Fifth & Mission

The flagship news podcast of the San Francisco Chronicle. Producer/host Cecilia Lei and director of news Demian Bulwa discuss the biggest stories of the day with Chronicle journalists and newsmakers from around the Bay Area. | Get full digital access to the Chronicle:

“Sailors Do Not Need to Die”
In a stunning letter obtained by The Chronicle, the captain of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt pleads with the Navy to help him contain the coronavirus spreading among his sailors. Matthias Gafni reports.
17 min
SF City Insider: Is the Coronavirus Surge Still...
Have we flattened the curve? In this episode of San Francisco City Insider, Dr. Allison Bond, an infectious disease expert at UCSF, gives Heather Knight an inside view of San Francisco hospitals — which, so far, seem like a calm before a storm.
23 min
Coronavirus Scammers and Price Gougers
Criminals are using the pandemic as a fresh excuse to swindle people. Crime reporter Megan Cassidy runs down some of the common scams and offers tips on how to avoid them. Plus: Details about price gouging schemes in the Bay Area.
15 min
Is San Francisco the Next New York?
The epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus pandemic is New York City, where officials acted more slowly than the Bay Area to shut down businesses and schools. Have we escaped the worst, or is New York's crisis our future?
19 min
SF City Insider: Inside San Francisco's Emergen...
In this episode of the San Francisco City Insider podcast, Ivy Lee, a legislative aide who’s among the hundreds of City Hall staff members who've been spending long days inside Moscone Center to prepare for the expected surge in coronavirus cases, talks to Heather Knight about San Francisco's readiness for a potential disaster.
21 min
Mortgages on Hold — Is Rent next?
Alexei Koseff talks about Gov. Newsom's announcement of relief for people struggling to pay mortgages in the coronavirus crisis — and what tenant advocates are demanding from the governor. Plus: The latest on testing, data collection.
16 min
Is Your Check in the Mail?
Congress is on the brink of passing a historic $2 trillion aid package. Dustin Gardiner joins Audrey Cooper to discuss possible cash payments, loans for big and small businesses and expanded unemployment benefits.
20 min
Is S.F.’s “Powder Keg” About to Explode?
Laguna Honda Hospital, a nursing home full of some of the state’s most vulnerable people, is struggling to determine the full size of its coronavirus outbreak after two nurses there tested positive. Jason Fagone discusses the different stories being told by city officials and the health workers on the ground at the 750-patient facility.
22 min
SF City Insider: Disaster for Small Businesses
In this episode of San Francisco City Insider, Heather Knight talks to Sharky Laguana, president of San Francisco's Small Business Commission, about how the shutdown to stem the coronavirus outbreak has already destroyed some small businesses, including his own.
25 min
Where Are the Tests?
For weeks, the country has struggled to test everyone suspected of having the coronavirus, a key part of helping to slow the spread of Covid-19. Catherine Ho and Audrey Cooper discuss increasing testing capacity, what is being done to rush the results, and whether it’s all too late to make a difference.
19 min
Coronavirus Hits Workers Hard
People who've lost jobs are worrying about how to pay their bills, and many who work for essential businesses are worrying about staying safe. Reporter Mallory Moench joins Audrey Cooper to discuss the morale of the Bay Area workforce.
17 min
Coronavirus: When Will This End?
Health reporter Erin Allday joins Audrey Cooper to talk about whether the current shelter-in-place is working to #FlattentheCurve. Plus, she answers some of our most-asked reader questions.
27 min
Where Are the Masks?
As hospitals brace for a surge of coronavirus patients, many are running out of critical protective gear — especially masks. Rachel Swan and Audrey Cooper discuss a situation so dire the CDC is telling health workers to wear scarves and bandanas.
20 min
Refusing Coronavirus Tests
Vice President Pence promised that every Grand Princess passenger would be tested for coronavirus. But The Chronicle's Matthias Gafni has learned that hundreds of quarantined patients — encouraged by federal officials — have refused. Is that a threat to the community?
20 min
Coronavirus Evictions
Local officials have taken steps to keep people and businesses from being evicted. But what happens after shelter-in-place ends? And how are we taking care of the homeless? Dominic Fracassa discusses the latest steps.
