Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Toast to Leslie Guevarra

Here's your chance to salute Leslie Guevarra.

The Filipina Women's Network is hosting a special "Toast to Leslie Guevarra" on Friday, Sept. 14. Here's some information from the non-profit organization:

Leslie Guevarra is a news and communications professional based in San Francisco. Her more than 25 years in the industry has included work as a newspaper reporter and editor, host of the public affairs program "The Filipino American Journal" on KTSF-TV, a podcaster for the San Francisco Chronicle's "Pinoy Pod" and a senior newsroom manager. Leslie received the Filipinas Magazine Achievement Award in Communications in 2003 and most recently was a deputy managing editor for The Chronicle.

September 14 Friday
6:30pm No-host Cocktails 7:00pm Dinner & Program
Savoy Room (30th Floor) Crowne Plaza Union Square
480 Sutter St. San Francisco CA 94108

Questions? 415.278.9410

For tickets, please click HERE

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Farewell from Mitch Stephens

Dear colleagues:

Like many of you, I've have had a tough time getting through all the goodbyes the last couple months. Like the subjects we report and write on, everyone has a unique story to be sure. As a full-time staffer here for only four years (worked seven overall) mine certainly isn’t as rich or textured. Also, I “worked” largely in the field so I didn’t get to know many outside of the sports department.

But truly – warning Will Robinson warning, a cliché approaches! – truly it was an utter honor to work alongside so many world-class journalists. When my 5-year-old daughter grows up I’ll be able to tell her I once shared by-lines with Mark Fainaru-Wada and Ron Kroichick, that my stories ran with pictures taken by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers, were edited by ultimate pros like Kurt Aguilar and the legendary Pete Cafone, and enhanced by ground-breaking news reporters such as Henry Lee, Jim Zamora and Demian Bulwa. She’ll have a laugh when I tell her I actually gave future rock stars Rusty Simmons and Will McCulloch a little direction – directions to Castlemont and De La Salle High Schools, that is. She won’t have a clue what it means to be mentored every day by Dave Dayton, but then no words can express what a remarkably unique and expansive experience that has been. A wide smile will have to do. She’ll know I once worked for the best boss on the planet because hopefully one day Glenn Schwarz will double as her soccer coach and start her future career as well. It’s been an utterly enriching ride for me.

Thanks to all, good luck in all endeavors and if ever in need of high school sports contacts – I know there are many of you! – feel free to contact me at any time at or

Mitch Stephens

Farewell from Robert Collier

I have worked at the Chronicle for 16 years, most of that time as a reporter covering foreign affairs. International news is not just my job but my fascination and obsession, so these have been wonderful times. I’ve been able to travel extensively, crawl around jungles, sit in Baghdad waiting for the bombs to arrive, and attempt a rather unique style of foreign news coverage. While there have been some disagreements in the crafting of that strategy, I strongly feel that the world does indeed matter and that we must adventure beyond the Washington-New York policy mindset to cover it.

I’m leaving the newspaper at time when most media are reducing their foreign news coverage, so my departure is with both relief and sorrow. The usual clichés truly do apply here — I’ve had the privilege of working with some immensely talented people, some of whom are still at the paper, and I wish them continued courage and inspiration. It truly is a noble calling, and although we newspaper scribes certainly would be materially richer if we had chosen another profession, we would be intellectually and spiritually poorer.

I’m off to UC Berkeley, where I will be visiting scholar at the Goldman School of Public Policy, focusing on the politics of global warming. I’ll be starting a campuswide blog, doing freelance writing, and writing a book on China and global warming for UC Press. Please stay in touch! My personal email is:

Upcoming departures

Here's a list of folks who plan on departing the Chron in the coming week and beyond, courtesy of Kathleen Rhodes (who is also on the list):

Leaving Frid August 31:
David Armstrong — Business reporter
Paul McHugh — Outdoors reporter
Bill Pates — Letters to the editor
James Sterngold — reporter
Betty Hayes — Classified department
Bill Beninghof — Assoc Acct Exec The Gate
Al Cox — Associate Acct Executive The Gate

Leaving in September:
Rick Nobles, artist graphics dept, Tue 9/4/2007
Vickie Haddock, editor Insight, Wed 9/5/2007
Neivath Cheung, assistant archivist library, Fri 9/7/2007
Kathleen Rhodes, research librarian and unit chair, Thu 9/13/2007

Job opp: Assistant editor fluent in Chinese

Sorry for the infrequent postings. Just back from vacation. Here's the first of many as I catch up with my e-mail:


New America Media, the country's first and largest national collaboration of ethnic news organizations, seeks an assistant editor with fluency in Chinese to monitor the Chinese-language media, report on the Chinese-American community and build strong editorial relationships with Chinese-language media nationwide.

