Ben Bradford



I cover breaking business news as well as big public works projects and the government-funded stuff that we all use (like roads and water pipes) as our infrastructure reporter — although I try not to use that word on air.

What was your first job?

I spent one summer in high school sorting a warehouse full of shoes — digging through boxes, finding pairs that matched and tying their laces together — for the San Francisco Opera's costume shop. I thought I would never see the sun again.

What do you think is the hardest part of your job that no one knows?

You have less than three hours to find and interview multiple sources on a topic you know nothing about. You finally get one of them on the phone. Uh-oh, it’s a cellphone, and the quality is not great. You ask if they have a landline. They do! You ask if they also have an iPhone. They do! You ask if they can talk to you on the landline and simultaneously record themselves on the iPhone using a specific app and then send you the audio from the app. You talk them through, step by step, how to do this, depending on their level of technological sophistication. They generously oblige, but you worry they secretly think you are crazy. You do this with nearly every person you speak with remotely for a story.

Fill in the blank: Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you ______.

Opportunities that increase the possibility of happiness.

What’s the favorite item in your workspace and why?

I don't usually go in for motivational aphorisms, but I have John Barlow's 25 principles of adult behavior pinned to my cubicle wall, and I really like them! One of my favorites is "tolerate ambiguity," which I think is just key for reporting (and life). Next up: "Laugh at yourself frequently."


Latest Stories (135)

Will rent control help alleviate a housing crisis?

Sep 12, 2019
California lawmakers on Wednesday passed the statewide rent control measure.
A sign advertising apartments for rent is displayed in front of an apartment complex in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Some contractors worry California’s AB 5 will limit their flexibility

Sep 11, 2019
Advocates say it will provide vital benefits to misclassified workers. But drivers, nail technicians and other gig workers don't want to endanger their ability to set their own hours.
Under the new California bill, nail salons would have to classify their technicians as employees. Above, a nail salon in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It’s taking less time to get a mortgage

Aug 29, 2019
The average closing time has fallen by almost half in the past two years, according to one survey.
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Democratic candidates told: Get the donations if you want to debate

Aug 29, 2019
Usually donations are supposed to fund the campaign, but in this case it was the opposite.
The last debates featured 20 candidates over two nights.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Equal Pay Day for black women marks a persistent wage gap

Aug 23, 2019
For Latina women, the gap is even wider—it won’t be equal pay day until around Thanksgiving.
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

Condo loan qualifications loosened as FHA eases crisis-era restrictions

Aug 22, 2019
The Federal Housing Administration restricted those loans during the 2008 financial crisis.
A "For Sale" sign in the front yard of a D.C. home.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Wall Street awaits Fed Chair Powell’s Friday speech for signs of further rate cuts

Aug 22, 2019
The Fed’s annual Economic Policy Symposium is like the Academy Awards for a certain type of economist.
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30:   Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell pauses during a news conference after a Federal Open Market Committee meeting January 30, 2019 in Washington, DC. The Fed has decided to leave interest rates unchanged. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Can consumer spending “save” the economy?

Aug 20, 2019
In which we discuss 17-year-old washing machines.
Shoppers carry bags on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
David Goldman/Getty Images

Trump administration proposes new housing discrimination standard

Aug 19, 2019
The proposed rule would require plaintiffs to show that a policy is not only discriminatory but also arbitrary.
A house for sale in San Rafael, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Oil prices aren’t reacting drastically to supply and demand changes

Aug 9, 2019
Amid Middle East tensions and the U.S.-China trade war, the price of oil is not wildly different from 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Oil wells at sunset in Moorpark, California as seen in 2009.
David McNew/Getty Images