In its annual list of 10 newspapers that "do it right," E&P has singled out the San Francisco Bay Guardian as "the archetype of the politically involved, locally focused alternative newspaper that's an alert and occasionally rabid watchdog." Editor/publisher Bruce Brugmann tells E&P that he worries that he and his wife and Bay Guardian co-founder Jean Dibble "are almost anachronisms" in today's media environment, with their brand of crusading alt-journalism. "Every good newspaper man ought to be controversial," Brugmann says.
Writing for the defendant newspaper and its parent company, Village Voice Media, Will Harper reports that the Weekly said it sold ads below cost for "pro-competitive" reasons like generating new sales and "increas(ing) the customer base in a severely depressed market." VVM's motion, which was filed last week in response to the Bay Guardian's Oct. 2004 lawsuit, also asserted that the newspaper chain never engaged in a conspiracy to put its Bay Area competitor out of business. And in a unique counter-argument, the Weekly claimed that by filing suit, the Bay Guardian is trying to force it to reduce editorial expenses in order to adhere to a business model that relies heavily on freelancers and unpaid interns, instead of full-time reporters. THE BAY GUARDIAN'S REPORT: Judge advises attorneys to prepare for October trial even as summary-judgment motion is filed.
The Bay Guardian ran an ad for Coors Light earlier this month and faced the wrath of local progressives, who have boycotted the company since 1974 due to its anti-union and anti-gay policies. "I wish they would not carry (the ad)," a representative of a local labor group tells the Bay Area Reporter. "I think they are mistaken to do so." Executive editor Tim Redmond tells the Reporter that the Bay Guardian will run any ad that's "not libelous, obscene, or consumer fraud" -- with the exception of cigarette advertising, which it no longer accepts**. "If every ad met my political correctness test, there would be no ads in the paper and I would be out of a job," Redmond says. **UPDATE: Redmond says the Bay Area Reporter got one detail wrong; the Guardian still takes cigarette ads. And he says we missed his most important quote: "I drink only Bud Light."
In the wake of Village Voice Media's sale of the East Bay Express, the Bay Guardian reports that Jody Colley is leaving to join the newly independent paper as its publisher. Colley previously worked in ad sales at Pitch Weekly when that Kansas City paper was owned by Hal Brody, one of the principal investors in the new Express.
Alcatraz Island tour guide Dan Cooke has been fired by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (GGNPC) in the wake of the alt-weekly's article that quoted him complaining about a sewage spill, the Guardian reports. Cooke has filed an administrative complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Labor against the GGNPC and the National Park Service, claiming he should be protected as a whistleblower. Members of the state assembly are also investigating the firing, according to the Guardian.
The San Francisco alt-weekly joined the ACLU and the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights in filing a Freedom of Information Act request for government records on the arrests of more than 800 illegal immigrants in Northern California, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The groups are trying to corroborate "abusive practices reported extensively in the press" including illegal searches and abusive treatment, according to an ACLU press release. "If the federal government is going to spend taxpayers' dollars on a very questionable enforcement action, the public has the right to know the details of how it was implemented," says Bay Guardian Editor Tim Redmond.
The parent company of SF Weekly and East Bay Express hired local litigation specialists Kerr & Wagstaffe to replace Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffein in the predatory-pricing lawsuit brought against those two papers by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Kerr & Wagstaffe is the third firm involved in the defense of the lawsuit, set to go to trial in mid-July, reports Legal Pad, a blog focusing on California law.
After taking a pounding for a good week from the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the mainstream-media syndication service finally admitted yesterday that its earlier story, about a judge's ruling on the SFBG-Media Alliance motion seeking access to documents in the Hearst-MediaNews antitrust suit, left out some important details. "The story should have noted that Denver-based MediaNews Group Inc. and The Hearst Corp ... had earlier voluntarily released some records that had been filed under seal," AP now says. Most importantly, SFBG, AP, and Bay Area papers owned by Hearst and MediaNews report that those records, and other documents unsealed by the judge in response to SFBG's motion, demonstrate the two companies have had a cozy relationship for decades, even before they consummated the complex deal that led to the antitrust suit.
So claims H. Brown, announcing his 6th Annual Bulldog Awards on the Web site of the Fog City Journal, which calls itself "an online news organization" focusing on Bay Area news. "More balding hippies carry (the Bay Guardian's) Election Day crib sheet into polls than any other rag," explains Brown, who gives his own publication the nod at number two. Brown also says SF Weekly columnist Matt Smith is the city's third-best political writer, even though he's "lost a step" and "(s)eems nuts at times." Smith is brilliant, says Brown: "He can see yesterday, today and tomorrow as one multi-valved heart fed by money, greed and bigotry."