About New America Media:

Founded by the nonprofit Pacific News Service in 1996, NAM is headquartered in California, where ethnic media are the primary source of news and information for over half of the state's new ethnic majority.

NAM's goal is to promote the editorial visibility and economic viability of this critical sector of American journalism as a way to build inclusive public discourse in our increasingly diverse, global society. NAM produces and aggregates editorial content from and for the ethnic media sector and develops pioneering marketing services on behalf of corporations, foundations, and non-profits who are targeting ethnic media and ethnic communities.

The Assistant Editor/Chinese Media Monitor helps NAM stay on top of the news concerning the Chinese-American and Asian-American communities. By monitoring the Chinese-language media and keeping up-to-date knowledge of news about the Chinese community, the candidate will help bring visibility to the Chinese media sector and promote more coverage of the Chinese-American community.


--Maintain working knowledge of top news and issues in Chinese media and Chinese-American community
--Generate story ideas
--Maintain and build working relationship with Chinese media editors and reporters
--Monitor Chinese-language media daily for content relevant to mainstream readers
--Choose stories daily from the Chinese media, translate and summarize in English for wider distribution online
--Translate full-length stories weekly from Chinese media
--Report and write news and feature stories with focus on Chinese-American community.
--Assisting with program outreach
--Update New America Media website with fresh, relevant content
Create HTML-based newsletters and emails


--Fluency in Chinese. You must be able to read with ease at least two to three Chinese newspapers daily and cull stories from them to highlight on the NAM website
--Ability to translate stories from Chinese to English accurately
--Two to three years of solid journalism experience in writing, copy editing, headline writing and fact checking
--Strong sense of news and attention to detail and accuracy
--Enthusiasm for news related to the Asian-American and Chinese-American communities
--Knowledge of issues relevant to the Chinese-American community, including immigration, health, education, civil liberties, and politics

Technical Requirement

Familiarity with technology including Macromedia Dreamweaver, basic HTML, content management systems, and basic Photoshop

Plus: Any experience with multimedia, radio and public relations would be helpful.

This is a full-time position with full benefit package including vacation, medical and dental insurance. Please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample in the body of the email to Mary Ambrose, Managing Editor,

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Farewell from Vanessa Hua

While growing up in the Bay Area, I wrote short-short stories – blurbs, really – that twice won a Chronicle contest for kids. (It earned me $100 and a photo of myself in the paper wearing a bolo tie. It was fashionable at the time. If you wish to embarrass me, you can find both the story and the photo in the archives.)

Following stints at the Los Angeles Times, the Hartford Courant, and the late, great Hearst-owned San Francisco Examiner, I wound up at 901 Mission Street after the merger.

It is amazing to write for your hometown paper, to cover a region that you love, for an institution that you held in high regard all your life. My mother makes copies of my articles and hands them out at her office. My father brags to friends and acquaintances – anyone he meets -- that I'm a reporter for the Chronicle. And so did I, for the last eight years.

I roamed the Bay Area, seeking tales. I helped chronicle the dot-com boom (and crash). I camped in the Nevada desert at Burning Man, walked among rows of factory workers stitching stuffed animals in China, and sat down with a teenage prostitute in Burma. I had beers with adoptees in Seoul. I ate dim sum in Panama with a Kuomindang recruiter. I traveled with Frontline/World to South Korea. And along with Christian Berthelsen, I exposed how a Chinese American leader funneled a state grant into the campaign coffers of Secretary of State Kevin Shelley. For that investigation, Phil mentioned me in a house ad, and Don Asmussen wrote me into "Bad Reporter" strip -- which I count among the top moments of my career.

My goal, then and now, was to shine a light into dark corners, to tell the untold stories. And to have fun doing it. It was a privilege and an honor to work here.