25 min
Coronavirus Update: $1.1 Billion Aid Package
Alexei Koseff reports from Sacramento, where state lawmakers passed funding for coronavirus response on Monday, then suspended their session for a month — reportedly a first in more than 150 years.
5 min
Shelter in Place
The Bay Area is shutting down after an emergency order across most of the region that's the nation's strongest move so far in response to the coronavirus threat. Erin Allday and Audrey Cooper discusse what is — and isn't — covered by the order.
19 min
The Kids Are Home: Now What?
Reporter — and former kindergarten teacher — Steve Rubenstein gives Audrey Cooper and all parents advice on what to do with kids who are because of school closures in response to the coronavirus. Plus: Thoughts from a real expert, age 7.
16 min
Predicting the Coronavirus Future
Disease modelers are trying to come up with their best guesses about how badly COVID-19 could take hold in the United States. Health reporter Erin Allday discusses what we know and what could stave off the worst possible outcomes.
24 min
Schools Are Closing
Children in San Francisco will be out of school for three weeks due to coronavirus fears and districts around the region are following suit. Trisha Thadani on what happens to families with no other options or children who need school meals.
11 min
Fifth & Mission Is Working From Home
Coronavirus has forced thousands, maybe millions, of Americans to work from home. That includes Chronicle journalists like Audrey Cooper and Mallory Moench, who discuss pros and cons and what to expect.
19 min
SF City Insider: “This Is Going to Be Catastrop...
San Franciscan Amanda Kahn Fried is on sabbatical in Italy, a coronavirus hot spot where events seem to be a few weeks ahead of the Bay Area. On the San Francisco City Insider podcast, she tells host Heather Knight what it’s like to live under lockdown. | Subscribe to San Francisco City Insider.
19 min
A Top S.F. Doctor on the Coronavirus
Dr. Andre Campbell, a longtime trauma surgeon and ICU doctor at San Francisco General Hospital, tells Heather Knight what to expect with COVID-19 in the weeks ahead and how the hospital is preparing.
26 min
Can We Contain the Coronavirus?
As mitigation measures spread across the country, health writer Erin Allday discusses whether they can succeed and explains the leading theories about how best to keep the public safe.
22 min
Drones at the Golden Gate Bridge
Flying cameras are swarming San Francisco's landmark bridge, and officials say photos are being taken illegally. Business reporter Roland Li talks to Audrey Cooper about the rise – and crashes – of local drones.
13 min
Coronavirus: What We Know Now
Health reporter Erin Allday joins Audrey Cooper to explain the latest on the coronavirus response and business reporter Mallory Moench explains what parents should do to keep kids safe and calm.
23 min
Super Tuesday: What Did We Learn?
Super Tuesday is over and we're down to a two-man race. Joe Garofoli and John Wildermuth join Audrey Cooper to break down the results, including some interesting races you might not have thought much about.
19 min
Super Tuesday Troubles
Democratic candidates are dropping out, much to the dismay of voters who have already cast their ballot. Political writers Joe Garofoli and John Wildermuth break down what's likely to happen as Californians head to the polls.
29 min
Tracking the Coronavirus
Erin Allday talks about efforts to keep track of who has the virus. Plus: Chase DiFeliciantonio on what local industries and workers are doing to prepare, and some wild conspiracy theories.
18 min
Coronavirus Game Changer
The diagnosis of a Bay Area resident shows the virus has spread beyond those who recently visited China. Plus: The fight to get more testing kits into California hospitals. Erin Allday and Catherine Ho with the latest.
28 min
San Francisco’s Coronavirus Emergency
Warnings about a global pandemic are becoming more urgent as stocks fall and local officials — including Mayor London Breed — declare states of emergency. Health reporters Erin Allday and Catherine Ho on the latest local cases.
27 min
Chinatown's Gentrification Fears
Food reporter Janelle Bitker on the closing of banquet halls, long a mainstay of Chinatown's culture. They're being replaced with tonier spots, leaving residents worried about the future.
22 min
Our Life in Coronavirus Quarantine
Otis and Carol Menasco's Japan cruise is now "the vacation that has become a nightmare" as they're quarantined at an Air Force base near San Antonio. They can't get movies or booze, but they can make calls, and they called us.
