Category Archives: Berkeleyside

Berkeleyside

Help us keep comments on Berkeleyside civil

Photo: THOR
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In the five years since we launched Berkeleyside, our stories have drawn more than 100,000 comments (109,310 at time of writing), and the vast majority have been a compelling part of the conversation we want to encourage in Berkeley about critical issues. Comments often offer thoughtful opinions and can provide valuable new information that deepens other readers’ understanding of a story.

The new year seems a good time to remind readers of our comments policy, particularly as we’re only a few months past the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement. We truly want to keep our comments section as open and free as we can manage, while balancing that desire with our hope for this to be a civil forum where differing voices feel they can be heard.

For the most part, we are very proud of the level of discussion among Berkeleyside readers, and thank all of you for your efforts, insights and participation. We do, however, still get comments on the site that challenge our attempts at moderation. Most comments require an editor’s approval before they appear online, though it’s worth noting that readers who take the time to create an account, and establish a track record of respectful behavior, may be granted immediate, automated approval. … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside

Berkeley resolutions for 2015 – and how 2014 went

Photo: jngai58
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For five years we’ve been making New Year’s resolutions on Berkeleyside, putting down markers for 10 things we’d like to see in the year ahead for our city. Let us know in the comments what your hopes and expectations are for 2015. After our 10 for 2015, we review how our 2014 resolutions fared.

1. Turn the soda tax into something concrete

It would be too easy to take a breather after the clamorous, successful campaign for Measure D, Berkeley’s nation-leading soda tax. But now the legislation has to be shown to work, producing funds for nutrition and health programs on a rapid schedule. Applications for the Panel of Experts, which will advise the City Council on how to spend tax proceeds, are due on Jan. 17. Dithering will be seized upon by the soda industry. … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside

Berkeleyside wishes you a happy, safe new year

The Berkeleyside team, from left: Tracey Taylor, Frances Dinkelspiel, Wendy Cohen, Emilie Raguso and Lance Knobel.
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With New Year’s Eve nearly upon us, the Berkeleyside team wanted to wish all of our readers a safe and happy new year.

And what a year it’s been. We hit the 1 million pageviews milestone following recent protests in Berkeley, and won an Excellence in Journalism award from the local chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists for the second year running.

We held our second annual Uncharted ideas festival, and launched a new discussion series called The B-Side, where speakers debated the implications of Berkeley’s downtown initiative and whether the city has lost its cool.

As we noted yesterday in our final 2014 request for reader support, we published more than 1,900 original stories this year. Throughout the year, our website had nearly 6 million unique visitors and nearly 7.5 million pageviews. Compare that to the prior year, where we saw about 4.4 million uniques and nearly 5.5 million pageviews, and you can understand how excited we our about our work, our growth and our service to the community. … Continue reading »

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By the numbers: Top Berkeley stories of 2014

A six-alarm fire burned through a West Berkeley warehouse Saturday, April 12. One of the businesses involved was furniture store Wooden Duck. Photo: David Yee
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There’s no question that Berkeley’s recent protests and the November 2014 election were among the most significant — and most read — news in the community this past year, but other articles were huge hits with readers as well. In this round-up, we look at which other stories drew the most attention solely by the numbers.

The natural world

Our story about 31-year-old Emily Davis, who was struck by lightning in South Berkeley but lived to describe her experience, was among the most read Berkeley stories of 2014. Following close behind, our Bay Area storm blog from December kept readers informed and engaged for hours as we provided the latest updates and shared photos and videos from the community.

In March, a tree struck by lightning, causing an explosion of wood, was also a huge draw for readers, as was our post on the magnitude-6 earthquake that shook things up in August.

Other nature-related items of interest: the blooming of a rare Puya raimondii plant at the UC Botanical Garden; a look into the proliferation of crows in Berkeley; and the closure of a spotted hyena colony. (See more animal-related stories on Berkeleyside.) … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside

The most important Berkeley stories of 2014

Photo: Mike Morgan
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There was no shortage of news in Berkeley in 2014, but a few issues stood out, and they informed Berkeleyside’s list of the most important stories of the year.

In a separate post we will detail our most viewed articles of 2014, but below is the editors’ selection of what really shaped the city during the past 12 months. … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside

Chip in to Berkeleyside for even better coverage in 2015

Berkeley protests. Photo Tyurin Alexander
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So much has happened in Berkeley in 2014 — from elections that brought us a pioneering soda tax, a new minimum wage, and a woman struck by lightning, to the protests and riots that consumed the city this month.

Berkeleyside’s small team and its roster of trusty regular contributors covered it all — the highbrow, the lowbrow, school issues, urban development, music, movies, crime, the vagaries of the weather, as well as the quirky and the plain fun.

How much would you have know about what went on if it wasn’t for Berkeleyside?

We need your support to continue reporting on the stories that matter in this city. Advertising revenue, while welcome, isn’t enough to cover our expenses. … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside

Berkeleyside hits a milestone: 1 million pageviews

Berkeley protests, Alcatraz and Telegraph Photo- Tyurin Alexander
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Berkeleyside’s coverage of the Berkeley protests since Dec. 6, as well as the recent rainstorms, has pushed monthly pageviews — a common metric for websites — to 1,171,831. In the past 30 days, we had 327,683 unique visitors.

By comparison, one year ago over the same period we served 475,000 pageviews to 141,000 unique visitors. Last month, before the protests, 214,000 unique users accessed 681,000 pages. … Continue reading »

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Best Books of 2014: Chosen by local authors, Berkeleyside

Photo via Creative Commons
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Every year Berkeleyside puts together a list of the best books the editors have read. We generally ask local authors and literary-minded folk to contribute their picks. This year we decided to mimic the format used by The Guardian newspaper in Britain, and that meant asking everyone to limit their selections to two books apiece – a difficult task, we found. Here, then, is our selection of the Best Books of 2014.