Many thanks go out to Susan Sward, who gave me advice whenever I needed it; Pati Poblete, who fought for me and my stories; to Ken Howe and Marcus Chan who honed my reporting skills and encouraged me to go after "conceptual scoops"; to Rosey, whose enthusiasm helped push me on stories, to Steve Proctor and Ken Conner, who granted me many opportunities, and to Phil, who throughout my career at the Examiner and Chronicle encouraged my ambition and offered much guidance.

To all the many fine journalists here: You make me proud. Thank you for helping me make me a better journalist, and a better person. Many have left. Many remain, and I wish everyone the best of luck. My parting wish is that the fight for diversity in our coverage and hiring is not lost. The paper needs to reflect the Bay Area, if it has any chance of surviving.

I'm going back to my first love: fiction writing. I am working on my novel at the MFA program at UC Riverside, on a Chancellor's fellowship.

Please keep in touch --- Vanessa.Hua (AT)

Farewell gathering for Rob Collier

Say goodbye to Rob Collier and help him celebrate his 16 years here at The Chronicle. The shindig will be at the Tempest on Friday, August 17 from 6:00 PM onward.

Web resource for freelancers

Here's a tip from Chronicle small biz columnist Ilana DeBare:

I just encountered a new source who consults with people who are starting consulting businesses. (Okay, getting a little circular here!) She is offering a free Web seminar on Sept. 12 about how people who are new to consulting can generate business. I think it would be applicable to folks who are starting freelance businesses. See

Farewell from Mark Camps

From the '84 Olympics to Barry Bonds' 755th, I've enjoyed every day being a member of the Chronicle staff. I've had the privilege to work with some of the finest sportswriters and editors ever assembled, and I've had the opportunity to be at ground zero during some of the area's biggest events. While I'm not 100 percent certain what my next endeavor will be, I can only hope that it comes close to matching the camaraderie and class I've experienced here.

My new e-mail is ... if you wish, drop me a line from time to time ... and keep on blogging.


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Guild providing workshop to help in transition

From Kathleen Rhodes:

If you are leaving The Chronicle under the downsizing agreement -- this workshop will give you pretty much all you need in the transition in the area of unemployment. kr

The Guild is providing through California Employment Development Department, U.S. Department of Labor and One-Stop Career Link Centers another workshop to help those of us in transition out of the Chronicle with information on unemployment, etc. The workshop will be held in the Guild office conference room Wednesday, August 22 at 2 p.m. You will need to register for this session. If you can not attend be aware we will have future sessions.

The session will cover:

· Unemployment insurance
· Job placement assistance
· Resume and interview assistance
· Free job training in the Bay Area
· COBRA & HIPPA Health Care Benefits

Kathleen Rhodes x 7217 or cell 408-674-2625
Margo Brenes, Guild Office, 415-421-6833

DATE: Wednesday, August 22, 2007
TIME: 2:00 PM

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Very sad news about our SFGate colleague

Maria Salome "Marisal" Camba, a longtime Web producer for SFGate who designed news and information pages for the online version of The Chronicle, has died.

Ms. Camba, 34, died Tuesday of complications from leukemia at Kaiser Hospital in Walnut Creek.

Read the story here.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Former Chron colleague lands at Boston Globe

Some good news from former Chron reporter Todd Wallack:

I just accepted a job with the Boston Globe. Starting Aug. 20, I'll be covering biotech for the paper's business section.

Farewell from Dan Fost

To my Chronicle colleagues:

I want to thank all of you for making my nine years here thoroughly enjoyable. I’ve had a great time and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to work here with all of you. I’m going to miss the Chronicle, and my colleagues, very much, and I’ll be rooting for your every success going forward.

My email is

Farewell from Wanda Ravernell

There's a new sandwich shop at Fifth and ... It replaced the chain shop that had been there for years. It took some time, but eventually I knew everyone who worked at the old one, and as people quit or were reassigned and then replaced, I learned the newcomers too. But there was one woman, Martha, who was the dynamo of her shift, even though she wasn't in charge. I could count on her to make my day. She was always bright and lively and went out of her way to treat me well. I did nothing to deserve this -- it was the way she was. Each day that she worked and I picked up my sandwich, I knew that I would arrive at the Chronicle in a more uplifted mood. When she was on vacation I missed her.

