Editor of East Bay Express Departs

[UPDATED BELOW] In a press release, the East Bay Express announced the departure of Stephen Buel, who has been its chief editor since March 2002 and a minority owner since 2007.

Managing editor Kathleen Richards (formerly Wentz) and staff writer Robert Gammon will take over as co-editors.

Here’s the full release:

The East Bay Express announced today the appointment of Robert Gammon and Kathleen Richards as co-editors of the newspaper. Gammon, a long-time investigative reporter for the Express, will handle the news operations of the paper, and Richards, formerly the Express’ managing editor, will oversee arts, culture, food, and music.

“Kathleen and Bob are going to make a terrific team,” said Jay Youngdahl, president of the Express. “Bob is a tenacious, hard-news journalist, and Kathleen has her finger on the pulse of the East Bay’s vibrant arts scene. Together, we’re determined to make the Express the best alternative newsweekly in the nation for our size — and have a great time doing it.”

Gammon has been a journalist for fifteen years, and has been with the Express since 2004. He’s won numerous awards over the years for investigative reporting, including the Society of Professional Journalists award, Northern California, and the Casey Medal for in-depth journalism. Before joining the Express, Gammon was the investigative reporter of the Oakland Tribune.

Gammon has specialized in government watchdog reporting, exposing political corruption and incompetence. Last month, his work was widely acknowledged in helping to shape the outcome of the Oakland mayor’s race.

“I’m proud to become co-editor of the Express,” Gammon said. “I grew up reading the paper, and I think Kathleen and I will make a great team. She’s a great journalist, and we have a first-rate staff. I want to thank Jay for giving me this opportunity. We have some big shoes to fill, but we’re going to kick some butt, and have a lot of fun.”

Richards has been the managing editor of the Express since 2007. Her 2009 investigative stories on Yelp’s questionable business practices won several awards, made national headlines, and resulted in the company changing its policies.

Richards started her career at the Express as an intern, and has also been the paper’s clubs editor and a staff writer. Her work has also appeared in AsianWeek, Pacific News Service, Contra Costa Times, SF Weekly, and AlterNet. She began her career in music journalism, and founded and edited a local music magazine called Bay Area Buzz. She’s a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and was born and raised in Berkeley.

“I’m excited and honored to be taking on the role of co-editor of the Express with Bob,” Richards said. “We’re both dedicated to the company and to putting out the best editorial product we can. We’ve got a great team and I’m looking forward to meeting our challenge, head-on.”

Gammon and Richards will be taking over the position held by longtime Express editor Stephen Buel, who is moving on after nearly a decade with the paper. “I want to thank Steve for his tremendous dedication to the Express over the years,” Youngdahl said. “He’s an excellent journalist, and I want to wish him luck on his future endeavors.”

Jay Youngdahl
East Bay Express
(510) 879-3756

Updated 8:13 pm EST: SF Weekly‘s Joe Eskenazi has more details about Buel’s departure. Buel says that he was fired by the paper while majority owner Youngdahl maintains that both parties made a “somewhat mutual” decision to part ways:

“One of my business partners and I had a series of disagreements and he owns more of the paper than I. So he thought it was best we part ways,” said Buel of East Bay Express majority owner and president Jay Youngdahl. “This has been building for quite some time. But it came to a head a couple of weeks ago at which time I took some vacation. I was formally dismissed yesterday.”

Buel will retain his 13 percent stake in the Oakland, Calif.-based publication.

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