Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

This article was first published by Reynolds Journalism Institute on Sept. 20, 2021.

Last month, the Global Forum Online broke new ground with a story that began with an unexpected phone call from our correspondent inside San Quentin State Prison in the San Francisco Bay area. Normally, Joe Garcia calls to check in on Tuesdays, but this was a Wednesday, and he never called two days in a row unless there was news. 

“Alpine is on lockdown,” Joe Garcia told me, referring to his cellblock. “A guy tested positive.”

San Quentin was the site of one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks last summer, infecting more than 70% of the population and killing 29, including a corrections officer. Joe didn’t know yet how serious the situation might be, but everyone was nervous amid news of the delta variant spreading quickly outside prison. The residents also were annoyed because the prison had just returned to normal operations after being under lockdown for over a year.

While Joe was pounding the pavement in the few hours of movement he was permitted daily under lockdown, the Global Forum Online editorial staff gathered background reporting and contacted the department for comment. We thought this story would be of interest to a local media partner, so we contacted our friends at San Francisco Public Press, an independent nonprofit news organization with a reputation for investigative reporting. 

Click here to read more.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Global Forum Online has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Yukari Iwatani Kane is a founder and CEO of Global Forum Online.

She is an author, educator and veteran journalist with 20 years of experience and was a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. Her book Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs was a best-seller, translated into seven languages. She has taught at Northwestern University and UC Berkeley as well as at San Quentin State Prison, where she developed a curriculum for prison journalism.

Yukari is an alum of the INN Emerging Leaders Council and Reynolds Journalism Institute and is currently a fellow in the 2024 CUNY Executive Program in News Innovation and Leadership. She is also a member of News Literacy Project’s advisory council and an advisor for San Quentin News and The Endeavor, a prison newspaper at Everglades Correctional Institution in Florida.