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.

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…

Unhurried recognition for a world-shaking story

Ed Kennedy 628x471

In May, 1945, and for several months thereafter, Edward Kennedy was the most famous reporter in the world for breaking the exclusive story of Germany’s World War II surrender. For successfully challenging a politically inspired embargo and reporting one of…

Fans say goodbye to Lon Simmons

Lon Simmons

For five decades, his excited vocal cadence was synonymous with San Francisco Giants baseball. A legend among Northern California sports fans, Lon Simmons came to the freshly transplanted Giants in 1958 when he joined Russ Hodges in the broadcast booth…

The sound of sports – before TV

Old-Time-Microphone

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…

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…

When scoops were king, sales followed

Paul Avery

Back in the days of epic circulation wars, even non-news could find its way to the top of the front page, promoted in bold type. When the news was big, headlines screamed for months on end as newspapers battled to…

Remembering Jonestown, Moscone and Milk

Jim Jones

In November 1978 two of the biggest news stories in San Francisco’s history occurred in rapid succession: Jonestown and the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk. This is a first person report. By James A. Finefrock I awoke before…

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…

California’s First Newspaper

californian

The first newspaper in California launched in Monterey on Aug. 15, 1846, with a blockbuster story: news of the declaration of war with Mexico. The paper, named The Californian, was founded by pioneering publishers Dr. Walter Colton and Robert Baylor…