Frazier said she "brings something different to the table. Jonathan
brings a lot of journalistic experience. My experience is business and
media. We're trying to create an institution here, create jobs, and
allow journalists to practice their craft. ... My focus is building
budgets. Five years out we expect to have an $8 million to $12 million
budget supporting a much larger newsroom."
In addition to Hellman's $5 million, Frazier said she's lined up "initial seed funding" of $250,000 from the Knight Foundation.
Weber declined to answer questions about his compensation -- though, as he acknowledged, since he is now working for a nonprofit it will become a matter of public record soon enough. And, in fairness, it should be noted that heads of other journalistic nonprofits earn salaries gaudy enough to buy an old-fashioned reporter enough shoe-leather to walk on footwear taller than the Transamerica building.
When asked how many more seasoned reporters could be hired if she earned a salary more in line with newsroom reality, Frazier steered the conversation back toward "creating an institution." Weber -- a longtime newspaper writer and editor who helmed The Industry Standard and worked eight years for the Los Angeles Times -- claimed colleagues in similar positions at for-profit institutions earned more still.
When queried what he would do that isn't already being done, Weber noted that he plans on having a full "enterprise reporting team doing investigative and other types of journalism -- big stories, the civic affairs of the Bay Area. I know there are other people doing that but more is good in that realm." Actually, fewer and fewer organizations are doing that -- the Chronicle, for example, last year liquidated its own I-team.
He also plans on forming collaborations with a wide team of news organizations, academics, and bloggers -- and using more and more "platforms" to reach readers. That includes mobile devices, Facebook, and Twitter. As for specific areas of reportage, that's a conversation Weber prefers to have a little bit down the road.
The Bay Area News Project has its eyes on four different downtown San Francisco offices. It hopes to sign the dotted line in the next week or two.