In This Issue
Two rising stars join Journalism  Department 

The SF State Journalism Department is pleased to announce the hiring of Staci Baird, Professional in Residence, and
Sachi Cunningham, tenure-track assistant professor.

Baird, a media specialist with more than 10 years of experience with traditional and non-traditional media, will be working
closely with the Xpress lab and teaching some of our digital courses. Baird was hired away from Stanford University, where she was the Internet and social media strategist for the School of Engineering. Previously, she worked at CBS Interactive, Lucasfilm and MSN Money, among many other ventures. Staci returns to SF State, where she was a lecturer from 2009 to 2011.

Cunningham is an Emmy and Webby award-winning journalist and filmmaker. In 2008 she was recruited to join the first video team at the Los Angeles Times, where she covered stories from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to the historic El Ni´┐Żo big wave season of 2010.  Cunningham attended the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. When not working on documentary stories, Cunningham likes to surf with her husband.

Both Baird and Cunningham will start teaching this fall.
SF State awards tenure to Dr. Cristina Azocar

Cristina Azocar has just received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor. This means we'll get to see much more of Cristina, as a mentor, teacher and director of CIIJ. Please join us in congratulating Cristina.

FYI: Current students and alumni - CIIJ is offering free  digital skills workshops the week of July 30. Video Storytelling, Video Editing, Smartphone Journalism, Creating Your Journalism Brand, First Amendment in the Digital Age, Creating Interactive Resumes and Cover Letters and Freelancing in the Digital Age. Visit the CIIJ website in June to sign up.
SF State's Dilena Takeyama Center screens new film

"Tokyo Waka," a documentary film that was screened this semester by a new center - The Dilena Takeyama Center for the Study of Japan and Japanese Culture - headed by journalism professor Jon Funabiki, enjoyed its world premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival in April. By focusing on the large population of crows in Tokyo, the documentary offers a poetic examination of the relationships between man and nature in one of the most advanced metropolitan cities in the world. The sneak preview and Q&A with filmmakers John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson at San Francisco State was held in January and drew a crowd of more than 80 attendees.

SF State University honors journalist Jose Antonio Vargas

Jose Antonio Vargas has been chosen by San Francisco State University as the 2012 Alumnus of the YearVargas (B.A. in Political Science '04) will be honored at the university's 111th Commencement on Saturday, May 19.

Vargas is part of a team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its breaking news coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings.  

He holds a special place in our hearts in Journalism because he graduated from BAMMA. "I attended the Bay Area Multicultural Media Academy, a two-week journalism camp for minority students," Vargas said. "It sealed my career as a journalist. It was the first time I'd heard the idea of a career as a journalist."


Amy Alexander chosen as Outstanding Journalism Alumna 2012

The Journalism department has selected Amy L. Alexander as Outstanding Journalism Alumna of 2012.

Alexander (B.A. '89) 
is author of four nonfiction books, including Uncovering Race: A Black Journalist's Story of Reporting and Reinvention.

A former staff writer at The San Francisco Examiner, The Fresno Bee, and The Miami Herald, Alexander now works as editorial promotions manager at the Chronicle of Higher Education in D.C.

will be honored at the May 18 spring alumni reception and  


The San Francisco Bay Area Press Photographers Association (SFBAPPA) Student Photographer of the Year:

  • 1st place: Elijah Nouvelage (B.A. May 2012)

  • 2nd place: Jana Asenbrennerova (B.A. 2011)
Hearst Journalism Awards program Photojournalism finalist: Elijah Nouvelage.
He will participate in the finals in San Francisco the first week of June 2012.

Congratuations to Golden Gate Xpress and Xpress magazine staffs and individual students who won awards from the California College Media Association.