Then the chain, anticipating competition from the new food court beneath Bloomingdale's and a new sandwich shop opening around the corner, decided to cut its potential losses and close down at that location. A sign went up saying it would close in two weeks. As long as I was scheduled, I kept coming in at my usual time. The workers were nervous. Some were going to be transferred. Some were going to new jobs. Some taking the opportunity to move away - San Jose, back east, a couple more, who were students, decided to devote themselves to their studies and return to college full time.

On the last day of business, Martha had made sure to keep her wallet under the counter to show customers the most recent pictures of her toddler granddaughter. I had known Martha since before her daughter had married. Then Martha took out an instamatic camera and insisted that I stand by the door and smile for a picture. A flash, a hug, and I went in to work.

I pushed the sadness of the day away from me, but the next day, the shop, dark with the windows lined with newspaper, was a blow to the solar plexus.... For 15 years, I have been proud to say that I work as a copy editor at the San Francisco Chronicle. People are almost always impressed. I don't like them to be because I think it's for the wrong reasons. I am too well aware that I am not important, that there are many of us. If I am not the best editor, nevertheless, I sit with some of the most remarkable editors in the business and there has never been a day, not one, when I didn't learn something from them. If I am not proud of how this process of downsizing is playing out, which I am not, if I am hurt by what is happening to my colleagues, and I am, what is most important to me is to have been privileged to be among their number. It is that privilege that I will miss the most.

As I prepare to depart two memories come to mind.

The first are the comments from the husband of a friend of mine who worked as a city inspector for nursing homes in Philadelphia. At one place, Byron said, all of the nursing assistants, the lowest-paid of all, were women immigrants. They had all worked at that same place for years and years. Some of them went to nursing school eventually, but they came back to that job. Byron observed that "they're not there for the money, they're there for each other." Some of them, of course, were related, but all were from some part of Kingston, Jamaica. They liked the same food, the same music. They made a big deal about cooking for one another, and likely went to the same Episcopal church. Byron said they were like a family. For someone to leave, to quit would break up something precious. And they did not see this as a sacrifice.

I am old enough to remember the final episode of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." The station was closing, the news show was going off the air. They had one last night together. After the broadcast, they regrouped in the newsroom. Mary confessed that the people she worked with had become her family. One hug led to another until the entire cast was in a group hug. It was sad and funny as they scuttled like a some kind of multilegged bug toward the door. They couldn't let go of one another. And that is what's so hard about what we go through now. Individuals feel both guilt and relief that they are not selected for ouster. Those forced to leave are likely to land on their feet, but that is not the point. We never worked just for the money. Like the women in the nursing home, we worked for each other. And like Mary Tyler Moore and her colleagues, we feel like a family. That is not something a corporation can ask us to do: We did that ourselves. We are breaking up a team, a family now. What we feel is nothing less than grief and loss.

And so I begin to look on these as my last days at 'home.' I am taking stock of the view down Fifth Street from Market that is filling in with a new skyscraper at Howard street. I will not be here to see it completed. I have been learning the names of the people who make my breakfast sandwiches at the cafe, just in time to say goodbye. I am trying to remember to make more of an effort to give something to the regular mendicants, whose blessings have sent me on into work each day. I am looking at my own hand as I turn on the lamps to light my desk as I arrive and as I turn them off when I leave. I am thinking of how I will transport my belongings, and anticipating how I am going to feel when I take down the pictures around the cubicle and pack up my jade Chinese Frog and remove my calendars before the year is over.

It won't be long now, before I turn in my last time card, and shortly after that, receive my last pay stub. Like Martha and her colleagues, I will bring in an instamatic camera and take pictures that I probably will forget to develop. In this newspaper, we have covered the closing of factories, mills, lumber yards. I have read the quotes of people saying they didn't know what they would do. I understood what they said. Now I know how it feels.

(Ed note: Wanda Ravernell can be reached at

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Farewell from Ed Epstein

Dear Friends and colleagues:

You have probably already heard that after 23 fun and challenging years at the Chronicle I am taking a buyout, and as of Friday, Aug. 3 I will be riding off into a steamy Washington sunset.

