Read, see and hear all about it

The newsboy’s call to “read all about it” has faded into memory. The once-iconic television test pattern no longer signals the end of the broadcast day. Even the thud of the newspaper landing on the porch is giving way to a vibrant digital age that combines text, sound and video.

The vast changes marking the evolution of modern media have been compressed into little more than a century and a half. And nowhere has the experimentation, invention and innovation been more dramatic than in Northern California, beginning with the state’s first newspaper and continuing into the era of social media.

In this short video tour, you’ll witness some of the entertaining, powerful and sublime moments in Northern California media history. After your tour, explore the rest of the website to see more of the region’s contributions to the world of print, radio, television and digital communications.

The sound of sports – before TV


In the early days of sportscasting, the roar of the crowd and the crack of the bat didn’t always come from the ballpark. Dick Meister, a longtime Bay Area journalist, describes how the radio play-by-play sometimes came from creative announcers…

Headline writing as done in the comics


There are plenty of places to learn about headline writing. You could get 10 terrific tips from the Poynter Institute’s Matt Thompson, an NPR product manager and veteran newspaper editor. The BBC’s “Teacher Resources” feature suggests how bloggers can broaden…

Journos hit chord as ‘Irish Newsboys’

Kevin Fagan

They may not all be Irish, newsies, even boys at all — but when the Irish Newsboys band hits its stride at Lefty O’Doul’s near Union Square — patrons can count on a rip-roaring Saturday night of rowdy folk music peppered with…

In his small lab, television emerged


He was little known, yet he changed the world. He often worked alone in his laboratory, yet he battled the Goliath of his time, RCA. His inventions made possible the sublime, educational, inspirational programming that comes directly into our living…

It’s a fair to remember, and also to watch

Ferry Building

The numerals “1915” that were emblazoned on the tower of San Francisco’s Ferry Building harkened back to a time when the devastation of the great earthquake and fire and a turn-of-the-century can-do spirit combined to create an event that amazes…

A newspaper poem for the decades

Ernest L. Thayer

When spring arrives, sports writers wax eloquent as the ballet that is baseball begins anew. There is prose and there is poetry – much poetry. Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “Baseball Canto” appeals to the longtime San Francisco Giants fan while John Updike…

They were the soul of the airwaves

KDIA in the '60s

Don Barksdale was the “Big Daddy” whose radio show brought rhythm and blues to the “San Francisco Bay Area Negro Market.” Rosko ad-libbed record intros in rhymes as he spun soul sounds. In her late-night slot, Jeannie was billed as…

The Bay Guardian dies, the spirit lives

The final cover

In October 2014, the San Francisco Bay Guardian shut its doors after 48 years of publishing under founder Bruce B. Brugmann’s adage that “It is a newspaper’s duty to print the news and raise hell,” a 19th century motto from…

History lives on at SF State television archive

Alex Cherian reviews historical programming. Photo by Jocelyn McMahon-Babalis.

Powerful images and historic events come to life in the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive. The collection includes more than 4,000 hours of film and video depicting programming produced from 1939 to 2005. See news, documentaries and programs from…