17 min
Trump in California: Who Gets the Water?
President Trump traveled to the Central Valley to sign an agreement that would send more water to farms — and, environmentalists say, hurt the Delta ecosystem. Reporter Peter Fimrite talks about the implications.
19 min
Troubling Gifts to Mayor Breed
The mayor has admitted taking nearly $6,000 from Mohammed Nuru, the ex-public works chief at the center of an FBI corruption investigation — and a man she now says she once dated. Dominic Fracassa talked to her about the fallout.
22 min
The Fight to Put Women in the Constitution
Nearly four decades after the Equal Rights Amendment was declared dead, politics writer Dustin Gardiner joins Audrey Cooper to talk about why the battle to enshrine women’s rights has returned.
22 min
Crisis at School
Teachers and parents say one S.F. middle school has devolved into violent chaos and the district is refusing to send help. Columnist Heather Knight discusses her shocking report on the school.
23 min
The Coronavirus Hits Close to Home
The Bay Area shares cultural and economic ties with China stronger than anywhere else in the country. Reporters Tatiana Sanchez and Anna Bauman on how the region is impacted by the deadly coronavirus spreading from Wuhan, China.
14 min
Trump's New Target: Modern Architecture
Urban design critic John King on how haters of futuristic buildings like the San Francisco Federal Building are trying to team up with the president to — we kid you not — “Make Federal Buildings Great Again.”
24 min
It’s Beer Week!
Esther Mobley, wine critic and author of the Drinking With Esther newsletter, and Audrey Cooper go deep into the history of Beer Week, trends in regional craft brewing and how you can celebrate this year. Esther Mobley, wine critic and author of the Drinking With Esther newsletter, and Audrey Cooper go deep into the history of Beer Week, trends in regional craft brewing and how you can celebrate this year.
18 min
Fifth & Mission Live: Primaries 2020
Live from Manny's in San Francisco, Editor in Chief Audrey Cooper, politics writer Joe Garofoli and columnists Heather Knight and Phil Matier talk about Iowa, the upcoming primaries, and local politics.
60 min
Coronavirus in the Bay Area
Health writer Erin Allday tells you what you need to know about the virus’ penetration in California and what you can do about it. | Get unlimited Chronicle access.
21 min
Super Bowl: What Happened to the 49ers?
Patrick Mahomes happened. Ann Killion and Eric Branch talk about the Chiefs' comeback win over San Francisco in Super Bowl LIV. Should Bay Area fans put the blame on Kyle Shanahan, or just appreciate an amazing season?
20 min
What to Look for in the Super Bowl
Ann Killion and Eric Branch break down the game. The 49ers vs. the Chiefs, Jimmy G. vs. Patrick Mahomes. Kyle Shanahan vs. Andy Reid. And San Francisco's great defense vs. Kansas City's great offense. The winner will be ... you have to listen.
20 min
Shen Yun Spending
Reporter Matthias Gafni cracks the mystery of how much a controversial religious group spends on those ubiquitous ads prompting the dance company's shows.
14 min
Super Bowl Week in Miami
Ann Killion and Eric Branch report from the three-ring circus all over Miami, where nothing is close to anything else, as the 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs get ready to play. Full coverage. | Get unlimited Chronicle access.
17 min
Bombshell Arrest of "MrCleanSF"
San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru and Lefty O'Doul's owner Nick Bovis are charged with fraud after a months-long federal corruption probe. Audrey Cooper, Heather Knight and Evan Sernoffsky explain.
16 min
YIGBY: Yes in God's Back Yard
J.K. Dineen reports that church parking lots are among the "soft sites" — underused real estate — that could be a rich source of land on which to build housing in San Francisco. | Get unlimited Chronicle access.
10 min
Privacy or Prison
Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets are citing a 30-year-old privacy law to resist defense subpoenas that could save people from going to prison and even possible execution, as Megan Cassidy tells host Josh Koehn.
15 min
Thefts on BART
Cell phones and laptops are being stolen from BART passengers at a higher rate than ever. Phil Matier and Audrey Cooper discuss the crime wave, what BART's trying to do about it, and how you can avoid being a victim.
14 min
Does Uber Transparency Lead to Discrimination?
