Editorial by Troy Williams
Dear Bay View,
Since I’ve taken on the position as editor of the Bay View, many people have reached out to congratulate me and show support. I am thankful for you all. It feels good to know that so many of you are pulling for the continued success of the Bay View as well as success in my personal life.
I have also had many conversations and email exchanges with people wanting to know what my vision is for the newspaper. I’ve equated my position as editor with a captain of a ship, the newspaper as the ship, and my vision as the ship’s rudder. I have already begun navigating some rough waters and have found unwavering support in many places.
The week after the announcement in July’s paper was published, I walked back inside San Quentin. I walked in through the front gate, down to the lower yard, and into the media lab that I helped create. I went back inside to volunteer for one of the programs I co-founded alongside other incarcerated men like Sha Wallace-Stepter, Rahsaan Thomas and Emile Deweaver before I paroled two and a half years ago. I mention this not to brag or boast but to express the potential of what can be done, even from within the walls of a prison.
The name of the group is the San Quentin chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Shadeed Wallace-Stepter is the current chair and produces content for The Prison Report and Life of the Law. Rahsaan Thomas and Emile Deweaver are reporters for the San Quentin News and are also on the steering committee. Nearly 40 men in San Quentin are recognized as professional journalists.
The mission of SPJ is to protect the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, encourage high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism, and encourage diversity and a climate in which journalism can be practiced freely. SPJ has nearly 300 chapters across the United States with a membership of more than 9,000 mediamakers.
Nearly 40 men in San Quentin are recognized as professional journalists.
During my visit, I was able to hang out with many of my old comrades. We talked about old times, family and the future of journalism coming out of prison. We talked about the importance of us controlling the narrative about us. And we talked about how the Bay View could be used as a platform to influence change all across this country.
I see the Bay View as the New York Times of the prison abolitionist movement. The Washington Post of liberation. The Wall Street Journal of prison reform. I may sit at the helm, but no captain pilots a ship alone. My vision is no good without the vision of the people to support it.
One of my goals is to build a network of professional journalists (men and women) who come from where we come from, have lived experience, and want to change the narrative mainstream media has written about who we are. The future of our children depends on us changing and controlling our narrative.
I see the Bay View as the New York Times of the prison abolitionist movement. The Washington Post of liberation. The Wall Street Journal of prison reform.
On that note, we have a lot of work to do. I will be making some changes in order to steer the Bay View toward building this platform, increasing our digital presence online, and supporting advocates across the country. My first order of business is to raise the funds to rebuild our website. In this day and time, 89 percent of people get their news from their mobile phones. In order for us to grow, our website has to reach that demographic.
As the editor, I am asking you all to provide me with input as to what your vision for the Bay View is, how you and your life’s experiences can be of support, and some words of encouragement. As many of you know, it will not be an easy task winning over people who simply do not like the Bay View for the truth it speaks. But life has taught me that patience, persistence and perseverance pays off.
Troy Williams, Editor
SF Bay View
Contact Bay View Editor Troy Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.