Evaluating print and broadcast news in the San Francisco Bay Area from A to F.

Make the call:


Participate in on our online straw poll below!

Should Bay Area papers have picked up the late-night Los Angeles Times story on sexual assault allegations against Arnold Schwarzenegger for the next day’s paper?

Photo credit: Stephan Savoia, AP

Consider yourself the executive editor.

It’s 9:30 at night on Oct. 2, 2003, just five days before the recall election for California’s governor. Another edition of the newspaper is being put to bed. Suddenly, an advisory comes across the Los Angeles Times news wire: Six women, four of them anonymous, accuse gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger of having groped or otherwise sexually harassed them between 1975 and 2000. The full story will come later that night.

Your job is to empower citizens to make a wise choice in the California recall election. But…
• Do you trust a story with such explosive claims that your staff had no hand in gathering?
• If so, do you publish a reputation-hammering story based mostly on anonymous sources, none of whom reported these incidents to police?
• Do charges of sexual harassment necessarily affect a candidate’s fitness for office?

We’ve assembled two opposing arguments on the issue. Read them both, then think about how you’d make the call. When you’ve decided, click on our online poll, and find out how others voted. Then check out how the major papers in the Bay Area and beyond handled the story. Ready?

What do you think? Discuss it in The Coffeehouse.


A project of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at San Jose State University, Grade the News is affiliated with the Graduate Program in Journalism at Stanford University and KTEH, public television in Silicon Valley.

Monitoring the Bay Area's most popular news media:

Contra Costa Times

Knight Ridder

San Francisco Chronicle


San Jose Mercury News

Knight Ridder

KTVU, Oakland (FOX)

KTVU, Oakland (FOX)

KRON, San Francisco

KRON, San Francisco

KPIX, San Francisco (CBS)

KPIX, San Francisco (CBS)

KGO, San Francisco (ABC)

KGO, San Francisco (ABC)

KNTV, San Jose (NBC)

KNTV, San Jose (NBC)


Bay Area media advocates:

Media Alliance
Center for the Integration and Improvement of Journalism at SFSU
Maynard Institute
Youth Media Council
Project Censored
New California Media
Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California chapter
National Writers Union Bay Area chapter

Site highlights


The three-part series follows the rise of three Bay Area handouts:
• Part 1: At free dailies, advertisers sometimes call the shots
• Part 2: Free daily papers: more local but often superficial
• Part 3: Free papers' growth threatens traditional news
• See also: SF Examiner and Independent agree to end payola restaurant reviews
• And: The free tabloid that wasn't: East Bay's aborted Daily Flash


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Newspapers can't maintain monopoly profits because they've lost their monopolies, by Philip Meyer
Knight Ridder in grave jeopardy, by Lou Alexander...


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