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Using bikes to bring a local investigative newspaper to readers all over San Francisco. Super efficient. Shamelessly retro. Read more

1,016
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$21,328
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on July 2, 2014.

Using bikes to bring a local investigative newspaper to readers all over San Francisco. Super efficient. Shamelessly retro.

About this project

THANK YOU! Our campaign is fully funded — but we still need your help: Give $1 or more to help us earn up to $10,000 in matching grant funds.

(Up to $10,000 in matching funds from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Every dollar counts toward our goal! Details below.)

Pedal-Powered News

We have a plan for connecting San Francisco’s diverse neighborhoods with a mash-up of investigative journalism, community outreach and newspapers delivered by bicycle to spark conversations around under-reported but important urban issues.

Bicycle delivery can be an energy efficient and environmentally friendly tool to get reporting from the San Francisco Public Press, plus our network of nonprofit media partners, into the hands of large numbers of local readers.

Prototype for pedal-powered newspaper delivery
Prototype for pedal-powered newspaper delivery

To make this happen, we need your support!

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MATCHING GRANT:
As part of a community engagement initiative, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has generously pledged to match your donations to this campaign: 250 backers will win us a $2,500 grant, and more participation means more funding. We could earn a $10,000 match from Knight Foundation if we recruit 1,000 backers at ANY donation level.
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As commercial newsrooms continue to lay off their investigative teams, we are filling the void with in-depth reporting projects on education inequality, health care, affordable housing, climate change, homelessness, public safety, labor standards and other critical topics.

Our independent nonprofit newsroom relies on a network of experienced freelance reporters to produce accurate, data-rich stories that readers can use to affect change in the community. To do this sustainably, we need to build a broad base of public support.

Public Press reporters work collaboratively in our newsroom.
Public Press reporters work collaboratively in our newsroom.

So we’re going back to basics. We’ll use cargo bikes to deliver the Public Press’ beautiful quarterly ad-free broadsheet newspaper to dozens of retailers who sell it, and to scores of community centers where we give copies away for free. We’ll also bike-deliver papers to the homes of hundreds of member donors and subscribers.

The Public Press is just like public radio, but online and in print. That’s why we support other local public-media ventures by spotlighting reporting from more than 30 nonprofit news and civic partners, including the three largest Bay Area public radio stations and more than 20 specialized and neighborhood publications.

All of our reporting going back to 2009 can be found at sfpublicpress.org. But even in this most tech-obsessed of cities, it is our handcrafted approach to news published on newsprint that is turning heads and connecting to broad and diverse audiences. That is why Knight Foundation, in collaboration with the Investigative News Network, saw this as a promising experiment in using community outreach to achieve business self-sufficiency.

We already sell the newspaper at 50 spots around the Bay Area — about 35 in San Francisco. We also reach under-served audiences by delivering complimentary copies to scores of community and senior centers throughout the city. With Pedal-Powered News, we have plans to scale up and expand to hundreds of new retail locations.

Using highly visible cargo bikes, our newsies-on-wheels will distribute to:

  • Retailers, who sell the paper for $1
  • Free-copy sites in low-income neighborhoods
  • Members and subscribers who live or work in San Francisco

With Pedal-Powered News we plan to double our San Francisco distribution network within six months.

Map of projected retail location expansion
Map of projected retail location expansion

Our friendly bicycle delivery crew will serve as local news ambassadors, selling copies of the latest edition and evangelizing abut the role of public media in upholding the quality of local journalism.

Newsies hawking papers at the Ferry Building
Newsies hawking papers at the Ferry Building

With your help, we can expand our distribution network, strengthen the organization and produce more independent, in-depth local journalism for San Francisco.

Please support this retro but practical media distribution scheme, and help us take advantage of an amazing matching grant opportunity from Knight Foundation!

And now for the fun part! Support Pedal-Powered News and we’ll send you all kinds of newsroom goodies. Check out the full array of reward opportunities in the right hand column. Rewards include. . . 
The newspaper   •   Stuffable tote bag
The newspaper • Stuffable tote bag

 

Spiffy gray T-shirt   •   It comes in orange, too!
Spiffy gray T-shirt • It comes in orange, too!


With great appreciation, we
’d like to say. . .

 

 

Risks and challenges

We need to hire the right people to execute this pilot program — a capable, responsible, friendly delivery team of seasoned urban cyclists who are enthusiastic about local public media. (If you’re interested in joining the team, please write bikes@sfpublicpress.org.)

Other challenges:

• Rain — In the interest of safety, we won’t deliver when the pavement is wet. Plus, our newspapers are not water resistant.

• Hills — San Francisco’s terrain can be challenging (some street grades top out at more than 35 percent), so a small number of locations are impractical. We are investigating electric pedal-assist bikes.

• Cars — Cargo bike delivery is on the rise, but many drivers are not used to seeing pedal-powered wide loads. We will put our delivery crew through a mandatory training to promote safe cycling.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    311 backers

    THANKS + FAME: Your name emblazoned in the summer 2014 issue of the San Francisco Public Press and prominent acknowledgement at sfpublicpress.org.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    167 backers

    FAME + 1 ISSUE: A copy of the summer 2014 issue of the San Francisco Public Press newspaper. (N.B. If you live in San Francisco, we will deliver your newspaper by bicycle!) * AND * Your name emblazoned in the summer 2014 issue of the San Francisco Public Press and prominent acknowledgement at sfpublicpress.org.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    63 backers

    FAME + PARTY: One ticket to our exclusive Pedal-Powered News launch party in July 2014. * AND * Your name emblazoned in the summer 2014 issue of the San Francisco Public Press and prominent acknowledgement at sfpublicpress.org.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    61 backers

    BASIC MEMBERSHIP: Basic Membership benefits for one year, including your name in the next FOUR issues of the San Francisco Public Press and at sfpublicpress.org, and invitations to special members-only events hosted by the Public Press. * AND * One-year subscription — four issues — of the San Francisco Public Press newspaper, beginning with the summer 2014 issue. (N.B. If you live in San Francisco, we will deliver your newspapers by bicycle!) * AND * A ticket to our exclusive Pedal-Powered News launch party in July 2014.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    55 backers

    CUB REPORTER MEMBERSHIP + T-SHIRT: "Cub Reporter" membership benefits, including a stylish San Francisco Public Press T-shirt in orange or gray. * AND * All the benefits listed with the BASIC MEMBERSHIP reward above.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    31 backers

    BEAT REPORTER MEMBERSHIP + T-SHIRT + TOTE BAG: "Beat Reporter" membership benefits, including both one stylish San Francisco Public Press T-shirt in orange or gray * AND * one super handy San Francisco Public Press reusable, stuffable orange tote bag. * AND * All the benefits listed with the BASIC MEMBERSHIP reward above.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $300 or more

    3 backers

    A 3x4 inch sponsorship box in the summer 2014 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press. (We welcome logos from companies, organizations and individuals; photographs of you and co-sponsors; and text names.) * AND * An invitation (for two) to an exclusive Pedal-Powered News launch party in San Francisco in July 2014. * AND * All the benefits listed with the BASIC MEMBERSHIP reward above.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    3 backers

    Your 3x4 inch sponsorship box in the next FOUR issues of the San Francisco Public Press, beginning with the summer 2014 issue. * AND * An invitation (for two) to an exclusive Pedal-Powered News launch party in San Francisco in July 2014. * AND * All the benefits listed with the BASIC MEMBERSHIP reward above.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (27 days)