Tuesday, November 1, 2016

An update on Press Club scholarship recipients

Last year’s recipients of $1,500 student scholarships are moving forward with dazzling accomplishments in journalism, we are happy to report.

The club provides two scholarships. One is named for the late Herb Caen, Pulitzer-prize recipient San Francisco Chronicle columnist, the other for Jack Russell, revered Peninsula newsman and club co-founder who died in 2014.

The scholarships usually are given to one student in each category. In rare cases, however, multiple students may be selected.

This occurred for the Herb Caen scholarship when the work of two students was deemed exceptionally noteworthy.

Each student was a staffer for The Oak Leaf, the campus newspaper at Santa Rosa Junior College. The students are Kyle Schmidt, 20, and Maci Martell, 22.

Schmidt has since graduated from SRJC and is now attending New York University where he studies film and journalism.

“I have had a blast here and never felt any closer to the center of off-the-wall stories and news,” he tells us. “ … I wouldn’t be here without clubs like yours.”

Martell is completing her associate’s degree in journalism at SRJC serves The Oak Leaf and journalism program as a teaching assistant. Her program garnered even more awards in October from the Journalism Association of Community Colleges.

“I am extremely proud of the work our dedicated staff accomplished, as numerous people from our team won top awards in several categories,” she says.

“In addition to the JACC video journalism award Kyle and I received for the student rape reaction video, my fellow co-editor-in-chief (Estefany Gonzalez) and I won an award for one of our editorials from last year,” she says. “I am extremely proud of the work our dedicated staff accomplished ….”

Kellen Browning, then of Davis High School, received the Jack Russell scholarship. He is now attending Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., where he is majoring in political science in preparation for a journalism career.

Browning impressed the club scholarship judges. He also covered sports simultaneously for the Davis Enterprise newspaper.

Browning, 18, was selected the California Student Journalist of the Year and the National Journalism Student for 2016 by the Journalism Education Association.

He already is serving as managing web editor for the campus newspaper, The Student Life.

He currently takes one English class, a crime fiction class, Spanish, politics and ethics. “My favorite,” he says of the ethics class.

He also competes on the track team, though a recent injury has benched him.

“It’s been a whirlwind experience transitioning to college and I’m looking forward to pursue internship possibilities and keep writing,” Browning says. “I do not get much sleep. It’s a lot of work but I’m working on ways to manage it and have some fun, as well.”

The club is developing a more robust program serving high schools journalists in the next scholarship cycle. Plans are underway to host the next boot camp at City College of San Francisco, courtesy of Juan Gonzales, journalism department chair. It will include the club’s high school journalism competition and scholarship presentation. The expected date will be in late April or early May.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Examiner editor Michael Howerton joins San Francisco Peninsula Press Club board

San Francisco Examiner Editor-in-Chief Michael Howerton has joined the board of directors of the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club.

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.

Howerton has taught writing courses at Berkeley City College, UC-Berkeley and San Francisco State. He was born in San Francisco, grew up in Berkeley and now lives in Oakland.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October 2016 Press Club board minutes

Meeting via teleconference, Oct. 21 at 3 p.m.

Present: Antonia Ehlers, Ed Remitz, Dave Price, Jim Watson, Carla Worfolk, Edrie Blackwelder. Absent: Jim Henderson, Peter Cleaveland, Jane Northrop, Marshall Wilson.

Greater Bay Area Journalism Contest: The general consensus of the board is that the club would mail certificates to the winners. Antonia will handle the printing. Board members will meet at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Serra High School's conference room to stuff envelopes.

Executive Director: The board discussed plans for next year's executive director. The board has been approached by Terry Williams, executive director of the San Diego Press Club, who offered to manage both contests next year for a fee of $2000. Williams works for four press clubs across the country. Further discussion is needed.

Tax-Exempt Matters: Edrie pointed out that the club can't solicit grants or sponsorships without regaining its nonprofit status. Jim and Dave agreed to look into this. Edrie also said that the club should obtain errors and omissions insurance for directors. Others on the call agreed with that idea.

High School Bootcamp: Ed said the event for high school students will take place in late April or early May.

Scholarships: Ed provided an update on students who had received press club scholarships.

Addendum: In the past couple of months, Melissa McRobbie, Aimee Lewis Strain and Laura Dudnick have left the board. The board, communicating through email, has selected the following people to serve as directors — Edrie Blackwelder, Carla De Luca Worfolk and Michael Howerton.

