It’s true! The Mission is leaving Berkeley! As announced yesterday by Dean Ed Wasserman, Mission Local will no longer be a project of the Graduate School of Journalism.

But that doesn’t mean Mission Local is shutting down. Ever since we started in the fall of 2008, the Mission has been a proving ground for many of the major global issues of our time: from inequality to health care, from immigration to gastronomic tourism, from speculation to education to street art. And now the Mission is ground zero for the national tech story. Walk away from a story like that? I don’t think so.

Yes, Mission Local has been a Berkeley project — and I will remain a professor at Berkeley. But few people realize that it has been produced by terrific Berkeley students primarily during the 15-week fall semester, when Berkeley’s hyperlocals were central to the school’s basic reporting and writing course.

For the other 37 weeks a year, Mission Local has depended on a small core of dedicated students, interns from other institutions and community contributors — some of whom have gone on to study at Berkeley or to work at different media outlets. Mission Local has been lucky in attracting exceptional help.

Going forward, the good news is that Mission Local will now be in a better position to experiment and develop new tools to create the community journalism for the 21st century.

To make it work, we will continue to rely on your generous contributions of time, skills and critical comments. We will also need money.

We will be seeking investors who are interested in innovating with new revenue models. In the past, we’ve had some success with traditional sources — advertising, donations, events and merchandise. Those alone, however, are not enough.

In the future journalism will depend on numerous revenue models, many of which have yet to be developed. We expect to play a part in discovering what they might be.

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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