Bay Area

Journalist's guide to writing the trend piece on San Francisco

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What visiting reporter wouldn't drop in at the Ferry Building foodie party? LA Observed photo.


San Francisco Chronicle writers Joe Garofoli and Peter Hartlaub have finally had it with all the out of town reporters parachuting in to do stories on the tensions between the tech millionaires and real San Franciscans. So they came up with a guide to what the visiting journalist needs to know. Complete with sources and a pre-written lede. "Best thing on the Internet today," says Sacramento political hand Ben Golombek on Facebook. Sample:

We know why you're here. Your editors want the story, it's freezing where you're from - looking at you, New York Magazine - and you want that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expense a night at Mission Control, the sex club for techies.


So we've assembled a Cut-and-Paste San Francisco Trend Story. Complete with actual sources. The next time New York, London or Washington, D.C., appears to be losing its soul to a gaggle of hoodied dorks with no social skills, we expect the same courtesy.

Step 1: Fly into Oakland International Airport, call Uber. If your driver doesn't have a Ph.D. in English literature and at least three ideas for a startup, exit the car and dial Lyft. As you drive to San Francisco, glance to your right so you can make an obligatory Oakland-is-the-new-Brooklyn observation.

-- Premium content points: Reference the way the Port of Oakland cranes resemble the AT-ATs from "The Empire Strikes Back," a film by early technologist and guy-who-will-never-return-your-calls George Lucas.

The story offers up the usual sources for reporters who come without their own (and without any creativity or savvy.) Have to love Step 4:


Line up your political/tech/celebrity sources. No #SanFranciscoThinkPiece is complete without some hackneyed grandstanding, and boy have you come to the right town. There is no shortage of people who in any other town would be considered Trotskyites, but here we call them "political moderates."

Famous San Franciscans who will pick up the phone: Willie Brown, Ron Conway, Tyler Florence, Art Agnos, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, John Avalos, Chicken John, David Campos, Gavin Newsom (for publications with a circulation of 250,000 or more), Third Eye Blind singer Stephan Jenkins.

Famous San Franciscans who won't pick up the phone: Robin Williams, Charles R. Schwab, any member of Metallica, Danielle Steel, Gavin Newsom (for publications with a circulation of 250,000 or less), Willie Mays, Jim Harbaugh, Frank Chu.


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