SF Weekly publisher Josh Fromson took the stand on Friday and remained there until Tuesday (there was a day off on Monday for President's Day), and Bay Guardian expert witness Clifford Kupperberg also appeared before the court Tuesday. For more details, check out the reports from the Weekly, which says Kupperberg talked about "imaginary profits and damages," and the Guardian, which says Fromson "dodge[d] the facts."

Continue ReadingTwo More Witnesses Testify in Bay Guardian/VVM Trial

Harvard Univ. economics professor Dr. Joseph Kalt and newspaper analyst John Morton testified on Village Voice Media's behalf on Thursday. Former SF Weekly publisher Troy Larkin also took the stand. SF Weekly reports on the testimony of Kalt, Morton and Larkin, while SFBG sticks with Kalt and Morton for now. The trial resumes today with the cross-examination of Larkin.

Continue ReadingSF Weekly Expert Witnesses Testify in Bay Guardian/VVM Trial

The predatory pricing trial resumed yesterday after taking Tuesday off. Village Voice Media chief financial officer Keating finished his testimony, and three more witnesses were called: Jennifer Vernon from Live Nation (formerly Clear Channel Concerts); James Higginbotham of International Demographics, the company that runs Media Audit; and the SF Weekly's expert witness, economics professor Joseph P. Kalt. For more details, check out reports from the Guardian and the Weekly.

Continue ReadingWitnesses Continue Testimony in Bay Guardian/VVM Trial

Village Voice Media chief financial officer Jed Brunst and former SF Weekly publisher Chris Keating took the stand yesterday in the predatory-pricing trial. In its wrap-up, the SF Weekly focuses on the part of Brunst's testimony that offered "evidence that Weekly rates have been going up over time," not down. The Bay Guardian, on the other hand, focuses on the "huge amounts of cash" the Weekly and the East Bay Express had lost under New Times/VVM control. The trial takes a day off today for Lincoln's Birthday, and will resume on Wednesday.

Continue ReadingTestimony Continues in Bay Guardian/VVM Trial

On Friday, Village Voice Media executive editor Michael Lacey testified in the predatory pricing trial. The Guardian says Lacey "had some trouble answering some key questions" about SF Weekly's ad sales and a 1995 meeting where he met the Weekly staff shortly after purchasing the paper. The Weekly says Lacey's testimony illustrated that his and Bruce Brugmann's "editorial philosophies were worlds apart," and notes that Lacey's testimony showed he is not involved in the business side of VVM's affairs. This is key because of comments he made about being "the only game in town," which the Guardian is using as evidence he wanted to drive them out of business. Patricia Calhoun, editor of Denver's Westword, which New Times bought in 1983, also testified on Friday, and according to the Weekly, she "got on and off the stand in only about twenty minutes, a timely performance that drew appreciative nods from jurors." The trial resumes today.

Continue ReadingVVM Witnesses Begin Taking the Stand in Bay Guardian Suit

With the testimony of San Francisco Bay Guardian editor and publisher Bruce Brugmann concluded, drama in the courtroom subsided on Wednesday as Guardian attorneys read depositions from VVM chief financial officer Jed Brunst and former SF Weekly publisher Chris Keating. The SF Weekly's dispatch is here, and the Bay Guardian's take is here.

Continue ReadingA Relatively Quiet Day at the SFBG-VVM Trial

Although their dispatches read as if they're reporting from two different trials, both SF Weekly and the Bay Guardian agree that the temperature in the courtroom rose on Tuesday when the Bay Guardian's editor and publisher, Bruce Brugmann, took the stand. According to VVM's Andy Van De Voorde, Brugmann "exploded on the stand ... pounding his hand on the witness box, raising his voice, and growing red-faced." But Bay Guardian executive editor Tim Redmond says his boss "stood up remarkably well under a cross-examination" and "generally made the SF Weekly's lawyer look silly." The Bay Guardian filed a more extensive report on the trial here, while SF Weekly posted dispatches following the action on Friday and Monday.

Continue ReadingFireworks in SFBG-VVM Trial as Brugmann Testifies

Former Guardian ad director Jody Colley continued her testimony in that paper's predatory pricing trial against SF Weekly and Village Voice Media yesterday, as did Jennifer Lopez, a former ad sales rep of both papers. Colley's testimony centered on just how many accounts the Guardian may have lost due to alleged ad-price undercutting by the Weekly, and also on the challenges she faces in trying to increase the "unacceptably low prices" that she inherited from Village Voice Media when she took over as publisher of the East Bay Express, which was sold by VVM to by a group of investors in May 2007 and is also named in the suit. The trial resumes this morning.

Continue ReadingTestimony Continues in Bay Guardian/VVM Trial

Executive editor Tim Redmond and former ad director Jody Colley were called as witnesses yesterday in the predatory pricing trial against the Weekly and Village Voice Media. Redmond's testimony centered on local ownership and the crucial matter of editorial spending. The Guardian is arguing that the Weekly was trying to put them out of business because it refused to cut editorial spending while it lost money overall. On the other hand, the Weekly reports that Redmond said he has had to struggle with laying off writers and editors over the past few years. "If [ad] revenue goes down, I have to cut costs. The Weekly editors don't have to meet that kind of budget; they can just get more money from headquarters," Redmond writes on the Guardian's blog. Colley, who is now the publisher of the East Bay Express, testified mostly about the Weekly's dealings with concert promoter Billy Graham Presents, which the Guardian claims is an example of illegal below-cost pricing. Her testimony will continue when the trial resumes this morning.

Continue ReadingTwo More Guardian Witnesses Take the Stand in Trial Against SF Weekly