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.

Ben Trefny

People around the Bay Area, the state, and the nation are thinking about what they can do to help victims of the North Bay fires. For a pair of socially minded artists, it turned out their efforts were worth much more than they’d ever imagined.

People in Santa Rosa come together in the crisis

Oct 11, 2017
Ninna Gaensler-Debs / KALW News

Wildfires tearing through California wine country flared up again today. They’ve destroyed hundreds more homes and other buildings and led to new evacuation orders in Calistoga, Green Valley and the northern part of the town of Sonoma.

Ninna Gaensler-Debs / KALW News

 

Cal Fire is looking into whether reports of power lines falling down and electrical transformers exploding may have led to the disaster.

Ninna Gaensler-Debs / KALW News

Since late Sunday night, an estimated 17 different fires have been devastating several counties in Northern California, including Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino.

Snow Leopard Conservancy

The snow leopard, listed as "endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature since 1972, was reclassified as "vulnerable" earlier this month. So what does that mean for the survival of the species?

NOAA / Wikimedia Commons

It’s been two weeks since Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. President Trump visited the island for just over four hours today — and a contingent of Bay Area nurses will spend much more time there as part of the Registered Nurse Response Network.

Ryan Jerz

With more than 500 people injured at the concert, there have been calls for blood donations from service agencies including the Red Cross. Also, a Go Fund Me page for Las Vegas victims was set up early this morning with an original goal of raising $500,000, though nearly $2,000,000 has been donated to this point.

Photo courtesy of Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group

This story originally aired in November of 2016.

On September 10, 2016 football players from Mission High School in San Francisco were headed to a game in Redwood City. They were led by San Francisco Chronicle 2015 football player of the year Niamey Harris, a 17-year-old senior quarterback from Bayview.

Photo courtesy of flickr user Sam Howzit

Colin Kaepernick ignited a heated conversation over race and patriotism with a simple gesture involving the national anthem.

 

We’re all familiar with the song; it’s played at the beginning of major sporting events in the United States.

Screenshot from Al Jazeera English. http://bit.ly/2fhPLnd

This story has been updated since it originally aired in November of 2016.

For many people, this is a time to reflect on what it means to live in the United States. The election season revealed a divided nation, and many folks are saying they feel like strangers in their own country. Clearly, many already did.

Aidan Wakely-Mulroney / Creative Commons Flickr

 

State legislators put in a 48-hour marathon session before going on recess, passing hundreds of bills on to Governor Brown who must pass or veto them by October 15.

Courtesy PG&E

Pacific Gas & Electric put a historic worker exchange into effect, sending 100 linemen from the Peninsula and East Bay to help restore power for thousands of customers in Florida.  KALW's Ben Trefny speaks with PG&E's Mayra Tostado about the agreement, who takes part, and how the crew hunkered down to weather the storm. 

  

 

Click the audio player above to hear the full interview. 

Andy Bosselman

 

UPS workers returned to the distribution facility this morning, a day after 38-year-old driver Jimmy Lam shot and killed three coworkers before turning the gun on himself.

Editted and cropped with permission

 

Earlier this year, Anne Kirkpatrick became Oakland's newest police chief. Kirkpatrick’s got a Southern twang and change maker cred, having just left her job leading reform efforts at the Chicago police department. But some are skeptical that any one chief can change a department rocked by scandal for so long.

Photo by Joen Madonna

 

If you’ve read the San Francisco Chronicle in the last 15 or so years, you probably saw something unique. Once a week, the paper published an illustration called “All Over Coffee” that showed a fresh view of San Francisco, accompanied by words of random insight. 

Jaimal Yogis is a San Francisco author who lives at Ocean Beach with his wife and three sons. He spent many years traveling the world seeking spiritual enlightenment. That time is captured in his upcoming book All Our Waves Are Water: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment and the Perfect Ride. Jaimal sat down with a fellow surfer, KALW’s Ben Trefny, to talk about it.

Cropped and reused from Wikimedia Commons: http://bit.ly/2oIWUnD

The murder rate across Bay Area cities has risen in the last two years, reflecting national trends. But, when a homicide happens in the city of Richmond, the chances that the assailant will be arrested are pretty low. In fact, the city has the second lowest clearance rates for homicides in the state of California. Why is that? And what’s being done about it?

Marissa Ortega-Welch

 

The Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting was awarded to the staff of the East Bay Times for “relentless coverage of the ‘Ghost Ship’ fire ... and for reporting after the tragedy that exposed the city’s failure to take actions that might have prevented it.”

This story is set to the music of Bay Area shakuhachi player Masayuki Koga, who runs the Japanese Music Institute of America

Ben Trefny

When William Scott was sworn in to lead San Francisco’s police department in January, he became a rare chief for the city —one hired from outside the ranks.

The Bay Area's "Day Without Immigrants"

Feb 16, 2017
Josiah Luis Alderete

 


At his press conference today, President Trump reiterated his motivation for strictly enforcing and enhancing U.S. immigration policy.

Ben Trefny

 

This past Tuesday, Betsy DeVos was narrowly confirmed as Secretary of Education.

 

Ben Trefny

Former Congressman Mike Honda sits down with KALW News Director Ben Trefny for an extended interview about his eight terms representing the South Bay, the Trump Administration, Syrian refugees, money in politics, and his plans after leaving office.

This interview first aired February 2, 2017.

Julia Harumi Mass is a Senior Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. She leads their immigrants’ rights project. 

Many of California’s elected officials have been speaking out against President Trump’s executive orders on immigration. 

Cropped and used under CC license from Flickr user Amy the Nurse


Donald Trump signed two executive orders that had to do with undocumented immigration today.

Image courtesy of Daphne Matziaraki

 

Daphne Matziaraki's film 4.1 Miles captures a day in the life of a Greek Coast Guard Captain whose job is to try to save refugees trying to cross the Aegean Sea. It was featured as a New York Times Op-Doc, won a Student Academy Award, and it’s been nominated for an Oscar.

Photo by George Baker


    

Daphne Matziaraki's film 4.1 Miles captures a day in the life of a Greek Coast Guard Captain whose job is to try to save refugees trying to cross the Aegean Sea. It was featured as a New York Times Op-Doc, won a Student Academy Award, and it’s been nominated for an Oscar in the short documentary category.

Cropped and used under CC license from Flickr user Evan HB

One of President Trump’s very first official acts was to sign an executive order stating it will be the policy of his Administration to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The way it was phrased was kind of like those Bay Area ballot measures that may or may not make a difference, like, “The San Francisco Board of Supervisors denounce the war in Iraq”; in other words, it doesn’t actually put anything definitive into effect. But Congress is already responding to that, and opponents of the ACA are looking for ways to cut costs.

Cropped and used under CC license from Flickr user Steve Rhodes

 

Civil rights advocates draw cautionary parallels from this moment in history to the 1940s, when the U.S. government forcibly incarcerated more than a hundred thousand Japanese Americans.

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