Bay Citizen and CIR announce merger of their newsrooms

A newsroom formed to counter the Chronicle could be run by the guy who oversaw that paper's decline.

The Bay Citizen and Center for Investigative Journalism have formally announced their intent to merge under the leadership of Phil Bronstein, who plans to cut almost $2 million from the combined newsrooms. As I wrote last week: How can this possibly be good for local journalism? It will take 30 days to seal the deal and we'll have more reporting and analysis in the coming weeks.


BTW, I find it amusing that they're stressing "accountability journalism" even though Bronstein has yet to return my calls, despite the tenet in the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics calling for journalists to be accountable to the general public and other journalists.

Posted by steven on Feb. 08, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

for a variety of reasons. You are much more of an advocate for issues and causes you believe in than you are a "journalist" - you have said as much in this forum on many occasions.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 08, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

I may write from a certain perspective and even advocate for addressing certain issues and problems, but I am first and foremost a journalist, which means I am fair to all sides, I contact the people I'm writing about and let them air their arguments, and I am accountable and accessible to journalists and the general public. I practice the kind of journalism that has a long and proud history in this country -- and I've been doing it for 20 years -- even if it differs from the supposedly "objective" journalism that Bronstein claimed to practice at the Chron when he drove that paper into the ground. And if he wants to argue otherwise or explain how the diminished newsrooms under his command will offer “an unprecedented level of accountability reporting for the Bay Area," I'm be happy to listen and dutifully report what he says, even if I might also pair that with reporting that casts doubts on his claims. That's what journalists should do.

Posted by steven on Feb. 08, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

pieces you have written that:

1) Support the GOP
2) Support George W Bush
3) Support the war in Iraq
4) Oppose gay marriage
5) Argue for tax decreases

and so on? Of course not. Because you are not "fair to all sides". You are riddled with bias and that is the death knell for anyone claiming to be a serious journalist.

Sorry but you can't have it both ways. Either you are a journalist or you are a biased blogger.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 08, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

Of course not. I already said that I write from a progressive perspective, and I think that overtly taking any of those stands that you suggest would be biased against the broad public interest in favor of more narrow (and more powerful) interests. But I am a journalist who is fair to all sides, so I have fairly quoted and reported the arguments for tax decreases by Mayor Lee and others, I have fairly quoted those who oppose same-sex marriage, and I have fairly quoted various arguments by conservatives. Believe me, I hear about it when people don't think I've been fair, and I have made corrections in the past when appropriate. And when I want to contest the arguments they make, I use diligent reporting and verifiable facts to support counter-arguments. But to simply write one side says X and the other side says Y, which some consider "journalistic objectivity," I consider something closer to willful ignorance that does a disserve to the public. My goal is to seek and expose the truth, a view that is admitted colored by my progressive worldview, and to be transparent in my arguments and sourcing so people with differing worldviews can arrive at different conclusions.

Posted by steven on Feb. 08, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

How is that being "fair"?

You have to jump off the fence. Either you are a partisan propagana merchant OR you are a fair, dispassionate, objective journalist.

You can't have it both ways.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 08, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

And you can't misrepresent my clearly stated position and claim to know anything about journalism. I am a journalist, and I have been my entire adult life, and you are at best a partisan propagandist, but more likely just a garden variety Internet troll.

Posted by steven on Feb. 09, 2012 @ 11:04 am

several in fact.

1. Bronstein was not good for the Chron, although to be fair its shrinking subscriber base and advertising budget is something which impacts every print publication today.

2. The merger under Bronstein authority isn't "good" for investigative or local journalism in any way.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 08, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

UC Berkeley (UCB) pulls back on admission offers to California residents. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau displaces Californians qualified for public Cal. with a $50,600 payment from foreign students. And, foreign student tuition is subsidized in the guise of diversity while instate student tuition/fees are doubled.

UCB is not increasing enrollment. Birgeneau accepts $50,600 foreign students and displaces qualified instate Californians (When depreciation of assets funded by Californians are in foreign and out of state tuition calculations, out of state and foreign tuition is more than $100,000 + and does NOT subsidize instate tuition). Like Coaches, Chancellors Who Do Not Measure-Up Must Go.

More recently, Chancellor Birgeneau’s campus police deployed violent baton jabs on students protesting Birgeneau’s tuition increases. The sky will not fall when Birgeneau and his $450,000 salary are ousted. Opinions make a difference; email UC Board of Regents

Posted by Guest Milan Moravec on Feb. 09, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

In September 2010, I wrote to Phil Bronstein to object to the Center for Investigative Reporting's plan to co-sponsor, with the Film Arts Foundation, a showing of Dorothy Scranton's "Earth Made of Glass," followed by a panel on "Documentary Film as Investigative Reporting," on September 30. Bronstein did not respond and CIR went ahead with the presentation of Dorothy Scranton as an investigative reporter/documentarian. Her project was in fact a tribute to Rwandan President Paul Kagame as the savior who stopped the Rwanda Genocide. She also constructed it so as to help Kagame blame France.

The official Rwandan, and Pentagon version of the Rwanda Genocide, reproduced in this film is a massive cover-up of Kagame and the RPF's crimes and U.S. collusion. It became, however, Kagame's excuse, "to hunt down Hutu militias responsible for the genocide," when he invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo in ensuing wars and ongoing conflict. In 2008, the International Rescue Committee estimated that 5.4 million people had died in these ensuing wars and conflicts between 1998 and 2008 alone. And that they were still dying at a rate of 45,000 month.

The false version of the Rwanda Genocide was also the excuse for invading Libya and overthrowing Ghadaffi; we were told we had to protect civilians and prevent the next Rwanda Genocide. It is now being advanced as an excuse for invading Syria and overthrowing Bashir al-Assad and for invading Sudan and overthrowing Omar al-Bashir.

As a collaborator in promoting this false history and rationale for U.S. military intervention and the overthrow of sovereign nations, CIR's integrity, as an investigative organization, is highly compromised. Though this is far from the Bay Citizen's local beat, I don't think it bodes well for the publication.

I wrote about this and left hot links to various evidence based arguments regarding the Rwanda Genocide on the Bay Citizen version of this story.

As in 2010, Bronstein has not responded.

Posted by Guest Ann Garrison on Feb. 09, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

genocide and for a defense of the Interahamwe and France's indefensible role in arming and propagating the genocide of 900,000 Rwandans. You should be ashamed.

How surprising Bronstein ignored you.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 09, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

This is to correct myself. The Center for Investigative Reporting collaborated with the San Francisco Film Society, not the Film Arts Foundation, in its mind boggling presentation of "Earth Made of Glass" as an example of documentary film making as investigative reporting. Here's the 2010 promo:,37&pageid=1862

I've been asking myself how this could have happened off and on for the past two years.

Posted by Guest Ann Garrison on Aug. 20, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

@Guest: As I said, I left remarks including hot links that provide evidence based argument. CIR stands for the Center for Investigative Reporting, so you would think they might have read at least a few of the last 18 years of UN human rights investigations, and investigations by Human Rights Watch, Global Witness, and more, about the Rwanda Genocide and the ensuing holocaust in D.R. Congo, before presenting"Earth Made of Glass," as "investigative documentary filmmaking."

Clearly, they did not read any of them. Instead they presented the Wikipedia version of the Rwanda Genocide, which triggers a host of edit alerts and a Wiki war to make sure it's never changed, as an investigation.

The death toll, and the Pentagon's culpability in all this, make that a very serious error, intentional or not, for an investigative reporting organization to make.

Posted by Guest Ann Garrison on Feb. 09, 2012 @ 6:40 pm