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

San Jose And Oakland Ban Natural Gas In Most New Buildings / California Unemployment Fraud Involving Claims From Incarcerated People Tops $400 Million / San Francisco's American Indian Cultural District May Include Dolores Park / San Francisco May Designate Non-Sworn Service Providers To Respond To Non-Violent Calls

Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 11/30/20, PM

Nov 30, 2020

California Breaks Record With More Than 7,400 COVID-19 Hospitalizations On Sunday / State Has Stockpiled More N95 Masks Than The Nation Itself Has On Hand / Curfew Begins Tonight In San Francisco / Santa Clara County Announces Indoor And Contact Sporting Activities Are Prohibited Until Nearly Christmas / California Recommends Hospitals Test Workers On A Weekly Basis, And Test All Incoming Patients For COVID-19

Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 11/24/20, PM

Nov 24, 2020

Elected Officials Ratcheting Up Recommendations For COVID-19 Safety / Golden Gate Fields Extends Closure Of Horse Racing Track / Los Angeles On The Brink Of Stay-At-Home Order / Orange County To Provide Half-A-Million Mail-In Test Kits / 35,000 Unemployment Claims Filed On Behalf Of Incarcerated People / Advocates For Low-Income People Ramp Up Pressure To Pass More Stimulus Funding

Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 11/23/20, PM

Nov 23, 2020

San Francisco Expecting To Join Majority Of California Counties In Restrictive Purple Tier / GM Flips To California's Side In Pollution Fight With Trump / Suspect Arrested In Fatal Stabbings At San Jose Church / Ex-San Francisco Cop Charged In 2017 Fatal Shooting Of Man / In Cities Across US, Voters Support More Police Oversight

California Announces 10 p.m. To 5 a.m. Curfew For Purple Counties Beginning Saturday / Republican Assemblymember Says He's Skeptical Of COVID-19 Curfew Approach / Small Business Owners In Rural Areas Say Changing Restrictions Have Been Frustrating / California Hospitals Expect To Be Short On Nurses In Coming Weeks / Health Systems Likely Won't Postpone Surgical Procedures To Avoid Financial Hit

Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 11/19/20, PM

Nov 19, 2020

California Announces 10 p.m. To 5 a.m. Curfew For Purple Counties Beginning Saturday / San Diego Struggles With Suggestion Versus Enforcement In Dealing With COVID-19 Restrictions / Four San Francisco Supervisors Call To Keep Homeless People Housed In Hotels

throgers / Flickr / Creative Commons

California’s top doctor, Mark Ghaly, announced upcoming restrictions, this afternoon, to reduce incidence of COVID-19 in the state:

Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 11/18/20, PM

Nov 18, 2020

California Now Expecting $26 Billion Tax Windfall / San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi Nominated Again For Speaker Of The House / Many Yuba City Residents Apparently Reject State COVID-19 Guidelines / Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs Loses Re-Election Bid

Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 11/17/20, PM

Nov 17, 2020

Preparing For A Safe Thanksgiving During COVID-19 / UC System Settling Sexual Abuse Lawsuits For $73 Million / LA's Farmer John Meatpacking Plant Fined For Safety Violations Including Exposing 300 Workers To COVID-19 / Heavy Rainfall Could Lead To Flooding In High Country / La Niña Could Bring Colder And Drier Winter

California Imposes New Restrictions In Pandemic

Nov 17, 2020
Russ Allison Loar / Flickr / Creative Commons

Governor Gavin Newsom said he was pulling the “emergency brake” Monday on reopening the state's economy as coronavirus cases surge at the fastest rate since the start of the outbreak.

Governor Newsom Announces Vast Majority Of State Will Enter Most Restrictive Activity Tier Because Of COVID-19 Surge / Newsom Administration Urges Californians To Stay Close To Home For Holidays / Forecasters Advise About Minor Coastal Flooding Because Of King Tides / UCLA Researcher Sounds Alarm About Impending Flood Issues In State

Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 11/12/20, PM

Nov 12, 2020

San Francisco Scheduled To Shut Down Indoor Dining, Despite Concerns Of Economic Fallout / Natural Gas To Be Banned In New San Francisco Buildings, Following Berkeley's Lead / State Senator Scott Wiener Looks To Decriminalize Possession Of Psychedelics / Stolen Four-Foot-Tall Bigfoot Statue Found In Santa Cruz Mountains

On November 3, 2020, when polls closed on the West Coast at 8pm, KALW Elections Coverage Manager Sonia Narang and News Director Ben Trefny hosted three hours of live conversation, interspersed with national reports and analysis.

