After nearly 13 years of running the entire show as founder, publisher, and editor of Coast Weekly in California’s Monterey County, Bradley Zeve has put top managers in place on both the business and editorial sides of the paper and named himself executive editor and publisher.
Erik Cushman, Coast’s vice president and director of operations for the past two years, is now publisher. Eric Johnson, an alternative newsweekly veteran, came on as editor in mid-June. The new appointments allow Zeve to concentrate on community relations, oversee grassroots social projects and programs run by the paper (including the Coast Weekly Community Fund and the Monterey Bay Film Festival), and plan for the continued growth of the 42,000-circulation weekly.
“We finally got to a place with the newspaper where I could afford to have two top managers,” Zeve says. “That’s a very exciting opportunity for all of us. Certainly having run the newspaper day-to-day for almost 13 years, it’s a wonderful thing to be able change my job focus a bit.”
“I obviously think it’s because of my good looks and my witty sense of humor,” Cushman jokes about his promotion. “But it probably has something to do with job performance and the way the company is going.
“For me, in terms of actual day-to-day differences in job duties, I had been performing most of these functions,” he says. “I’m certainly very gratified. I really enjoy my work, and it’s nice to see hard work rewarded. We’re doing good.”
Cushman came to Coast Weekly from the Colorado Springs Independent, where he was general manager. Prior to that, he handled business operations for the Missoula Independent, which he founded with Johnson in 1991, when both were students at the University of Montana.
“It’s just a classic story,” recalls Johnson. “When we started the Independent we had one computer, and we didn’t have a phone. We had the phone down the hall at the Earth First! office and built the paper into the biggest weekly in Montana.”
After leaving Missoula, Johnson returned to Santa Cruz, where he had previously lived for 10 years, to become news editor at Metro Santa Cruz. After 8 months, he moved to the larger Metro Silicon Valley, where he was news editor and wrote news features before becoming general manager for Metro Newspapers’ community newspaper division. He moved to the glossy Click magazine in San Jose after three years with Metro Newspapers.
“It’s been two-and-a-half years since I’ve worked at an alternative paper, and for me it feels really good to be doing this again,” says Johnson. “This is a fun place. It’s an interesting time to be at this paper. Everybody here is pretty excited.”
John Ferri is a freelance writer based in Tacoma, Wash.