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

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Oil price spike? New government in Iraq? U.S. betrayed by Chalabi? Peterson trial? Which is the day's most important story?

On Tuesday, June 1, an interim government was picked to oversee the return of sovereignty to Iraqis. A Pentagon favorite was accused of warning the Iranian government that the U.S. had broken its secret code. Terror and speculation pumped world oil prices to new records.

In Sacramento, lawmakers and lobbyists plotted how to carve a $103 billion state budget. Some took aim at a law requiring employers to provide health insurance to their workers. Two legislators charged that California is misspending the $1 billion it spends for inmates' medical care. A murder trial began in Redwood City.

In San Francisco, a judge blocked the federal ban on late-term abortions. President Bush lobbied for funding religious programs. The Justice Department outlined its case against the "dirty bomb" terror suspect. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police can sometimes skip Miranda warnings. A report indicated gang violence has increased 50% since 1999. And the Pentagon has lost track of exported "stinger" missiles that could shoot down commercial aircraft. U.S. economic indicators rose. On this packed news day, which story would you have given the most space on the front page?

Make the call below, then find out how Bay Area and state newspapers allocated scarce front-page space.

Posted June 2, 2004

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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


Lou Alexander started a firestorm with his original guest commentary predicting the company would be sold. Several other experts on newspapers have weighed in:
Newspapers can't cut their way back into Wall Street investors' hearts, by Stephen R. Lacy; Alexander responds
Humbler profits won't encourage buyouts, by John Morton; Alexander responds
Newspapers can't maintain monopoly profits because they've lost their monopolies, by Philip Meyer
Knight Ridder in grave jeopardy, by Lou Alexander...


Leakers and plumbers: There's no difference between a good leak and a bad leak? Journalists need a shield law. 11/22/05
Unintended consequences: How Craigslist and similar services are sucking revenue from faltering newspapers. 9/13/05
Is CPB irrelevant? As Congress moves to cut public broadcasting funds, has CPB become obsolete in the modern marketplace. 6/26/05
The paradox of news: There's more news available and its cheaper than ever before, but fewer young people are interested. 5/12/05


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