would be treated by KSFO’s conservative audience when he starts his show there next week. He’ll do the afternoon drive shift, from 3 to 6 p.m. He had been at KGO for 40 years holding down the 9-noon time slot.

Armstrong & Getty, who broadcast from Sacramento, are politically more conservative than the typical KGO host, which may signal a shift in philosophy at that station.

Armstrong & Getty work for Cumulus’ arch rival, iHeart Media, and are syndicated on several West Coast radio stations. KGO now will be one of the stations taking their syndicated feed.

Cumulus also owns KFOG-FM (104.5, 97.7), which will also see a format change. KFOG’s deejays were pulled off the air yesterday, some were fired, and the station is just playing music with no local hosts until its new format starts on April 20.

Like KGO-AM, KFOG’s ratings have fallen in recent years. KFOG’s current format, which is called “adult album alternative” in the radio industry, features an eclectic mix of blues, reggae, folk and rock from the 1960s to the present. The station has had a loyal group of listeners known as Fogheads. KFOG’s best days, in terms of ratings, were in the 1990s and early 2000s, and the station began to drop after longtime morning man Dave Morey retired in 2008.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Ben Bagdikian, journalist, author, former UC-Berkeley j-school dean, dead at 96

Ben Bagdikian, former dean of the UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author and media critic who played a key role in publishing the Pentagon Papers, died March 11 at his home in Berkeley. He was 96.

Over five decades, Bagdikian was a national and foreign correspondent for newspapers and magazines, the author of eight books and a professor and the dean at Berkeley.

In 1971, while assistant managing editor of The Washington Post, he helped that newspaper publish the Pentagon Papers, a secret history of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. At the time, a federal court had barred The New York Times from printing excerpts of the papers, so Bagdikian personally obtained the documents from former defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg.

His 1983 book, “The Media Monopoly,” predicted the consolidation of American journalism by major conglomerates.

He retired from UC-Berkeley in 1990.

Bagdikian’s many accolades include a Peabody Award, a Pulitzer Prize (which he shared with a team at the Providence Journal and Evening Bulletin), a Guggenheim Fellowship and a James Madison Award. (Photo by Richard Barnes)

Here are the obits from The New York Times , The Los Angeles Times and Washington Post.

Friday, March 4, 2016

High school journalism boot camp set for March 12 at City College of San Francisco

Save the date, Saturday, March 12, 2016.

That’s the day the Journalism Department at City College of San Francisco and the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club will co-host a boot camp for high school journalism students on the campus of City College of San Francisco, 50 Phelan Ave., San Francisco.

Registration starts at 12:30 and workshop sessions begin at 1 p.m. Go to the Diego Rivera Theater. Workshop topics include investigative reporting, transition to college journalism, broadcasting, social media and webcasting and photography.

The key note speaker will be Joe Fitzgerald, columnist for the San Francisco Examiner.

There’s still time for high school journalism advisers to sign up their students for the boot camp. Please email Press Club President Antonia Ehlers to let her know you’re coming.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Oakland Tribune to cease as a daily after 150 years as BANG consolidates, 33-43 jobs cut

Six daily newspapers in the Bay Area will be consolidated into two, one serving Oakland and the East Bay and the other Silicon Valley, and about 33 to 43 of the company’s 200 journalists will lose their jobs.

The move means the end of the 150-year-old Oakland Tribune as a daily newspaper. It’s last edition will be April 4.

The Bay Area News Group is offering 23 buyouts to newsroom employees 60 or older, who have been with their paper for at least 20 years. In addition, 10 to 20 employees will be fired, according to the Chronicle.

The company now has about 200 news employees, so this represents a reduction of 16.5% to 21.5% in staffing.

In the East Bay, The Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, The Daily Review and The Argus will combine to become the new East Bay Times, which will debut April 5.

Subscribers in Oakland, Hayward and Fremont also will receive new community weeklies.

In Silicon Valley, the San Jose Mercury News and the San Mateo County Times will become the Mercury News, dropping the words "San Jose" from its title, according to BANG's vice president for audience, Dan Smith.

He says the changes were prompted by a survey of subscribers.

Digital First Media, a New York publishing company controlled by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, owns BANG. Digital First had been for sale for a couple of years, and rumors were circulating earlier this year that it might be acquired by Gannett Co.

