Meeting of the Minds Speaker

Kevin Fagan


San Francisco Chronicle

Kevin Fagan is a veteran reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, and before coming to the paper he worked at several organizations including BBC Radio in London and the Oakland Tribune.

He specializes in homelessness and poverty, enterprise news-feature writing, social welfare issues and breaking news, taking particular pleasure in ferreting out stories others might not find — from riding the rails with hobos to detailing the intricacies of hunting down serial killers.

From 2003 to 2006, he was the only beat reporter in the United States covering homelessness full time. With his primary focus on the crisis in San Francisco, Fagan immersed in the gritty culture of street people to portray their dysfunction, and analyzed the government programs meant to help them. His coverage started with an influential five-day series outlining the severity of the problem and proposing solutions. Over the past decade-plus, Fagan has produced more than 500 high-impact dailies and packages that helped drive city and national policy, comparing housing and counseling programs in the Bay Area and throughout the nation.

Fagan has witnessed seven prison executions, and covered many of the biggest breaking stories of our time, from the Sept. 11 terror attacks at Ground Zero and the Columbine High School massacre to the deadly San Bruno pipeline explosion, the Occupy movement and the drought. His assignments have included interviewing presidents and filing dispatches from locations including Laos and the Dominican Republic on murder, guerrilla warfare, land mine danger and drug abuse.

Fagan has won more than 80 national and regional awards, including prizes from Heywood Broun and National Headliner Awards. In 2006 he won the national James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism as well as a Knight Fellowship to Stanford University, which allowed him to spend the 2006-07 academic year at the university studying aspects of the American West. He has been nominated several times for the Pulitzer Prize for stories ranging from homelessness to disaster coverage and feature writing.