Award-winning veteran investigative reporter Ed Connolly has taken over as editor of New Times, the paper announced Monday. Former editor Ryan Miller will remain at the paper as executive editor and will also assume responsibility for the production of New Times' sister paper, the Santa Maria Sun, for which he is also executive editor. Connolly first found his way to New Times after applying for a proofreader opening -- then he wandered into the wrong interview, one for an opening at the Sun. Miller said it quickly became clear Connolly's skills made him a good fit for New Times. "Ed sort of fell into our laps here at New Times," Miller says in a statement. "He was too good of an asset to pass up."
Kinsee Morlan "lays her head down in one country, earns her bread and reputation in another, and co-runs an arts collective somewhere in between," SignOnSanDiego.com, an online project of the San Diego Union-Tribune, writes. Morlan has lived in Tijuana for close to two years while working at CityBeat. She says while working at the local NBC affiliate to supplement her CityBeat income, she was asked to do a story on a waterskiing squirrel, and realized she had to figure out a way to "not have a horrible part-time job and just work at CityBeat." Moving to Tijuana, which has much lower rents than San Diego, was her answer, and she's been there ever since.
"There's more to the Bay Guardian-VVM fight than ill will and purple prose," writes Boston Phoenix media reporter Adam Reilly. "The two sides have predictably divergent takes on the merits of the outcome. But they agree that its legal ramifications go far beyond the Bay Area and the alt-weekly universe." Guardian publisher and editor Bruce Brugmann tells the Phoenix that the suit sets an example for small businesses everywhere. "Everyone can use our suit as a model and template for any big chain that's coming in and trying to predatory-price them," he says. But SF Weekly attorney Jim Wagstaffe thinks that if the judge grants the Guardian's request for an injunction for the Weekly to stop all below-cost sales as the case winds its way through the courts, "the result here could dramatically harm consumers. If every one of [a publication's] ad sales is scrutinized to make sure it's not, quote-unquote, too low, then what'll happen is, publications will raise their prices to avoid getting sued." The Guardian notes that interest will accrue on the judgment at a rate of 10 percent a year. "That means the Weekly and VVM will be paying $4,000 a day in interest for as long as they seek to dispute and appeal the jury decision," the Guardian reports.
A rash of free newspaper heists is "making unlikely allies of Bay Area alternative publishers, whose intense competition over the years has seemed as much personal as a matter of business," Editor & Publisher reports. East Bay Express publisher Hal Brody has organized a group of free-paper publishers that is taking the thieves on with a two-front strategy: finding an aggressive DA who recognizes the real value of a free-circulation newspaper, and going after the recyclers who look the other way, according to E&P. Brody says he wasn't aware how bad the problem was until he and others bought the Express from Village Voice Media last year. "In one heavily trafficked area, where we lay out literally thousands of papers at dawn, we'd get calls from readers at noon that there were all gone," he says.
A number of stories and blog posts have come out since a jury ruled in favor of the Bay Guardian in its predatory pricing suit against SF Weekly and Village Voice Media yesterday. Here are some:
- The Associated Press via the San Jose Mercury News: "SF Weekly Ordered to Pay Rival $15M for Predatory Pricing Ads"
- East Bay Express: "Guardian Wins $15 Million, Express Not Affected"
- Editor & Publisher: "Bay Guardian Awarded $15.6 Million In Lawsuit"
- The Georgia Straight: "SF Guardian Wins 'David and Goliath' Suit Over Village Voice Media's SF Weekly"
- San Francisco Chronicle: "Bay Guardian Wins Suit with SF Weekly"
- SF Weekly: "Ka-Ching!"
- SF Weekly: "Who You Callin' Guilty?"
The jurors handed down their decision in the Guardian's predatory pricing suit against SF Weekly and Village Voice Media today, awarding the Guardian more than $6.39 million in damages. Under California law, part of that verdict is subject to treble damages, bringing the total award to $15.6 million. The Weekly has indicated that it will appeal the decision. Read VVM's statement on the verdict here. The Guardian has a story on the verdict here.
The jury began deliberations on Friday and will resume this morning. Both the SF Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian need nine of the 12 jurors to take their side in order to win the case. "Much like two candidates in the final days before an election, attacks from both sides are getting increasingly personal as a verdict nears," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The daily says the trial has brought to light financial data that call into question whether the city can support two alt-weeklies at "a time when newspapers are consolidating to stay alive." Local blogger Randy Shaw agrees. "Maybe the San Francisco market can't support two alternative weeklies," he says. "It's likely, after the outcome of this court case, there might only be one left standing." For the most recent coverage, check out the trial blogs from the Guardian and the Weekly.
The last three witnesses took the stand yesterday in the Guardian's predatory pricing trial against SF Weekly and Village Voice Media. Guardian publisher and editor Bruce Brugmann and associate publisher Jean Dibble were brought back to the stand, this time by the Weekly's attorneys; they were followed by Bay Area publisher Bill Johnson, whose papers include AAN members the Palo Alto Weekly and Pacific Sun. The trial takes a day off today, and closing arguments begin Thursday morning. For more details, read the latest from the Weekly and the Bay Guardian.
The predatory pricing trial is winding down and it is now expected that the case will go to the jury either Tuesday or Wednesday (the trial takes a day off today). On Friday, the SF Weekly's expert CPA, Everett P. Harry, continued his testimony and Jeff Mars, Village Voice Media's vice president for financial operations, also took the stand. The Guardian says the Weekly's witnesses "make the Guardian's case," while the Weekly says the Guardian's lawyers were focusing on "imaginary evidence." Meanwhile, Editor & Publisher columnist Mark Fitzgerald checks in on the trial, and on the daily blog dispatches from each side, and finds that "the Guardian and SF Weekly are covering the trial with reports that are gleefully unconcerned about appearing objective, and recall the great newspaper feuds of yesteryear."