Meeting adjourned at 3:40 p.m. Minutes respectfully submitted by Secretary Dave Price.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Here are the winners of 2016 Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards

The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club presented the 39th Annual Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards on Saturday, honoring the work of more than 100 journalists representing 29 media organizations. The awards were presented during a luncheon at the Crowne Plaza in Foster City.

The annual contest is open to media professionals in the 11-county greater Bay Area. The contest received 241 entries this year. Seven other press clubs — in Cleveland, Florida, Houston, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Orange County and San Diego — judged the entries.

Top award winners for Overall Excellence were:

• Digital Media, First Place — India Currents
• Newspapers/Daily, First Place — The San Francisco Examiner
• Newspapers/Non-Daily, First Place — San Francisco Weekly
• Newspapers/Non-Daily, Second Place — San Francisco Business Times
• Newspapers/Non-Daily, Third Place — Palo Alto Weekly
• Magazines/Trades/Newsletters, First Place — San Francisco magazine
• Magazines/Trades/Newsletters, Second Place — Santa Clara Magazine
• Magazines/Trades/Newsletters, Third Place — The Spectrum
• Radio/Audio, First Place — KALW
Blog / Commentary
• First Place: El Tecolote, “Slain Mexican journalist did not die in vain,” by Mabel Jimenez

Editorial Cartoons
• First Place: San Francisco Examiner, “Closing the digital divide,” by Justin DeFreitas
• Second Place: El Tecolote, “Slain Mexican journalist did not die in vain,” by Gustavo Reyes
• Third Place: Central City Extra, “Naloxone, the lifesaving antidote,” by Lise Stampfli

Photography / News
• First Place: Oakland Tribune, “The Struggle is Real,” by Jane Tyska
• Second Place: San Francisco Business Times “Warriors parade,” by Todd Johnson
• Third Place: San Francisco Business Times “Pie girls,” by Todd Johnson

Photography / Sports
• First Place: SFBay.ca, “Raiders fire final bullet in Ravens shootout,” by Scot Tucker
• Second Place: Oakland Tribune, “Stephen Curry warmup,” by Jane Tyska
• Third Place: SFBay.ca, “Giants lose seventh straight at AT&T,” by Scot Tucker

Photography / Feature
• First Place: Oakland Tribune, “Mural Walk,” by Jane Tyska
• Second Place: SFBay.ca, “A’s pour it on Rangers with late rally,” by Scot Tucker
• Third Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “Insect Kids,” by Veronica Weber

Photography / Series
• First Place: Oakland Tribune, “Mykenna's New Legs,” by Jane Tyska
• Second Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “In A Certain Light,” by Veronica Weber
• Third Place: El Tecolote, “Dia de los Muertos,” by Joel Angel Juarez, Manuel Orbegozo, Drago Renteria

Business/Tech Story
• First Place: Bloomberg, “Leaked Lyft Document Reveals a Costly Battle With Uber,” by Eric Newcomer, Leslie Picker
• Second Place: Prep2Prep.com, “I Created A Fake Business & Bought It An Amazing Online Reputation,” by Kashmir Hill
• Third Place: Bloomberg, “Tesla Looks for What Women Want,” by Dana Hull

• First Place: Prep2Prep.com, “Murph's Place: Hazing rears ugly head,” by John Murphy

• First Place: India Currents, “Are You One of Those,” by Jaya Padmanabhan
• Second Place: SFBay.ca, “Chronicle, Hearst should be ashamed of crowdfunding,” by Jesse Garnier

Feature / Light
• First Place: Fusion, “I TURNED CAPS LOCK ON FOR A WEEK AND EVERYONE HATED IT,” by Kashmir Hill
• Second Place: Bloomberg, “Latter-Day Carnegies Bestowing Names on San Francisco Hospitals,” by Alison Vekshin
• Third Place: SFBay.ca, “Chronicle drops newspaper ‘hawkers’ after 27 years,” by Bradley Focht

Feature / Serious
• First Place: Fusion, “Haunted by Hackers,” by Kevin Roose
• Second Place: Bloomberg, “A Sex Scandal Rocks Stanford's Business School,” by Peter Waldman

• Third Place: New America Media, “EPA Slow to Halt Use of Deadly Pesticide,” by Viji Sundaram

