Bay Area News Project Changes Name to 'Bay Citizen'; Starts Hiring

Categories: Media
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As of this afternoon, the Bay Area News Project, the F. Warren Hellman-funded bid to reinvent the metro newspaper, has a new, Pulitzer Prize-winning managing editor, a new Web site, and a new name, "The Bay Citizen," with the slogan,  "News/Culture/Community."

The new managing editor is Steve Fainaru, a Washington Post foreign correspondent who won a Pulitzer in 2008 for his coverage of private military contractors in Iraq. As of this December, he was covering Mexican drug cartels for the Post.

Fainaru, who was born in Mountain View, is a Bay Area local and lives in El Cerrito. His brother, Mark Fainaru-Wada, used to work for the Chronicle, and narrowly avoided jail time three years ago when he and Lance Williams refused to reveal the sources for their BALCO steroid scandal investigation, which won a George Polk Award. There's a charming E&P profile of "The Brothers Fainaru" from 2006, if you want to learn more about the fraternal investigative journalism duo. SF Weekly was unable to reach Fainaru.

In a press release, CEO Lisa Frazier said the organization chose the name "Bay Citizen" because "Our mission is to provide news and information that helps create more 'Bay Citizens.'"

Editor-in-chief Jonathan Weber noted in a blog post that "the notion of the 'good citizen' has become a wry, almost sarcastic reference in the age of snark," but, he wrote, "it's hard to deny the simple fact that good citizens make great  communities."

It will be interesting to see how this notion of community-building plays out in the structure of the Bay Citizen newsroom and in how they produce and distribute their reporting. (California Watch, a recent investigative journalism start-up and project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, published a piece yesterday about how their reporting is being distributed and remixed at different publications across the state.)

Meanwhile, the Bay Citizen has posted new job descriptions for a Culture Writer/Editor, an Editorial Assistant, an Online News Editor, and seven reporting positions. For the reporters, they're looking for at least two years of experience with a professional publication, and noted they would be considering both veteran and early-career journalists. "Expertise in video, audio, still photography, data-driven reporting and other forms of multimedia journalism are highly desirable." 

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