Alum Roll Call: Amy Machnak (B.A. '07) food writer at Sunset Magazine. LaToya Tooles (B.A. '09) associate web producer at the Center of Investigative Reporting. Eric Gneckow (B.A. '09) reporter at North Bay Business Journal. Charles Russo (M.A. '09) writer and photographer at Half Moon Bay Review.  Zoneil Maharaj (B.A. '07) editor at Patch. Kris Noceda (B.A. '06)) editor at Patch. Erika Langdon (B.A.'11) web editorial assistant at the SF Examiner. Krystal Peak (B.A. '11) social media and information technology reporter at Kimberly Chua (B.A. '10) web producer, Bay Area News Group (BANG). Jason Shuffler (B.A. '06) contributing writer at The Daily, San Francisco. Anna Karlson (B.S. '08) news reporter at TV4, Sweden. Timothy Henry (B.A. '08), web editor at the Jakarta Globe. Dan Powell (B.A. '11) production editor at the Jakarta Globe newspaper and an editorial adviser on Kemang Buzz magazine in Indonesia. Nicole Ely (B.A. '10) editor at Patch. Theresa Seiger (B.A. '11) digital content producer at Raycom Media. Dan Verel (B.A. '10) staffer at North Bay Business Journal,  Frankie Tobin (B.A. '11) staffer at Atomic PR. Anthony Myers (B.A. '11) staffer at CMSWire. Morgan Brinlee (B.A. '10) copy editor at The Hurriyet Daily News and freelance correspondent in Istanbul, Turkey. Emma Hall (BA '10) web editor at Mediamerica. Angela Hart (B.A. '10) editor at Patch and incoming graduate student at UC Berkeley School of Journalism. Mollie McWilliams (B.A. '08) editorial coordinator at SF Weekly. Jerold Chin (B.A. '09) SF Public Press. David DeBolt (B.A. '09) reporter at the Daily Republic in Fairfield, Calif. David Agrell (B.A. '08) digital club services staffer for Major League Soccer. Sean Maher (B.A. '08) morning breaking news editor for the East Bay at BANG. Donna Tam (B.A. '07) breaking news writer at CNET in SF. Poh Si Teng (B.A. '07)) video journalist at  Ian Thomas (B.A. '07) writer for culture blog, Also wrote and directing a short film, "Text Tainan." Louis Bohan (B.A. '09) writer for (in Taiwan with Ian). Angela Bacca (B.A. '07 and M.B.A. Mills '12) editor of seven books and freelancer for Skunk magazine, Cannabis Culture, West Coast Cannabis and the Puffington host. Kamala Kelker (B.A. '07)  stringer for The Daily and BANG. Sean Patrick McCourt (B.A. '05) entertainment calendar editor at Bay City News, contributing writer for San Francisco Bay Guardian and other publications. Amanda Tomaszewski (B.A. '10) freelancer photographer. Khari Johnson (B.A. '08) editor at Patch. Laila Kearney (B.A. '09) editor at Patch. Doug Morino (B.A. '08) staff writer at Daily Breeze. Aaron Morrison (B.A. '08) East Coast political reporter-producer for Loop 21, an African American news, politics and culture online site. Christopher Laddish (B.A. '08) weekly contributor to Marinscope Community Newspapers. Dylan Silver (B.A. '08) reporter at Tahoe Daily Tribune. Stephen Lam (B.A. '09) contributor with Reuters. Allie Schratz (B.A. '09), editor of Business Review Australia digital magazine (San Diego). Sharise Cruz (B.A. '09), editor of Business Review USA digital magazine (also San Diego). Lindsey Graham-Jones (B.A. '11) freelancer in Santa Cruz and regular contributor to Good Times weekly. Amber Sandhu (B.A. '11) editorial intern at, filmmaker, nurse and independent journalist. She just launched a campaign for her very first short movie "Stale Vows." Erick Ayapana (B.A. '07) associate online editor at Motor Trend magazine. Carina Woudenberg (B.A. '09) freelancer who mainly covers the San Mateo County Coast. Curtis Steudeman (B.A. '07) page designer at SF Examiner. Jason Shuffler (B.A. '06) contributing writer to The Daily in San Francisco. Justin Morrison (B.A. '11) page designer at the Fayetteville Observer. Kendra Hartmann (B.A. '07), editor of the La Jolla Village News in San Diego. Crystal Carter (B.A. '08) media relations associate at The Commonwealth Club and launching a magazine called Pops Campaign! Robinson Kuntz (B.A. '09) photojournalist at the Daily Republic in Fairfield. Ryan Chalk (B.A. '07) staff writer and photographer at the Vacaville Reporter. Julia Robinson (B.A. '07) award-winning photojournalist and multimedia producer based in Austin, Texas.

