Bruce Koon | Mentor

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MIJE Staff
June 12, 2014

Bruce Koon is News Director of KQED Public Radio in San Francisco. He oversees a 31-person award-winning newsroom that produces news for KQED News, the station’s regional news service; The California Report, a statewide news program heard on 24 public broadcasting stations; and KQEDNews.org. KQED is the most listened-to public radio station in the nation and its web site one of the most visited public broadcasting sites.

Before joining KQED in May of 2007, he was executive news editor of Knight Ridder Digital, the digital unit of Knight Ridder Inc. His online editorial team contributed to the effort that earned the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for the Biloxi Sun Herald coverage of hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Previously, as managing editor of the San Jose Mercury News' web site (Mercury Center), he created such pioneering web ventures as Good Morning Silicon Valley and SiliconValley.com.

He is a board member of the Radio-Television News Directors Association of Northern California and has served on numerous journalism advisory boards, including the Knight Digital Media Center, a former partnership of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and the Annenberg School for Communication at USC, and the J-Lab New Voices program at American University.

He was a founding board member of the Online News Association and a past president. He is a former president of the San Francisco chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association.

Bruce Koon Q & A

Q: What are two important skills a journalist should have?

A: It’s not so much a skill but perspectives: why is this story important to my audience, and what does my audience want to know about subject? How do I tell the story so my audience is not only informed but engaged?

Q: What is the key to working well with your boss?

A: Understanding what each of you expects from the another.

Q: If you could have a do-over in your career, what would that be?

A: I got involved with what was called “new media” in the mid-to-late 1990s. I had already been a newspaper editor for 10 years, so while I was learning new technologies for journalism, I wasn’t always in the trenches but building teams, organizing new kinds of newsrooms and developing talent. I did some online writing and blogging early but really jumped ahead to being on online editor and content news director. I wish I had somehow found the time – forced myself – to report and write more in the new medium so I had that added contextual experience. I’m not sure if I could have done that – my day job was already 70 hours a week during the height of the boom, but why should the online reporters, writers, photographers and producers at that time have all the fun?

Q: What is the most important issue facing journalism today? 

A: How do we continue to serve the public with quality journalism while developing the new formats shaped by evolving technologies and changing audience expectations.

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