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Queena Kim Jumps Off-Ramp, Heads North

Believe it or not, the journalism blogosphere’s abuzz this week about something other than BP and Facebook privacy. The Bay Citizen has launched and MQ2 grantee Queena Kim is on board.

The Bay Citizen is an independent nonprofit journalism venture that boasts collaborations with The New York Times and the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. KQED had been in the mix but opted out. The project is funded in part by Warren Hellman, who has been referred to as a milionaire and a billionaire in various news accounts.

This hyperlocal effort has a noble goal: to save journalism.

“The mission of The Bay Citizen is to enhance civic and community news coverage in the Bay Area, stimulate innovation in journalism, and foster civic engagement. Across the nation, the field of journalism and access to local news about civic and cultural issues are in jeopardy. In the Bay Area, local newspapers have cut their newsrooms by nearly 50% in the last five years. And coverage of civic news topics – including education, government, the environment, science, health, and arts – have been cut dramatically compared to topics such as sports and entertainment. Professional journalism is worth saving. The Bay Citizen aims to provide unbiased and independent coverage of news, which we believe is critical to a functioning democracy and the information health of our communities.”

Queena Kim, co-creator of the MQ2-funded CyberFrequencies podcast at KPCC’s Off-Ramp, has been hired as Community Editor. Her job is to build and strengthen the connections between The Bay Citizen and the citizens it aims to serve and engage. She explains more in her inaugural blog post.

California leads the nation. And, “The Whole World Will Be Watching” this experiment, which the Poynter Institute says is already on the right track:

“In preparing for its launch, The Bay Citizen has focused on four key elements that are emerging as trends among startup news sites that are trying to sustain news operations to fill the news holes left by cutbacks in traditional media:

Involvement with the community

A working relationship with a mainstream news organization

A hybrid business plan

An experienced staff”

And that experienced staff includes Queena Kim. So, while the fabulous photo above may look like she’s turning her back on radio, no way. She’s got her digital recorder strapped on and microphone in hand, and you can be sure that when time allows, podcasting and broadcasting are in the near future (as is sleep, I’m sure.) And while Off-Ramp and So-Cal may have had to say goodbye to Queena, we know the Bay Area just got even cooler, if you can imagine that.

Viva la Queena!