The Chronicle reports that union officials at the newspapers are pushing for “fair wages and job security” at their papers, where some workers have gone eight to 10 years without a raise.

As part of the move, BANG says it will create an East Bay-focused website,, replacing the current and BANG is calling it a "newspaper rebranding."

Monday, February 29, 2016

Homestead High School journalism adviser Nick Ferentinos dies

A memorial service for longtime high school journalism adviser Nick Ferentinos will be held at Homestead High School, 21370 Homestead Road in Cupertino, on Saturday, March 5 at 1:30 pm in the school's auditorium. A reception in the school's cafeteria will follow the service.

Ferentinos, 73, was the faculty adviser for Homestead's student newspaper, the Epitaph, from 1976 to 1994. He died Jan. 25 from lung cancer.

The organizers are asking for photographs for a slideshow. Please click here to upload photos, RSVP for the service, and learn more about the scholarship created in his memory.

In lieu of flowers, Nick's wife Dina is asking that contributions be made to a scholarship in Nick's name.
Here's a profile of Ferentinos that appeared in the Mercury News.

The Journalism Education Association of Northern California said Ferentinos will be remembered as among the most significant advisers in California history for his role as a champion of student press rights.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bench/Bar/Media dinner Wednesday, Jan. 27

"Denying Civil Rights: Reexamining Korematsu and its Relevance Today" is the topic of the The Santa Clara County Bench/Bar/Media dinner on Wednesday, Jan. 27. The discussion will be moderated NBC Bay Area News reporter Robert Handa and panelists will include Judge Roberta S. Hayashi, Judge Drew Takaichi and Bradley W. Joondeph, associate dean for academic affairs at Santa Clara University School of Law. The meeting will take place at Three Flames Restaurant, 1547 Meridian Ave., San Jose. Reception is at 5:30, dinner at 6:30 and the program starts at 7:30. To RSVP, email or call (408) 882-2709.

Friday, January 15, 2016

January 2016 Press Club board minutes

January 14, 2016, 6:30, via teleconference

BOARD MEMBERS: Peter Cleaveland, Laura Dudnick, Antonia Ehlers, Jim Henderson, Jane Northrop, Dave Price, Ed Remitz, Aimee Strain, Marshall Wilson, Jim Watson.


What went right: It was a wonderful day, the guest speakers were interesting, the energy was high. We had more than 400 entries this year.

  • • One of our judging clubs did not finish judging its entries in time. Two other clubs were late. 
  • • There was a learning curve with the new BNC program. 
  • • One person in the event's survey wanted plaques returned; not affordable now.
  • • We were questioned about the digital media category – next year it will be streamlined to separate digital news sites from blogs. We will also include specific language from the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics as part of our contest criteria. John Ellis and Ed Remitz will rewrite the contest categories and rules for approval by the board.
Our contract for BNC (Better Newspapers Contest, the software for our contests) is up and they have given us an extension. We will owe $3,273. Right now, we have $7,835 in our operating account. Of that amount, we need to pay:
  • • BNC $2,800 to $3,200 if we decide to keep it (they have given us an extension to pay this bill and will break up the fee into three installments
  • • $7,000 to our executive directors if they decide to stay (some of these fees can be paid after next year's contest)
  • • Fees to reinstate our club as a 501(c)(3) plus possible fines. At this point, it might be cheaper to work with someone like H&R Block. Antonia will follow up with this. 
  • • We have about $8,000 in the scholarship account with $4,500 earmarked for three recipients.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR 2016: John Allen and Sarah Ellis will remain as directors

HIGH SCHOOL JOURNALISM BOOT CAMP: The board agreed to move the boot camp to San Francisco City College. SFCC Journalism Professor Juan Gonzales has offered a partnership. It looks as if March 12 might work for this year.

CORPORATE SPONSOR: We are looking for a new corporate sponsor and will begin with Kaiser Hospital.

MEMBERSHIP DRIVE: Jim Watson will chair the membership drive. He will be assisted by other board members. We will begin by calling media professionals and public relations professionals to gain more members.

HOLIDAY PARTY – DECEMBER 2015: Ed, Jane, Jim Watson and Antonia attended the join Press Club Holiday Party at the Cadillac Bar in December. It was a blast and a great way to mingle with members of other clubs. There were approximately 100 people there, and the media professionals had a wonderful evening getting to know each other.