Governor Newsom On How The Presidential Election Will Impact California / FTC Requires Zoom To Strengthen Its Security / Woman Sentenced For California Employment Development Department Fraud / Fall Arrives In California With Stacked Storms / Wine Country Rethinks Tourism After Fire Season

David Boyer / KALW

What does Joe Biden's election as President of the United States mean for the San Francisco Bay Area? How does Kamala Harris' historic election to the executive office impact women, people of color, and Californians? Who will Governor Gavin Newsom appoint to the Senate seat she leaves behind?

Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 11/5/20, PM

Nov 5, 2020

Bay Area Health Officials Consider Requiring Quarantine For People Who Leave Town For Holidays / Cooler And Wetter Weather Expected This Weekend / Pro-Tenant Advocates Take Seats On Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board / Several US House Races Remain Undecided

Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 11/4/20, PM

Nov 4, 2020


Trump Administration's Ban On Immigrants On "Public Charge" Restored While Court Battle Continues / Judge Eases Oakland Police Crowd Control Restrictions / "Enchanted" LED Forest On Its Way To Golden Gate Park 

Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 11/3/20, PM

Nov 3, 2020

From Hotels To Homes: How San Francisco Is Rehousing Its Most Vulnerable Homeless People

Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 11/2/20, PM

Nov 2, 2020

How You Can Still Vote, Even If You're Not Registered Yet / More Than 11 Million Californians Have Already Voted / A 79th Person Has Died of COVID-19 While Incarcerated In A California State Prison / San Francisco 49ers Lose Quarterback And Star Tight End For At Least Most Of Rest Of Season/ Girl Who Lost Baseball Cards In Creek Fire Gets New Collection And Call From Buster Posey

KALW‘s podcast tbh — made by, for, and about teenagers — just wrapped up its second season. It’s the result of our journalists/teachers’ work with more than 100 SFUSD high school students and seven teens from around the Bay Area who took part in our summer high school podcasting institute.

Muralists Take Over An Oakland City Block For East Point Peace Academy Message Of Democracy / Brianna Noble "Rides To The Vote" In Oakland / California Secretary Of State Alex Padilla Encourages People To Vote Early If They Can

San Francisco Offers Lifeline To Entertainment Businesses / Many Incarcerated People Don't Want To Move To "Safer Cells" / Transamerica Pyramid Sells For $650 Million

City Of Pittsburg Settles Suit In Officer-Involved Carotid Hold Death / Tips For Dealing With Election Anxiety

Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 10/27/20, PM

Oct 27, 2020

Fewer Polling Places Will Open As More People Vote By Mail / Two Fires Near Irving Force Evacuations As Two Firefighters Are Critically Injured / PG&E Restores Power, But More Than Half-A-Million Remain Without / Contra Costa, Marin, And San Mateo Counties Reach Less Restrictive State Reopening Tier / Two San Francisco School Board Members Subject Of Threatening Social Media Posts / California Inspector General Says Prison Officials Did Poor Job Of Protecting Incarcerated People And Staff

Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 10/26/20, PM

Oct 26, 2020

Hundreds Of Thousands Lose Power As PG&E Cuts Power / Shasta County's Pleas To Return To Less Restrictive COVID-19 Tier Results In State Reclassification / California Restaurants Demand $100 Million In Fees Be Returned

PG&E Shutdowns Affect Northern California / Investigation Finds Damaged Electrical Equipment Caused Two Southern California Fires / Early Voting Is Happening At Sports Arenas Around The Country

Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 10/21/20, PM

Oct 21, 2020

San Francisco Clears Latest COVID-19 Reopening Hurdle, But Sonoma Lags Behind / California Allows Fans At Sporting Events, But Santa Clara Says No To 49ers Games

gratuit /, used under CC BY 3.0

This is a 2-minute summary of what’s on the ballot. Click here to listen to them all.

Measure X is a sales tax measure that’s expected to generate $81 million dollars a year for the next 20 years. If it passes, sales tax would increase by half a percent on most goods, but not on necessities like food and medicine. That would bring Contra Costa’s sales-tax rate up to around 10 percent.

Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 10/19/20, PM

Oct 19, 2020

Today's The Online Voter Registration Deadline, But If You Miss It, There Are Still Ways To Vote / Lake Tahoe Resorts Plan For A Ski Season During The Pandemic

Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 10/15/20, PM

Oct 15, 2020

Today Is The Last Day To Turn In The US Census / Wildfire Danger High Through Friday / Water Availability Causes Concern For Rural Districts