Elizabeth Rosner: “Two books leap ahead of the herd”

Berkeley author Elizabeth Rosner published two books in 2014, including Electric City (named a Best Book of 2014 by NPR) and Gravity, a book of poems.

Two books leap ahead of the herd when I think about outstanding reading experiences this year.

The first is Karen Joy Fowler’s acclaimed novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, with its astonishingly original approach to the subject of familial love. Months after finishing the book, I can still recall the sensation of holding my breath while I turned the pages, hopeful and terrified and amused and devastated. This story broke my heart and blew my mind. In a very different but equally momentous way, I found myself profoundly affected by cover designer Peter Mendelsund’s book What We See When We Read. He offers an inspired “phenomenological” study of something that we readers both do and do not quite know about what is happening inside our brains, using examples from many of my favorite writers (Woolf, Tolstoy, Joyce, Kafka, and plenty of others). It’s a thrillingly visual and imaginative window into the mysterious and rapturous activity we call reading. … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside

Did you appreciate Berkeleyside’s protest coverage? Then please support us

Photo, taken on Sunday Dec. 7, 2014 in Berkeley, by Pete Rosos
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Last night, Berkeleyside reporter Emilie Raguso spent ten hours on the ground reporting minute-to-minute on the riots that consumed downtown Berkeley. She didn’t stop to eat or take a bathroom break. She was swatted at with a baton by a police officer, nearly hit by flying glass bottles, and was threatened by rioting activists.

The Berkeleyside team also live-blogged last night’s protests until the early hours, just as we did the previous night. More than 80,000 people turned to Berkeleyside.com to find out what was happening. Our Facebook posts reached 52,900 people, and there are more than 650 comments on our two protest stories — and counting.

Please support Berkeleyside by becoming a member now.

On Monday morning, Raguso was interviewed by Michael Krasny on KQED Forum, and local and national media, including CNN and Reuters, came calling asking for interviews and to reproduce our photos and videos.

At Berkeleyside, we care little about the media around the country that want to pick off our reporting. We do care deeply about providing timely and accurate information to the Berkeley community. There are more protests slated for tonight and Tuesday night. And we’ll be on the case. And we’ll continue to be on the case long after national interest has moved to other stories.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside

Support Berkeleyside on ‘Giving Tuesday’ and receive a free Berkeleyside 2015 calendar

Berkeleyside calendar 2015 with photo by Ira Serkes
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Week in, week out, Berkeleyside provides breaking news, investigative stories and feature articles to the Berkeley community.

We need you to help us continue to provide that coverage.

On this #GivingTuesday we hope you will consider how valuable Berkeleyside is to you, and that you will support us by becoming a Berkeleyside Member.

At the time of writing Berkeleyside counts 401 members who have supported us in the past 12 months. We have set a goal of achieving 500 members by Dec. 31! Will you join the club to help us meet that goal? … Continue reading »

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Berkeleyside

Independent news site Berkeleyside recognized for journalism excellence for the second year running

Team at Uncharted close up Photo Pete Rosos
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At an awards ceremony last night at the San Francisco City Club, the organization announced Berkeleyside as the winner of the Community Journalism (print/text) category in its 2014 Excellence in Journalism Awards.

The judges said they chose Berkeleyside for the “range, depth and innovation reflected in its coverage of Berkeley.”

“The site provides residents with news as it is happening, plus comprehensive, timely stories about important issues in the community,” they said.

Four stories published by Berkeleyside were cited as exemplifying what the judges described as Berkeleyside’s “laser focus on one community”:

When last year’s Rim Fire near Yosemite first threatened, and finally destroyed, Berkeley’s beloved Tuolumne camp, Berkeleyside was posting updates and photos as soon as information became available… “the site provided more detailed information about the fate of the camp than was available in other media,” wrote SPJ NorCal. Read that coverage, written by Tracey Taylor and others.Continue reading »

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An ideas festival in Berkeley unfolds over social media

Tanya Holland and Twilight Greenaway by Pete Rosos
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[View the story “Uncharted The Berkeley Festival of Ideas 2014: As it happened” on Storify]

Note: the Storify above does not necessarily reflect the chronological order of the festival program.

Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas, which launched in 2013, is organized by Berkeleyside as a community event to expand horizons, bring Berkeley to the fore, and help sustain Berkeleyside in the long run. If you were at Uncharted 2014, take a quick survey so we have your … Continue reading »

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Photo Gallery: Uncharted 2014 — a festival fit for Berkeley

Ken Goldberg with Quentin Hardy by Pete Rosos
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How do you sum up the essence of a two-day festival of ideas like Uncharted?

Festivalgoers were exposed to, and engaged in, such a wide range of conversations, covering the gamut from robotics to food movements, from aging to cloning, from technology to language, and from race to equality… that capturing the spirit of the event, which also included many inspiring musical performances, as well as dazzling bay views from the Uncharted party deck, is near-on impossible.

KQED Arts did a good job in a story published Wednesday, writing: “Uncharted gave … ideas … an ecumenical airing. In the parlance of [Uncharted speaker] Brian Christian, it was full duplex — open channel cross talk like in a bar — not the reductive half duplex talk of one-at-a-time messaging, which is what a robot can handle. In such as atmosphere, easy problems may still be hard … But hard problems are at least easy to talk about.”

One festivalgoer said simply that the experience of Uncharted reminded her why she loved to live in Berkeley, a city known for people who are curious, hungry for knowledge, and not afraid to challenge the status quo.

Here we present a visual record of the event, with stunning photographs by Pete Rosos and Nancy Rubin, two photographers whose work we are always honored to publish on Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »

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