The F. Warren Hellman-funded Bay Area News Project announced today it has hired media and business consultant Lisa Frazier as its CEO and Jonathan Weber, co-founder of The Industry Standard and a former LA Times staff writer, as its editor.
The announcement also stated that the project will supply news for the Bay Area sections of The New York Times.
While the NYT’s involvement had been discussed for months, with KQED’s decision to withdraw from the project, there were questions about whether the Times would leave as well.
Weber said he intends to hire at least 15 full-time journalists by the end of the year.
Frazier has been involved with the News Project since April 2009, when Wells Fargo heir Hellman sought help developing a self-supporting model for local news in conjunction with the UC-Berkeley journalism school. She is currently a partner in McKinsey & Company’s San Francisco office, where she specializes in media and entertainment.
“Frazier and Weber will now be focused on getting the new organization up and running,” a press release said. “During the next several months they will be hiring editorial staff, building the Web site and other platforms, raising additional funds, deciding on the brand, and completing the search for a San Francisco office location.
“Over the next few months my plan is to start building a stellar newsroom to cover Bay Area government and politics, the arts, business, entertainment, community news and other topics,” said Weber in the press release. “We’ll also be working to develop a wide range of partnerships with other media organizations and individuals. Successful collaborations will be one of the keys to our success.”
- UPDATE, 8:01 P.M. THURSDAY: BayNewser has done an extensive interview with Weber, who says he’d like to have a newsroom of 30 to 40 people in three years. He also suggests that the project’s relationship with The New York Times isn’t fully scoped out.