Holly Kernan

KQED’s new Executive Editor of News, Holly Kernan, joins us for a conversation about the station’s news coverage. As news director at San Francisco public radio station KALW, Kernan earned a reputation for responsive and community-oriented journalism. One of Kernan’s guiding principals is to respond to the audience’s needs. What do you need from KQED News? What issues and challenges is your community facing?

Meet Holly Kernan, KQED’s New Executive Editor of News 24 November,2014forum

Holly Kernan, KQED's executive editor of News

  • Felicity Dashwood

    Thank you for adding the Marketplace Morning report to the KQED lineup at 7:50am. This is a wonderful addition to the morning news!

  • Mrs. Eccentric

    “Kickstarter is basically that.”

    We’re going to be able to ‘vote’ for which stories we want pursued and produced by KQED’s newsroom by donating money to those particular projects? And get a refund if the project doesn’t come to fruition?

    Fantastic! I’m truly intrigued by this new direction.

  • Bob Fry

    What do the local NPR stations do if someone leaves a large, unexpected gift (don’t get your hopes up from me though). Just curious how unplanned income is handled.

  • Steve

    I’d like to see some coverage of Marin County issues. Three prominent ones right now are affordable housing development, traffic congestion between 101 and 580, and sustainability of public pensions.

  • Anton Ness

    It would be nice to hear more about our state government and issues they are working on.

  • Ben Rawner

    I am a long time listener and really enjoy the Forum program in particular. My only issue I have is that it seems that stories are not discovered by NPR, but it just analyzes information that is out there. Why not go undercover and find out the details for yourselves ?

    • Another Mike

      Not always true — NPR was just hammering on the issue of mine safety, and mining cos.’ avoidance of paying the fines they owed. Nobody else was covering that.

  • Patricia

    More investigative reporting, in depth digging on chronic issues/problems… stuff we all want to know – where does the money go? Taxes go? How can we get the 1% to actually pay it forward… government corruption. More exposed finances and whistle blowing. Call out the perpetrators by name and statistics.
    Also! More fringe coverage of local arts and news, less of the “popular” stories and more of the unknown and emergent.

  • Chris OConnell

    For me, Forum with Michael Krasny is a real bright spot in the media landscape. It is especially important as NPR declines into the mainstream groupthink way.

    • thucy

      I’m really impressed by how Forum seems to have evolved over the last few years. When I first started listening, it seemed to ignore a lot of issues affecting the 99%. I’m hearing a more expansive view from Krasny on a variety of points, from local news to the Middle East, which is heartening.

      • Mrs. Eccentric

        well, i’ve listened to forum since….i can’t even remember! I do remember when Mr. K was at KGO and i listened to him then, so it’s been … more than a while 🙂

        But anyways the thing i admire most about MK is that he does listen to feedback, he takes it into consideration and you can tell that he uses it to try and be a better host. It’s kind of funny because on the personal level i will admit he does get on my nerves but i do very much respect the way he takes his position as spokesperson for many other people quite seriously. And that’s what matters.

        So listeners if you want to see something on this show PIPE UP!

        • Michelle

          Krasney’s constant slurping of his copious salivia is unbearable. Is there a way his microphone can be set to mute his irritating spit sucking?

        • Another Mike

          The biggest difference between the Prof then and now is that he is able to put aside his personal feelings about Israel. Early on, there would be a catch in his voice when a guest would criticize something they did.

          • Mason Gibb

            He is sometimes able to put aside his personal feelings about Israel.

  • thucy

    From KALW? I’m impressed.
    My hope is that KQED tightens its focus on issues affecting working class people and minorities, not just frou-frou Marin county type window dressing (with apologies to Marin county.) I definitely have seen improvement at KQED in the last year on this issue, and I’m excited to have Kernan join you.

  • Molly Flanagan

    You are doing a great job covering human interest stories. I’m part of a large community of people concerned with animal issues who would love to have more discussion about animal rights, experiences, and needs.

  • ES Trader

    Between 2000 – 2004 when I was a member, I drove between Livermore & Napa daily at afternoon commute on 680 North, and listened to “AllThings Considered”, and when the “trafffic report” came on I listened to try and avoid traffic jams, but then I discovered that the reports were extremely erroneous, When U began ignoring the reports, I had that confirmed as I often drove right by a particular exit about accidents etc, where there were none.

    KQED does a terrific job of carrying NPR feeds and programs like “Forum, Perspectives, and the Commmon Wealth Club lectures but when it relies on traffic feeds, stock market reports,and other real-time news, I always go to KCBS740.

    • Another Mike

      The way traffic is covered today is completely different for how it was a decade ago, so I would not go by your previous experience. However, in real life, by the time you get to the accident, it’s gone, and the two cars that crash into each other in front of you, won’t make the radio for at least ten minutes.

