Guardian-in-Exile Publishes Commemorative Edition

The San Francisco Bay Guardian will come back to life on Thursday, Jan. 22, with the release of the Guardian-in-Exile Project’s commemorative final print edition, celebrating the defunct newspaper’s 48-year history of “printing the news and raising hell” and discussing what happened and what’s next.

The 24-page issue was produced by former Guardian staff and funded by the Guardian’s readers and community, which reacted strongly to the Oct. 14 decision by San Francisco Media Co. to shut down this venerable progressive institution. Now, the Guardian’s journalists will have the final word, not the corporation that took over the locally owned paper in 2012.

The Guardian-in-Exile Project is being fiscally sponsored by the nonprofit San Francisco Public Press, which will distribute the commemorative issue as an insert to its Winter 2015 edition, available Jan. 22 at bookstores and other outlets around the city (see here for locations).

The Guardianistas will also distribute several thousand more copies directly to project supporters and at renegade newspaper drops around the city. Follow additional leads to find the paper at the Guardian-in-Exile’s Facebook and Twitter pages. With a beautiful design by award-winning Art Director Brooke Ginnard, this is sure to be a collector’s item, as well as an important part of San Francisco history.

An electronic edition of the Guardian Commemorative Edition will be available for download in PDF form from online distribution service GumRoad starting Tuesday, Jan. 20. Readers can pay what they wish to download the issue, and will also have the option to download an extended edition with 20+ more pages of Guardian memories, and choose to receive a Guardian-in-Exile T-shirt as well.

In addition to paying for this final issue, the successful Save the Bay Guardian fundraising campaign on and ongoing donations are helping to preserve and enhance public access to the Guardian’s archives, a rich store of institutional memory on the the Bay Area, progressive politics, and important arts and cultural trends. We continue to negotiate in good faith with San Francisco Media Co. about access to 48 years of paper archives, and digital archives dating from 1982. We hope to find a permanent home for paper archives that is accessible to the public, and to publish our digital archives online and allow readers to browse decades of essential San Francisco history.

The Guardian-in-Exile Project is being led by Marke Bieschke and Steven T. Jones, the two top editors at the Guardian when it was shuttered. “The sudden shutdown of the Guardian shocked us and our community, but we knew right away that it wasn’t over yet,” Jones said. “Immediately, we went to work securing our archives, looking for ways to continue the Guardian, and producing a final issue. We wanted to report on the circumstances of our demise, bring some perspective to the important role the Guardian has played, lay out possibilities to revive the Guardian, and say goodbye to our readers, at least for now.”

In the issue, Jones and News Editor Rebecca Bowe write articles examining SFMC and the other players in town who might have played roles in the death of the Guardian, also looking at the history and future of the Guardian and progressive journalism. Guardian founders Bruce Brugmann and Jean Dibble and its longtime Executive Editor Tim Redmond write touching tributes to the Guardian, its unique mission, and its community. Writer Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez reports on a tough year for the left in San Francisco while journalist Chris Cook outlines next steps for the progressive movement.

Bieschke wraps up his popular Super Ego nightlife column, part of the issue’s extensive arts and cultural coverage by longtime arts editor Cheryl Eddy, music writers Emily Savage and Emma Silvers, dance critic Rita Felciano, culture writer Broke-Ass Stuart, food writer Marcia Gagliardi, film reviewer Dennis Harvey, theater critic Robert Avila, and sex columnist Krissy Eliot. Psychic Dream columnist Jessica Landyadoo wraps it all up with her astrology predictions for a bountiful 2015.

“So much talent has flowed through the Guardian over the last five decades, and we were down to a really great core crew of writers and editors by the end,” Jones said. “We’re happy to have the opportunity to showcase their amazing work one more time. Will it be the last time? You’ll have to wait until Jan. 22 to find out — we may still have some more news to print and hell to raise.”