  • • Ed and Jim are going to SF State to build connections with instructors and college students 
  • • We hope to offer professional development for our members and guests 
  • • Ideally, the next Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards should be schedued for early October. If this happens, we will allow for a much earlier call for entries – April time frame 

Minutes submitted by President Antonia Ellers substituting for Secretary Dave Price.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Longtime KCBS broadcaster Al Hart dies

Al Hart
Longtime KCBS Radio anchor Al Hart, a legendary voice in Bay Area broadcasting, died yesterday. He was 88.

According to his family, Hart died following a battle with corticobasal degeneration, a rare, progressive neurodegenerative disease.

Hart joined KCBS in 1966, two years before the station switched to an all-news format. He was first a sidekick and producer for Dave McElhatton, another Bay Area broadcasting legend.

McElhatton, who died in 2010, eventually became a longtime anchor at KPIX-TV. Hart was at KCBS for 34 years, and most of the time was spent as the morning news anchor. He was born in Minnesota and early in his career worked in Shreveport, La., as a DJ known as “Your Pal Al, the guy with a heart."

Hart not only played songs on the radio, but he also recorded one for Mercury Records.

“Al was the broadcaster I wanted to grow up to be. His positive energy and his passion for serving the audience were an inspiration every day. I’m very, very lucky to have had him as a mentor and friend” added Stan Bunger, KCBS morning anchor.

John Madden, who worked for years with Hart on his radio show, said the veteran broadcaster would be “missed by all.”

“I’ve been lucky in my broadcasting career to work with great partners,” Madden said. “I have had Pat Summerall and Al Michaels, and I would put Al Hart in that class as well. Al was a real nice guy, a gentleman, a joy to work with, and along the way he became a good friend. He will be missed by all.”

During his 34 year career at KCBS, Hart delivered the news of the day, including major Bay Area stories such as the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and the 1991 Oakland Hills fire.

Hart retired more than 15 years ago to tend to his wife Sally, who was fighting a battle with ALS. After her death, he remarried, but it wasn’t long after that he was diagnosed with a slow killer called corticobasal degeneration.

Chronicle obit. Merc obit. KCBS obit.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Paul Grabowicz, former Trib reporter, dies

Paul Grabowicz
(Associated Press) Paul Grabowicz, a former Oakland Tribune reporter who became a digital journalism pioneer at UC-Berkeley, has died.

The UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism said in an obituary on its website that Grabowicz died Thursday (Dec. 24). He was 66 and suffering from cancer.

Grabowicz, or "Grabs" as he was referred to by students, arrived at the school in 1995 and founded its New Media Program, which teaches students to combine video, audio and other media to create stories online.

Grabowicz also taught students what public records were available online and how to access them. Before joining UC Berkeley, Grabowicz spent 20 years as an investigative reporter for The Oakland Tribune.

Photo by Richard Koci Hernandez.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Longtime AP political writer Doug Willis dies

The following is AP's obit for Doug Willis.

BY TOM VERDIN, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Doug Willis, who followed Ronald Reagan from the governor's office to the presidential campaign trail and covered Jerry Brown's first stint as governor during a three-decade career writing about California politics for The Associated Press, has died. He was 77.

He died Tuesday night at a hospital in Sacramento from complications following hip surgery, said his wife, Judy. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's about three years ago and had been living in a memory-care home since summer, she said.

In this Jan. 19, 2011 AP photo by Rich Pedroncelli,
AP Correspondent Doug Willis talks
to Gov. Jerry Brown in Sacramento.
Judy Willis said it was especially sad that her husband suffered from dementia because he had such a quick wit, nimble mind and fail-safe memory throughout his journalism career and their 22-year marriage.

"Somebody once called him a walking encyclopedia," she said. "It's absolutely heartbreaking."

Indeed, Willis was something of an anomaly in a profession notorious for its aversion to math: He had won a full-ride engineering scholarship to Stanford University before getting bored with that major and switching to journalism.

Colleagues recalled him as a congenial but fierce competitor who never forgot a fact or let sources off the hook.

"He didn't give up. He would get his question answered," said Rebecca LaVally, a Sacramento State University communications lecturer who was a reporter and manager in the state capital for the competing wire service, United Press International, during the 1970s and 1980s.

She described Willis as determined, cordial, tenacious — and a bit rumpled.

