San Francisco Bay Guardian executive editor Tim Redmond reports that Josh Fromson "provided almost nothing" in his turn as a witness yesterday in the Bay Guardian-SF Weekly predatory-pricing lawsuit. Redmond suggests that Fromson feigned ignorance in response to questions posed by the Bay Guardian's attorney during a hearing designed to help the paper collect on its judgment against SF Weekly and its parent company, Village Voice Media. Earlier this year, a San Francisco Superior Court jury ruled in favor of the Bay Guardian, and the judge in the case set damages at $15.9 million. VVM announced last month that it plans to appeal the ruling.

Continue ReadingSF Weekly Publisher a Reticent Witness in Antitrust Case

A little before noon yesterday, a 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit Southern California, with an epicenter 29 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, according to the US Geological Survey. The quake, which was the largest in SoCal in more than a decade but apparently caused no major damage, was felt in AAN-member offices from San Diego to Santa Barbara, judging by a quick perusal of blogs. "[It] felt like I was standing on a rocking waterbed for at least 12 seconds. The building swayed back and forth. A large corkboard fell off my office wall," the OC Weekly's R. Scott Moxley reports. "An energy drink can stupidly placed (by me) on top of a file cabinet flew three feet in the air. The staff quickly evacuated the building and found phone lines dead." Up in Culver City at LA Weekly's offices, Mark Mauer notes: "The new LA Weekly building shakes like a leaf (at least around my desk) every time a car enters or leaves our garage, so it took a few extra seconds to figure out this was an actual earthquake and not just an SUV trying to find a parking space." The Santa Barbara Independent's Matt Kettman reports feeling a "long, rolling sensation," while San Diego CityBeat's Kinsee Morgan wins the award for brevity, simply noting the quake was the "biggest one I've felt yet."

Continue ReadingEarthquake Hits Southern California, Alt-Weekly Offices Feel It

As he's been doing for, "like, 15 years," the Simpsons creator and cartoonist behind the "Life in Hell" comic criticized the Reader while in San Diego for Comic-Con. The strip, which runs in LA Weekly and other alts, "used to be in the San Diego Reader, but they don't like portrayals of gay couples in their publication, like with the characters Akbar and Jeff," Groening said, according to Variety. "So now every year I come to Comic-Con and denounce the San Diego Reader." Groening was also asked if he had any plans to turn the strip into an animated series. He said it was possible but explained, "There is a satisfaction in working in a collaborative process in animation," but "there's another kind of creative fulfillment of doing something completely by yourself."

Continue ReadingAt Comic-Con, Matt Groening Rips San Diego Reader

In a move that was widely expected, SF Weekly and Village Voice Media have announced they will appeal San Francisco Superior Court Judge Marla Miller's ruling in favor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian in the predatory-pricing case. Miller rejected arguments last week to overturn or modify the jury's March verdict. Calling the suit "economic terrorism," VVM CEO Jim Larkin claims "mom-and-pop advertisers in San Francisco will suffer from [Judge Miller's] handiwork, as will any aggressive new business in the city that attempts to challenge a larger, established competitor."

Continue ReadingSF Weekly Will Appeal Ruling in Bay Guardian Case

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