News Story
• First Place: Bay City News, “Sunnyvale’s gun law upheld,” by Julia Cheever •
Second Place: Bloomberg, “Uber Raises Funding at $62.5 Billion Valuation,” by Eric Newcomer • Third Place: Bay City News, “San Francisco: Court says Batmobile protected by copyright,” by Julia Cheever

• First Place: Bloomberg, “The Startup Bubble Starts to Deflate,” by Staff
• Second Place: CNET News, “Net Fix,” by Marguerite Reardon
• Third Place: Bloomberg, “California's Oil-Rich Past and Clean-Tech Future,” by Lynn Doan, Mark Chediak, Michael Marois, Chris Martin, Harry Weber

Sports Feature
• First Place: SFBay.ca, “A peek inside the lives of baseball ‘WAGs’,” by Cierra Webb
• Second Place: Prep2Prep.com, “Menlo lifted by off-kilter coach’,” by John Murphy
• Third Place: Prep2Prep.com, “Coastside team brings it’,” by John Murphy

Sports Game Story
• First Place: Prep2Prep.com, “Stop the presses! McClatchy wins title,’” by John Murphy  


• First Place: Parents' Press, “Raising Dad: Singing the Birthday Party Blues,” by Tony Hicks

• First Place: The Spectrum, “As I was saying …,” by Steve Penna

Feature / Light
• First Place: San Francisco Magazine, “$1.2 Million. 13 Offers. 400k Over Asking. For This?” by Sarah Stodder
• Second Place: San Francisco Magazine, “What Are You Running (And Running And Running) From?” by Diana Kapp
• Third Place: Traditions Magazine, “Serra's Stanford Trio,” by Jonathan Allen

Feature / Serious
• First Place: San Francisco Magazine, “The Outsiders,” by Gary Kamiya
• Second Place: San Francisco Magazine, “Why Are Palo Alto’s Kids Killing Themselves?” by Diana Kapp
• Third Place: The Spectrum, “Reddy To Fight,” by Julie McCoy, Anne Callery

Graphic Design
• First Place: Santa Clara Magazine, “Change the Game,” by Steven Saum, Linda Degastaldi, Jane Hambleton, DJ Stout, Kristen Keiser

Page Design
• First Place: Santa Clara Magazine, “Silicon Valley Story,” by Steven Saum, Linda Degastaldi, DJ Stout, Kristen Keiser, Brian Stauffer
• Second Place: Traditions Magazine, “Padre Profiles,” by Michelle Wilkinson
• Second Place: Traditions Magazine, “Pope Francis Canonizes Junipero Serra,” by Michelle Wilkinson

• First Place: The Spectrum, “Walking Redwood City,” by Greg Wilson

Sports Feature
• First Place: San Francisco Magazine, “Arrested,” by Michael Weinreb
• Second Place: Santa Clara Magazine, “A Wild Generosity,” by Brian Doyle, Steven Saum, Ron Hansen, Linda Degastaldi, Jane Hambleton

Sports Game Story
• First Place: Traditions Magazine, “Serra Basketball Wins CCS Championship,” by Jonathan Allen  


• First Place: San Francisco Examiner, “On Guard,” by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez
• Second Place: San Francisco Examiner, News/Political Columns by Joel Engardio
• Third Place: The Daily Post, Columns by Dave Price

• First Place: San Francisco Examiner, Feature Columns by Joel Engardio
• Second Place: Palo Alto Daily News, “Can Online Dating Pass the Sniff Test?” by Malcolm Fleschner
• Third Place: Palo Alto Daily News, “Age Against the Machine,” by Malcolm Fleschner

• First Place: San Francisco Examiner, “‘Comply or die’ mentality must end for SFPD,” by Michael Howerton
• Second Place: San Mateo Daily Journal, “A real problem with no easy solutions,” by Jon Mays
• Third Place: San Francisco Examiner, “Standing by our sanctuary city,” by Michael Howerton

• First Place: Palo Alto Daily Post, “'Triangle' well acted with many surprises,” by John Angell Grant

Feature / Light
• First Place: San Francisco Examiner, “Mission High student with autism embraces rock star status on campus,” by Laura Dudnick
• Second Place: San Francisco Examiner, “Dante Benedetti honored at Italian Athletic Club,” by Antonia Ehlers
• Third Place: San Francisco Examiner, “Holding on to History,” by Jessica Kwong