"He didn't try to be showy or flashy," she said. Willis started with the AP in San Francisco in 1969 after beginning his career as a police and general assignment reporter for the old San Jose News and a brief stint as an editor for a newspaper in Bend, Oregon.

A year later, he was offered a temporary job helping the AP's Sacramento bureau cover the state Legislature. He did so well he was invited back the following year, when his assignment in the capital became permanent. He became correspondent, the bureau's top position, in 1974.

In a memoir written a decade after he retired, Willis recalled his first big scoop as a young reporter covering state government, one that relied on his analytical skills: Piecing together various threads of information, he was able to say how much state taxpayers were shelling out for each trip then-Gov. Ronald Reagan took in a leased private plane. Willis said his reporting on the cost every time Reagan flew to an event "annoyed both Reagan and my press corps rivals for the next three years."

Willis covered Reagan's last term as California governor and his two runs for the Republican nomination for president, in 1975-76 and 1979-80. He also was the AP's lead reporter covering another famous California governor with presidential aspirations. In his memoir, Willis described the abrupt transition from Reagan to Brown, who was 36 years old when he stepped into the governor's office the first time in 1975.

The buttoned-down formality of the Reagan years transitioned to an administration populated with Buddhist monks and former astronauts, Willis wrote. Reporters covering Brown in his current stint as governor would recognize some of Willis' successful techniques in getting the famously hard-to-nail-down governor to talk.

"Forget the press office," Willis wrote in his memoir. "Just catch up with Brown anyplace where there weren't a lot of people around to distract him, and just start asking questions. Once he was talking, if he started to lose interest and cut off an interview, I would just repeat one of his points back to him, but in a slightly inaccurate way. It always worked. He would stick with me until he was absolutely certain that I understood."

No reporter had better access to Brown than Willis, said Chuck McFadden, who was an AP reporter in Sacramento from 1970 to 1974. "Jerry admired people with brains, and Doug had a super abundance of brains," he said.

It was Willis who in March 1976 dictated the urgent news that Brown would run for the Democratic nomination for president, calling it in to the AP's San Francisco bureau from the governor's office and beating rival UPI by 35 minutes. Willis wrote that the governor hovered over his shoulder as he made the call and offered suggestions about what the story should say, "which I ignored."

In a statement issued Wednesday, the governor praised Willis' reporting style. "Doug was dogged, honest and a real pleasure to work with," Brown said. "We could use a few more like him."

An only child, Willis was born April 16, 1938, in Oakland, California, and was raised by his mother and grandmother. His father died during World War II, shot down in the Pacific while serving in the Army Air Corps.

Judy Willis said her husband never regretted changing majors from engineering to journalism. Rather, he fed off the excitement of being present at some of the biggest events of the day.

Willis was one of four AP staffers covering President Gerald Ford's visit to Sacramento in 1975 when Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme tried to shoot the president as he walked toward the Capitol. In addition to covering politics, he wrote about Cesar Chavez's farmworker strikes, got a jailhouse interview with mass murderer Juan Corona and helped cover one of the biggest tragedies in Sacramento history, when a fighter jet crashed into an ice cream parlor during an air show in 1972, killing 25.

He even smoked cigars and drank rum with Fidel Castro during a reporting assignment to Cuba in the 1980s. "He led a good life in Sacramento, and it was immensely gratifying for him," McFadden said. "It had to be gratifying to be a major political reporter in a state as big as California."

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards announced

The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club presented the 38th Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, which honored the work of more than 140 journalists representing 35 media organizations. The club presented nearly 200 awards during the luncheon at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City.

The club received received 398 entries from the 11 counties in the Bay Area. The contest was judged by press clubs in Cleveland, Florida, New Orleans, Orange County and Kern County.

Top award winners for Overall Excellence included:
•   South Bay Accent, First Place, Magazine/Trade Publications/Newsletters
•   India Currents, First Place, Digital Media
•   Palo Alto Weekly, First Place, Newspapers/Non-Daily
•   Pacifica Tribune, Second Place, Newspapers/Non-Daily
•   The Press Democrat, First Place, Newspapers/Daily
•   The San Francisco Examiner, Second Place, Newspapers/Daily
•   The Daily News Group, Third Place, Newspapers/Daily

Michael Howerton, editor-in-chief of the San Francisco Examiner, gave a keynote speech, and investigative reporter Jonathan Greenberg was a guest speaker. The SFPPC awarded three $1,500 scholarships to promising student journalists: The Jack Russell Award was presented to Kellen Browning of Davis Senior High School; and Herb Caen Awards were presented to Maci Martell and Kyle Schmidt, both from Santa Rosa Junior College.

