Bay Area Observer is dedicated
to independent reporting and selective linkage to San Francisco Bay Area news,
media, politics, culture, business, books, technology and other topics. The site
went live in July 2010. Its aim is to enlighten, inform and reflect a sense of
locale for one of the nation's most diverse, dynamic and beautiful urban
About the Editor
Ron Russellproduces and editsBay Area Observer. He writes the editor's blog on the home page and is
responsible for the website's content. He has been a journalist for more than 25
years. As an independent journalist and former staff writer at SF Weekly for six years he has written
extensively about San Francisco and the Bay Area. He is the recipient of
numerous local, statewide and national journalism awards. Before coming to San
Francisco, he spent 15 years as a newspaper reporter and magazine writer in Los
Angeles. As a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times, he was part of a team of
reporters that earned the newspaper a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the
1992 Los Angeles riots. Before that, he was a reporter and Sunday magazine
writer at the Memphis Commercial Appeal. His reportage, including dispatches
during a stint in Mexico, has appeared in numerous newspapers. He taught
journalism at Santa Monica College for several years and has conducted or
participated in panels at UCLA and Cal State Los Angeles. A graduate of UCLA, he
also earned a master's degree in Latin American Studies there. He is a former
John M. Olin Fellow at the University of Southern California, and holds a
master's degree in journalism from what is now the USC Annenberg School for
Communication & Journalism.
More about BAO
Below are answers to some questions about Bay Area Observer. If you don't
see what you're looking for, or desire further information, please email the editor.
How do I contact BAO?
To send news tips, suggestions, observations, compliments or complaints,
please email the
editor using the contact form.
Who is BAO's target audience?
Anyone, really, who's interested in the Bay Area and the people and
institutions that make it tick. They include journalists, executives, community
leaders, politicians, business people, academics, authors, bloggers, news
junkies and opinion-shapers of all sorts.
Why the generally serious tone?
The editor prefers it that way.
The expectation is that our readers are intelligent and sophisticated consumers
of media. We like to amuse like the next person, but we'll leave the snarky, the
juvenile and the inane to those with affection for it. In other words, don't
expect to see a tasteless photo of a dead animal in the gutter unless maybe
there's a politician standing over it with a handgun.
Where does BAO get its information?
Original reporting, news tips from a wide variety of sources, and reports in
other media. For the latter, you'll notice links are provided whenever possible,
which is to say most always. Credible and newsworthy tips are always welcomed
and encouraged. Credibility and accuracy are of utmost importance. However it
comes to us, information received is vetted and verified in the time-honored
tradition of responsible journalism.
Does BAO print gossip?
Although the editor enjoys media and political gossip as much as anyone,
we're not a gossip sheet, and so readers should expect to see very little of it
make its way into print. If it occasionally does, it's because it's newsworthy,
non-libelous, from a source or sources who've proven to be reliable and we
believe it to be true. In any event, gossip and speculation will always be
labeled as such.
If I provide information anonymously, how do I know that you will protect
Protecting the confidentiality of sources is the bedrock of any reporter's
credibility and it's something that the editor has done unerringly for more than
25 years. If you have information to share and wish to remain anonymous, please
know that your privacy will be protected by all legal means available.
Is BAO a media watchdog?
No. We're here partly to report on Bay Area media and the people who work in
it, not to critique it. That said, when we see something amusing or just plain
dopey, we won't hesitate to point it out.
Does BAO have a political tilt?
No. The editor is an equal opportunity muckraker, happy to call out the
foibles, eccentricities and outrages of those in public life without regard to
political party or philosophy. Honesty and fairness rule. If you see one of your
favorites seem to take a hit, stick around. The door will likely swing the other
way soon enough.
Why do you link to the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and the
New York Times?
Because much of what happens that's important in San Francisco and the Bay Area ends up on the
state or national stage, for one thing. For another, it's instructive (and
sometimes inadvertently humorous) to see how others interpret what goes on here
for outsiders. But mainly it's because each newspaper at various times offers
compelling, informative reporting of what's happening here.
How are errors handled?
We correct factual errors quickly and transparently. We fix typos,
misspellings and typographical missalignments as soon as we catch them. If the
mistake is more substantial, we flag it so that the reader knows a change was
made. If you spot what you believe is an error, please contact the editor.
If I see an asterisk in a post’s headline, like this [*], what does it
It means the entry has been significantly updated, something that helps
readers who come back to the site throughout the day. You won't see the [*] for
posts that are re-worded for clarity, accuracy or grammar in the first few
minutes after a post goes up.
What happened to reader comments?
Unfortunately, moderating comments for spam became a bit too labor intensive. They could return, but for now comments are on hiatus.
How do I get my Bay Area blog or website listed in the links?
Just ask. Send an email to the editor. If it informs or entertains our
readers, we'll be glad to list it as long as it's regularly updated. If it's
racist, sexist or otherwise offensive, we'll pass. Similarly, if you're scrolling the
links and notice what you believe is a glaring omission, please let us know.