Thanks to the terms of the buyout, I’m leaving with a nice piece of change. I leave with no hard feelings, since there aren’t too many people anymore who can do what they love for 23 straight years with the same employer. Besides, it is better to look forward, then it is to carp about a past that can’t be changed anyway.

So I am zeroing in on a new job, here in Washington, in journalism. If that doesn’t work out, I will broaden the search to public relations, public affairs and beyond, maybe even the federal government. And if Washington doesn’t pan out I’ll return to the Golden West in search of a paycheck in San Francisco, so watch out.

But I do want to look back to tell you how happy I have been to befriend so many wonderful people at the paper, the Newspaper Guild and on the various beats I covered over the years — City Hall, California and San Francisco politics, Congress the UC Board of Regents, foreign affairs, and on and on. My co-workers were by and large wonderful folks, and I made several friends for life at Fifth and Mission.

To list some would be to slight others.

But a few stand out: Steve Rubenstein is the funniest writer on any American newspaper, if they’ll let him do his shtick, and he is also one day older then me, ha, ha.

The late Harre W. Demoro refused to recognize that the world had gone beyond April 20, 1958, the day his beloved Key System trains stopped running on the Bay Bridge. This peculiar fantasy only seemed to ground him deeper in reality, oddly enough. His sidekick, Carl Nolte, has become an increasingly dedicated mumbler with the passing years.

I always keep a picture of myself with the two of them on the Vallejo Ferry on my desk, to remind me to show up for work and do something.

And the late Susan Yoachum provided me with some of the most harrowing trips I have ever spent as a white-knuckled car passenger by talking on two cell phones at one time, while also reading the newspaper. And she was driving, and this was back in 1994!

At City Hall, there was a snappy dressed mayor who with his stock tips during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s helped make me a millionaire. Before that, I was a multi-millionaire. Drum roll!

Then there is Harvey Rose, the Board of Supervisors’ number cruncher and a devotee of Henny Youngman as a raconteur of the world’s worst jokes. Recent sample: What is the national bird of Iraq? DUCK!

It wasn’t funny the first 50 times he told me.

The past six years in Washington have whooshed by. It has been a new challenge — I’ve learned something new every day, surrounded by excellent Chronicle comrades in our bureau, other colleagues around town, sharp congressional staffers and members and so many others.

Another challenge like that is what I’m looking for now as life chugs along.

See you all on the road ahead.

After Aug 3, reach me at:

Sendoff for Vanessa Hua

Let's give Vanessa Hua a rousing sendoff on the evening of her last day at the Chronicle, where she has put in eight action-packed years of intrepid reporting, from the Korean DMZ to the SROs of Stockton Street. She may be a lightweight when it comes to holding her liquor, but she's a heavyweight journalist.

Friday, August 10, 6 pm
101 Sixth Street (between Minna and Mission)
San Francisco

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Job opps: Field rep for Sen. Boxer, press officer for EPA

From former Chron politics writer Mark Simon:

Field Representative
United States Senator Barbara Boxer
San Francisco, California

July 2007

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer has an opening for a Field Representative in her San Francisco Office.

Primary responsibilities include representing Senator Boxer at community events and advising the Senator about local concerns and priorities. Field Representatives meet frequently with constituents and local government officials on federal issues and help design and organize events for Senator Boxer when she travels in the area. This position will have responsibility for activities in a number of counties in the Bay Area.

The successful applicant will have a positive attitude and the ability to work and set priorities in a fast-paced and challenging environment. Strong writing and verbal communication skills are essential. Bilingual skills are a plus.

This is a full-time position with excellent federal benefits.

If interested, please send a cover letter and resume (preferably by fax) no later than August 15, 2007 to:

Adrienne Bousian
Deputy State Director
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
1700 Montgomery St., Suite 240
San Francisco, CA 94111
Fax: 415-392-4149

Please, no calls. Senator Barbara Boxer is an equal opportunity employer.

And one from Andy Pollack:

EPA Region 9 here in S.F. is looking for a press officer. Info on the web at:

Gathering for Ken Howe and Dan Fost

Please join us at 6 p.m. on Friday night at the Tempest to raise a glass with Ken Howe and Dan Fost, two of our latest departures in Business.