A new scholarship was established to honor the journalism career of Bill Workman, a former SF Chronicle reporter and past president of the SFPPC. Marla Lowenthal, Workman’s wife, presented the Bill Workman News Writer Award to the First Place winner of the Newspaper/Daily News Story category, Glenda Anderson of The Press Democrat.

(Click on the awards for better resolution)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Press Club awards luncheon tomorrow

The Press Club's Excellence in Journalism luncheon is tomorrow (Dec. 5, 2015), and below is a list of those who won, although we're not saying who got first-, second- or third-place awards until tomorrow's event. The luncheon will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1221 Chess Drive, Foster City.

Click here to register.

Organizations who won include: 

Al Jazeera America, The Argus, Bay Area Reporter, Bay City News, Bloomberg Businessweek, Bloomberg News, Central City Extra, Daily News Group, The Daily Post, East Bay Express, Fusion, Hechinger Report, The India Currents, KDTV Univision 14, KQED 9,, Los Gatos Weekly Times, Oakland Tribune, Pacifica Tribune, Palo Alto Weekly,, Press Democrat, Re/Code, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Examiner, The San Jose Mercury News, San Mateo County Office of Education, Santa Cruz Sentinel,, South Bay Accent,, Traditions Magazine,

Individual winners include: 

AJ Marson, Alexis Madrigal, Ali Thanawalla, Ali Winston, Alison Vekshin, Anita Felicelli Anne Campbell, Annie Pong, Antonia Ehlers, Aris Bernales, Ben Schein, Bert Johnson, Beth Schlanker, Bill Johnson, Breena Kerr, Carol Blitzer, Chris Bollini, Chris Roberts, Christopher Chung, Cierra Webb, Coburn Palmer, Cynthia Stone, Daily News Group Staff, Daniel Brown, Darwin Bond Graham, Dave Price, David Bacon, Debra Schaffner, Dick Sparrer Donna Krey, E.A. Barrera, Elena Kadvany, Elizabeth Schwyzer, Erin Baldassari, Gabriella Gamboa, Gennady Sheyner, Glenda Anderson, Godofredo Vasquez, Greg Frazier, Greg Silva, Horace Hinshaw, Jake Nicol, Jamey Padojino,

Jamie Morrow, Jane Northrop, Jane Tyska, Jason Lelchuck Jason Green, Jason Leskiw, Jaya Padmanabhan, Jayme Roy, Jeramy Gordon, Jeremy Hay, Jesse Garnier, Jessica Christian, Jessica Kwong, Jim Sweeney, Joanne Engelhardt, Joaquin Palomino, Joe Matazzoni, Joe Fitzgerald Rodriquez, Joel Engardio, Joel White, John Murphy John Angell Grant, John Orr, John Reid, Jonah Lamb, Jonathan Allen, Jonathan Greenberg Jondi Gumz, Julia Park Tracey, Kalpana Mohan, Kara Swisher, Kashmir Hill, Kathleen Richards, Kent Porter, Kerry Benefield, Kevin Kelly, Kevin Roose, Lillian Mongeau, Lindsay Oda, Lisa Rosenthal, Lise Stampfli Torme, Liz Gannes, Lowell Cohn, Luke Tsai,

Malcolm Fleschner, Marjorie Beggs, Mark Hedin, Matt McFetridge, Matthew S. Bajko, Matthew Stensland-Bos, Melissa Chan, Michael Barba, Michael Howerton, Michelle Wilkinson, Mike Anderson, Miles Garnier, Nancy Magee, Natalie Yemenidjian, Nellie Bowles, Norman Bonney, Pam Marino, Patty Hayes, Paul Dunn, Paul Gullixson, Peter Kafka, Peter Waldman, Phil Barber, Richard Gunderman, Robert Cartagena, Robert Digitale, Robert Gammon, Roxanne Pasibe, Sam Lefebvre, Sam Levin, Sara Gaiser, Sarah Burke, Sarah Todd, Sarita Sarvate, Scot Tucker, Scott Compton, Scott Morris, Sean McCourt, Shawn Whelchel, Shayna Rubin, Sue Dremann, Susan Hathaway, Susan Kerr, Terri Lobdell, Vandana Kumar, Veronica Weber, Vytas Mazeika, Walt Mossberg

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Examiner editor Michael Howerton will be the keynote speaker for Press Club luncheon

The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club's awards luncheon is set for Dec. 5, and the keynote speaker will be San Francisco Examiner Editor-in-Chief Michael Howerton.

