Since 2008, Mission Local, an independent news site based in the Mission District, has been focused on high-impact, enterprise reporting on everything from police reform to corruption at City Hall, housing, and the gig economy. Core to our mission is training the next generation of journalists who reflect the diversity of San Francisco.

Because we’re based in the city’s oldest (and arguably, best) neighborhood we also chronicle the lives and changes here, but often, what is happening in the Mission is happening across San Francisco.

Originally a project of UC Berkeley’s Journalism School, we struck out on our own in 2014. In the summer of 2018, we became a fiscally sponsored project.

We kept growing and in October 2022, the IRS granted Mission Local SF (EIN: 88-3177547) status as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (retroactive to July 1, 2022). All donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

We’re delighted to have the help of a superb group of advisors on our Board of Directors. You can read about them here.

Throughout our journey, our goals have not changed. We aspire to be a model of local, self-sustaining, fiercely independent news – one that trains young journalists who reflect the diversity of the city.

We continue to believe sustainability comes from our readers. You keep us here doing excellent work. You can find a list of all of our supporters here.

If you prefer checks to online donations, you can make out checks to Mission Local SF and send them to 2489 Mission St. #22, SF, CA. 94110. Any questions? Call us at 415-275-4739 or contact me at lydia.chavez@missionlocal.com.

Site illustrations: The man above our What To Do listing and the sweeper at the end of each story are illustrations done by Rini Templeton, an activist artist who did thousands of illustrations and allowed organizations and individuals to use them as open-sourced artwork. She died in 1986 in Mexico City. Some of her illustrations are kept online here.

We want to hear from you! Send your tips, story ideas, and unique perspectives to tips@missionlocal.com.

We Promise to
Offer original, transparent reporting.
Admit and correct our mistakes.
Cover everyone in the neighborhood.
Experiment on how best to make civic issues meaningful.

Our full policy on editorial independence is here. Our privacy policy is here.

Lydia Chávez

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. More by Lydia Chávez

Joe Eskenazi

Managing Editor/Columnist. Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left.

“Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior editor at San Francisco Magazine from 2015 to 2017. You may also have read his work in the Guardian (U.S. and U.K.); San Francisco Public Press; San Francisco Chronicle; San Francisco Examiner; Dallas Morning News; and elsewhere.

He resides in the Excelsior with his wife and three (!) kids, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

The Northern California branch of the Society of Professional Journalists named Eskenazi the 2019 Journalist of the Year. More by Joe Eskenazi

Annika Hom

REPORTER. Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused on local news and immigration. She is a proud Chinese and Filipina American. She has a twin brother that (contrary to soap opera tropes) is not evil.

Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom. More by Annika Hom

Eleni Balakrishnan

REPORTER. Eleni is our reporter focused on policing in San Francisco. She first moved to the city on a whim nearly 10 years ago, and the Mission has become her home. Follow her on Twitter @miss_elenius. More by Eleni Balakrishnan

Will Jarrett

DATA REPORTER. Will was born in the UK and studied English at Oxford University. After a few years in publishing, he absconded to the USA where he studied data journalism in New York. Will has strong views on healthcare, the environment, and the Oxford comma. More by Will Jarrett

Yujie Zhou

REPORTER. Yujie Zhou is our newest reporter and came on as an intern after graduating from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is a full-time staff reporter as part of the Report for America program that helps put young journalists in newsrooms. Before falling in love with the Mission, Yujie covered New York City, studied politics through the “street clashes” in Hong Kong, and earned a wine-tasting certificate in two days. She’s proud to be a bilingual journalist. Follow her on Twitter @Yujie_ZZ. More by Yujie Zhou

Chuqin Jiang

INTERN DATA REPORTER. Chuqin has two degrees in data journalism and she is passionate about making data more accessible to readers. Before arriving in the Mission, she covered small business and migratory birds in New York City while learning to code and design at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. She loves coastal cities, including SF and her hometown Ningbo. More by Chuqin Jiang

David Mamaril Horowitz

David’s one of those San Francisco natives who gets excited whenever City College is mentioned. He has journalism degrees from there and San Francisco State University, graduating from the latter in May 2021. In college, David played five different roles as an editor at student news publications and reported as an intern for three local newspapers, mostly while waiting tables at the Alamo Drafthouse. His first job was at Mitchell’s Ice Cream. More by David Mamaril Horowitz

Carolyn Stein

Intern reporter. Carolyn grew up in Los Angeles. She previously served as a desk editor for her college newspaper The Stanford Daily. When she’s not reporting, you can find her going on an unnecessarily long walk. More by Carolyn Stein

Mark Rabine

Mark Rabine has lived in the Mission for over 40 years. “What a long strange trip it’s been.” He has maintained our Covid tracker through most of the pandemic, taking some breaks with his search for the Mission’s best fried-chicken sandwich and now its best noodles. When the Warriors make the playoffs, he writes up his take on the games. More by Mark Rabine

Madison Alvarado

FREELANCER. Madison Alvarado was raised in the Bay Area and moved to San Francisco after attending undergrad at Duke University. She fell in love with reporting in high school, and after a brief hiatus is eager to continue learning and growing as a storyteller. She has been covering UCSF’s Grand Rounds since the summer of 2020. More by Madison Alvarado

Ana Aguilar

Business/Outreach. We met Ana when she was still an undergraduate in communications at San Francisco State University. She went on to The University of Texas at Austin where she is completing her Ph.D. She is now a fellow at the David & Lucille Packard Foundation and she continues to help us on our business side. Ana is also a keen biker so you may see her looping around the city or on a biking/camp trip in the north bay. More by Ana Aguilar

