‘Strong Local Voice and Brand Identity’ Are Key to Alt-Weeklies’ Future

Commenting on the ongoing battle between San Francisco Bay Guardian and SF Weekly, Jonathan Weber of The Bay Citizen writes that alt-weeklies with a strong local focus will be better positioned to maintain reader loyalty:

In the Internet era, there are plenty of options for those attracted to an alternative sensibility. But even if the Salons of the world capture some of that audience, there’s still a place for the distinctively local approach — and chains, by their nature, find that harder to cultivate.

The SF Weekly is in many ways a richer, more contemporary paper than the Bay Guardian. But its most recent issue, as an example, features a cover story — about the persecution of border migrants — that’s part of a chainwide project and doesn’t have much to do with San Francisco.

In addition to citing a local editorial focus, Weber also suggests that staging live events (such as ‘Best of’ concerts and parties) can help publications create stronger bonds with their communities.

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