Update on Muni express story for Spot.Us

I’ve had a couple of questions recently about the status of the story on San Francisco Muni’s express buses I’m writing for the crowd-funded journalism site Spot.Us, so here’s a quick update.

I am finishing some interviews this week and expect to file my story by this time next week. Once it’s in Spot.Us’ hands, a fact-check editor will have a go at it before publication. My belief is that they’ll publish soon after that, but it’s up to them.

This story has been pushed back longer than I would have liked. But the way Spot.Us works, there’s no definite deadline for pieces — and since I have a wife, two kids and an older house to think about, when I’ve found work that does have a deadline and also provides enough to cover the mortgage payments, I’ve taken it. The unfortunate result is that I’ve put off the Muni story.

One observation about the expresses that I’ll share now won’t surprise daily express riders, but it seems almost surreal to people used to the regular bus or the streetcar: By and large, express riders are really polite. Trying to get on most streetcars and buses can sometimes resemble a contact sport (I’ve had plenty of jabs in the ribs from people who try to shove their way in the door of the L-Taraval ahead of everyone else, regardless of how long others have been waiting), so it’s very odd to see passengers line up neatly for the express and head to the back of the line if they arrive late. And although it can be hard to get a seat, depending on the time and where you catch the bus, the ride itself usually is quiet and civilized.

I’ll post further updates if I have anything new to report, including when I file the story. In the meantime, do visit Spot.Us. Some great pieces already have been published, and others are still in need of funding.

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6 Responses to Update on Muni express story for Spot.Us

  1. Digidave says:

    Thanks for the update Tom. Looking forward to more.

    For the record: We’ve been letting the reporter and the editor we assign to work on a deadline together (I had introduced you already). But I suppose you two didn’t connect on this. That’s okay.

    We’ve actually already made some changes to the editing process – including a change from the name of “fact-check editor” to “peer review editor” since we want them to be involved in the shaping of the story from day one – not just when you hand it over (without a set deadline).


  2. Tom Prete says:

    Hey, Dave. Good to hear about those changes. I’ve always been an advocate of making the editor-writer relationship a feedback loop instead of a line of separate, hierarchical stages.

  3. Jim Carrig says:

    Tom – Reminds me of the good old days riding the 29 sunset. . .move to the rear of the coach!

  4. […] Deal Behind MUNI’s Progress Tom Prete has updated us on the progress of the MUNI story – but has also agreed to give us a small appetizer for the story […]

  5. Tom Prete says:

    “Move to the rear of the coach!” I’ve heard that so much I almost expect to hear it when they load me into the hearse.

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