Saturday, March 21, 2009

Media in Bayview Hunters Point

Media here, like the neighborhood itself: wait a minute and it will change.

AsianWeek marked the New Year by closing its doors, and now even the San Francisco Chronicle finds itself in the path of economic downturn and new technology.

In the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, the dramatic shift in the way information is exchanged was never clearer than when the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper, a sixteen year labor of love for publishers Willie and Mary Ratcliff and the many talented people drawn to their work, stopped printing last summer to revise their approach.

New publications have emerged in the past year, including Bayview Footprints “Local” News and the HP Journal. Online resources have multiplied, including the popular blog and online news groups like the BetterBayview Group. Public access television shows from community members, and pirate radio stations add to the communications patchwork of perspective.

Like this neighborhood, where neighbors from all points on the diversity spectrum live near one another, Bayview media-makers often differ in terms of perspective while remaining friendly: collaborating, linking, sharing content, and generally staying connected. The core values of community strength and justice seem to endure.

In the spirit of community, and in the context of a changing media environment, Footprints offers a very unofficial “round-up” of media resources that serve us all. We apologize in advance for any resource we’ve missed, and invite additions to our list.

Print Resources (also online):

San Francisco Bay View Newspaper – We all stand on these broad shoulders. A national and international newspaper, a Black newspaper (one of the top 10), and a community newspaper all rolled into one, the San Francisco Bay View remains vibrant with an expanded online presence and one print issue per month (mailed, not hand delivered). Usually neglected populations and subjects are kept “on the front page.” In a recent phone interview, Mary Ratcliff said, “It’s a real lifeline for the prison population.” The online version is packed with news and views for Bayview Hunters Point and beyond. Subscribe or donate at

Bayview Footprints “Local” News – This communications resource for community groups, including small and informal groups, emphasizes street-level, community-defined change led by people with deep roots in the neighborhood. It serves the BVHP exclusively., or 415.822.0800

HP Journal – This online magazine-style resource with beautiful cover graphics profiles community leaders, businesses and perspectives. Longtime Bayview resident Kathy Perry, the writer/editor, has created a publication that feels “personal and real.” The online version is complimented by HP Journal stories published in the newly restructured Western Edition/HP Journal, now a joint publication. Kathy also edits the Western Edition. 415.439.8319 or


“Life on the Block” with James Ross – Resident James Ross hosts a 22-minute talk show on public access cable channel 29 every other Friday at 6pm. Recent shows have featured Linda Brooks-Burton from the library and Dr. Sharad Jain and Dr. Chitra Chandran from SF General Hospital. and

Online Groups:

BetterBayview Group – An online news group with about 70 members that was created “for people who want to share information about programs, public meetings, social events or resources that are making Bayview a better place to live in San Francisco.” Past posts and discussions have focused on community meetings about the redevelopment of Bayview Hunters Point, Silver Terrace and India Basin, the creation of a Shipyard artists’ community center, neighborhood beautification and greening, and community advisory committee meetings.

Bayview Hills Association – A companion to the blog below.

Blogs: – The Quesada Gardens Initiative’s blog is packed with content about community-building activity of all sorts. It started as a way to track the efforts of residents on Quesada Avenue who came together in 2002 to transform their environment by meeting one another and working together through community gardening and public art projects. Now, the blog covers a full range of happenings in the neighborhood.

Bayview Examiner – Part of a national aggregate of blogs, the Bayview Examiner is in the “neighborhoods and culture” category. Much of the content parallels the Quesada Gardens blog, but offers more perspective and opinion with an emphasis on innovations in community organizing and local systems.

Bayview Hills Association – An online resource that is useful if you missed one of the police stations’ emails or an article with gardening tips.


Many community-based organizations, including Footprints member groups, have great websites with information specific to their programs and perspectives. “Google” them all! portal site – Footprints member groups and others have been asking for one internet site where anyone can go to find the range of community-based online resources available to Bayview Hunters Point residents. That portal site is now online, and being refined. It includes a social networking tool. Please let us know if you have ideas about it, and help out in whatever way you can. Like Bayview Footprints “Local,” it’s an all-volunteer, not-for-profit contribution., 415.822.0800 or

Online Calendars and Events Listings: community calendar – A completely open calendar for user-generated content (community events and meetings) donated by Footprints’ volunteers at the request of member groups and other community leaders who asked for a calendar that no single group “owns.” To promote your upcoming event in Footprints’ newsletters and eblasts, be sure it is listed on the calendar., the online version of the SF Bay View Newspaper, maintains an excellent online calendar with a focus on African American community events.

Government- and redevelopment-related listings include BMAGIC which sends out emails emphasizing youth services info (contact Public Defender’s Office, 415.558. 2428), which lists Project Area Committee and Citizen Advisory Committee meetings (contact Urban Strategies Council at 510.893.2404), with CAC meeting listings (maintained by Lennar Urban), and regular list serv communications from the Bayview Police Station which contain crime reports in addition to event listings (email earns its ink:

Footprints’ informal polling of BVHP youth provided clear feedback about where our young people go online for information and connections. Facebook swept the poll, leaving in the virtual dust. And it’s not just youth anymore. Recently, Facebook overtook email as a way to communicate regardless of age.

For older folks hoping to keep up with the younger set, text messaging and Twitter seem to be next on the learning curve.

1 comment:

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