Illustration by Carola Noguer

It’s a New Year and I hope to get a better handle on writing this very occasional, and purposely very short, column.

I may have been somewhat discouraged late last year after I drafted a rant about Facebook, and my editor said I sounded like a crank. Or was it a curmudgeon?

So we shelved that column. Good thing, too, because now it’s all sunshine and unicorns here at Mission Local. I could almost say that everything happens for a reason. (But I won’t.)

One of my early columns had complained about the lack of transparency at the San Francisco Foundation. “You are probably annoying people we want funding from,” Mission Local’s sage managing editor, Joe Eskenazi, advised before it went up. I doubted we would ever get any funding anyway, and I thought the column might put the Foundation on notice and at least help some other small nonprofits that might also be having trouble navigating their website. Besides, I was cranky.

But, lo and behold, the SFF has thick skin. Within the month, Eric Brown, the interim VP of marketing and communication, and Ling Woo Liu, the director of that department, visited us, asked great questions and seemed truly interested in our answers. They promised nothing but made some suggestions. In the end, we got a nice grant and the promise of help in guiding us through a future application process.  Is the lesson here that it is worth annoying potential funders or simply that the SF Foundation is particularly gracious? I think it may be the latter.

Next week: More good news.

Earlier columns.

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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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