Meet the crew behind SFNext, a brand new San Francisco Chronicle initiative to assist town clear up essential points

The San Francisco Chronicle is excited to unveil the SFNext initiative. A new team of seven talented journalists will focus on tapping into our diverse city to find solutions to its most challenging problems.

SFNext wants to take a different approach to local journalism. The project, which launched Friday, June 10, will be solutions-focused and include public forums, polling, reported stories, a newsletter and a weekly podcast called “Fixing Our City,” which debuts June 21. In SFNext’s first story, reporter Noah Arroyo examines the tough road to economic recovery for Downtown San Francisco.

Let’s meet the team behind SFNext:

SFNext Director Jonathan Krim

Courtesy of Jonathan Krim

Jonathan Krim

Krim joins The Chronicle with over four decades of experience in print and digital journalism. His career includes stints at the San Jose Mercury News, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, during which he focused on local, international and business/tech news. He supervised coverage that won two Pulitzer Prizes and launched numerous digital initiatives.

“Civic engagement is vital to the health of any community,” he said. “We hope to connect with San Francisco residents from all areas and walks of life in a collaborative effort to address our great city’s most pressing difficulties.”

Krim is a native of New York and a graduate of the University of Montana. He currently lives in Oakland with his wife, Joyce; their dog, Toast, and their cat, Kona.

Courtesy of Noah Arroyo

Noah Arroyo

Arroyo is an award-winning, versatile journalist with a decade of experience covering local issues in San Francisco. He has spent most of his career examining the city’s intractable homelessness and housing-affordability crises, and is at home building reporting projects from the ground up. He previously wrote for the San Francisco Public Press and Mission Local.

“I thought for about a year that I was going to be a geologist,” Arroyo said. “Turns out there’s a lot of overlap, looking at minerals out in the field and poring over government documents.”

A native of Whittier, he attended San Francisco State University. He currently lives in the Tenderloin.

Courtesy of Adriana Rezal

Adriana Rezal
Data reporter

In addition to writing stories that focus on data as the key element, Rezal collaborates with other reporters to collect and analyze data.

Rezal covered local business, government and education news in the Greater Houston area while working as a reporter for the Community Impact newspaper. She then spent a summer in Chicago as a reporting intern for Borderless Magazine and wrote about immigration in the Midwest. She later gained national news experience while working as a data journalism intern for US News and World Report.

“I’m excited to play an active role in discussing the future of San Francisco by diving into the city’s data,” she said.

Rezal was raised in Baytown, Texas, a suburb east of Houston. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated in 2019 with a degree in international relations and global studies with a minor in journalism.

Courtesy of Laura Wenus

Laura Wenus
Podcast host/reporter

Wenus will host SFNext’s upcoming podcast, “Fixing Our City.” She is a local multimedia journalist who has worked in digital, print and radio newsrooms on daily, breaking and enterprise stories.

Wenus comes to The Chronicle from the nonprofit San Francisco Public Press, where she helped launch and hosted the podcast “Civic,” examining local social and political issues, with a special focus on nonpartisan election coverage.

“The things that affect our day-to-day lives the most tend to be local, so I want to keep digging into how we as a city do things, what that means for people who live and work here, and what new approaches we could try,” Wenus said.

She has also covered San Francisco housing and development news for Mission Local, reported an audio series about long-term nursing care, and has been a producer for a live current affairs show on the public radio station KALW. She lives in the Castro.

Courtesy of Cintia Lopez

Cintia Lopez
Podcast producer/reporter

Lopez joins The Chronicle as producer and reporter for the “Fixing Our City” podcast.

She comes to The Chronicle from CapRadio in Sacramento, where she was a producer for their daily talk show, “Insight.” She has a background in newspaper and audio reporting from her previous jobs at WBUR in Boston and The Daily Democrat in Woodland, Calif.

“My first editor told me the best way to get to know a city you are reporting on is to get lost in it,” Lopez said. “I’m excited to do just that as I talk to people and get to know what they think of a city that is becoming my new home, while telling the stories that can help us create a better San Francisco.”

Lopez was raised mainly in the suburbs of Sacramento, where she attended community college before transferring to Sacramento State University and graduating with a degree in journalism.

Gary Baca
Podcast sound engineer

Audio engineer Gary BacaAudio engineer Gary BacaCourtesy of Gary Baca

With a background in independent films, DJing, radio and podcasts, Baca brings almost 10 years of multimedia experience to The Chronicle, including work on notable projects such as KQED’s “Rightnowish” as a producer. He has also worked at KPFA/KPFK in radio broadcasting.

“I want to bring light to the struggles people go through in an effort to create long-term solutions,” Baca said.

Born and raised in Richmond, Baca has spent the last decade living in Oakland.

Courtesy of Audrey Brown

Audrey Mei Yi Brown
Social media/engagement manager

Brown wants to use social media to create channels of thoughtful conversations to help reach residents beyond The Chronicle’s readership. Among other things, Brown will manage and moderate the @sfnext Twitter.

“I joined the SFNext team because I’m a San Franciscan who wants to play a role in healing my city,” Brown said. “I arrived in San Francisco when I was less than a year old, a Chinese American adoptee, and it will always be my first true home. Many of the city’s problems from my childhood persist today, and they’ve grown deep roots. I know it will take fresh thinking and dogged resolve for San Francisco to solve its problems, and I believe local journalists are uniquely positioned to surface solutions.”

Brown brings four years of environmental reporting experience, two years as a communications manager and a lifetime of living in and biking through the communities of San Francisco. She holds a master’s of science in journalism from Columbia University. Outside of work, you can likely find her biking through Golden Gate Park, rock climbing at Mission Cliffs or backpacking in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

About The San Francisco Chronicle
The San Francisco Chronicle (www.sfchronicle.com) is the largest newspaper in Northern California and the second largest on the West Coast. Acquired by the Hearst Corporation in 2000, The San Francisco Chronicle was founded in 1865 by Charles and Michael de Young and has been awarded six Pulitzer Prizes for journalistic excellence. Follow us on Twitter at @SFChronicle.

SFNext aims to involve city residents in finding solutions to some of San Francisco’s most pressing problems.

Send feedback, ideas and suggestions to sfnext@sfchronicle.com

Follow the discussion on Twitter: @SFNext

Listen to the “Fixing Our City” podcast: sfchronicle.com/fixing-our-city

Sign up for our newsletter: sfchronicle.com/newsletters/sf-next

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