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The state of media: an interview with Berkeleyside co-founder Lance Knobel


Lance Knobel fashioned his career as a business journalist, mostly in England. But when he moved to Berkeley with his wife about a decade ago, they found something that bothered them.

“We saw that there was a big gap in Berkeley for the provision of news," he tells KALW's Ben Trefny. "It was the city we lived in, and nobody was telling us what was going on.”

In 2009, along with another partner, Knobel and his wife founded Berkeleyside, an online news journal exclusively about Berkeley. Today, Berkeleyside has an average of 140,000 unique visitors a month, it provides content for the San Francisco Chronicle -- and it’s financially sustainable.

LANCE KNOBEL: “The publisher of the New York Times said that they could commission research what people are really reading, but that was second-hand. They didn’t know what most of the people that got their newspaper every day really did. Were they reading the story on page 17, or were they reading the front page, or were they just looking at the sports, or was anyone reading the op-eds? You could find out roughly but you didn’t really know. Online, you know everything.”

Click the audio player above to listen to the full interview. 

Ben was hired as Interim Executive Director of KALW in November, 2021.