The Bay Area News Project announced today it has a new name, The Bay Citizen.

This is the project that started when the Chronicle, in its effort to obtain concessions from its unions, began talking about closing. Wells Fargo heir F. Warren Helman has promised to put up $5 million for the project and there’s talk that the New York Times will use the project’s copy.

“Together with our tagline – News / Culture / Community – the name neatly encapsulates our mission as a publicly supported journalism organization,” writes Editor Jonathan Weber:

    As anyone who has had the privilege of naming a company knows very well, there are, to put it mildly, a lot of things to consider. As we worked through the process, though, we kept coming back to the notion of “citizen.” For us, citizen is a not legal description, but rather a state of mind, a way of thinking about and describing a rich and dynamic relationship between individual and community. …

    The notion of the “good citizen” has become a wry, almost sarcastic reference in the age of snark, but it’s hard to deny the simple fact that good citizens make great communities.

Bay Area Media News


  1. A careful look at the Bay Citizen website shows they don't have a published policy on preventing Hellman from interfering with news coverage. He has a number of real estate interests that would benefit from favorable news coverage. How will Bay Citizen cover Hellman and the companies he owns? What rules or systems are in place to prevent favoritism? You don't want a situation developing like ProPublica faced where it avoided coverage of the mortgage industry meltdown because its main funders were in the middle of the subprime mess. When Bay Citizen announces a policy for dealing with Hellman, then I'll take them seriously.

  2. ron … the problem with citizen journalists is that you don't know which one to trust. Yes, some are good. Many are bad. It's kind of like the Wikipedia problem: About 99% of the information is accurate but 1% is not. And it's not easy to tell what the 1% is — so you have to assume that all if it is bogus.

  3. Many citizen journalists are filling the gap left by the shrinking mainstream media. Many are doing some fantastic reporting. The National Association of Citizen Journalists can help anyone aspiring to be a citizen journalist.

  4. To please illegal immigration advocates, the project's name has been changed to the "Documented or Undocumented Bay Citzen." Is everybody happy now!

  5. "Bay Citizen" has that "citizen journalism" feel to it — I would think a professional news organization would want to distance itself from the amateurs, given how many irresponsible and hoax blogs are out there.

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