      • ES Trader

        Probably right and I rely on apple maps,google maps or waize these days but I thought it was a complete waste of financial resources to pay for the sevice, and emailed KQED several times to re-deploy the money with no response; did not re-new my membership following that.

        I doubt that an accident could be cleared that quickly though.

  • Robert Thomas

    I wrote the following in response to commenter Frank, in the adjacent comment board…

    I don’t believe that sponsors push around organs of Public Broadcasting. Others disagree, obviously.

    Frank’s invocation of “thinktank-orchestrated spin”, on the other hand, is well spotted. I am wary of the frequent reliance on even well regarded stalwarts (Brookings; Hoover), much less ridiculous garage operations like the once ubiquitous on KQED “Pacific Research Institute” and their “fellows” and so forth, whose “fellowship” seems likely to have been conferred based on the collection of sufficient Wheaties cereal box-tops.

    I understand this is not always easy, but spin the Rolodexes a little more, I say.

  • fakeanonymousguest

    Any plans to cover corruption both in politics and financial institutions? I think that there is generally a reliance on wire services for news which is more interview based, not investigation based.

  • Mrs. Eccentric

    does the KQED news editor have a focal presence where people can submit their ideas/input for news stories and coverage? if not, would be a good idea to create and promote one.

  • Gail Kong

    Hope you will examine the important social and economic divide created by all upper middle class families sending their children to private schools where they enjoy international travel, heavily funded arts programs, etc. We need to engage these privileged young people in crafting the solutions for the future. Other than their obligatory summer service in Mexico, this trend of total isolationism is worrisome.

  • tom

    Fight to bring back “Talk of the Nation”!

    • Fay Nissenbaum

      that’s NPR not kqed

      • Another Mike

        KQED is a big, BIG customer of NPR. I bet they could have thrown their weight around a bit more.

        As it is, the West Coast gets little love from the network. I swear, most of the NPR programmers have gone home by 1PM Pacific.

  • Michelle

    I’m done. I’m over KQED. I grew up watching it. I, up until about a month ago , listened to it and NPR 247. The coverage has become increasingly irrelevant to me. I used to turn on the radio as soon as I woke up at 5am and listened until I left at 7:30 am. I would turn on the radio when I returned home from work at 5pm and listen until 8pm. On the weekends, I would listen all day. No more. The coverage is so annoying that I turn off the radio frequently during stories and now, even do not turn on the radio at all, preferring to read my news on line. My relationship with KQED is like a broken romance.

    • Mrs. Eccentric

      hi Michelle. just typing here to say that if you write about some of the specifics which are causing you to break it off you may have an impact.

      • Michelle

        Too late, it’s over. I turned off the radio during the interview. I just don’t care enough to help “improve” the station and make it relevant to me. The internet is a fabulous thing and it meets my needs far more than the dumbed down coverage KQED offers. Trying to appeal to the masses will be the death knell for KQED. I ceased to watch its science programs when the narrators of said programs began to narrate as if speaking to the mentally challenged. Public radio has always appealed to the “elite” for a reason. We listen to the news and human interest stories and engage in cultural activities, arts, music, etc.. Trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator will enhance KQED’s irrelevance, not attract new listeners. I am off work this week and the silence from my radio is deafening.

        • c_woof

          There are other stations. For example, the one Holly just came from.

        • thucy

          Michelle, I will admit that I had to turn off “Radio Lab” this weekend because it was so condescending and ridiculous. (Usually, I don’t even have the radio on when that time slot is on because the show is so bad.)
          But “Radio Lab” isn’t produced by KQED, so it’s not to be hung round their neck.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    As a former aide to a politician, I know first hand that local news misses lots of goings on in City Hall that shape legislation. One way to make details of government interesting yet valuable is to have retired politicians comment on what’s it really mean? An angle I would like to hear more of is how much it costs people trying to survive day to day in these expensive times. I support legalization of undocumented immigrants, however, I want to hear the other sides of the issue – how will we pay for schools and health care for low wage earners? Why does no one question how corrupt the Mexican government is?

    Stop trying to be so warm and fuzzy in news! NPR has been criticized as trying to hard to “be the listener’s friend”. As the late Andy Rooney said before he was muzzled by CBS, there are too many “thank yous” in broadcast news—when a reporter reads three lines of copy, “thank you, John” is unnecessary and does not happen in real newsrooms – it’s theatrical show biz – not news biz. There’s too little time for nonsense.

    And what’s up with the “thanks SO much” line? Every “thank you” uttered on NPR invariably has the word “so” added as if a mere “thank you” is inadequate. Thank you SO MUCH” is chirpy and cloying just as “have a nice day” would be.

    • c_woof

      Or, Have the nicest day.

  • Jenn Bernat

    When I moved to Wisconsin many years ago I learned a lot about my new state by listening to Wisconsin Public Radio. Their news and talk departments covered a large state in depth, and I learned a lot about local culture and geography.
    I’d love to hear similar local coverage now that I’m living in the Bay Area.

