Digital Journalism Team Visits SF Chronicle Newsroom

The Digital Journalism Team

By: Eva Oliver, Digital Journalism Teacher 

On Friday, December 9, Life Academy’s Digital Journalism Team went to the San Francisco Chronicle. After our BART ride and a short walk, we arrived at the Chronicle’s front door. We were amazed by the building’s history and beauty. We were greeted by Jennifer Blot, who gave us a tour and shared many stories about the SF Chronicle with us. Next, we were invited to watch an editors’ meeting. There, the editors discussed Saturday and Sunday’s news stories and layout. Then, Steve Proctor, the managing editor, invited us to sit with him at the editors’ table for a question and answer session. Our budding reporters learned a great deal from the wisdom of the experienced journalist. Finally, Allen Matthews invited us to tour the food branch of the Chronicle. We visited the kitchen, wine cellar, and the living roof.

All of this made for a fascinating and exciting day for my journalists and for me. Thank you so much to the SF Chronicle for sharing your time and experience with us!

Waiting at the Fruitvale BART station for our SF train

By: Felicia Martinez, Junior 

On Friday, December 9, 2011. We went to the San Francisco Chronicle. It was an amazing experience. Jennifer Blot gave us a thorough tour and explained to us how the Chronicle was founded. The funniest thing she showed us was this big plaque explaining about the two brothers who started the whole newspaper. And, the funny thing about it was that “journalism” was spelled wrong on it, when that was the key point of the plaque.

Soon after her tour, we got to sit in an editors’ meeting. I was a bit disappointed mainly because I thought the whole thing would be way longer, and it wasn’t more than fifteen minutes long. When the meeting was done we met Steve Proctor, the managing editor of the Chronicle, and he answered all of our questions.

That’s when I realized how STRESSFUL journalism is and how much commitment you have to put into being a journalist.

The team in San Francisco

By: Makayla Tarango, Sophomore 

Last Friday, my digital journalism class and I took a field trip to the San Francisco Chronicle building and went on a tour. There, we saw a plaque written do the deceased co-founders of the newspaper, Charles de Young and Michael H. de Young. In the entrance of the building, we also saw a sculpture of Herbert Caen, a well respected and recognized journalist who has great history at the SF chronicle.

Later on in the tour, we got to sit in on an editors’ meeting where the editors talked about the current news, the most popular stories online, and the layout of the newspaper. After the editor’s meeting ended, we were able to ask many questions to Steve Proctor, the managing editor of the SF Chronicle. When the sit down with Steve Proctor ended, we were able to finish touring the building and visited the food sampling room and the roof top garden. Our tour guides, Jennifer Blot and Allen Matthews, were very informative and humble.

Through this field trip, I learned that the reality of journalism is that it is very hectic and a hard profession, but in the end it also gives journalists the adrenaline and knowledge that they love with the strongest passion.

Our first glimpse of the SF Chronicle

By: Yuvitza Rivera, Sophomore 

Opportunities come and go, but the best ones are those of which we take advantage. Friday the 9th of December, the digital journalism class went to get a tour at the San Francisco Chronicle. We got to the building early, at about 9:30am, and waited for about 15-20 minutes.

After the wait the editor’s assistant, Jennifer Blot, came down and gave us a short history of how the building was founded. It all started with two brothers, the de Young brothers, who decided to sell newspapers for fun. They called it the Daily Dramatic Chronicle. These two brothers would get news from the ships and then type up the news to leave them in the movie seats of the theatres. However, the news that made them become famous was President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. This made their paper highly sought after, and from there, the SF building was made. Now, this building was in the family for many, many years and only in 2000 did the building get sold to another corporations – the Hearst Corporation.

In the lobby, there was a plaque that stated the founding fathers of SF Chronicle, and when they went to go make it journalism was misspelled with a missing “r”. I thought that was hilarious.

Ms. Blot also told us about a man who wrote columns of just about anything and was awarded with the Pulitzer Prize for his contribution to journalism. In the lobby there is a model of his face.

Afterward, we went to the third floor where a meeting was going to take place on what stories to write. They discussed many articles for the upcoming weekend, including: a woman who told about getting AIDS from pricking herself, the movement that was going to happen in Oakland on Monday, and stories for the food section. The editors who were in this discussion were mainly men, but there were three women there too.

Afterward, we got to talk to the managing editor named, Steve Proctor. He talked to us for more than thirty minutes, which was surprising because he took his time answering our many questions, especially Raynetta’s questions. He gave us tips on how to make our website better and more appealing to the audience. He also explained the difficulty of being a journalist and how much dedication one had to put into the work field. Furthermore, he talked about how diversity is highly sought after in the field and how hard it is to keep a hold of journalists of color in a medium-sized newspaper.