Feature / Serious
• First Place: San Francisco Examiner, “Public defender investigator answers a formidable calling,” by Jonah Owen Lamb
• Second Place: San Francisco Examiner, “Two years after losing both legs in crash, SF man has new outlook on life,” by Laura Dudnick
• Third Place: San Francisco Examiner, “Ex-Examiners: Former reporter-editor recalls Jonestown, 1980s newsroom,” by Laura Dudnick

• First Place: The Daily Post, “Making traffic go in circles,” by Dave Price
• Second Place: The Daily Post, “Larry Ellison has an Epiphany,” by Dave Price
• Third Place: The Daily Post, “Superintendent gets schooled,” by Dave Price

News Story
• First Place: San Francisco Examiner, “Homeless families face difficult choice of shelter or school,” by Joshua Sabatini
• Second Place: San Francisco Examiner, “Public officials named in new findings from FBI probe of ‘Shrimp Boy,’” by Jonah Owen Lamb
• Third Place: San Francisco Examiner, “Suhr gave family friend special treatment,” by Jonah Owen Lamb

Page Design
• First Place: San Francisco Examiner, “Justice, Pride, Love,” by Gregory Andersen
• Second Place: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Jurassic World,” by Erik Oeverndiek
• Third Place: San Mateo Daily Journal, “An avengers overdose,” by Erik Oeverndiek

• First Place: Palo Alto Daily Post, “A chance meeting has sad ending,” by John Angell Grant, Steve Curl
• Second Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Santa Clara County jail death coverage,” by Tracey Kaplan, Robert Salonga, Julia Sulek
• Third Place: San Francisco Examiner, Homeless coverage in San Francisco by Joshua Sabatini

Sports Feature
• First Place: San Francisco Chronicle, “Bay Area sports chaplains tend to players' spiritual needs,” by Susan Slusser


• First Place: The Sonoma Independent, “Behind Sonoma County Library Hours Crisis,” by Jonathan Greenberg

• First Place: San Francisco Business Times “By missing housing targets, SF shoots itself in the foot,” by Jim Gardner
• Second Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “Beyond the anguish,” by Bill Johnson
• Third Place: El Tecolote, “El Tecolote stands with Galería de la Raza,” by Staff

• First Place: San Francisco Weekly, “Midnight at the Oasis,” by Peter Lawrence Kane
• Second Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “The original matchmaker,” by Karla Kane
• Third Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “Devilishly good fun,” by Karla Kane

Feature / Light
• First Place: San Francisco Weekly, “Midnight at the Oasis,” by Peter Lawrence Kane
• Second Place: El Tecolote, “The astronomical persistence of José Hernández,” by Maria Antonieta Mejia
• Third Place: Central City Extra, “I can still hear it,” by John Burks

Feature / Serious
• First Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “Finding Asylum,” by Sue Dremann
• Second Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “A question of boundaries,” by Elena Kadvany
• Third Place: El Tecolote, “Out in the Mission: Galería mural vandalized for depicting LGBTQ Latinos,” by Alexis Terrazas

Graphic Design
• First Place: San Francisco Business Times “Data explosion,” by Matt Petty
• Second Place: San Francisco Business Times “Construction game,” by Mitch Green
• Third Place: The Sonoma Independent, “Infographic illustrating water usage,” by Jonathan Greenberg, Sammy Vanek

News Story
• First Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “Payday at City Hall,” by Gennady Sheyner
• Second Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “Blown Away,” by Gennady Sheyner, Jocelyn Dong, Sue Dremann, Brenna Malmberg News Story
• Third Place: Central City Extra, “New super smack puts Public Health in crisis mode,” by Mark Hedin

Page Design
• First Place: San Francisco Business Times “Warriors,” by Matt Petty
• Second Place: San Francisco Business Times “Raiders,” by Mitch Green, Matt Petty
• Third Place: El Tecolote, “Fired up,” by Alexis Terrazas, Mabel Jimenez, Atticus Morris, Katie Beas

• First Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “Stanford under pressure,” by Elena Kadvany
• Second Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “The fight to preserve Buena Vista,” by Gennady Sheyner
• Third Place: Central City Extra, “TL: Diverse City,” by Tom Carter, Paul Dunn

Sports Feature
• First Place: El Tecolote, “Squashing the odds: Latina immigrant breaks stereotypes,” by Alexis Terrazas  


Corporate Brochure
• First Place: Serra High School - San Mateo “2015 Admissions Video,” by Sandy Brook, Beth Freeman, Rico Corona, John Coen  


