Newspaper Article Reveals Bernalwood’s Secret Weapon


In an article that appears on the dead-tree pages of today’s San Francisco Chronicle, reporter Caleb Garling writes about the inspiration and economics behind several “hyperlocal” San Francisco neighborhood blogs, including Bernalwood.

Along the way, he also reveals the secret weapon that enables Bernalwood to provide our coverage of Bernal Heights: You!

Todd Lappin, who runs Bernalwood, has occasional unpaid contributors but writes most of the posts about Bernal Heights himself. As with other blog editors, though, he notes that most of his stories are sourced from helpful neighbors.

“I’ve never told everyone (in Bernal Heights) that they’re the reporters, but they are,” he says.

An example: In late January, the Queen’s Nails Gallery caught on fire. Lappin says that within an hour, neighbors had sent him photos of damage inside the gallery, photos of emergency workers outside the gallery and first-person accounts of the events – all making for a pretty complete and informative post about the fire.

“And I hadn’t left my house,” he laughs. “That’s pretty consistent. I act more like an editor and curator and packager. … (The residents) step up.”

It’s true, of course. And I’m very grateful for it. Bernalwood depends on our vigilant neighbor-reporters to keep you up to date about what’s happening on the streets of Bernal Heights.

That’s why we always always always appreciate your tips, comments, timely insights, and awesome photographs. Keep them coming! The Bernalwood Action News Team is ready to roll; just drop a line and send your photos directly to the Editor’s Lounge at bernalwood *at* gmail *dot* com or tweet us @bernalwood.

PHOTO: Base image by Adrian Mendoza

7 thoughts on “Newspaper Article Reveals Bernalwood’s Secret Weapon

  1. What struck me reading that article was that the Chron didn’t cover the Queen’s Nails Gallery fire. That’s a great story! Although I still subscribe (hey I’m old) that shows why newspapers are in a death spiral. Too much conventional wisdom, not enough real live interesting local stories.

  2. And that is Bernalwood’s secret weapon. While the blog has a cheerful, flippant tone, it really has become the go to place for Bernal news. I see it here first.

  3. The whole time I was reading that I was wondering why the chronicle would write an article about how many better local news sources there are around.

  4. Related topic: there seem to be quite a few actual reporters (meaning people who do it for their day jobs) who live in Bernal Heights – perhaps a future Bernalwood feature should be written to cover these hardboiled (yet glamorous) residents?

  5. Hey, it was great to see Todd and Bernalwood get the credit they deserve in today’s Chron. Best neighborhood with a great communication vehicle.

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