Angela Johnston

Prakash Lab


Last month, four Bay Area residents were named Macarthur Award winners. That means they’re now unofficialy known as "geniuses". Each will receive more than $600,000, and can do with it what they will. That’s usually for the public good. So we all win.

This measure is all about revenue bonds. Bonds are the state’s way of borrowing money for projects that are too big to pay for all at once: big construction projects like dams, highways or bridges. Right now, the state doesn’t need voter approval to sell revenue bonds; they can just sell them to investors, regardless of the amount.

Angela Johnston


When you exit Highway 101 into East Palo Alto, there’s a construction site you just can’t miss. It’s a big, brick, three-story building with huge glass windows. By early next year this building should be home to a company, and the builders hope it’s a tech startup.

Angela Johnston

California has suffered more than 5,000 wildfires this year, and we’ve only reached the beginning of the season. Just last week, more than 10,000 firefighters were battling blazes throughout the state – fires largely fueled by already-dead, dry trees.

Angela Johnston


The California drought is now in it’s fifth year, and a recent study says it won’t be over for years to come. The study analyzed California’s mountain snowpack and found that we’d need almost four and a half more years of winter storms to escape drought conditions.  

Tom Levy

Architecture has the power to transform. A building can make us feel joy, or sadness, powerful or weak. 

"Mail-in ballot 2012" by hjl, used under CC license BY-NC 2.0/ Cropped and resized

The California ballot will be crowded this November. Last week, the Secretary of State put out a list of the official initiatives –- all 17 of them. We’ll be voting on whether the state should legalize marijuana, lower the cost of pharmaceuticals, repeal the death penalty, require condoms in porn, and countless others. And the large number of measures makes the process a lot more expensive. Here’s why.

"Home is where the heart is" by darwin Bell, used under CC license BY-NC 2.0 / Image modified


Though it may not always make the headlines, Santa Clara County has the ninth biggest homeless population in the United States.

"Jack Ohman" by Flickr user theNerdPatrol. Used under CC BY 2.0 / cropped and resized.


When events like last weekend's mass shooting made the headlines, it can be hard to make sense of such a tragedy. And often times, we'll look outside of ourselves to get the perspective we need.


San Francisco voters will recognize two familiar names in the state Senate box on their primary ballots. Current City Supervisors Jane Kim and Scott Wiener are both running for District 11 representing San Francisco and northern parts of San Mateo County.


Every morning in the Tenderloin, when people all around San Francisco are starting to wake up, around 30 people gather at St. Boniface Church, waiting to go sleep. This is the story of one morning.

"Google Self-Driving Car" by Flickr user smoothgroover. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Cropped and resized

When people are actually comfortable enough to take an automated car out for a spin, who exactly is in charge? And, if you get into an accident, who’s held responsible?


Angela Johnston

It’s the last week of school at Bessie Carmichael Elementary on 7th and Harrison in the South of Market neighborhood. Photographer Janet Delaney and I are here to see someone we’ve been trying to get in touch with for months -- Bobbie Washington.

"CA DMV 00734" by Flickr user Omar Bárcena. Used under CC BY-NC 2.0 / Cropped and resized


It’s been just over a year since undocumented immigrants in California have been able to get driver’s licenses through the AB 60 law.

Enrollment now open for the KALW Audio Academy!

KALW is calling for applicants for our 9-month radio journalism training program based at KALW public radio, an NPR and BBC affiliate station in San Francisco. This program is designed to give you a professional audio production education, tuition-free.

Courtesy Super Bowl 50 Host Committee/ resized and cropped


In the next two weeks, more than one million people will flood into the Bay Area to celebrate Super Bowl 50.


Angela Johnston


El Niño is upon us. In the first week of January, the Bay Area got more rain in two days than it did in the previous three Januarys, combined.  But too much rain all at once can be a dangerous thing. It can cause erosion, mudslides and flooding.

When Deborah Bevilacqua lost her leg in a motorcycle accident ten years ago, she had to get a prosthetic leg. It’s been functional she says, but it’s not pretty.

Angela Johnston

If you took walk along the Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay on a typical winter weekend, it would be buzzing with activity.


Tim Hwang by Flickr user Scott Beale. User under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / resized and cropped

After Internet entrepreneur Tim Hwang created a position for himself as the Deputy Director of the Bay Area Infrastructure Observatory, he began organizing tours of what he calls the "guts of modern life" – the power plants and subway tunnels that keep our cities running. 

Angela Johnston

Up in the Silicon Valley foothills, there’s something that many Bay Area residents don’t even know exists. It’s deep and it’s full of dirt.

“It’s a very large hole in the ground,” says Kari Saragusa, CEO of the Lehigh Southwest Cement Company, just outside Cupertino.

Angela Johnston

It’s the end of the week at Laurelwood Elementary, and the kids in Katy Howser’s kindergarten class are getting a quick lesson about bugs before they clean up and go home.

Eva Royale / Resized.



There isn’t much in the backyard of Eva Royale’s house. Two white metal patio chairs, her grandsons’ toy cars. What stands out most is her beloved 44-year-old cactus collection.


Angela Johnston

Ellen Frankel slips the last of her quarters into the Medieval Madness pinball machine and wipes the sweat off her forehead. It’s her second game of the night, and she’s trying to get a new high score. Although she is shy to admit it, Frankel is a real pinball wizard.

CODE: Debugging The Gender Gap


Tech jobs are growing faster than colleges can award computer science degrees. A Microsoft report states that in less than ten years, there will be one million available computing jobs in the U.S. How many of those jobs will be filled by women? As of now, not many. 

Jon Stern

Marine biologist Jon Stern studies cetaceans: porpoises, dolphins and whales. Stern is a professor at San Francisco State and also leads field studies on the Northern California coast for the non-profit Golden Gate Cetacean Research. So he’s gotten up close and personal with his fair share of dead whales.

Angela Johnston

This story originally aired on December 9, 2014.

Henry Evans and his wife Jane live high up in the Los Altos foothills. To get there you have to drive up twisting roads with steep switchback turns. On a Thursday morning 12 years ago Henry drove up these same roads after dropping his children off at school.

Angela Johnston

This story originally aired on December 9, 2014.

At the Livermore Veteran’s Hospital, there are a few animals residents can see: wild turkeys that run around the grounds, rattlesnakes that hide out in the dry grass, and therapy dogs that make weekly visits. But there’s one animal in particular that Bryce Lee is always happy to see: a baby harp seal.

According to a 2013 study, one in six people who work in Silicon Valley spend at least two hours on their commute. Nuemi Guzman is one of those people. She’s a legal assistant with the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley.


Angela Johnston

When you walk inside the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, you can tell right away that this is home for over 400 people. They’ve painted their units bright colors. There are traditional mobile homes that look like small rectangular bungalows – but there are also little cottages, Airstream trailers, and RVs. Kids zigzag between the park’s six streets on their bikes.

“I was 11 when we moved here with my parents. I practically grew up here,” says Erika Escalante.