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

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

California Firefighters Severely Taxed By Multiple Blazes / Update On Wildfires in Napa, Sonoma, And Solano Counties / Solano State Prison Chooses Opts To Not Evacuate As Firefighters Make Progress / Big Basin State Park Loses Structures / Santa Cruz County Residents Forced To Evacuate

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

Aug 20, 2020

Governor Newsom Says California Is Prepared For The Worst In Wildfires / American Lung Association Recommendations On Air Quality / San Francisco Supes Settle Tenderloin Tent Lawsuit / Disability Rights Advocates Concerned About MUNI Changes / Kamala Harris Introduces Herself To The Nation At The Democratic National Convention

Bay Area Burns / Governor Newsom Says State Is Prepared / California Experiencing More Wildfires Now Than Last Year / Health Tips From The American Lung Association 

Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 8/19/20, AM

Aug 19, 2020

California's Continuing Heat Wave And Its Consequences

California Physicians Say COVID-19 Safety Precautions Could Help Prevent The Spread Of Other Respiratory Illnesses / California Bill Requires Ethnic Studies For California State University Students

Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 8/18/20, AM

Aug 18, 2020

Extreme Weather Shocks Bay Area / Governor Investigates Rolling Power Outages / California Adds Five Counties to COVID-19 Watch List / State Residents Missing Routine Vaccinations / Inconsistencies Contributed To Prison Coronavirus Outbreaks

Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 8/4/20, PM

Aug 4, 2020

Individual Health Insurance Premiums Rise, Just A Little / For At-Risk Lawmakers, Voting Remotely Could Be Illegal

Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 8/3/20, PM

Aug 3, 2020

SF Mayor Proposes Big Budget / Two More San Quentin Deaths Add Up To 21 / Southern California Wildfire Growing Under Hot Conditions

Lawmakers Consider Bills For Sick Leave, Hospital Supplies, And Diplomas / Schools Consider Teaching In Person / SF Mayor Prepares Budget Proposal

Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 7/29/20, PM

Jul 29, 2020


CA Officials Hope To Fill Unemployment Comp Gap / Orange County Education Officials Sue State / Remote Modoc County Gets First COVID-19 Cases / Bay Area Counties Will Fine Health Order Violators

Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 7/28/20, AM

Jul 28, 2020


Central Valley COVID-19 Testing Rates Are Very High / Legislators Return To Full Plates / Berkeley Officials Implement New Policies for Police / No, The Supreme Court Did Not Strike Down Voting-By-Mail

Central Valley COVID-19 Testing Rates Are Very High / Protesters Demanding Prison And Immigration Reform Chain Selves To Governor’s Home 

Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 7/23/20, PM

Jul 23, 2020

CA Enters Mask Market Again / UC Berkeley Teaching Online Only / CA Wildfire Update