Uber’s recent overhaul of its ride process has advocates concerned that the changes could lead to discrimination. Carolyn Said joins Otis Taylor to discuss how Uber’s changes could impact riders.
12 min
Mega-Problems With Housing Mega-Projects
In the last decade, Bay Area public officials banked on big projects — many on former military bases — to fill our vast housing needs. J.K. Dineen on why most of the homes remain unbuilt.
17 min
What the Moms 4 Housing Want
In the wake of the pre-dawn eviction of a group of homeless mothers from a West Oakland house Otis Taylor Jr. and Sarah Ravani join Demian Bulwa to talk about Oakland's housing crisis and what's next for the moms and their kids.
20 min
Wi-Fi on Bart?
Want to use your computer in the Transbay Tube? Reporter Rachel Swan on the system's plan to finally get Wi-Fi — and improved cell service — after years of frustration and delays.
15 min
The Suspect Next Door
After Leola Shreves was brutally beaten and killed in her own home, police got a confession from her next-door neighbor. But as Matthias Gafni reports, all the evidence pointed to another man.
30 min
The Housing Shortage Fight
SB50, Scott Wiener’s controversial bill to boost housing construction around public transit in wealthy suburbs, flamed out in the Legislature last year. Can new amendments overcome opposition from local leaders?
15 min
Trouble at Yosemite’s Iconic Hotel
For decades, the sumptuous Ahwahnee Hotel at the foot of Half Dome has attracted presidents, movie stars and big spenders. But as Kurtis Alexander reports, some say the property has seen better days.
11 min
Here Come the Gas Bans
Bay Area cities are starting to ban natural gas appliances inside new homes, a bid to fight climate change. Reporter Mallory Moench talks about the effort and the backlash, including from restaurants who prefer an open flame.
12 min
Datebook: Babylon Gone, Part 1
Fifth & Mission presents the first episode in the Datebook podcast's three-episode series on "Beach Blanket Babylon," the musical revue that closed on New Year's Eve after a world's longest 45-year run. Peter Hartlaub, Lily Janiak and Annie Vainshtein dive deep into the iconic San Francisco show. Subscribe to Datebook and download all three episodes: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
18 min
Gang Fight in San Francisco
When Chesa Boudin takes over as district attorney this month, he plans to stop prosecuting a type of gang charge he says is “infused with racism.” Reporter Evan Sernoffsky on the emotional debate.
19 min
Top 10 Stories of the Year
Chronicle reporters Kevin Fagan, Rachel Swan and John Wildermuth join Demian Bulwa to talk about the biggest Bay Area stories of 2019 — from PG&E blackouts to trouble aboard BART and teen vaping — and why they captured our imagination.
21 min
The Decade in Sports
From the Giants to the Warriors to Colin Kaepernick, Chronicle columnists Ann Killion and Scott Ostler join Metro Editor Demian Bulwa to talk about the biggest stories of the 2010s.
21 min
Mick LaSalle’s Best Movies of 2019
The Chronicle’s critic talks about the best, worst and most interesting movies of the year with Audrey Cooper — who’s seen none of them — and recalls the day he had to watch a Star Wars movie 6 times in a row.
31 min
Towering Changes in San Francisco
Chronicle urban design critic John King explains how he selected the city’s best buildings and spaces of the past 10 years — and what the future might hold.
19 min
The New Niners
The San Francisco 49ers are once again one of the best teams in football. But what’s it like behind the scenes? Beat reporter Eric Branch and Columnist Ann Killion give the real story.
33 min
The Homeless Camp That Can't Be Rousted
A growing tent city in Santa Rosa is the latest flashpoint in the homelessness crisis. Kevin Fagan reports that authorities can't break it up unless they can provide enough housing for all the residents.
18 min
The Shocking Cost of Building Housing
San Francisco has the highest construction costs in the world. Metro editor Demian Bulwa and reporter Roland Li break down the factors making new housing close to impossible.
14 min
The Hero of the Kincade Fire
When flames swept over him in Sonoma County, a Cal Fire captain made a last-ditch decision: He pulled two residents under a fire blanket the size of a beach towel. Reporter Lizzie Johnson tells the story of Jason Dyer.
