The two papers were in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday to argue the Weekly's motion for a new trial and its request that the judge overturn a jury verdict in the predatory-pricing suit. Judge Marla Miller has until July 18 to rule on the motions; if she rules against the Weekly, it will take the case to the California Court of Appeals. In dueling blog posts, the Weekly lays out the four chief arguments put forth by its lawyers and pokes a little fun at the Guardian's lawyers, while the Guardian details the Weekly's "at times highly technical" arguments, which "hinged on the finer points of the definitions of words."

Continue ReadingSF Weekly and Bay Guardian Argue Weekly’s Motion for New Trial

Peter Serafin spoke before the Hawaii County Planning Committee on Tuesday regarding the details of the Journal's recent closing. He said that a major source of financial difficulty for the Journal was that it had to be printed in Honolulu at the Star-Bulletin press, not on the island of Hawaii. "Stephens Media owns the only two Web presses on this island," Serafin testified. The Journal approached Stephens about getting the paper printed there, but their response was, "We'll only print the Journal if you sell us a controlling interest," he said. Serafin also said the paper was hurt by Stephens' launch of "Big Island Weekly, a copycat paper specifically created to drive the Journal out of business." He said that the Weekly sold ad space below cost in an effort to kill the Journal, and compared the situation in Hawaii to the one in San Francisco, where a jury ruled in favor of the Bay Guardian in its predatory-pricing suit against SF Weekly.

Continue ReadingFormer Hawaii Island Journal Editor Testifies About Paper’s Closing

The San Francisco Bay Guardian executive editor offers his take on the deal announced last week that will merge the Cleveland Free Times and Cleveland Scene under new owners Times Shamrock. He wonders why "VVM couldn't create a monopoly, [but] another newspaper outfit apparently can." He's referring to when the Justice Department nixed a similar 2002 deal between New Times and Village Voice Media (then two separate companies) that shuttered the Free Times. Justice forced the sale of Free Times to a group of investors, and the paper reopened in May 2003. "I'll leave it to you to speculate on why we couldn't do this deal, but Times Shamrock could," VVM executive editor Andy Van De Voorde says. Redmond says the Justice Department has yet to respond to his request for comment.

Continue ReadingTim Redmond: Cleveland Merger Marks a ‘Curious New Chapter’

The motions, which were filed earlier this week, ask Superior Court Judge Marla J. Miller to order a new trial if she won't reverse the verdict in the predatory-pricing case, the Weekly reports. The thrust of the Weekly's motion: That the Guardian didn't offer "any actual evidence of an illegal below-cost pricing conspiracy," that the verdict "violates the Weekly's First Amendment and due process rights," and lastly that "the trial was riddled with legal error that unfairly shifted the burden of proof onto the defense." If the judge denies the new motions, the Weekly says it and Village Voice Media intend "to take the case to the California Court of Appeals, which in turn would trigger a process expected to take up to eighteen months."

Continue ReadingSF Weekly Asks Judge to Overturn Verdict in Bay Guardian Case

Weekly attorney Rod Kerr last week argued for a stay of the predatory-pricing trial's $15.6 million judgment until 10 days after Judge Marla Miller rules on post-trial motions, which could have delayed the enforcement until July 28, the Guardian reports. Kerr said that the current economic turmoil combined with the company's belief that the judgment amount would be substantially lowered during post-trial rulings made it hard for Village Voice Media to secure a bond for the full amount. The judge granted a stay, but only until June 18. She also said she'd allow "the defendants to return to court to ask for more time if they can provide evidence showing how it will result in a bond being issued," according to the Guardian. When reached by AAN News, a representative from VVM said the company had no comment on last week's development. Both sides will appear in court July 8 for post-trial motions, including one by VVM to throw out the verdict and order a new trial.

Continue ReadingSF Weekly Asks for Stay of Judgment in Bay Guardian Case

In the 31st annual awards competition, sponsored by the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club, the Palo Alto Weekly, SF Weekly, and San Francisco Bay Guardian all took home awards in the Newspapers: Non-Dailies division. Palo Alto Weekly -- and its online home, -- won a total of nine awards, including first-place finishes in Analysis, Entertainment Review, and Page Design. The paper also finished in a second-place tie with SF Weekly for General Excellence. Speaking of the Weekly, it took home a total of four awards, including firsts in Sports Story and Technology Story, where it shared first place with the Bay Guardian. The Guardian also took home four awards total, with that shared first in Technology Story, plus firsts in Columns-News/Political and News Story.

Continue ReadingThree AAN Papers Honored in Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards

AB 1778, sponsored by Assemblymember Fiona Ma, passed the California Assembly by a vote of 45-24 on May 22 and is now headed to the State Senate, the Berkeley Daily Planet reports. The law would require recycling companies to identify those who bring recyclables and newspapers worth $50 or more to sell. "This should give us the ability to cut off the [poachers'] money supply," East Bay Express publisher Hal Brody says, since a full pick-up load of newsprint usually fetches $80 to $100. The Express, along with the San Francisco Bay Guardian and other Bay Area publications, has been pushing for more action on newspaper theft in the wake of a rash of heists.

Continue ReadingCalifornia Legislation Targets Free Newspaper Thieves

As expected, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Marla Miller on Monday raised the amount the Weekly must pay in damages to the San Francisco Bay Guardian, from $6.3 million to $15.9 million. Miller also issued a 10-year injunction, barring the Weekly from selling display ads below cost, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. In the lawsuit, the Guardian accused the Weekly and its parent company Village Voice Media of selling ads below cost with the intent of harming the Guardian. A jury ruled in favor of the Guardian in March. SF Weekly still plans to appeal. Read more on the latest ruling from the Weekly and the Guardian.

Continue ReadingJudge Raises Damages and Issues Injunction Against SF Weekly

The New York Times this weekend explored the movement of "mad pride," which entails people publicly speaking frankly about their experiences with mental illness. The Times noted that Philadelphia Weekly senior contributing editor Liz Spikol, who chronicles her struggles with bipolar disorder for the paper in her column and on her blog, is a leading and prominent voice in this area. Spikol says she's "so excited" to be in the article -- and so is her mom. "Imagine my mom seeing the link on Mother's Day, and keep in mind, we are a Jewish family," she writes. "We ran to WaWa to get a copy of the paper because, for some reason, I wouldn't believe it was 'real' until I saw the print edition." The Times also traces the origins of the prominent online forum and support network The Icarus Project to the alt-weekly world -- it began six years ago when "one of its founders ... wrote about his bipolar disorder in the San Francisco Bay Guardian."

Continue ReadingAlt-Weekly Scribe’s Work on Mental Illness is Part of Growing Trend

Judge Marla Miller of San Francisco Superior Court said Friday she's inclined to boost a jury's damages award against the Weekly from $6.3 million to $15.6 million, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Miller, in what she described as a tentative decision, said she would triple the portion of the damages that equals one year of losses, bringing the total to $15.6 million. She also said she'll likely issue an injunction barring the Weekly from continuing to sell ads below cost. She is expected to make a final ruling this week. The Weekly says it will appeal. Read more from the Bay Guardian and the Weekly.

Continue ReadingJudge Says She’ll Raise Damages Award in SF Weekly/Bay Guardian Case