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Politics & Policy

The Standard nabs City Hall office, a first for San Francisco news in five years

A group is cutting a red ribbon at a grand opening event, smiling and posing for photos.
Annie Gaus, senior political editor at The San Francisco Standard, cuts a ribbon as The San Francisco Standard opens up an office inside City Hall on Tuesday. | Source: Morgan Ellis/The Standard

A vaunted crowd of San Francisco’s movers and shakers—including the acting mayor, members of the Board of Supervisors, renowned writers, campaign consultants and policy aides—descended upon City Hall Tuesday morning for the historic opening of The Standard’s press office. 

Bob’s Donuts were munched on. Coffee was sipped. Party poppers exploded with multicolored confetti. Red and white balloons were marveled at.

And, most importantly, a red ribbon from was cut with oversize, $70 gold-encrusted scissors commemorating The Standard’s sleek, 10-by-10-foot workplace that includes working light switches and a carpeted floor. 

“This day will go down in the annals of San Francisco journalism history,” said Senior Political Editor Annie Gaus, who was joined on Tuesday by The Standard’s Executive Editor Jon Steinberg. “With this new office, The Standard will continue to keep the city’s politicians accountable, whether that’s ensuring they come to work on time or are tipping well at the City Hall basement café. We’ll be watching.”

The bureau will primarily be staffed by The Standard’s political team: Gabriel Greschler, Han Li and Josh Koehn

Four people stand by a red ribbon; one holds scissors, another reads from a blue folio, all smiling at a grand opening event.
Acting Mayor Matt Dorsey reads a Certificate of Honor for The San Francisco Standard during the opening of its City Hall office. | Source: Morgan Ellis/The Standard

The office was formerly occupied by local newspaper The San Francisco Chronicle, which is now down to two rooms but was gracious enough to leave The Standard a vintage, 2000s-era desk and chair.

The Standard is the first news outlet to receive an office in the City Hall press room in half a decade, according to the City Administrator’s Office. The Chinese-language newspaper World Journal, along with the San Francisco Examiner, also have offices at City Hall.

Founded in 2021, The Standard is the fastest-growing source for news in the Bay Area and covers a wide range of in-depth journalism for San Francisco, from groundbreaking investigations about City Hall to the best eats around town. Its political reporters will be at City Hall multiple times per week, reporting on board meetings and other events.

“It is a really inspiring space to work in,” said Standard Data Reporter Noah Baustin on Tuesday. “I personally love that the kitchenette has a working microwave and refrigerator.”

Tuesday’s event brought together some of City Hall’s most influential electeds: Supervisor and Acting Mayor Matt Dorsey and Supervisors Joel Engardio and Myrna Melgar. 

“This is a room that has a lot of historical significance for me because for 14 years I worked for the press office at the City Attorney’s Office,” said Dorsey as he stood in front of the glass door emblazoned with “Standard” on the outside. “I always root for journalism. And I just want to say this for everybody who does this work: Your work is important. And even though I’ve had plenty of PR headaches in my lifetime, I’ve never had one that didn’t make government better.” 

A water cooler, paper towel dispenser, microwave, and notices on a wall in an office break room.
The San Francisco Standard held a ribbon-cutting ceremony when its office officially opened inside City Hall on Tuesday. The press room's shared kitchenette features a working microwave and a water cooler. | Source: Morgan Ellis/The Standard

Dorsey, who served as acting mayor on Tuesday during Mayor London Breed’s trip to China, marked the occasion with an official certificate of honor for The Standard, which mentioned the press room as a long-standing “sanctuary for hard-hitting journalism and City Hall gossip.”

Engardio, a former journalist himself, called the gathering “a very special moment.”

“As someone who worked many years as a journalist, it's still in my DNA, so I appreciate the work you do,” he said. “It's essential. And we need more of it. I love that the SF Standard is so focused on local issues.”

Tuesday’s event was in the works for months but faced a small delay after City Hall workers accidentally converted the wrong office, currently inhabited by the Chronicle, for The Standard.