With $5 million in backing from San Francisco businessman and investor F. Warren Hellman, KQED and the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism will launch a local nonprofit Web-based news service for San Francisco. “The Bay Area has a voracious appetite for news and is one of the most engaged and community-minded regions in the nation,” Hellman said, when announcing the Bay Area News Project yesterday. “We are confident that this is an ideal place to create a new economic model that will sustain original, local quality journalism, and we believe the Bay Area will step up to support these efforts.” Online and mobile platforms will be the primary channels for the service, with public radio and TV distribution via KQED. The New York Times, which recently announced plans to publish a Bay Area edition, may also join the partnership. U.C. Berkeley’s journalism school already publishes “hyper-local” neighborhood news sites. It plans to partner with the university’s schools of business, engineering and information services to support more innovations in news technology. News coverage from yesterday’s announcement is posted here.