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 ben@kalw.org.

Courtesy of San Francisco Public Defender's Office

San Francisco's late public defender Jeff Adachi died unexpectedly after suffering an apparent heart attack in North Beach. 

Page Hodel

Today is Valentine’s Day. To celebrate we want to share with you a love story set here in the Bay Area.

Courtesy of the Berkeley Flea Market

The Berkeley Flea Market is a weekly gathering in the parking lot of the Ashby BART station. It’s brought together vendors, musicians, and community members for nearly half-century. But now, the group that runs the market has shut it down for the next couple of months.

Courtesy of the Oakland Athletics

From Audiograph, signature sounds of the Bay Area:

The Bay Area has a rich pro sports scene with distinctive voices who bring us all the action.

Flickr user GPS, used under CC BY-SA 2.0

We know now that Democrats dominated in California. And, we're antipating many changes at local and statewide levels. To break it down, KALW’s election coordinator, Angela Johnston, and news director, Ben Trefny, talk about what’s new.

cott Beale / Laughing Squid

 

It’s finally come. Today is the Election Day! Many people are saying it’s the most important election of our lifetimes. At the very least, it’s the most important election since, well, since the last one.

Ben Trefny

On Monday, October 15, at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, 13 of the 18 candidates running for the three available seats on the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education sat down at a public forum.

Ben Trefny / KALW News

The Global Climate Action Summit will be hosted here in San Francisco. World leaders will evaluate how far we’ve come since the Paris Agreement. The three-day event is co-chaired Governor Jerry Brown.

The eyes of the environmental world are on San Francisco, this week, where global leaders are gathering to talk about climate change. It’s a few years after the Paris Climate Agreement, and a year since President Donald Trump said the U.S. would pull out of the accord.

Ben Trefny / KALW News

Earlier this month, the man known as the federal homelessness czar visited the Bay Area. Matthew Dougherty met with San Francisco homeless programs director Jeff Kositsky and Mayor London Breed, discussing a nine-million dollar boost to grants provided for the city. The meeting drew media coverage, but as we know, money won’t necessarily bring lasting solutions. We know that in part because we read Street Spirit.

by Wikimedia user Sollok29, used under CC BY-SA 4.0 / cropped

 

Last Wednesday, media outlets across the country came together in solidarity, speaking about the importance of a free press. The next day, the U.S. Senate unanimously declared “the press is not the enemy of the people” in a roll call vote. This is in response, of course, to President Trump’s statement that the media is the enemy of the American people.

by Pax Ahimsa Gethen, used under CC BY-SA 4.0 / cropped

 

London Breed took over the top office in San Francisco just over a month ago. The same election that made her mayor put a majority of political progressives on the Board of Supervisors. What does this all mean for the city and county, and how does it fit into a larger narrative about race, class, and politics?

It’s not just you. That morning commute is getting longer and longer. As the local economy picks up steam, more and more people are getting in their cars, riding BART, and hopping on their bikes to get to work. This means everyone is spending more time on the road and is doing it less comfortably.

Courtesy of the International Congress of Youth Voices

 

The International Congress of Youth Voices is taking place this weekend in San Francisco. It’s the brainchild of author and educator Dave Eggers along with Amanda Uhle, bringing together 100 students to talk with famous writers, activists, and elected officials. Youth delegates are coming from Honduras, Iceland, Iraq, Syria, Zambia and other countries around the world.

Claire Stremple

 

The statewide community project California Speaks, based here at KALW, recently asked listeners this question: “How has the opioid crisis affected your community, and what should be done about it?”

 

We heard from a range of people — intimate stories deeply exploring tragedies and solutions. We wanted to share some of them, at length, with you today.

 

 

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.

"one-forty/three-sixty-five" by CC Flickr User Laura LaRose

 

The votes are in — or, most of them anyway, with some mailed-in ballots yet to be counted. And California voters have weighed in on state and local propositions as well as many elected offices.

Ben Trefny

 

Angela Alioto has been involved with politics in San Francisco for longer than she’s been a politician. That’s because her father, Joseph Alioto, was the city’s mayor 50 years ago.

Ben Trefny

Ellen Lee Zhou is a public health worker and union bargaining team member in San Francisco who has had enough of politics as usual. So she decided to run for mayor.

Ben Trefny

Supervisor Jane Kim is one of eight candidates in the race for mayor of San Francisco. She’s the first Korean-American elected official in the city.

 

Since 2010 she’s represented District 6, which includes Civic Center, Downtown, and Mission Bay.

 

She sat down for a conversation with us, and explained why she believes she should be the city’s next mayor.

 

Ben Trefny

Amy Farah Weiss, a San Francisco community activist and mayoral candidate in 2018 and 2015, spoke to KALW’s Ben Trefny about her campaign, her work on the Saint Francis Homelessness Challenge, and about issues such as climate change, divesting, racism, reparations, economics and prosperity.

Photo couresty of Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon covers state politics and policy for the LA Times. He spoke with KALW's Ben Trefny about the split roll campaign to reform Proposition 13 — which was just postponed to the 2020 ballot — and how that reform fits in with other proposed initiatives to address the state's housing crisis. 

ep_jhu / Flickr Creative Commons

 

Elected officials throughout the state have made it clear that they do not agree with federal immigration policy.

Who wants to be mayor of San Francisco?

Jan 9, 2018
David Yu, cropped and resized with permission from CC Flickr

Eight candidates qualified Tuesday to run in San Francisco's mayoral race and the ballot could become even more crowded in a contest expected to pit the city's progressive values against its thirst for economic development following years of spectacular but divisive growth driven by the technology sector.

Stephen Worrell, cropped and resized with permission from Creative Commons Flickr

Our friends in the San Quentin Media center — where San Quentin Radio, Ear Hustle, and other programs are produced — shared with us some songs of the holidays recorded at San Quentin State Prison. We thought you might like to take a listen.

Waldemar Zboralski / Wikimedia Commons

LISTEN: With the sudden death of San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee in the early hours of the morning, KALW News Director Ben Trefny reprises the story and clips from a conversation with the mayor during his re-election campaign.  

Handout / Youth Radio

For a decade now, Youth Radio has trained the next generation of media professionals from their headquarters in Oakland. But now they want to take it to the national level. New executive director Jabari Gray believes it's more important now than ever to amplify the voices of young people who are leading the fight against racism and prejudice — especially because they’re doing it in part through the use of media that didn’t even exist until recently. 

Jon Funabiki

(Editor's note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of KALW.)

It’s said that breaking bread together is a good way to get to know the people around you.

 

When it comes to San Francisco’s Excelsior District, breaking green onion pancakes can be equally effective.

 

Ko Blix

 

Ready? Set? Go! The horse race for the 2018 election is on.

Ben Trefny

Upstar Records is a professional music studio within Sunset Youth Services, a support program for youth and their families. This weekend the label showcases the work of young artists with the release of the album "Life Is Not a Game."

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