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.)
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.
To make this happen, we need your support!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. . .
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
• 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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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