Saul Sugarman, who graduated from the JMSC’s Master of Journalism Programme in 2009, is now a full-time reporter and swing shift editor at Bay City News in San Francisco.

MJ alumnus Saul Sugarman

“Bay City News is a hyperlocal news wire that covers breaking news across the San Francisco Bay Area,” Sugarman said.

“I’m told it’s one of the only hyperlocal wires in existence. The company has several bureaus and subscriptions by more than 90 print news, television stations, and online papers in California, the U.S. and, I am told, internationally.”

The news wire is so widely read that Sugarman has seen his stories appear in local papers and also outlets including the cable and website news channel, MSBNC.

“I’ve generated links from The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and NPR (National Public Radio),” he said. “It seems like virtually all the local Bay Area news outlets run my stories and Bay City News stories on a daily basis — places like San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Examiner.”

His average day consists of breaking stories about local crime, fires and lawsuits.

“When I’m reporting, I make routine calls several times per day to police and fire dispatches, and coroner’s offices with the simple tagline, ‘Hi this is Bay City News, anything going on today?'”

I’m always surprised at the number of lifestyle angles we can take with breaking stories. For example, the bureau sent me to the Castro District when California courts overturned Proposition 8, which had banned same-sex marriages. I wrote a human interest story that focused on personal reaction to the overturn, and it was later one of the stories picked up by MSNBC.”

Saul Sugarman outside San Francisco's City Hall

One of the things Sugarman loves best about the job is that he can follow his own ideas. This allows him to get out and about in the local area to investigate stories.

“The managing editor looks to give story assignments based on interest, as I think it should be,” says Sugarman. “So if there’s a lull in the number of houses bursting into flame one day, I’m free to pursue some of my own leads — and there are always leads. I also get sent out at least once a week to cover a story or event, and I really enjoy that. Larger news agencies barely let me leave my desk.”

After graduating from the JMSC, Sugarman worked in Hong Kong as a multimedia producer for the financial news provider, Bloomberg. Bloomberg was keen to employ him because he had built up his multimedia skills at the JMSC.

Sugarman thinks that another key to his success is that he gained plenty of work experience during his MJ year.

“During the 2008 – 2009 master’s programme, I contributed professionally to several publications. I worked as an unpaid intern at Time Out Hong Kong until January 2009, when I was hired for a paid internship: two days per week at Far Eastern Economic Review. The role grew into three days per week and eventually full-time, and my title was changed to multimedia producer. I also freelanced during that time in the same office at The Wall Street Journal.”

He offers this advice to current students: “Really take advantage of the programme’s resources. I talked to someone in the U.S. whose journalism school is more well-known, and her most accomplished professor was a contributor to New York Magazine.

Where else other than the JMSC will you find a former Thomson Reuters bureau chief, New York Times Editor, BBC Reporter, Pulitzer-nominated writer, and other fantastically qualified people? Not only that, but if you show the faculty how much this career matters to you, they will always support you.”

See some of Saul’s work below:

The SF Chronicle picked up this video:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/gettowork/detail?entry_id=69631
Which was originally a profile and video that launched a non-profit’s newspaper. This story was on the cover.
http://sfpublicpress.org/news/2010-06/at-amybelle’s-wash-dry-clean-your-clothes-and-work-history

An ongoing story about transportation in SF, picked up by Bay Citizen (among others), which is a nonprofit partnered with NYTimes and UC Berkeley:
http://www.baycitizen.org/transportation/story/riders-speak-about-potential-caltrain/

This is an art store opening in a bad part of SF. The local TV news did a package on it and used the soundbite from the question Saul asked Mayor Gavin Newsom:
http://sfappeal.com/alley/2010/08/newsom-store-opening-marks-mid-market-catalyst-for-change.php

Prop 8 ruling reactions — picked up a lot of places:
http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local-beat/Castro-Celebrates-Prop-8-Ruling-99991559.html