From the Archives: Breaking News

Breaking news was Duffy Jennings’ bread and butter as a Chronicle reporter in the turbulent 1970s, when the Bay Area exploded with one major story after another. His assignments included political assassinations, serial murders, major fires, gangland crime, labor union strife, city government news and more. Duffy’s front page coverage included the 1978 city hall killings, the shocking trial of Dan White, the Zebra murders, the Patty Hearst kidnap, taunting letters from the Zodiac killer, and life as an embedded reporter with fire fighters and homicide detectives.

Riding with Engine Co. 21

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Duffy Riding with Engine Co. 21
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Full page Ad for Duffy’s Firehouse Series One day in late May 1972, one of my early mentors, Chronicle editor Steve Gavin, came into the city room raving about a new book by New York...

City Hall Assassinations

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Duffy Jennings City Hall
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Monday, Nov. 27, 1978. 10:35 a.m. I'm sitting at my desk in the city room on the third floor of The Chronicle at Fifth and Mission streets, reading the newspaper and waiting for a story...

Dan White Trial

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Entering the Courtroom
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Me entering the courtroom One March morning in 1979 city editor Dave Perlman called me up to his desk. “Bill (German, the managing editor) and I want you to cover the Dan White trial,” he...

Dan White Cover

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Dan White cover
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Chronicle Covers: The Dan White verdict and the fury that followed By Tim O’Rourke San Francisco Chronicle May 22, 2016  San Francisco Chronicle Front Page: May 22, 1979 It was one of the most heinous crimes in San Francisco...

40 Years of Zodiac

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From the Paramount and Warner Bros. feature film “Zodiac”—San Francisco Chronicle reporter Duffy Jennings (right), as played by Adam Goldberg, with SFPD Homicide Inspector Dave Toschi, as played by Mark Ruffalo. As long as he...

Zodiac vs. the City Desk

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Zodiac killer
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When David Fincher’s film, “Zodiac,” based on the book by former Chronicle editorial cartoonist Robert Graysmith, opened in February 2007, the newspaper asked me to write about the mood inside the Chronicle during the...