More ...

Alexis Terrazas
(B.A. '11) freelancer for The San Francisco Examiner. Veronica Weber (B.A. '06)  staff photographer at the Palo Alto Weekly. Ariel Zambelich (B.A. '06) associate photo editor/Tumblr editor at Wired. Kimihiro Hoshino (B.A. '06) photo freelancer for AFP and Embarcadero Media. Daniel Jimenez (B.A. '06) reporter on breaking news team for BANG.
Kirstina Sangsahachart (B.A. '08). )  photographer for the Daily News and BANG
. Kristina Barker (B.A. '07) photographer at Rapid City Journal in South Dakota. Suzanna Mitchell (B.A. '05) photo assistant for SF Giants.  Grace Dulce-Cottonham (BA '11) freelance writer for and social media intern for Stanford School of Engineering. Meghan Dubitsky (BA '11) content producer for Kelsey Avers (B.A. '11) web coordinator for Department of English at SF State.  Doug Morino (B.A. '08) reporter at Daily Breeze in Torrance, Calif. Kelly Mahan (B.A.'10) feature writer, photo editor and videographer for AOL Huffington Post Media Group. Cheryl A. Guerrero (B.A. '07) staff photographer for Los Angeles Times Community News. Cassie Harwood (B.S. '11) calendar editor at East Bay Express.  
This is just the beginning of our impressive Roll Call! We want to hear from all of you: Career change? Going back to school? New gig? Book? Short story? We want to add you to Roll Call in our next newsletter this fall, which will mark our 50th anniversary as a Journalism Department at SF State. Please join our SFSU Journalism Alumni page and tell us what you're up to!
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The latest from SF State's Journalism Department 


Hope you're enjoying a productive year so far! The Journalism Department has been up to quite a bit, as you'll see in this newsletter. Among the highlights: Two new hires in the department, a riveting speech from Google's Richard Gingras, another book publication, the premiere of two new films and a successful alumni panel hosted by the Xpress.

Also, if I had any doubt that a journalism degree can get you jobs, please check out our Alum Roll Call. If you're not yet on the Roll Call, please tell us what you're up to at our Facebook page. We really do want to hear from you!

And special thanks goes to SF State alum and former Chronicle editor Michael Yamamoto, who recently gave our department a $1,000 donation. A very big thank you also goes to alum and BANG web producer Kimberly Chua, who donated $500. Thank you!
Google's Richard Gingras says the future of journalism is bright


Richard Gingras, head of News Products for Google, told students at SF State University this semester that the future of journalism will be "better than its past," if young people can adapt to a "rich" content ecosystem.

"Yes, we're in a period of tremendous disruption," Gingras told about 100 students and Bay Area professionals gathered for SF State's Journalism Department Speaker Series held in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts (download podcast) in March.

The bottom line, he added, is "I am one who feels tremendously optimistic about the future of journalism."
The key to a bright future, Gingras said, is for young people to take risks in shaping a "rich and knowledgeable" journalism ecosystem. 

"You're the ones who are going to create the news models, the new techniques, explore new paths, whether that's in the kind of products you create or how you advance the narrative form," Gingras said. "It's all over the place."

Other speech highlights:

  • Technological disruption will continue; it can be healthy for the new content ecosystem 
  • Technology in itself has no values
  • Newspaper model is not the only way to preserve quality news    
  • Old news model is in trouble because everyone has a printing press  
  • Mobile readership is booming 
  • Topic pages need more attention 
  • Social networks drive audiences to the page, but reader/user experience must improve 
  • Computational journalism is an untapped opportunity  
  • J-schools should build cross-functional curriculum
  • Some journalism students should have computer science degrees  
  • Design of vehicle of information must change to map with behaviors of today's audience
  • Unmasking beliefs and biases might help build reader trust
  • Trust is no longer about the brand. It's about the individual
Ken Kobre's 'Deadline Every Second'
Kobre Deadline


Professor Ken Kobre's documentary, "Deadline Every Second," will be premiering in San Francisco at 7 p.m. on May 17 at the City Club. The event is sold out. "Deadline Every Second" takes you behind the scenes - and on deadline - with top AP front-line shooters as photojournalists cover everything from California wildfires to the tensions in the Middle East. American Public Television is now interested in showing the documentary to public television stations nationwide.  



