Friday, March 19, 2010

City Hall pays journalist's salary

The nonprofit San Francisco Public Press is paying paying the salary of one of its editorial employees with money from a city jobs stimulus program, the SF Weekly reports.

Public Press director Michael Stoll would not disclose how much money multimedia producer Monica Jensen is receiving through Jobs Now, saying the the information is a private personnel issue. However, he said that the city is currently paying her entire salary, which he described as "competitive."

The city official with that information could not provide it to the SF Weekly by its press time.

Stoll defended his decision to take city money, saying NPR and PBS receive funding from the federally financed Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

F. Warren Hellman, the Wells Fargo heir who is funding the Bay Area News Project, said last September that he might seek city funding for his news operation, too.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

NPR and PBS? What a weak example of independent media. NPR is very left wing (pro government) as is PBS with Bill Moyers.

Anonymous said...

does this mean that Public Press will now be featuring a regular column by Gavin or Bevan?

Anonymous said...

It gives a whole new meaning to the saying that a "reporter has good sources at city hall."

Gary J said...

Where is this funding disclosed on the Public Press website? Shouldn't they be telling their readers who is paying their salaries? At least in a newspaper you can see who buys the ads.

More transparency or disclosure please!

Anonymous said...

How is taking money from a stimulus program any different from a newspaper taking advertising? I doubt anybody at City Hall will use this as an excuse to tell Michael what to write.

Anonymous said...

At the very least, the SF Public Press should have disclosed this on their website and did a story about the ethics of this, getting comments from both sides.

Anonymous said...

NPR and PBS only receive a small percentage of their funding from the government - about 10 to 15 percent - with the bulk coming from members, and some coming from foundations and corporate underwriting.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, how does Michael Stoll "grade the news" in this situation?

Anonymous said...

Taking ANY money from the government taints a news organization. It doesn't matter if its 1%.

Daniel A said...

Stoll and his Public Press probably feel comfortable taking money from the government. The idea that the press should challenge government and hold elected officials accountable is old school. Look at how today's national media treats Obama, and how little coverage was given to the details of the health-care bill. The media knew that if the public was well informed about the details, they would have never let the Democrats get away with it. So coverage focusing on the details was replaced with conflict stories that pit personalities arguing over "death panels" or who yelled "you lie." But the public still doesn't know much about the bill that the House approved Sunday night and Obama is signing into a law today. Getting back the the Public Press, my bet is that Stoll and his staff like big government and feel more comfortable taking money from it than from selling advertising or working in the capitalist world. In the longterm, if Public Press survives, it will just become another mouthpiece for the government, much like National Public Radio. The press's job is to challenge authority, institutions and those who hold powers, not cuddle up with them and take their money!