2022 General Excellence in Online Journalism, Small Newsroom finalist

The San Francisco Standard

About the Project

The launch of The San Francisco Standard was premised on the belief that an engaged and informed citizenry will reinvigorate cities for everyone. We believe that cities are the forgotten locus for real change in American society and that to ensure the health of these centers — and our democracy — citizens must fully understand the complexities of the issues at hand. The deeply reported local news provided by The Standard seeks to bring clarity and transparency to critical issues like economic and racial inequality, housing and homelessness, and criminal justice and education, with the aim of empowering San Franciscans to help the city to change faster, better and more inclusively.

The following work examples illustrate how we’ve successfully put this mission into practice:

Our political coverage includes an extensive voter poll presented in an immersive experience; dogged beat reporting covering the nationally publicized recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin featuring data visualizations; an exclusive video interview with Boudin and a widely cited report on his prosecution of drug dealing cases; and ongoing investigations of corruption at City Hall that helped lead to the resignation of at least one official and was part of the genesis of two anti-corruption ballot measures.

We regularly produce explainer pieces on the web and various social platforms to educate SF residents on the key city issues dominating the news cycle at any given moment. Our TikTok explainer on the housing crisis drew 165,000 views and sparked nearly 650 comments; we did a popular eight-part election explainer series on Instagram; and we regularly publish pieces like this breakdown of a controversial new proposal from California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

As the economic impact of the pandemic continues to bear down on SF and Downtown San Francisco remains a ghost town, we took a data-driven look in a scrollytelling format at the titan of the SF skyline, the Salesforce Tower.

We have done a series of high-profile investigations into a nonprofit called Urban Alchemy that garners tens of millions of dollars from the city for providing security services, though their workers are not licensed for that and have been repeatedly shot on the job.

A series of stories about Amazon’s efforts to build a delivery hub in the city led directly to SF’s Board of Supervisors approving an 18-month moratorium on such facilities while it considers their impact.

Our consistent coverage of the San Francisco Unified School District draws a large and loyal audience who were eager for updates on the city’s high profile school board recall and news of developments at Lowell High School — the city’s most esteemed and controversial educational institution, which recently lost its principal amid struggles over balancing merit and diversity in its admissions policy.