Yvonne Daley's new book chronicles recovery of flood victims in Vermont

Journalism professor Yvonne Daley has penned a new book capturing how communities in Vermont came together after Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Proceeds from A Mighty Storm total more than $40,000, and all of it is going to help victims.

Daley worked with The Rutland Daily Herald
to produce a book about the storm, which caused four deaths and $500 million in road damage. 
Venise Wagner begins work on a book about inequity in education and health
Venise Wagner
Associate Professor Venise Wagner is in the nascent stages of a book that offers new tools and reporting strategies to help journalists better cover racial inequities in education, health, housing, wealth/income and the criminal justice system. She is working with Sally Lehrman, the Knight Ridder/San Jose Mercury News Endowed Chair for Journalism in the Public Interest. They focus on the role structural systems and institutions play in reproducing disparate outcomes and on reversing the journalistic practices of portraying racial inequality as the product solely of individual choice and behavior.   
SF State's Renaissance Journalism launches new logo and website
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Renaissance Journalism, the department's incubator of new ideas and initiatives, has a new logo and website.  Here's an update from Professor Jon Funabiki, who heads the center: 

  • Formerly called Renaissance Journalism Center, we dropped the word "Center." We think Renaissance Journalism more accurately captures the spirit of experimentation and innovation that is at the heart of our work to re-imagine the media as a source of empowerment for underserved communities.
  • A new url. Look for us at
  • My new blog called "Media Matters" weaving together insights from my career, which spans journalism, philanthropy and academia.
  • Bay Area Ethnic & Community Media Map: By using the results from a Renaissance Journalism survey, we've charted the more than 150 ethnic and community media organizations in the Bay Area. You can narrow your search by primary language or search by a news outlet's name.
  • Resources page, where we'll post studies, research and writings on media innovations - from Renaissance Journalism and other journalism and media organizations-as well as links to many of our partners' and collaborators' websites.

On the website, you will also find links to our special projects, such as the Vietnam Reporting Project and New Media Toolkit.


by Jon Funabiki 


Kat Stewart Anderson donates $25,000
to SF State's Journalism program


Kat Stewart Anderson, a laywer and co-editor of Fog City Journal, has set up a three-year fund that will   

provide $3,000 in scholarships and enable our Journalism Department to buy new iPads, D-SLR cameras and other much-needed equipment for students.


Anderson also has launched a new summer training program that will train students how to improve their storytelling skills, network with professionals and figure out how to get paid for what they love to do most: journalism.  


Anderson is planning to attend our May 18 spring alumni reception at the City Club to hand out a $1,000 check to Jessica Schimm, our first recipient of the Kat Anderson Media Workers Support Fund for Student Journalists. Scholarship committee members were particularly impressed with Jessica's clear commitment to issues affecting women, which was among the top criteria used in selecting this year's winner. 


"It is clear that Jessica sees herself as both a storyteller and advocate for issues about which she cares deeply," Anderson said. "She embodies the bold new spirit of advocacy journalism and I can't wait to see what she does next." 


Jessica is the founding editor of the San Francisco branch of Her Campus. She also maintains a blog titled, "Women Who Run San Francisco," which includes interviews with a woman diagnosed with HIV and another woman who runs a nonprofit to help girls improve their body image.


Bud Liebes, former chair, dies at 91
Veteran journalist Lynn Lydlow with ex-chair Bud Liebes 

B. H. (Bud) Liebes, former Journalism Department chair in the 1970s and 1980s, died May 1 in Virginia. He was 91.

Bud, as colleagues and students knew him, was a long-time San Francisco Examiner news editor who first came to SF State as a lecturer in the late 1960s, hired by Leo Young, founding department chair.

