KGO Takes a Five-Subject Newsroom Approach

KGO San Francisco
KGO San Francisco's newsroom is organized around clusters of five story subjects. (Image credit: KGO)

KGO has a unique newsroom setup, with reporters and producers clustered around five story subjects. The five-subject setup was hatched a couple years ago under the header Building a Better Bay Area. The beats are health and safety, education, race and social justice, the economy and the changing workplace, and climate and the environment. 

“The goal is to get rid of the daybook stuff, the daily churn of spot news,” said Tom Cibrowski, president and general manager, KGO. “We’re focused on the really big subjects that matter.”

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The five coverage topics can change over time. Climate and the environment, for example, made the list of five this year, and race and social justice has been a go-to subject since last year. 

“We’re focused on finding solutions and providing information on the big problems,” said Cibrowski. 

The game plan emerged as the Bay Area was, in Cibrowski’s words, “coming apart at the seams” amidst astounding population growth. Housing and traffic were two issues that popped out as more and more people arrived. 

Reaction from viewers to the beat approach has been positive. Cibrowski said the five-bucket setup has resonated with younger viewers in particular. “They want perspective, context, someone who says, how are we going to fix this and who is my ally?” he said. “They want someone to say, how can I take action?”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.