Ben Trefny

News Director

Ben handles daily operations in the news department, overseeing the editorial and sound engineering teams, producing the nightly news and culture show Crosscurrents, and managing the KALW Audio Academy training program. He earned a Masters 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 numerous magazines and working for various 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 train dozens of radio 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.

Ways to Connect

Will social media shift after the election?

Dec 1, 2016
CC Flickr user Sarah Marshall, resized and recropped

Nearly 1.8 billion people use Facebook each month. It’s become a go-to news source, and that’s had a big impact. In fact, some suggest that social media companies, including Facebook, impacted the presidential election by encouraging fake news and polarizing political views.

Colin Kaepernick has been using his platform in the NFL to call attention to racial inequities. But the NFL itself has not always been equitable for people of all races.

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.

Photo courtesy of Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group

On September 10, 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.

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

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.

J.C. Howard

Many people in the heavily Democratic Bay Area awoke, as if from a bad dream, to a new political reality Wednesday morning. 

Prop V is known as "the soda tax" and "the grocery tax," but on the ballot it’s “the tax on distributing sugar-sweetened beverages.” Okay, so what’s a "sugar-sweetened beverage?"

Photo by Gage Skidmore, courtesy of Creative Commons

 

Garance Burke is a San Francisco-based reporter with the Associated Press who investigated Donald Trump, and his behind-the-scenes behavior on the long-running TV show The Apprentice. The program pitted contestants against one another in an effort to get hired — or not get fired — by Trump, who starred on the show between 2004 and 2015.

 

Ben Trefny

 

Students returned today to June Jordan School for Equity, a small public high school in San Francisco, a day after four students were shot in the parking lot.

Michael Fraley / http://bit.ly/2efg2nJ

San Francisco voters have a few more education-related ballot measures to consider. Others will help determine the fate of City College. The embattled school once served more students than any other community college in the country, but questions about how City College has been managed led to a massive drop in enrollment. 

 

Proposition 59 is about overturning Citizens United. This measure would direct California’s elected officials to try to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that allowed corporations and other organizations to spend without restriction on political campaigns. It's the ruling that said “corporations are people.” If you see nothing wrong with that ruling, then you'll vote no on 59. But if you think the Citizens United ruling was a bad idea, then you'll want to know more about this proposition.

Photo courtesy of Diamond Davis

    

Football players from Mission High School in San Francisco made headlines across the country when the team, as a unit, refused to stand for the national anthem, in protest against the oppression of people of color in the U.S.

FLICKR USER BTOBIN, USED UNDER CC / RESIZED AND CROPPED

We’re here to help you vote the way you want to. But we need your help to do it.

You know your county, your state, and your representatives best. You know what issues matter the most to you, and you may know something that will help make our reporting stronger.

 

San Francisco schools have a problem. With just over a week left before kids return to the classroom, the district doesn't have enough teachers to teach them.

Photo courtesy of Liza Veale


If you follow pop culture at all you’ve probably figured out what Pokemon Go is. It’s a smartphone game that uses GPS to create a scavenger hunt for little creatures out in the world around you. Except, they’re not really there—they appear on your phone, planted on the screen amongst what is really there. It’s called augmented reality.

Our friends at Youth Radio in Oakland sent a contingent of reporters to Cleveland last week for the Republican National Convention. Reporter Soraya Shockley spoke to KALW's Ben Trefny about her experience covering the convention, and interviewing former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

Youth Radio

 

Our friends at Youth Radio in Oakland sent a contingent of reporters to Philadelphia last week for the Democratic National Convention. One of them was Miles Bess. KALW’s Ben Trefny spoke with him about his experience inside and outside the convention.

 

by Ben Trefny

Navigation Centers are a new approach in San Francisco to move homeless people into housing. They’re temporary residences designed to connect people with long term housing and social services - without separating them from their partners, pets, or belongings.

 


Californians waited a long time to see if their votes would make a difference in the presidential race, and they nearly made it to the finish line.

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.

John Lucas, used under CC attribution / cropped

The KALW News team is looking for three experienced radio reporters to cover beats for our daily news magazine Crosscurrents and to produce spots for our new daily newscasts.

Ben Trefny

After decades of dreaming, planning, and delays, Treasure Island is set to be transformed.

So here’s a question for you: Would you want to rent or buy on Treasure Island? KALW will be reporting on this question over the coming months,  and we need your help to sharpen the focus and deepen the conversation.

KALW would like to hear your input to help us with our reporting. Please click here. The deadline is June 5, 2016.

 

Today, the faculty of City College of San Francisco went on a one-day strike. It’s the first strike in the union’s three-decade history, and it comes after a year of failed negotiations with CCSF administration. 

Ben Trefny

While San Francisco can’t compete with places like Yosemite for wildness, you’ll find the city is teeming with nature if you just take a moment to see. From slugs to oaks to falcons, we share our sidewalks with a variety of life. 

John Navas

The KALW News team is looking for an experienced radio journalism story editor to work on a special project called The Spiritual Edge (TSE), exploring the innovative American spirit through the lens of spirituality and religion. This initiative, launched in 2014, will be directed toward building a national audience and launching a podcast with stories coming from KALW reporters and from around the country.

Leslie Wong, used under CC BY, cropped

Bay Area journalism suffered a strong jolt, earlier this month. The Bay Area News Group has been an epicenter of local coverage for decades, publishing the San Jose Mercury News, the Oakland Tribune, and the Contra Costa Times, among others.

Courtesy of David Yu from Flickr, used under CC / Resized and cropped

San Francisco is spending more than $4.8 million to cover the costs of transit issues, law enforcement, and other expenses that go with hosting Super Bowl parties and associated activities. Why didn't city officials arrange for that money to be reimbursed?

Jeremy Dalmas

Yesterday protesters blocked westbound traffic on the Bay Bridge. They represented a group called Black.Seed and they were demonstrating against police violence. 

Jeremy Dalmas

One year into her term as mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf speaks with KALW's Ben Trefny about the city's affordability crisis, the rising tech industry, public safety, education, police training and what will happen with the Raiders and the A's.

GHOSTTOWNFARM.WORDPRESS.COM

When you think of a farmer, you may picture an old curmudgeon in overalls and straw hat squinting out at a bucolic pasture, chewing a piece of grass as he slaps wildly at flying pests. Well, that was the old breed of farmer.

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