Mimi Chakarova

MULTIMEDIA ADVSIOR. I’m a documentary filmmaker who taught with Lydia at Mission Local when it was a Berkeley Project. Now, I’m called in to advise on projects and delight in doing so. Otherwise, I’m making films. My last was The Price of Sex. Others include Men: A Love Story and In the Red. My current project is Still I Rise. More by Mimi Chakarova

Sandra Salmans

I provide editing support for Mission Local from New York, about 2500 miles away from SFO. (I just looked it up.) This allows me to retain my journalistic objectivity and fussy adherence to East Coast standards of punctuation. I got involved with Mission Local a few years ago through Lydia, whom I met in the early 1980s at The New York Times, where I was a business reporter. Since then I’ve been in and out of journalism and nonprofits, and have also tried my hand at fiction. A couple of years ago I contributed Mission Local’s first fiction series, a comic novel called Love in the Middle Ages. More by Sandra Salmans

Beth Winegarner

COPY EDITOR. Beth Winegarner is a Bay Area native who’s lived in San Francisco since 2004, and she’s in the Mission at least once a week. She’s written for local publications like the SF Weekly, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco magazine, as well as the New Yorker, the Guardian, Wired, Mother Jones and others. Her favorite tacos and alambres come from El Farolito. More by Beth Winegarner

George Lipp

George Lipp has long lived in the Mission. He’s our volunteer extraordinaire – always out taking photos or running across crimes in progress. More by George Lipp

Where we are

Our Address: 2489 Mission Street #22, 94110, San Francisco
Our Telephone Number.: 1-415-374-7329

Best way to reach us: info@missionlocal.com


Timeline

2022 September – Mission Local wins the Online News Association award for General Excellence for micro newsrooms.

2022 September – Mission Local wins the Insight Award from the Institute of Nonprofit News for Garbage Odyssey by Lydia Chávez and edited by Joe Eskenazi and Sandra Salmans.

2022 August – Mission Local announces an inaugural board of directors to oversee its new nonprofit.

2021 July – Mission Local wins an APEX award for the pandemic project, “How Do We Survive,” supported by the Pulitzer Center.

2021 May – Julian Mark wins the Social Justice Award from the Ethnic Media Awards contest for his piece, “Maurice Caldwell had his conviction overturned a decade ago: city attorney says he’s a killer.”

2021 March – “Testing the Limits,” a series of heavily reported stories spread over the course of months earned Mission Local a semi-final nod in the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Journalism.

2021 February – Julian Mark wins outstanding emerging journalist from the Northern California Socitey of Professional Journalists

2020 October – Mission Local wins Best of the Bay award for best website.

2019 October – Our managing editor Joe Eskenazi is named journalist of the year.

2018 Fall – Mission Local celebrates 10 years!

2018 October – Mission Local wins three top awards from the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists

2018 Summer – We’re in the process of becoming a fiscally sponsored, non-profit project.

2018 Summer – Joe Eskenazi, formerly with SF Weekly and SF Magazine, becomes Managing Editor

2017 Fall – Instead of covering crime, we focus on covering the SFPD and how it works.

2016 November – In the race for District 9 Supervisor, a civic engagement project – 43 Questions – runs for 43 weeks and ends in a public forum.

2015/2016 – The community helps photograph every block in the Mission for Good Morning Mission.

2015 October – Daniel Hirsch, Andrea Valencia, Laura Wenus and Lydia Chavez of Mission Local win the SPJ NORCAL Excellence in Journalism Award for Community Journalism for “their broad, in-depth coverage of San Francisco’s Mission District, with a strong focus on how housing issues affect residents.”

2015 March – Mission Local moves into a new space at 19th and Mission.

2015 January – The 108-year-old building where Mission local’s offices are located is damaged in a fire that leaves one dead and dozens of tenants and businesses homeless.

Mission Local produces numerous articles covering the fire including two in-depth investigative pieces on the owner.

The staff finds temporary refuge with neighbors Mission Bicycle and the data analysis team Wagon.

2014 October – We redesign and add new features. We also start selling business and reader memberships.

2014 September – CBS local names Mission local as one of the best local blogs in the Bay Area. We’re pleased, but we’re not a blog!

2014 June – We’re officially Mission Local Inc. We publish a print edition of historical pieces.

2014 February – Ed Wasserman, a new dean at Berkeley’s J-school decides that “The curricular value (of Mission Local) to our students is limited or even, at times, non-existent.” He stops funding for the hyperlocals during school breaks or vacations.

We disagree about the value, and spin Mission Local off as its own independent, media enterprise.

2013 March – Rent Increases mean Mission Local moves to 2588 Mission Street.

2011 Fall – Mission Loc@l becomes Mission Local.

2011 September – Streetfight writes about Mission Local as the “Hyperlocal That Gets Its Right”.

2010 Fall – Mission Local is a Finalist for SPJ’s National Mark of Excellence Award.

2010 May – Mission Local wins first place for Region SPJ on How Clean Are San Francisco Restaurants? – by Mission Loc@l Staff, University of California, Berkeley. The series changes the citywide restaurant inspection policy.

2009 Fall – We begin a collaboration with SFGate, posting our stories on their local blogs with link backs to Mission Local.

The concrete sculptures on 20th Street won’t budge from their space so we find new offices on Treat and 17th Streets.

2009 AugustKQED notices our on-the-ground reporting of the changes on Mission Street.

2009 June – Mission Local wins Webby Award for the best student news site in the country.

2009 March – Mission Local begins translating all of its content into Spanish.

2009 January – We get our first office in the Mission on 20th Street, sharing 600 square feet with some enormous concrete garden sculptures.

2008 October – Launched as a project of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Great stories, but no one is reading us.