A graduate of University of Missouri, he later earned a master's in communication at Stanford and a full professorship here. During his tenure as chair, Bud fought voraciously to maintain solid funding and full accreditation for the department.

Bud, with Lynn Ludlow, lecturer and Examiner reporter, founded Feed/back in 1974 as co-editors. The highly regarded Northern California journalism review published into the 1980s under the auspices of the Journalism Department.

Bud, a Pennsylvania native, was about to begin his journalism career just as the U.S. entered World War II. He put aside his personal goals in 1942 and enlisted in the Army to, as he once put it, "crush fascism." He served in the 773rd Squadron, 463rd Bomb Group, 15th Air Force as a waist gunner on a B-24 bomber.

The much-decorated Army Air Force staff sergeant flew in more than two-dozen missions over Germany and Nazi-occupied targets. He once told Ludlow that he had later visited every city that his plane had bombed. "I don't even know why," said Bud at the time.

After the war, Bud worked in Europe as a journalist on Stars and Stripes, a newspaper serving U.S. military personnel overseas. It was there he met his wife, Georgette, a French national. Georgette and their only child, Michele, predeceased him.

In his later years, Bud moved to Washington State, and later Maryland, to live near his two granddaughters.

Colleagues and friends are considering establishing a scholarship in memory of Bud Liebes and should contact the Journalism Department for information about helping to fund it.

For more information about Bud and the many students inspired by him, check out Storify's experiences with Bud Liebes.
by Jim Toland
SF State junior Rhys Alvarado named winner of Otto J. Bos scholarship

Rhys Alvarado, 24, a junior majoring in journalism, has been named the 2012-13 winner of the Otto J. Bos Memorial Scholarship for Excellence in Journalism. The scholarship covers the winner's in-state registration fees for the academic year and is the department's largest award.


Originally from Maui, Alvarado transferred to San Francisco State University from Santa Barbara City College, where he worked on The Channels campus newspaper in several capacities, including staff writer, opinion writer and editor. In addition to his current classes at San Francisco State, Rhys has been interning for the website A recent story is "Food and Carts Add Some Extra Spice to Fillmore." 


The scholarship honors the memory of Otto J. Bos, a 1970 graduate of the department, editor of its award-winning newspaper Phoenix and an All-American soccer star.  Following graduation, he became a government and politics reporter at The San Diego Union. In 1977, Otto became press secretary for San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson.  He continued to serve Wilson as he later was elected a U.S. senator and then California governor. At the time of his death of a heart attack in 1991, Otto was Gov. Wilson's director of communications and public affairs. The scholarship honors Otto's commitment to journalism and his dedication to public service. Throughout his career, Otto was admired not only for these ideals, but also for his compassion, decency, zest for competition and good-humored nature. The scholarship is intended to encourage and recognize meritorious students whose work and values reflect those held by Otto.


Alvarado's winning essay was titled "Quantity Over Quality: A Look at Twitter in the Media," Judges said the essay "was specific, coherent and well-organized ... transferring the age-old speed vs. accuracy dilemma into the digital media age, where it has ballooned to frightening dimensions." In his statement about career goals, Rhys said he hopes to emulate the likes of Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times and Carl Nolte of the San Francisco Chronicle for their ability to tell "other people's stories."


Judges for the scholarship were colleagues of Otto: Lynn Ludlow, a former department lecturer and retired journalist with the San Francisco Examiner; Michael Grant, chair of the journalism department at Grossmont Community College and a former San Diego Union columnist; and David Kutzmann, a retired journalist with the San Jose Mercury News and San Diego Union.

