Ben Trefny | KALW

Ben Trefny

News Director

Ben handles daily operations in the news department, overseeing the editorial and sound engineering teams, delivering daily newscasts, producing the nightly news and culture show Crosscurrents, and supervising special projects including KALW's Audio Academy training program.

He earned a Master's 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 many magazines and producing for regional and national 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 teach hundreds of audio producers, many of whom work with him at KALW, today. He currently serves as the president of the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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.

You can reach him at

Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 9/22/20, AM

Sep 22, 2020

California To Halt Unemployment Claims For Two Weeks / Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris Expected To Take Key Role In Effort To Delay Replacement Of Supreme Court Justice / Governor Newsom Talks Wildfire, Coronavirus, Homelessness / Census Takers Mobilize To Count Homeless People

California's Updated COVID-19 Death Count Is 4th Highest In Nation And Caseload Is 1st / State Employment Development Department Will Not Consider New Claims For Two Weeks

California To Halt Unemployment Claims For Two Weeks

Sep 21, 2020
"Sigh" by TMAB2003 is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

For the next two weeks California will not be taking any new unemployment claims. The timing’s tough: more than two million Californians are currently out of work.

Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 9/17/20, PM

Sep 17, 2020

Families And Administrators In Bay Area School Districts Have Different Reactions To Distance Learning Regulations / Santa Clara Pastor Holds Services In Parking Lot To Comply With Health Orders

Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 9/16/20, PM

Sep 16, 2020

US Mayors Increasingly Supporting Basic Income Provision / California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Investigating Firms That Misclassify Contract Employees

San Francisco Pioneers Program To Reduce Racial Health Disparities Among Expecting Parents / Bad Air Could Stick Around Until October / Fresno County School Legally Ordered To End In-Person Classes

Trump And Biden Square Off On Climate Change And Wildfires / Ninth Circuit Court Lifts Injunction On Temporary Protected Status For People From Six Countries / Billionaire Philanthropist Ann Getty Passes Away

President Donald Trump And Challenger Joe Biden Square Off On Climate Change And The Wildfires

Sep 14, 2020
RS2Photography / Flickr / Creative Commons

With the smell of California wildfires in the air, President Donald Trump on Monday ignored the scientific consensus that climate change is playing a central role in historic West Coast infernos and renewed his unfounded claim that poor forest management is mostly to blame.

Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 9/14/20, AM

Sep 14, 2020

USPS Postcard Creates Confusion About Voting By Mail In California / Gig Companies Spend $180 Million Supporting State Proposition 22 / President Trump Visiting Sacramento Today / Forest Animals Suffering During Wildfires

North Complex Fire California's Deadliest This Year / Bay Area Air Quality Is Officially Very Unhealthy / San Francisco Set To Open Many Indoor Services On Monday

Bay Area Headlines: Friday, 9/11/20, AM

Sep 11, 2020

August Complex Fire Largest In Recorded California History / Dissipating Marine Layer Is Leading To Unhealthy Air In The Bay Area / Cal State Classes Will Remain Online In Second Semester / Governor Signs Legislation Requiring Paid Sick Leave For People Exposed To COVID-19

North Complex Fire Wreaking Havoc Near Oroville And Paradise / Climate Change Conspiring On Environmental Conditions To Fuel Fires / California Census Workers Facing Possible Layoffs / Twitter Will Label Or Remove Misleading Claims In Advance Of Election Day

Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 9/10/20, AM

Sep 10, 2020

San Francisco's Prop C, From 2018, Passes Final Legal Hurdle, Freeing Up Money For Homeless Services / Los Altos Allows Controversial Mixed Use Building / Wildfires Around State Damage Oroville And Threaten Paradise / Religious Gatherers At State Capitol Asked To Quarantine

Wildfires Rage Unchecked Across Parts Of California / Los Altos Allows Controversial Mixed Use Building To Go Forward

Alameda County Pursues Charges Against Officer In Walmart Slaying / Heat Wave Coming For Bay Area / Environmental Advocates Concerned About California Drilling Permits

Officer Charged In Shooting Death Of Black Man In A Walmart

Sep 3, 2020
Mike Cohen / Flickr / Creative Commons

A San Francisco Bay Area police officer was charged Wednesday with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a Black man inside a Walmart store in April.

Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 9/3/20, AM

Sep 3, 2020

San Jose Will Levy Fees On Large Commercial Properties / Governor Newsom Speaks To State's Action On Helping Unhoused People / Lawmakers Passed A Bill To Allow Formerly Incarcerated People To Clear Records And Fight Fires Professionally / California Focusing On 1,000 Census Tracks As Deadline Approaches / Bay Area Wildfire Updates

California Focuses Resources On The Census / Bill Passed By Legislature Would Allow Formerly Incarcerated Firefighters To Get Jobs Fighting Fires / Update On The SCU, LNU, And CZU Fires

Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 9/1/20, PM

Sep 1, 2020

California Legislators Complete Session, Only Swearing Occasionally / Governor Newsom Signs Bill Banning Evictions Temporarily / AB5 Reform Passes Legislature, Enabling More Independent Contract Jobs / California Plans To Use Economic Power To Reduce Price Of Prescription Drugs / Meals On Heels Has Drag Performers Delivering Food And Fun

Robert Carande / Flickr / Creative Commons


California State University, Chico canceled its limited number of in-person classes, Monday, and told students to vacate campus housing by the weekend. That’s after nearly 30 people tested positive for the coronavirus just days after the fall semester started.

Increasingly Warm Conditions Concern Firefighters / Chico State Calls For Students To Leave Campus Over COVID-19 Concerns / California Senators Call For State Investigations Of Some Police Shootings / Legislators Pass Bill To Stamp IDs On Bullets ... Again

Bay Area Headlines: Friday, 8/29/20, AM

Aug 28, 2020

San Francisco Gets Closer To Approving New Budget / State Legislators Work Toward Blocking Evictions / Republic State Senators Quarantined / Suspect Pleads Not Guilty In Ambush Of Oakland Security Guard / Wildfire Containment Update / Questions About Breastfeeding During The Pandemic Answered

Evacuees Returning While Wildfire Containment Moves Slowly / Demonstrators In Oakland And Los Angeles Protest Jacob Blake Shooting / San Francisco Supervisors Take Next Step To Passing Budget

Travis Wise / Flickr / Creative Commons


San Francisco is a step closer to finalizing its next budget. The Board of Supervisors Budget and Appropriations Committee amended and approved Mayor London Breed’s proposed budget just after 2 o’clock, very early this morning.

Daniel Arauz / Flickr / Creative Commons

Hundreds marched in two California cities over the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, setting fire to property and damaging businesses.

Sur / Flickr / Creative Commons

Thousands of people forced to flee their homes were allowed to return Thursday after firefighters made progress in their effort to put out massive and deadly wildfires in Northern California. Officials were working on plans to repopulate other evacuated areas.

Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 8/27/20, AM

Aug 27, 2020

Lawmakers Consider Preventive Wildfire Mitigation Legislation / In-Person Special Education Allowances May Happen / Governor Newsom Refuses To Address Ex-Wife's Inflammatory Comments At Republican National Convention / California Signs Billion Dollar Contract To Increase State's COVID-19 Testing Capacity And Reduce Costs / Police Reform Bills On State Legislature's Docket

California Wildfires Getting Contained / Governor Newsom's Birds Eye View Of The SCU Lightning Complex Fire / Centenarian (Retired) Firefighter Honored In San Jose

Firefighters Get Some Relief, But Containment Coming Slowly On Lightning Complex Fires / California Attorney General Seeks To Limit Hospital Mergers / San Francisco Supervisors Consider Measures To Further Defund Police

Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 8/24/20, AM

Aug 24, 2020

Update On Bay Area Wildfires / Looting A Threat For Evacuees In Santa Cruz Mountains / The Air Is Full Of Wildfire Smoke And Viral Particles. What's The Best Way To Protect Your Health? / Pandemic Contributes To Chinook Salmon Rebound