Group of Alt-Weekly Vets to Buy East Bay Express

Since 2001, Stephen Buel has edited the East Bay Express.

Now he’s going to be one of its owners.

Village Voice Media, which has owned the Emeryville-based newspaper for six years, announced today that it will sell the Express to a small group of investors headed by Buel, alt-weekly veteran Hal Brody, and longtime Express calendar editor and co-founder Kelly Vance. Brody will take over as publisher of the Express. Buel will stay on as editor.

There will be no job cuts as a result of the sale; all present Express employees are expected to be retained, either by the new ownership group or by Village Voice Media.

“It’s great that Hal and Steve will be taking over the Express,” said VVM chief executive officer Jim Larkin. “They are amazingly talented people who will devote themselves to continuing the paper’s excellence. This was an offer that we simply couldn’t refuse.”

Buel has worked as a Bay Area journalist for much of the past quarter century. He attended UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he recently returned as an instructor, and began his career in the East Bay, where he worked for the former Berkeley Gazette and Albany Times-Journal. He also worked in the South Bay at the alternative newsweekly Metro and the San Jose Mercury News.

The East Bay Express began in 1978 and was purchased by Phoenix-based New Times, Village Voice Media’s predecessor, in 2001. Buel, whose alt-weekly experience began in 1985, when he founded a paper in Little Rock, Ark., that was inspired by the Express, was hired as editor soon after.

Under Buel’s leadership, the Express has flourished. Last year alone, its writers won top prizes from the Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, and the James Beard Foundation.

“Reading the early issues of the Express is what motivated me to do this kind of journalism, and editing the paper is the best job I’ve ever had,” said Buel. “It will be an honor to build upon the legacies left by the founders and Village Voice Media.”

As an independent record label distributor and the owner of a chain of record stores, Brody began The Pitch in Kansas City almost thirty years ago. He served as the publisher of that paper before selling it to New Times in 1999.

“The East Bay is an exciting and vibrant place,” added Brody. “I couldn’t be more excited, and I’m very eager to get to know our many fine partners and advertisers. Joining the weekly rhythm of this next leg of the Express journey is truly an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Vance was one of the paper’s original investors and has acted as film reviewer and calendar editor for many years. He will become the paper’s chief film reviewer.

The group of investors also includes long-time alternative weekly publisher Bradley Zeve, founder and CEO of Monterey County Weekly.

Stephen Buel

Andy Van De Voorde
Executive Associate Editor
Village Voice Media
cell: 303-520-8511

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