Howerton is the vice president of editorial for the San Francisco Media Company, which publishes the Examiner and SF Weekly. He has worked at The Wall Street Journal, The Daily, the Marin Independent Journal and The Berkeley Daily Planet. Michael has taught writing courses at Berkeley City College, UC-Berkeley and San Francisco State.

Please CLICK HERE to register for the 38th annual Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards luncheon.

It will be from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City.

The luncheon will honor the outstanding work of Bay Area TV, print, radio and digital media journalists, as well as the exceptional work of photographers, graphic designers and public relations professionals. The contest has several divisions: Digital Media, Magazine/Trade Press/Newsletter, Newspaper, Photography, Public Relations, Radio and Television.

The Press Club also will award journalism scholarships to high school and college journalism students.

Come and toast the best journalists in the Bay Area and our scholarship winners!

Friday, November 6, 2015

November 2015 Press Club board minutes

Minutes of November Press Club board meeting Nov. 4, 2015, 6:30 p.m., Serra High School, 451 West 20th Ave., San Mateo

PRESENT: Antonia Ehlers, Ed Remitz, Jim Watson, Dave Price (via phone), Peter Cleaveland and Jim Henderson. ABSENT: Marshall Wilson, Aimee Strain, Jane Northrop.

FINANCE REPORT: Antonia said the club is doing better than she expected. She said there was $8,000 in the scholarship account, $7,967.76 in PayPal (contest entry fees), and $5,319.22 in the operations account. Antonia said the club has enough to cover the luncheon.

CONTEST BANQUET: The luncheon has been postponed until Dec. 5 because the judges need more time, Antonia said. She has put down a deposit for the room at the Crowne Plaza for that date.

IRS MATTER: The tax-exempt status of the club lapsed several years ago. The board discovered this fact earlier this year. Antonia and bookkeeper Ana Glodek conducted a conference call with the IRS. A penalty is possible. The main goal is to correct the situation and renew the nonprofit status. The board voted unanimously to get an estimate and a proposed retainer agreement from a CPA firm for the work that is necessary to correct this situation.

AWARDS LUNCHEON SPONSOR: Antonia reports the club is in negotiations with a corporate sponsor. They are offering help including finding a guest speaker.

SCHOLARSHIPS: Ed said the scholarship committee has selected one high school winner and two college winners. They'll get $1,500 each, for a total of $4,500. The board unanimously voted to increase the number of college scholarships to two, and approve the $4,500 expenditure.

MEMBERSHIP DRIVE/CONTEST: Antonia reports that the club got 430 entries for this year's contest. Jim Henderson suggested that we change the entry process next year so that everyone entering the contest would pay a membership fee with their first entry. Price suggested the club conduct a membership survey at the upcoming awards luncheon on Dec. 5. Price will send a draft of the survey to board members and Jim Watson said he would tabulate the results.

HIGH SCHOOL BOOT CAMP: Antonia said she is shooting to hold the camp in the third week of February. She'd like to open the high school contest the same day as the boot camp so that attendees could be encouraged to submit entries.

Meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m. Minutes taken by Secretary Dave Price.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Former LA Times sports columnist wins $7.1 million verdict in age and disability bias case

This item is a bit out of the bailiwick of the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club, but it might strike a chord with some of our members. A Los Angeles Superior Court jury tonight awarded $7.1 million to former LA Times sports columnist T.J. Simers on his claim that the newspaper discriminated against him because of his age and disability.

Simers’ attorneys claimed during the six-week trial that the Times tried to stifle his critical coverage of former Dodgers owner Frank McCort and then diminished his role at the paper after he suffered a mini-stroke and was diagnosed with complex migraine syndrome. Simers, now 65, was making $234,000 a year when he was forced out of his job in 2013. The Times said it will appeal.

The verdict was reported by Variety and the Times.

Save the Date: Press Club awards luncheon date changed to Dec. 5

The 2015 San Francisco Peninsula Press Club's awards luncheon has been rescheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5.

Why? It's taking a little longer than anticipated for our out-of-state judges to review this year's entries.

