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

California Needs To Chill Over Holiday Weekend / Santa Clara School Administrators Quarantined / PG&E Emerges From Bankruptcy / SF’s Falling Rent

Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 7/2/20, PM

Jul 2, 2020

Governor Concerned About COVID Over Holiday Weekend / Santa Clara School Administrators Quarantining / Senate Approves Job Protections For Home Care / San Francisco Rents’ Rapid Decline / Airbnb’s Measures Against ‘Party Houses’

Governor Dimming Switch On Indoor Activities / Bay Area Bridge Fees Rising / Lawmakers Slam Prison Officials Over San Quentin Outbreak

Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 6/1/20, PM

Jul 1, 2020

California Shuts Down Activities / Higher Bridge Tolls Okayed By Court / Santa Clara Officials Set Plans For School Reopenings / State Senators Question Prison Officials On Outbreak

State Senators Question Prison Officials On Outbreak

Jul 1, 2020
Michael LoRusso / Creative Commons/Flickr

California lawmakers harshly criticized state corrections officials Wednesday, saying they botched their handling of the coronavirus pandemic by inadvertently transferring infected inmates to a virus-free prison, triggering the state’s worst prison outbreak.

Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 6/30/20, AM

Jun 30, 2020

San Quentin Cases Top 1,000 / Pride Revisits Its Roots / Governor Considers Further Safety Restrictions / ‘Golden State Killer’ Pleads Guilty

Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 6/29/20, PM

Jun 29, 2020

Governor Says Local Hospital Ready For San Quentin Patients / Bay Area Gets Red Flagged For Fire Danger / Pride Revisits Its Roots / ‘Golden Gate Killer’ Pleads Guilty

Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 6/25/20, PM

Jun 25, 2020

Newsom And Fauci Call For Social Responsibility / Governor Calls Emergency To Take From Rainy Day Fund / Hearing More Fireworks Lately? You’re Not Alone. 

Governor Newsom Addresses COVID-19 Outbreak At San Quentin / Attorney General Declines To Investigate Vallejo Police Shooting / Magnitude 5.8 Earthquake Strikes Central Valley

Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 6/24/20, AM

Jun 24, 2020

California COVID-19 Update / State Lawmakers Say Accessing Unemployment Benefits, Getting EDD Answers Top Constituent Complaint / Yosemite Decides Not To Reopen More Campgrounds / George Floyd’s Death Puts New Spotlight On Racism In Medicine

Health Officers Sound Alarm As California Economy Reopens

Jun 24, 2020
Russ Allison Loar / Flickr / Creative Commons

Health officials in a San Francisco Bay Area county that was among the most aggressive in the nation in shutting down its economy to slow the spread of the coronavirus are warning of “worrisome” growing infections as California on Tuesday reported its highest daily infection rate to date and hospitalizations from the virus increase.

Jon Carroll / KALW

California’s Yosemite National Park is reversing course two weeks after reopening and now says it will hold off on reopening some campgrounds through July because of social distancing concerns in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

CA Legislators and Governor Newsom Agree On Budget / Governors Ask Californians To Wear Masks

Audio Postcard: West Coast Ports Shutdown / COVID-19 In California Prisons Continues To Raise Concerns / Racial Justice Reform Happening In Sacramento 

Brian W. Tobin

The KALW News team is looking for an experienced radio producer/reporter/editor to lead our elections coverage for our newscasts, elections specials, Election Briefs podcast, and daily news magazine Crosscurrents.

Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 6/18/20, PM

Jun 18, 2020

Masks Required in CA / CA Police Chiefs Endorse Reform Plan / SF Removes Columbus Statue / Mountain Lion In City Captured Safely

Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday 06/17/20 PM

Jun 17, 2020

Hate Crime Investigation At Oakland’s Lake Merritt / San Mateo County’s New Rules / Smart Trash Cans in SF Tenderloin / Calaveras County Fire

Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 6/15/20 PM

Jun 15, 2020

State Claims Bay Area Cities Owe Them Hundreds Of Millions / UC Supports Restoring Affirmative Action

Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 6/15/20 AM

Jun 15, 2020

Bay Area Weekend Protests / Black Lives Matter Captioning / Legislature Expected To Pass Budget / COVID-19 In Psychiatric Wards

Bay Area Headlines: Thursday, 6/11/20 PM

Jun 11, 2020

San Francisco Police Disengage / Follow Up on SFMTA v SFPD Twitter Tussle / Affirmative Action On The Ballot / Zero Dollar Bail Ends For Now

Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 5/10/20, PM

Jun 10, 2020

No Cash Bail Challenged / BART Employee Tests Positive For COVID-19 / SF Shared Spaces

SF Police Victims’ Compensation / Recreational Activities Reopening / What Would It Mean To Defund The Police / CA COVID-19 Numbers Spiking

Public Domain

Bonnie Pointer, one of the founding members of Oakland's legendary Pointer Sisters, died yesterday, at 69 years old. After years singing choir music in their home town, Bonnie and her sister June started performing in San Francisco in 1969. When their sister Anita joined them soon after, they made music history.

Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 6/9/20, PM

Jun 9, 2020

Police Use Of Force Policies Reviewed / What Does “Defunding Police” Mean? / SF Considers Defunding Police / SF Expands Victim Compensation Services

Bay Area Headlines: Tuesday, 6/9/20, AM

Jun 9, 2020

SF Corruption Probe Expands / Coronavirus Outbreak At San Quentin / California’s Masks Cleared / Protest? Test

Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 6/8/20, PM

Jun 9, 2020

Protesters Demand Justice For Killing Of Eric Salgado By Police In East Oakland / COVID-19 Infections Rising At San Quentin State Prison / California Red Flag Warnings In Effect / California Officials Release Pandemic Reopening Guidelines for Schools

Stephen Coles / Flickr / Creative Commons


The National Football League is finally listening.

It was nearly four years ago that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled before a preseason game to protest the oppression of people of color and police brutality. Some players joined him in demonstrating during the national anthem.

Bay Area Curfews Begin To Lift As Protests Continue

Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 6/3/20, PM

Jun 3, 2020

Curfew Details Around The Bay Area / SF Hall Of Justice Protest Leads To Arrests / CA’s Black Lawmakers Call For Change

Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 6/1/20, AM

Jun 1, 2020

Statewide Looters Cause Damage / Peaceful Protests In Oakland Focus On George Floyd