These Are Local, Independent Media Outlets in the Bay Area

Updated: Sep 19, 2023 09:10
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Actual people in your community reporting still exists in the Bay Area. (Brad Neathery)

In 2010’s The Death and Life of American Journalism, newspaper veterans Robert McChesney and John Nichols let readers know it’s not actually the Internet’s fault traditional, community-based media went belly up. Granted, ad revenue guillotined by online posting sites such as Craigslist didn’t help. But, shocker to no one paying attention, it was the corporatization of newsrooms thanks to conglomerate, monopolistic companies buying up local outlets throughout the nation. Some don’t see this as a big deal, but the authors point out that key moments in history such as Senator Wayne Morse warning of “imperialistic endeavors in places such as Vietnam” are often relegated by mainstream media.

A thriving democratic system relies on a plethora of voices and approaches, or, as the legendary C.J. Cregg put it in season five of The West Wing, corporate media isn’t going to take on corporate pollution and corporate mergers. In the Bay Area, there are a ton of wonderful local news outfits upholding the Fourth Estate. Or, for those not in favor of any of the United States estates, working class people deserve to have access to information that can protect them. Here’s a handful of local outlets to sprinkle in amongst the CNN and Fox News garbage, or between TikTok videos. By the way, this journalist has written for a handful of them, as I, too, love community news.

Mission Local

It’s in the name: nonprofit organization Mission Local by and large covers the Mission District. It’s a great resource for that area’s going-ons, but also for stories on political graft, police violence, and project development. This outlet is funded by grants and community donations.

The San Franciscan

Available in print throughout this city’s many lovely bookstores and by subscription, The San Franciscan features local poets and writers, puzzles, articles on food, art, and history. It’s worth a purchase, as the magazine is run as a small business.

Mahalaya features stories on Filipino culture, including the ever-present ube latte. (Kalesa Coffee)


Organized by the indefatigable Casey Ticsay, Mahalaya is a Filipinx-run and centered newspaper telling stories by and for the Filipino American community. The outlet runs off of donations and volunteer support.

Local Journalism for Working stiffs

We write for the poets, busboys, and bartenders. We cover workers, not ‘tech’, not the shiny ‘forbes 100 bullshit’. We write about the business on your corner and the beer in your hand. Join the Bay's best newsletter.

San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper

Founded in 1976, the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper is a Black community paper focusing on community news, art, and politics. Writer Mumia Abu-Jamal covered how the elderly are treated in incarceration, for instance, as the paper focuses on abolition. The paper runs on advertising, subscriptions, donations, and volunteers.

Street Sheet

The East Bay nonprofit Coalition on Homelessness publishes this print magazine that focuses on stories of those experiencing homelessness. Street Sheet was founded in 1987 and reaches about 16,000 readers thanks to 230 or so homeless vendors who keep the money they make off of selling the papers.

Broke-Ass Stuart

You guessed it, Broke-Ass Stuart is not a corporate entity — mind-blowing, I realize. Your hometown hero outlet is funded through Patreon, volunteers, donations, and advertisements, remaining independent while focusing on quirky, off-the-beaten path storytelling.

Other publications that we love

Editor’s note: There are so many great local, independent publications that we couldn’t write about all of them, so here’s an incomplete list of other rags you should check out as well:

SF FunCheap
48 Hills
SF Public Press
Bay Area Reporter
El Tecolote
SF Station
J Weekly
Nichi Bei
Wind Newspaper
Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon
East Bay Express

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Paolo Bicchieri

Paolo Bicchieri

Paolo Bicchieri (he/they) is a writer living on the coast. He's a reporter for Eater SF and the author of three books of fiction and one book of poetry.