Next, Allen Mathews, who writes for the food section of the newspaper, took us to their food building. In the building there was a wine cellar were all the extra bottles go. They had a lot of them. Then, we went o the roof were they grew plants that they use to make their food. They have bee hives, lemon trees, pear trees, tomatoes and more growing. The view is also great. Lastly we went into the kitchen were we saw brownies and other pastries and coffee beans. We were all so hungry that we wanted to eat the brownies, and Raynetta was reaching out to get one, but we didn’t let her.

That was the end of our tour. It was an amazing trip because never in my life did I imagine I would get an opportunity to go and sit in a meeting like this that goes on every day. It was really magnificent! It’s unfortunate that we can’t do an internship at the SF Chronicle because it would be magnificent to shadow a journalist who does this every day. I’ve learned that through journalism you can really tell the news that otherwise would be hard to get. And, I learned that words are powerful—no matter what.

Waiting in the lobby for our tour to begin

By: Natalia Espinoza, Sophomore  

I saw real journalists coming in an out of the building; they were all busy talking on their phones or trying to get to their work place. When we headed up stairs, we saw pictures of people who had worked there since 1982! That was awesome to see because that would be inspiring to me. We also saw a glass painting of ancient journalism above a big door. We heard people talking about their stories and what was happening outside of work. I heard a lot of interesting things going on in the world.

When we were walking to the conference room, we met David Perlman who is 93 years old! He is a science reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and doesn’t want to retire because he loves his job. We also met Ms. Jennifer Blot who was our host. She guided a tour, and we got to see the culinary building of the SF Chronicle, which I thought was somehow weird but awesome at the same time. Mr. Allen Matthews took us to the culinary building. And, while we were in the culinary building, we went to the roof and saw bees making honey! I got a little bit scared because of the bees, but it’s pretty cool to see nature so close.

In my opinion, being a real journalist takes most of your time. As Mr. Stephen Proctor told us while we interviewed him, you always have to be alert for anything because the news is never going to stop. A lot happens when people sleep, and reporters have to be there to cover the story and inform their community the next day. Being a journalist is also exhausting because journalists work 24/7, no matter what day of the week it is – it don’t even matter if it’s Christmas, New Years, your birthday, or your wedding. The job is very demanding, but it’s also a really cool thing to do. I personally would do it because I am an active girl, and I love to talk and write. I’m looking forward for more reporting and writing stories!

Professionally dressed with our SF Chronicle name tags

By: Brenda Sanchez, Senior 

On December 9th, we went to San Francisco Chronicle. We got to take a tour of the place, and we learned about how the SF Chronicle started. We got a little tour of their food building, where they produce their own honey, and they also have a wine cellar. We also learned about many staff members who are very committed to their job and who still work there after many years.

We had the opportunity to sit in an editor’s meeting. It was very interesting to hear how the staff comes to an agreement about what stories to put on their website or in newspaper. They also have to figure out how they will format their newspapers that day. They talked about how many hits their websites got that week, and it reminded me about how we go over our views once in a while in class. I was very surprised about how short their meeting was; I thought it would take hours for them to come to a conclusion.

After the editor’s meeting we got to ask Steve Proctor, the managing editor, some questions. He answered the questions he was asked, and he even gave us some tips about how we can improve our website. He told us that you have to be very committed to the job in order to be a journalism. There was a time he sacrificed a family vacation because he had to catch a flight back to SF in order to get some news out about an attack. He also gets calls late at night where he has to answer or people won’t get the news on time.

This was a great experience, and I really enjoyed going on this trip and learning new things about journalism.

Enjoying our time together

By: Janet Cerna, Senior [No Available Photo]

On December 9th, our digital journalism class took a field trip to the San Francisco Chronicle. We took a tour of the place, which it was so amazing to explore. I really enjoyed going; it really was a once in a life opportunity that I enjoyed.  We got a chance to meet some really great people who gave us great advice.

While we were at the San Francisco Chronicle, we got a chance to meet Steve Proctor, the Managing Editor. He was such a great person to talk to.  We sat down and listened to the editors’ meeting, where they discuss the next day’s following stories.  Their meeting was interesting because they talked about how they could do better. It was clear that they are actually really committed to their jobs.  We asked Steve Proctor many questions after the editors’ meeting, and he answered all of them.

In my own opinion, the trip was great. I really loved it. Everybody in the Chronicle was so nice. At the end of day, what I learned was that journalism is a career that you have to take seriously because you do a lot of writing. Also, it is a career where you have to be really committed to because you have to be able to cover a story at any time.

Sitting at the editor's table

Being inspired by the space

Checking out the scenery after our tour

Photos By: Eva Oliver (Digital Journalism Teacher) and Renee Marcy (Life Academy Teacher)

Captions By: Eva Oliver, Digital Journalism Teacher

4 comments on “Digital Journalism Team Visits SF Chronicle Newsroom

  1. mistresspage says:

    What a beautiful group of really ambitious women!!!!

  2. This is such a great opportunity! I hope you ladies all gained something from this experience. I am a bit jealous…

  3. Pablo says:

    What a wonderful experience! Congratulations to the Life Academy team of Journalists!

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