To tell stories — with empathy, imagination and integrity — that shine light on the Coastside through an ongoing, rigorous journalistic enterprise focused on the public interest.
Statement of Benefit
Who We Are
The Half Moon Bay Review
The Half Moon Bay Review is an award-winning online and print community news source serving the San Mateo County Coastside since 1898. The Review is proud to employ a staff of trained journalists who cover local politics, local sports, local environmental issues and local features for both the newspaper and this website. The news, columns and opinions on every page, cover-to-cover, focus solely on the Coastside — from Pacifica to the Santa Cruz County line.
A paid subscription newspaper, the Review publishes every Wednesday morning and is circulated by mail, counter and rack sales. We print 3000 copies, most for our 2200 subscribers, and 800 for single-issue distribution. The Review also publishes a variety of specialty publications including Coastside magazine which is distributed to subscribers and racks on the Coastside from Pescadero to Pacifica.
The Review is a weekly newspaper, however, the news cycle never stops. We routinely break news on our website and can publish important updates within minutes. The newspaper itself comes out on Wednesday. On that day we hold meetings to plan for the next print edition. Advertising deadlines occur early in the cycle.
Our publisher and editorial director have decades of experience on the Coastside.
Our online edition uses the Town News software platform.
Our newspaper is printed at Fricke-Parks Press in Union City. We send them PDF's each Tuesday by 5. They print the papers and deliver them to your mailbox the next morning.
Our magazines are printed by Publication Printers in Denver, CO. We send them the PDF's and they deliver pallets of magazines to our front door.
The Pacifica Tribune
For more than 60 years, our sister publication, the Pacifica Tribune, has served the citizens of Pacifica community. Actually, the community has had a newspaper since the 1930s. The first community newspaper was called Sharp Park Breakers and quickly merged with a second paper called the Coastside Tribune. In 1959, the Coastside Tribune was officially changed to the Pacifica Tribune by its new owner Bill Drake in recognition of the City of Pacifica’s incorporation. In 1989, Drake sold the Tribune and since that time the paper has operated under three different ownerships until recently purchased by the Coastside News Group.
A paid subscription newspaper, the Tribune publishes every Wednesday morning and is circulated by mail, counter and rack sales throughout the Pacifica community of 40,000. The Tribune, being a community-driven newspaper, focuses completely on Pacifica. Over the years the Tribune, with its award-winning journalists, has won a number of General Excellence awards given by the California Newspaper Publishers Association.
The Tribune has given many aspiring young journalists and photographers an opportunity to enhance their skills as reporters at the Tribune. Literally, hundreds of young journalists can show that their first byline story/photo appeared in the Pacifica Tribune.
As an essential service, the Review has continued publishing online and in print since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. To better serve our customers we have:
- Increased the frequency of online updates - most stories are now published online as they become available.
- Increased the frequency of breaking news updates and social media updates related to Covid-19.
- Offered discounts to our advertisers, many of whom continue to be hit hard by the pandemic.
We have taken safety measures to minimize contagion concerns for our customers and staff:
- Most employees are working from home unless office access or news reporting requires otherwise.
- We continue to stock indoor store locations.
Like many small businesses, we have been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic, even as our local news coverage is more important than ever. We have avoided layoffs or salary reductions, thanks in part to the Paycheck Protection Program. Like all advertising-dependent media, we have seen a sharp drop-off in ad revenues since many advertisers are closed or struggling during this event. Many thanks to our loyal advertisers who have been able to continue advertising, and to our loyal readers whose donations and subscriptions help us to continue our non-stop local coverage. You can donate or subscribe to help support local journalism.
Where We Are
714 Kelly Avenue Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
You can find us online at https://hmbreview.com You can subscribe to any of our newsletters and get breaking news, events, traffic and more delivered to your inbox.
You can find print versions of our publications under the menu option "Print Format", including
- The Half Moon Bay Review
- Coastside magazine
- Coastside Guide
The Review and its staff have won numerous state and national awards through the years. It has taken home the general excellence award, considered the top prize given by the California News Publishers Association, on three occasions, most recently in 2016. In 2006, the Inland Press Foundation named the Review the top small weekly in the country. In 2010, Suburban Newspapers of America named Clay Lambert the top small weekly newspaper editor in the country.
In 2020, the California News Publishers Association recognized the paper or its staff for:
- General Excellence
- Agricultural Reporting
- Editorial Cartoon
- Editorial Comment (Twice - including 1st Place)
The Coastside includes the cities of Half Moon Bay and Pacifica, as well as everything in between: Miramar, El Granada, Princeton, Moss Beach and Montara — and continues south to San Gregorio, La Honda and Pescadero. The Coastside is just over the hill from the city of San Mateo, and about 28 miles south of San Francisco along the San Mateo County coastline. The leading industry on the Coastside is floriculture, and the area is also home to Pillar Point Harbor, the only working harbor between San Francisco and Santa Cruz.
The Coastside is home to a diverse population that includes Silicon Valley engineers, longtime farming families and recent immigrants. Its restaurants and shops are among the most celebrated in the county. And nearby beaches add serenity and unparalleled beauty to the landscape. There are miles of open-space trails curving through the city — all of them providing a unique perspective on the California coast. There are a number of signature events on the coast. The granddaddy of them all is October’s Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival, which annually draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city’s Main Street. Pacifica's Fog Fest celebrates our classic weather each September.
Coastside News Group
In 2018, the Review was purchased by a group of Coastsiders, who formed a public benefit corporation called Coastside News Group Inc., dedicated to continuing the Review's independent tradition and supporting community. The board opted to create a Benefit Corporation rather than a non-profit to avoid any speech restrictions imposed by the government on non-profits. Each year, by law, we publish our statement detailing our commitment to our stakeholders.
The board is committed to editorial independence, does not determine which stories to publish, and does not preview stories prior to publication.
In 2020, CNGI acquired the Pacifica Tribune, and expanded its board to include investors and residents from Pacifica.
The Economics of Local Journalism
CNGI hopes to create a business model that can serve as an example for the thousands of other communities interested in maintaining local journalism.
It takes a fair amount of revenue to pay a professional editorial staff, especially in the pricey Bay Area. We think that professionalism is important, especially in these days when everyone can post their facts or opinion online for free.
The old model for local journalism relied almost exclusively on advertising, especially classified advertising. Craigslist spelled the beginning of the end of that model. It is hard to compete with free. Google and Facebook have further undercut the advertising model, eliminating online advertising as an economically viable alternative to print advertising. Millennial habits tend toward online readership rather than print readership, which makes the lack of online revenue especially critical. In a small community like ours, even our quite substantial online readership yields only about 1% of overall revenue - far less than is required to run a professional media organization. Online revenue barely pays to maintain the online infrastructure we need, including the web site, archives for our newspapers and magazines, interactive comments, and online advertising submission. Print advertising continues to provide 80% or more of our overall revenues.
We are responding to these challenges in several ways:
- Continue providing high-quality print publications that also serve our advertisers well
- Improve our online presence and implement subscriptions for online readers
- Implement premium subscription levels for generous supporters who want to play a bigger part in sustaining journalism
- Solicit grants from the increasing range of philanthropic organizations who support local journalism
- Consider expanded offering of in-person or online community events
- Solicit ideas and suggestions from our Editorial Board and the community at large
- Maintain free access for our readers who are not currently in a financial position to support us
- Encourage community donations
Our board and ownership is committed to supporting the Review and the Tribune and enabling them to continue their important role in our community. To be successful, we need broad support from the community, with your subscriptions, advertising, ideas, energy and enthusiasm.