Ben Trefny | KALW

Ben Trefny

News Director

Ben handles daily operations in the news department, overseeing the editorial and sound engineering teams, delivering daily newscasts, producing the nightly news and culture show Crosscurrents, and supervising special projects including the statewide California Speaks initiative and KALW's Audio Academy training program. He earned a Master's degree in journalism from the University of Oregon in 2000 and got his start in public radio at NPR member station KLCC in Eugene. After freelancing for many magazines and producing for regional and national commercial and public radio programs, Ben joined KALW in 2004. He has helped the department win numerous regional and national awards for long- and short-form journalism. He has also helped teach hundreds of audio producers, many of whom work with him at KALW, today. Ben lives with his wife and twin children in San Francisco's Outer Sunset district, where Golden Gate Park meets Ocean Beach, and spends as much time as he can outside.

Claire Stremple

 

The statewide community project California Speaks, based here at KALW, recently asked listeners this question: “How has the opioid crisis affected your community, and what should be done about it?”

 

We heard from a range of people — intimate stories deeply exploring tragedies and solutions. We wanted to share some of them, at length, with you today.

 

 

Ben Trefny

It’s the final game of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department's Junior Warriors 8th grade girls basketball league. The SOMA Stars and the Lady Hurricanes take their positions on the court. A tall, wiry man – the referee – steps to the center. He looks at all the girls, smiles, and tosses the ball straight up in the air. Two girls jump for it, and the game is on.

"one-forty/three-sixty-five" by CC Flickr User Laura LaRose

 

The votes are in — or, most of them anyway, with some mailed-in ballots yet to be counted. And California voters have weighed in on state and local propositions as well as many elected offices.

Ben Trefny

 

Angela Alioto has been involved with politics in San Francisco for longer than she’s been a politician. That’s because her father, Joseph Alioto, was the city’s mayor 50 years ago.

Ben Trefny

Ellen Lee Zhou is a public health worker and union bargaining team member in San Francisco who has had enough of politics as usual. So she decided to run for mayor.

Ben Trefny

Supervisor Jane Kim is one of eight candidates in the race for mayor of San Francisco. She’s the first Korean-American elected official in the city.

 

Since 2010 she’s represented District 6, which includes Civic Center, Downtown, and Mission Bay.

 

She sat down for a conversation with us, and explained why she believes she should be the city’s next mayor.

 

Ben Trefny

Amy Farah Weiss, a San Francisco community activist and mayoral candidate in 2018 and 2015, spoke to KALW’s Ben Trefny about her campaign, her work on the Saint Francis Homelessness Challenge, and about issues such as climate change, divesting, racism, reparations, economics and prosperity.

Photo couresty of Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon covers state politics and policy for the LA Times. He spoke with KALW's Ben Trefny about the split roll campaign to reform Proposition 13 — which was just postponed to the 2020 ballot — and how that reform fits in with other proposed initiatives to address the state's housing crisis. 

ep_jhu / Flickr Creative Commons

 

Elected officials throughout the state have made it clear that they do not agree with federal immigration policy.

Who wants to be mayor of San Francisco?

Jan 9, 2018
David Yu, cropped and resized with permission from CC Flickr

Eight candidates qualified Tuesday to run in San Francisco's mayoral race and the ballot could become even more crowded in a contest expected to pit the city's progressive values against its thirst for economic development following years of spectacular but divisive growth driven by the technology sector.

Stephen Worrell, cropped and resized with permission from Creative Commons Flickr

Our friends in the San Quentin Media center — where San Quentin Radio, Ear Hustle, and other programs are produced — shared with us some songs of the holidays recorded at San Quentin State Prison. We thought you might like to take a listen.

Waldemar Zboralski / Wikimedia Commons

LISTEN: With the sudden death of San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee in the early hours of the morning, KALW News Director Ben Trefny reprises the story and clips from a conversation with the mayor during his re-election campaign.  

Handout / Youth Radio

For a decade now, Youth Radio has trained the next generation of media professionals from their headquarters in Oakland. But now they want to take it to the national level. New executive director Jabari Gray believes it's more important now than ever to amplify the voices of young people who are leading the fight against racism and prejudice — especially because they’re doing it in part through the use of media that didn’t even exist until recently. 

Jon Funabiki

(Editor's note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of KALW.)

It’s said that breaking bread together is a good way to get to know the people around you.

 

When it comes to San Francisco’s Excelsior District, breaking green onion pancakes can be equally effective.

 

Ko Blix

 

Ready? Set? Go! The horse race for the 2018 election is on.

Ben Trefny

Upstar Records is a professional music studio within Sunset Youth Services, a support program for youth and their families. This weekend the label showcases the work of young artists with the release of the album "Life Is Not a Game."

Ben Trefny

People around the Bay Area, the state, and the nation are thinking about what they can do to help victims of the North Bay fires. For a pair of socially minded artists, it turned out their efforts were worth much more than they’d ever imagined.

Ninna Gaensler-Debs / KALW News

Wildfires tearing through California wine country flared up again today. They’ve destroyed hundreds more homes and other buildings and led to new evacuation orders in Calistoga, Green Valley and the northern part of the town of Sonoma.

Ninna Gaensler-Debs / KALW News

 

Cal Fire is looking into whether reports of power lines falling down and electrical transformers exploding may have led to the disaster.

Snow Leopard Conservancy

The snow leopard, listed as "endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature since 1972, was reclassified as "vulnerable" earlier this month. So what does that mean for the survival of the species?

NOAA / Wikimedia Commons

It’s been two weeks since Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. President Trump visited the island for just over four hours today — and a contingent of Bay Area nurses will spend much more time there as part of the Registered Nurse Response Network.

Ryan Jerz

With more than 500 people injured at the concert, there have been calls for blood donations from service agencies including the Red Cross. Also, a Go Fund Me page for Las Vegas victims was set up early this morning with an original goal of raising $500,000, though nearly $2,000,000 has been donated to this point.

Photo courtesy of Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group

This story originally aired in November of 2016.

On September 10, 2016 football players from Mission High School in San Francisco were headed to a game in Redwood City. They were led by San Francisco Chronicle 2015 football player of the year Niamey Harris, a 17-year-old senior quarterback from Bayview.

Photo courtesy of flickr user Sam Howzit

Colin Kaepernick ignited a heated conversation over race and patriotism with a simple gesture involving the national anthem.

 

We’re all familiar with the song; it’s played at the beginning of major sporting events in the United States.

Screenshot from Al Jazeera English. http://bit.ly/2fhPLnd

This story has been updated since it originally aired in November of 2016.

For many people, this is a time to reflect on what it means to live in the United States. The election season revealed a divided nation, and many folks are saying they feel like strangers in their own country. Clearly, many already did.

Aidan Wakely-Mulroney / Creative Commons Flickr

 

State legislators put in a 48-hour marathon session before going on recess, passing hundreds of bills on to Governor Brown who must pass or veto them by October 15.

Courtesy PG&E

Pacific Gas & Electric put a historic worker exchange into effect, sending 100 linemen from the Peninsula and East Bay to help restore power for thousands of customers in Florida.  KALW's Ben Trefny speaks with PG&E's Mayra Tostado about the agreement, who takes part, and how the crew hunkered down to weather the storm. 

  

 

Click the audio player above to hear the full interview. 

Courtesy of the Oakland Athletics

The Bay Area has a rich pro sports scene with distinctive voices who bring us all the action.

Andy Bosselman

 

UPS workers returned to the distribution facility this morning, a day after 38-year-old driver Jimmy Lam shot and killed three coworkers before turning the gun on himself.

Pages