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

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.

San Francisco Planning Department / resized and cropped.

San Francisco's lead housing policy planner Kearstin Dischinger speaks with KALW's Ben Trefny about the proposed Affordable Housing Bonus Program.

By Jacksonian. Cropped from original. Used under CC license: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jacksonian/

Mayor Ed Lee was a big winner, yesterday, in San Francisco’s elections, for more reasons than just being voted into another term in office.

Ben Trefny

KALW’s Ben Trefny talks with Amy Farah Weiss about her candidacy for San Francisco Mayor.

Ben Trefny

Amy Farah Weiss is on the ballot as one of six candidates to be mayor of San Francisco. Weiss was born in Berkeley and raised in San Jose. She’s the daughter of union workers, and she’s the first generation in her family to go to college, earning a master’s degree in Organizational Development and Training from S.F. State in 2010. Amy Farah Weiss sat down with KALW’s Ben Trefny to talk about her campaign.

KALW's Ben Trefny sits down with Stuart Schuffman to talk about why he's running for mayor. 

 


 

San Franciscans will be making a big decision in a couple weeks about who will lead their city for the next four years. The incumbent, Mayor Ed Lee, is generally expected to win in an off-year election, with a historically low turnout. But there are five other candidates running.

mayorgrandsf.org / Reed for Mayor

 


Reed Martin is running for mayor of San Francisco.

Martin has worked in the tech industry as a design thinker. He’s served on committees concerned with Market Street and city transit. And he has a plan to dedicate up to 90 million dollars of city budget money to funding ideas generated by the public.

Ingrid Taylar / /Flickr

There’s a big controversy developing west of the new mural at the site of the former Oakland Army Base. It’s a plan to develop the waterfront, in part, as a port where coal from Utah can be shipped overseas. 

 

We’re less than two weeks away from local elections, including a mayoral race in San Francisco. One of the candidates is educator, musician, and activist Francisco Herrera. KALW's Ben Trefny sat down with Herrera to talk about his candidacy.

Flickr user Lynn Friedman

KALW’s Ben Trefny talks one-on-one with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee about his candidacy for re-election.

 

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition flickr page

Since Ed Lee was elected mayor of San Francisco four years ago, the city’s economy has seen a radical turnaround. Unemployment has dropped from over eight percent to less than four percent. The city’s budget has grown bigger than ever – to nearly nine billion dollars a year.

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