Feature / Serious
• First Place: KALW, “Lady Jay talks about being transgender in prison,” by Louis A. Scott
• Second Place: KALW, “Life after the Jungle: One woman's struggle with homelessness,” by Isabell Angell

Feature / Light
• First Place: KALW, “How to stake your place in line for California’s precious water,” by Audrey Dilling
• Second Place: KALW, “Band of volunteers keeps an eye on SF bond projects,” by Raja Shah

• First Place: KALW, “NUMMI, five years later,” by Angela Johnston
• Second Place: KALW, “Black mental health care,” by Leila Day

Public Affairs
• First Place: KHMB Radio, “John Muller - aka Farmer John,” by Peter Finch

• First Place: KQED 9, “One Collective Breath: Janet Cardiff's The Forty Part Motet,” by Lori Halloran, Aaron Drury

Feature / Light
• First Place: KQED 9, “Bleak Beauty: The Photography of David Maisel,” by Aaron Drury, Lori Halloran, Blake McHugh, Owen Bissell

Feature / Serious
• First Place: Al Jazeera America, “Fathers Day Behind Bars,” by Melissa Chan, Matt McFetridge, Mike Anderson
• Second Place: Al Jazeera America, “Inside the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program,” by Melissa Chan, Matt McFetridge, Mike Anderson
• Third Place: Al Jazeera America, “First Cuban Farmers Market Signals Reform,” by Melissa Chan, Emma Calderín, Belisa Morillo, Mike Anderson

News Story
• First Place: Al Jazeera America, “Weapons Show Fuels Police Militarization Debate,” by Melissa Chan, Matt McFetridge, Mike Anderson
• Second Place: Al Jazeera America, “Couple Return Home After Devastating Fire,” by Melissa Chan, Matt McFetridge, Mike Anderson News Story
• Third Place: Al Jazeera America, “Anticipation Builds in Havana,” by Melissa Chan, Emma Calderín, Belisa Morillo, Mike Anderson

Public Affairs
• First Place: “Talking with Henrietta,” a TV show, “The Social Determinants of Health,” by Henrietta J. Burroughs

Sports Feature
• First Place: Al Jazeera America, “Cuban Baseball Players Eye U.S.,” by Melissa Chan, Emma Calderín, Belisa Morillo, Mike Anderson

• First Place: Al Jazeera America, Composite by Mike Anderson

The Bill Workman News Writer Award, a scholarship and stipend established in 2015 to honor the journalism career of former San Francisco Chronicle reporter and SFPPC past president Bill Workman, is given each year to the First Place winner of the Newspaper/Daily News Story category. Joshua Sabatini of the SF Examiner won the 2016 Bill Workman News Writer Award for the pair of stories “SF homeless families face difficult choice of shelter or school” and “SF homeless shelter changes policy on families amid criticism.”

Journalist Carla DeLuca Worfolk, an Emmy award-winning television and documentary producer, gave the keynote speech at the SFPPC luncheon. Worfolk has enjoyed an extensive career across media, gravitating towards highly creative assignments with an emphasis on education, public service and policy. During her years as a CNN producer in Atlanta, Worfolk supervised content for the highly-rated CNN Saturday/Sunday Morning program, a live, two-hour magazine show, and was also on the Emmy-winning team that covered the Olympic Park Bombing in 1996.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Journalism awards luncheon Oct. 1

The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club will present the 39th Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards on Saturday, Oct. 1. More than 100 journalists representing 29 media organizations will receive awards at the luncheon. The Greater Bay Area Journalism Contest is sponsored by SmallTownPapers Inc.

The awards ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza in Foster City, 1221 Chess Drive.

The Press Club received 241 entries this year. The judging was done by press clubs in other cities -- Cleveland, Florida, Houston, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Orange County and San Diego.

Here's a list of general award winners. Specific awards, such as first-, second- and third-place, will be announced at the luncheon.

Journalist Carla De Luca Worfolk, an Emmy award-winning television and documentary producer, will give a keynote speech. Worfolk has enjoyed an extensive career across media, gravitating toward highly creative assignments with an emphasis on education, public service and policy. During her years as a CNN producer in Atlanta, Worfolk supervised content for the highly-rated CNN Saturday/Sunday Morning program, a live, two-hour magazine show, and was also on the Emmy-winning team that covered the Olympic Park Bombing in 1996.

The awards luncheon is open to the public. Visit this link to purchase tickets or use PayPal (top left).

