"This whole process has been very opaque," a KQED newsroom source told SF Weekly. "There have been various managers in the news department who have been closly involved in this for several months and it just has not been managed in an open way. Many of the questions you are asking are rampant in the newsroom as well, I would say."
So the No. 1 question -- what the hell happened? -- remains unclear even for many within KQED. "Sometime over the past week or so," everything apparently changed for KQED regarding the project, according to a newsroom source. "I don't know if there was a precipitating event or if something just happened."
One source felt the supposed leadership team for the Bay Area News Project -- which has been publicized but not confirmed -- led to KQED's departure. It has been reported that McKinsey partner Lisa Frazier will take the reins -- and, supposedly, $400,000 yearly -- as CEO. Frazier -- who has no journalism experience on her sparkling resume -- was originally tasked with locating a CEO for the project, and has apparently pulled a Dick Cheney. The new editor-in-chief will reputedly be former Industry Standard editor Jonathan Weber. The News Project's publicist, Chris Knight, could not be reached to confirm these appointments. An e-mail to Weber hasn't been returned yet either.
Our KQED newsroom sources, meanwhile, spoke highly of Weber. But the notion of a non-journalist earning an astronomical salary to run the fledgling non-profit rankled -- and, we're told, could well have been a factor in KQED jumping ship.
Finally, Media Workers Guild rep Carl Hall told SF Weekly that he was intent on helping out-of-work journalists remedy this situation -- and said the Bay Area News Project was still moving ahead to do just that. For those of you with mellifluous voices and radio experience -- oh well.