16 min
Cops Sue Over Shipyard Workplace
Nearly 400 current and former SFPD employees have sued a company tasked with cleaning up contamination at the Hunters Point Shipyard. Editor Audrey Cooper talks with Jason Fagone and Cynthia Dizikes about their reporting on the cleanup.
21 min
The Class of 2020
What is life like for teens about to graduate? Chronicle director of photography Nicole Frugé and photographer Gabrielle Lurie join Audrey Cooper to talk about Class of 2020, documenting life in Bay Area high schools.
20 min
2020 Hindsight
The Chronicle's Culture Desk looks back on this century with 20 moments that say something about the current state of the Bay Area and, by extension, the world.
20 min
A Surge of Drug Deaths
More than 10,000 people have now died across the Bay Area in drug overdoses since 2006. Reporter Erin Allday digs into a growing epidemic of meth and fentanyl abuse.
15 min
IPO to IP-Uh-Oh
Breathless (non-Chronicle) headlines warned that San Francisco would be drowning in IPO millionaires in 2019. But the housing market has turned soft. Columnist Kathleen Pender and business editor Owen Thomas talk about what to expect in 2020.
18 min
Best of Fifth & Mission: How to Drink Wine
Chronicle wine critic Esther Mobley shares her secrets and brings her spit bucket for a tasting session with Audrey Cooper. Plus: How California vintners are adjusting to climate change, which threatens Cabernet Sauvignon, the state’s most important grape. First published Aug. 23, 2019.
28 min
How to Stop Homelessness
Since 1982, The Chronicle and the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund have found a novel way to keep people from becoming homeless: The Season of Sharing Fund. Audrey Cooper and Kevin Fagan chat with new SOS executive director Zev Lowe.
23 min
Crab Season Blues
Why won't Dungeness crab be in grocery stores by Thanksgiving? Assistant food editor Tara Duggan explains the latest delays, which are linked to the health of whales.
13 min
Minor Crimes, Major Time
Reporters Jill Tucker and Joaquin Palomino, as part of their Vanishing Violence investigation, have found that California officials' claims that juvenile halls now mostly hold serious offenders is not true.
18 min
San Francisco's Deadly Streets
A spike in traffic violence has claimed 27 lives so far this year. Metro editor Demian Bulwa and columnist Heather Knight talk about why San Francisco's Vision Zero plan, to eliminate traffic deaths in the city, is off track.
13 min
Live: How We Cover Disasters, Part 2
Reporters J.D. Morris, who covers PG&E, and Kurtis Alexander, who covers California climate and environmental issues, talk with metro editor Demian Bulwa about how they work their beats as the state is hammered by wildfires and massive blackouts.
24 min
Live: How We Cover Disasters, Part 1
Reporter Lizzie Johnson and photographer Carlos Avila Gonzalez talk with editor in chief Audrey Cooper and a live audience at the Chronicle Center in San Francisco about covering wildfires — how they protect themselves, what risks they’re willing to take, what they have to know. First of two parts.
30 min
London Breed’s Brother Seeks Freedom
After a woman died on the Golden Gate Bridge in 2000, Napoleon Brown got 44 years in prison. He’s seeking a shorter sentence in light of a new law. His sister, the mayor of San Francisco, has advocated on his behalf in the past. Reporter Dominic Fracassa on the latest twists in the case.
18 min
Orinda Shooting Aftermath
Police have still made no arrests after the mass shooting at a Halloween "Mansion Party" at an Orinda Airbnb. Reporter Evan Sernoffsky talks about the victims, the possible motives and the new scrutiny on Airbnb.
14 min
Starting Over in Paradise
How do you recover from the worst fire in California history? A year after the Camp Fire killed 85 people and leveled a whole town, just 14 homes have been rebuilt. But there's hope, say reporter Lizzie Johnson and photographer Gabrielle Lurie, who have been spending time in the disaster area.
18 min
A Silver Bullet for Meth?
No. There’s no such thing. Reporters Kevin Fagan and Dominic Fracassa talk about how meth’s powerful grip on San Francisco is killing people and contributing to the city’s biggest problems, and about the latest idea to deal with it: a sobering center for addicts.