The location of the luncheon will remain the same, the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1221 Chess Drive, Foster City. Please save the date, Dec. 5. The luncheon starts at 11 a.m. Winners will be notified in advance via email.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Chron suspends Warriors writer Rusty Simmons

Rusty Simmons, the San Francisco Chronicle's Golden State Warriors beat reporter, has been suspended without pay after he wrote an article Monday that was nearly a word-for-word copy of a team press release, Columbia Journalism Review reports.

Simmons cut-and-paste a news release the Warriors issued announcing the team had purchased land for a new arena in the Mission Bay neighborhood from the software company Salesforce.

PR man Sam Singer, who represents the arena's opponents, saw the duplication and sent emails about it to his contacts. Examiner reporter Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez took Singer’s tip and tweeted screen shots of the press release and the Chronicle story.

Chronicle editor Audrey cooper confirmed to CJR that Simmons, a sportswriter at the paper since 2002, has been suspended without pay pending an investigation of his entire body of work at the Chronicle. But Cooper also told CJR that she'd be surprised if the review reveals that copying press releases was a "chronic practice" of Simmons.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Press Club to award $1,500 scholarships

Friday, Oct. 23 — That's the deadline for submitting entries to the 2015 college scholarship competition sponsored by the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club.

The competition is open to high school, community college and college students from 12 Bay Area counties who are planning a career in print, broadcast, online or photo journalism. The counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Yolo.

The club selects one college student to receive a $1,000 scholarship named for Herb Caen, the late San Francisco Chronicle columnist, and one high school student for a $1,500 scholarship named for the late Jack Russell, club co-founder.

Scholarship funds will be paid to colleges each recipient plans to attend, or is attending, to defray education-related expenses.

Work published, broadcast or webcast from fall 2014 through spring 2015 is eligible.

Entrants should send:

• A one-page resume.

• A letter of recommendation from an instructor in journalism, communications or English.

• Three to five examples of work as published or distributed. All entrants must include at least two examples of news writing or news coverage and may complete the submission with samples of feature writing or feature coverage. Only one example may be opinion-based.

• The entire package — resume, letter of recommendation and examples — should be combined into a single PDF that includes the entrant's name in the title. Video reports should be provided as links on a single PDF that is added to the combined PDF.

Entries should be emailed by Oct. 23 to:

Winners will be honored at the club's 37th Annual Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards Luncheon on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Book, concert focus on My Lai Massacre

Hugh Thompson Jr.
The 1968 My Lai Massacre, one of the most shocking episodes of the Vietnam War, will come into focus this Saturday (Oct. 10) at 6 p.m. when the musical/monodrama titled “My Lai” will be performed by the Kronos Quartet at Stanford's Bing Concert Hall.

Prior to the performance, author Trent Angers will give a brief talk about the heroism of Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson Jr., who played a major role in ending the massacre and testifying against the U.S. Army soldiers who committed the murders.

Angers, a seasoned journalist and editor from Louisiana, was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work on the Hugh Thompson story.

Angers has written a revised edition of his first book on Thompson. The revised edition, titled “The Forgotten Hero of My Lai,” reveals how Nixon initiated and led an effort to sabotage the My Lai Massacre trials.

One of Angers’ sources for the book were the handwritten notes of White House Chief of Staff H.R. Bob Haldeman. In a Dec. 1, 1969, meeting, Haldeman wrote that Nixon wanted to get the soldiers responsible for My Lai off the hook by destroying the reputation of Thompson. “Dirty tricks — not to high of a level … Discredit one witness … May have to use a Senator or two,” Haldeman wrote.

As for Saturday's concert, the music was composed by Jonathan Berger of Stanford; the lyrics (libretto) were written by Harriet Scott Chessman. The singer/main character is Rinde Eckert (who plays Hugh Thompson), with master Vietnamese musician Van-Ahn Vo.

For more about the concert, go to

For more about Angers book, go to Amazon.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Marinucci jumps to Politico

Carla Marinucci, a longtime political writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, has landed a job at Politico, which is launching a California section. Politico is starting several regional sections, and most of the writers for these sections are coming from newspapers. The news that she had taken a new job was announced by Politico’s Mike Allen. Marinucci has been covering politics for the Chron since 1996 and has been with Hearst Newspapers since 1983. Here’s her Chron bio. (Photo credit: Chronicle)