Press Club thanks retiring board members

A note from Press Club President Antonia Ehlers:

Thank you to Melissa McRobbie, Aimee Lewis Strain and Laura Dudnick for your tireless energy and contribution to the Press Club's board. You have inspired us in many ways and we wish you all the best in the future.

We welcome two new board members, Carla De Luca Worfolk and Edrie Blackwater, and look forward to working with both of you to continue our mission of fostering the spirit of journalism.

KQED seeks applications for its youth advisory board

KQED is looking for high school students who want to join the broadcaster's new Youth Advisory Board.

The board will meet every other week throughout the 2016-2017 school year to hear pitches from KQED staff, discuss how to improve media use in the classroom and provide feedback on KQED media and educational tools.

It's an opportunity to meet other teens, learn more about media and help KQED improve its programming.

The board is open to Bay Area students in grades 9-12. Participants will be compensated with a $400 gift card.

The application deadline is Sept. 30, 2016. CLICK HERE to apply.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Warren Hinckle, columnist and author, dead at 77

Warren Hinckle, the pugnacious
San Francisco columnist and author, died Thursday (Aug. 25) at age 77.

The Examiner’s obit said, “Recognized in part for the unmistakable eye patch that he wore following a childhood accident and his beloved basset hound Bentley that accompanied Hinckle everywhere from assignments to the newsroom to bars, Hinckle dipped his pen into San Francisco politics for decades, writing memorable columns for numerous publications including the San Francisco Examiner.”

The Chronicle said in its obit: “One of the milestone moments for Mr. Hinckle came when he assigned Hunter S. Thompson to cover the Kentucky Derby in 1970 for Scanlan’s Monthly. The resultant rollicking article, 'The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,' not only launched the over-the-top, personalized journalism that came to be known as gonzo, it began a lifelong friendship between Mr. Hinckle and Thompson. Mr. Hinckle’s final book, 'Who Killed Hunter S. Thompson?' is expected to be published this year. He began writing it in 2005 and was making changes to the manuscript until near his death.”

Friday, August 12, 2016

If you haven't seen it already, here's John Oliver's piece on the decline of newspaper journalism

John Oliver of HBO's "Last Week Tonight" takes aim at the newspaper industry and lambasts the corporate owners like Tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing). It includes a hilarious parody of the movie "Spotlight," featuring a reporter who desperately tries to report a scandal at city hall but is impeded by his own paper's obsession with social media and clickbait.

Maybe the best scene in the movie parody was when the paper's editor, played by Jason Sudeikis, tells the reporter, played by Bobby Cannavale, that he's not interested in his corruption story. “I’m just not sure what kind of clicks were going to get on that,” Sudeikis says, before green-lighting a story pitch from Rose Byrne about a cat that looks like a raccoon. When Cannavale protests, Sudeikis delivers the ugly truth about the state of journalism today.

“Technically, you don’t work for a newspaper anymore,” Sudeikis says. “You work at a multi-platform, content generation distribution network now.”

Between 2004 and 2014, online ad revenue generated $2 billion in profit for newspapers, Oliver said, while print ad revenue fell by $30 billion. "That's like finding a lucky penny on the sidewalk on the same day your bank account is drained by a 16-year-old Belgian hacker," Oliver joked.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Protesters attack KTVU crew

A KTVU news crew was assaulted by protesters in San Francisco's Mission District on Friday night, and police have made three arrests.

The incident took place around 9:30 p.m. on Valencia Street near the Mission Police Station. Police said several protesters confronted the news crew demanding not to be filmed, then assaulted the crew resulting in injuries not considered life-threatening, according to Bay City News.

KTVU reported Saturday that protesters shouted expletives about the station and "mainstream media" before clashing with police.

Nearby officers attempted to separate the people involved and arrested three protesters on suspicion of battery and resisting arrest. Many of the protesters left the scene, according to police, but 30 to 40 people stayed on Valencia — throwing garbage into the street and lighting it on fire. They left the scene after an order to disperse. Police say they used a fire extinguisher to put the flames out.

The Associated Press reports that three protesters were arrested on suspicion of battery and resisting arrest, said Sgt. Michael Andraychak.

No officers were injured, but police advised media outlets covering protests over the weekend to be aware of a hostile element.

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, eastbaytimes.com, replacing the current contracostatimes.com and insidebayarea.com. 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 brada@scscourt.org 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."