  • Stanley Forsyth

    Hi Holly, I would like to here more reporting on health and Fitness. Research and on trends.
    Thanks for all you do. I’m listening from walnut creek, kqed 88.5am

  • Jeanette Howard

    This is a great program. Thank you. Really appreciate Holly’s focus on more news reporting – and more local news. Love it. I was wondering if it would be feasible to rely less on NPR and more on local programs and reporting? Perhaps that would be a cost savings also? For example, why car talk and prairie home companion on both Saturdays and Sundays? Isn’t once a weekend enough?
    Thanks for all your hard work. Very much looking forward to Holly being in charge!
    Jeanette Howard
    Oakland, CA

  • Martha Swaim

    We need thoughtful investigation of more alternatives to the California water crisis. How do we protect our water sources from industrial, agricultural, fossil fuel, and nuclear contamination? What about the issue of trying to share water statewide when the entire state tends to suffer drought at the same time and floods at the same time. We do not seem to share that pattern of shared drought and flood with the Midwest. This might involve a partnership with NPR: Why not provide jobs to build an east-west water tunnel or tunnels? Why not build a way for West and Mid-west to share water back and forth when one area floods and the other has a drought? If the ancient Romans could build an aqua-duct, surely we could kick it up a notch or two!

  • Sidonia Aguilera

    I want news coverage of the Richmond Promise. Already some of the 35 million dollars for this agreement has been reallocated to Doctors Medical Center. I’m not sure I agree with that choice. I don’t know enough about this agreement, except that a similar program was implemented in another city, and also that, in Richmond, it’s implementation cannot happen until a lawsuit is resolved. I have heard a non-profit will administer the program. There’s so much information I want to know about this program, I don’t know how to ask for all of the details. Although, it’s not supposed to begin until 2016, maybe later, I want this information earlier. I would be interested in news coverage of all of the community grant money that Chevron has committed to Richmond. I want to thank Jael Myrick for bringing the Richmond Promise model to the city of Richmond.

  • Jennifer Sant’Anna

    Please give us more news of the Americas. I think I’m so done with news of the tragic Middle East. The terrorists just want coverage anyway. Of course, I believe we need coverage to be informed, but my truest interest and concern lately is about the immigrant children – why did they come from Central America? How bad is it, how many children are dying? What about the Mexican students? What are possible policy interventions that could stimulate jobs for Central America and Mexico? Brazil’s economy isn’t doing so hot – what’s going on there?

  • geraldfnord

    Getting closer to home, I sincerely wish that segments sizes for “Forum” not get more below than the half-hour that seems to have proliferated of late; sometimes to really investigate an issue one really needs an hour…at least. Show the superiority of taking the meet time locally, both for local/web benefit, and perhaps as an example to NPR/APM, which haven’t had a programme devoting more than ten minutes to a single story—with the occasional exception of “Radiolab”—for years now. Be what YouTube can’t be and the Web doesn’t seem to want to be.

  • [posted this previously, but seems it got moved to page for Sam Liccardo segment which bumped this segment to 9:30 slot].

    What I’d like from KQED news? More solutions, less story. For example,

    1) develop ‘explainer’ sections or wikis, to accumulate and refine over time key reference points, definitions, issues, stories & publications around a given topic. How about a KQED wiki, not just a story archive, perhaps extending or contributing to Wikipedia?

    2) focus more on solutions for issues, and particularly, ways to help listeners suggest, form, and/or contribute to projects and organizations that help. Like AngelList does for early-stage startups, we need a CivicList to incubate discussions & ideas into proposals, teams, and funded projects.

    Tim McCormick
    San Francisco
    Houslets & ProtoHouse projects
    tjm.org / @tmccormick @houslets @ProtoHouseSF

  • lori

    kqed is channel for NPR. Less NPR, less I listen. “Perspective” in the key hour 8-9am is example of why KQED is off. Self-indulgent, often nauseating self-promotion. Delete it and take advice of many below: investigative reporting on politics and environment. When you do this, it’s well done. When you curry favor, I tune out.

    • Pontifikate

      I sometimes like Perspectives, but the same people keep doing it. You can almost satirize it like Saturday Night Live used to satirize NPR. Please, except for Richard Swerdlow and one other guy (forgot his name) spare us these repeats with their politically correct stories or kiddie stories.

  • Ben Rawner

    Micheal Brown was unarmed and he was shot multiple times. Micheal Brown was a poor black teenager and he was killed by a professional police officer that makes probably 70k a year. Police officers are trained as professionals to handle themselves. Micheal Brown was not trained in anything. Where is the professionalism? Where is the training? Cursing at people to get on the street, “professional”?

  • Pontifikate

    I’d like to see the half-hour segments eliminated. More hour shows really digging in and getting lots of listener comments.

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