17 min
Election Day Preview
Editorial Page Editor John Diaz and City Hall reporter Dominic Fracassa join Audrey Cooper to talk about today’s election in San Francisco, including two races that have received national attention: the four-way battle for district attorney and Prop C, which would regulate e-cigarettes.
28 min
The Fisherman’s Secret
What would you do if you suddenly found a golden treasure? Audrey Cooper interviews reporters Tara Duggan and Jason Fagone about an unbelievable tale that took more than a year to report — the story of fisherman Joe Pennisi’s secret.
26 min
BART: Parking vs. Housing
As the transit agency begins filling its lots with residential buildings, it’s chipping away at a perk commuters have enjoyed for years — cheap parking spaces. Rachel Swan on the battle of housing for people against housing for cars.
16 min
PG&E Outages: Cell Phones Too
Bay Area residents needed cell service more than ever as they lost electricity and worried about wildfires. Reporter Mallory Moench joins us to talk about why cell service providers in some places failed this test, and what can be done about it.
11 min
Wildfires Update: The Inspectors
Lizzie Johnson talks about shadowing two firefighters, one a Cal Fire division chief and one a fire marshal from Riverside County, as they inspect the damage inflicted by the Kincade Fire and encounter a homeowner who defied the evacuation order — a dangerous move, but one that allowed him to save his house.
12 min
Wildfires Update: First Responder Heroism
Sarah Ravani reports on the heroism she's been seeing at the Kincade Fire, including firefighters who used water from a swimming pool to help save three houses in Windsor. She also talks about the emotional reaction of Healdsburg residents when the power came back on.
5 min
Wildfires Update: Kincade Fire
Evan Sernoffsky reports from the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa during the calm before the big windstorm that's expected to kick up Tuesday afternoon and evening. Firefighters fear the winds could cause a major flare-up in the Kincade Fire.
8 min
Wildfires Update: Wineries
Wine critic Esther Mobley joins Audrey Cooper to talk about how California’s biggest cash crop, the $40 billion wine industry, is faring in the latest round of wildfires and power shut-offs. Fifth & Mission is updating more frequently than usual this week as we focus on the developments around Northern California.
18 min
Wildfires Update: Windsor
Fifth & Mission is updating more frequently than usual this week as we focus on the wildfires and power shut-offs around Northern California this week. In this episode, Megan Cassidy reports from Windsor as firefighters race against the clock to establish firelines during a lull in the high winds.
4 min
Powerless: A Weekend of Shut-offs and Fire
Megan Cassidy joins Audrey Cooper to talk about her reporting on the Kincade Fire, one of many wildfires around the Bay Area. J.D. Morris talks about the massive PG&E shut-offs in response to the weekend's major wind event — and the reactions by the public and Gov. Gavin Newsom.
16 min
How the Fire Tracker Works
Senior interactive developer Evan Wagstaff joins Audrey Cooper to talk about how he and his team build the tools that are some of the Chronicle's most popular features, including the California Fire Tracker and the PG&E Outage Map.
13 min
PG&E Shut-offs: Here We Go Again
For the second time this month, PG&E is preparing to preemptively cut power to hundreds of thousands of people in a bid to prevent wildfires. Reporters J.D. Morris and Mallory Moench tell us what to expect and answer key questions about how people are coping.
17 min
Sports Wagering in California Is No Sure Bet
Michael Cabanatuan talks about the slow road to sports betting in California. A third of states now allow it, but not the Golden State, where it will take cooperation between gambling interests, as well as consent from state lawmakers and the voters.
12 min
Tony Bravo: The View From the Audience
The San Francisco Chronicle arts writer joins Audrey Cooper in a chat about his new column exploring the Bay Area’s vibrant scene, what he learned from drag shows and how to be a supporter of the arts.
16 min
Old Quakes, New Quakes
Northern California residents marking the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake were shaken anew this week by a couple of big jolts. Reporter Peter Fimrite joins Demian Bulwa to talk quake science, why we can't predict the Big One, and ShakeAlert, the new earthquake early-warning system.
14 min
Life on the Warriors Beat
Connor Letourneau joins Audrey Cooper to talk about what it’s like to cover the Golden State Warriors. They discuss what Steph Curry’s really like, how things will be different for the team at the Chase Center, and the “Connor Letourneau Curse.”
21 min