by Jon Funabiki 

Torri Minton scholarships awarded to two SF State journalism students

Brittney Barsotti and Sean Duffy have won the first two Torri Minton scholarships. Each student will receive $1,500 in fall 2012. Torri Minton was a beloved colleague at SF State and The San Francisco  Chronicle, where she worked as a respected feature writer and reporter. Her colleagues admired Torri's unique ability to connect with people from all walks of life.  
SF State alums offer hopeful message to Xpress students in Rachele Kanigel's class
Four SF State journalism alumni returned to campus this semester to share career tips and professional advice with Golden Gate Xpress staff members. Speaking on the panel were:
The panelists noted that networking and developing a mix of skills are among the keys to a successful career.    
Tooles suggested students develop a "San Francisco State mafia," an online network through which they could share news, tips, job announcements, etc. She urged students to take advantage of networking opportunities whenever possible and to connect with professional organizations, such as the Online News Association, which will hold its national convention 
in San Francisco, Sept. 20-22. 
Stellato encouraged students to try new things and to develop a range of skills while they are still in school. She noted that a semester's experience as the art director for Golden Gate Xpress led to her current position designing pages for the San Francisco Examiner.  
Russo, who writes as well as shoots photos for the Half Moon Bay Review and other publications, also advised students to branch out beyond simply writing or photojournalism.  
Gneckow, a former editor-in-chief of Xpress, landed his position at the North Bay Business Journal after a year of working for GilroyPatch, part of the network of hyperlocal websites run by the AOL corporation. Though he had little experience covering business, he told his editor that he had felt comfortable covering technical subjects when he was on the science and technology beat for Xpress. 
The panelists told students not to be intimidated by the tough job market. They encouraged students entering the field to be resourceful and creative. They noted that jobs do materialize for talented journalists who make good use of their wits and connections.

by Rachele Kanigel

Journalism lecturer Jim Toland
leads volunteer mentoring program

Journalism majors and minors are working with print, online and photo professionals as part of a voluntary department-sponsored mentor program. The goal for students is individual professional development through career counseling and coaching.

"We've exposed students over the past two years to professionals working in the field or who have had recent media experience," said Jim Toland, lecturer, former San Francisco Chronicle staff editor, award-winning freelancer and author of several books.

This semester, the mentor program partners with Kat Anderson, Fog City Journal (see story above), and the Pacific Media Workers Guild to expand the mentoring experience for students. More volunteer mentors are sought and the Guild is offering free summer training for students who may be paid for news coverage.

"We want to interest more alums in mentoring," said Toland, himself a grad (1974), who has just celebrated his 30th anniversary date as a lecturer (1981). "Our program is informal and the reward for mentors is sharing the personal journalism experience-and the great feeling of giving to the next generation."

For more information about mentoring, email Jim Toland,, or Kat Anderson,   
Author Peter Orner will co-teach Literary Journalism with Yumi Wilson

Creative Writing Professor Peter Orner will co-teach Literary Journalism in Fall 2012 with Yumi Wilson, Journalism acting chair and associate professor. 

Orner is the author of Love and Shame and Love. Born in Chicago, Orner received a law degree  from Northeastern University and an MFA from the University of Iowa.
His fiction and nonfiction has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Granta, The Paris Review, McSweeney's, The Southern Review, The Forward, The San Francisco Chronicle and Ploughshares.

Orner also edited two nonfiction books, Underground America and Hope Deferred: Narratives of Zimbabwean Lives.
Once again, the Alum Roll Call is something we should all be proud of: We now know so many of our brightest students have stuck with this industry and are doing important things. Take for example Laila Kearney ('09), who was recently honored by SPJ. Congratulations to Laila and all our journalism students and alums.

Please don't forget about our spring alumni luncheon on May 18 at the City Club. It will be such a wonderful opportunity to reconnect and share stories. Please RSVP to The party starts at 12:30. If you can't make this event, please drop me a line and come visit us at HUM 305 this summer.

Also, please send warm wishes to our newest class of graduates. They'll be honored at the department's graduation ceremony at 9 a.m., May 20, at McKenna Theater. Chronicle reporter Kevin Fagan and alum Amy Alexander are among those who will be speaking. Students Tamerra Griffin and Kelly Goff will also be honored.

See you soon,
Yumi Wilson
Associate Professor and Acting Chair of Journalism at SF State, Spring 2012