I was stunned to hear the news. Now San Franciscans are stuck with the Weekly, although I can’t fathom what they’ll write about now that they don’t have the Guardian to take the opposite side from.
I’m afraid to say I never really got into their website: I’m not sure why, but I felt like there was some kind of design issue which left me feeling like I had to dig around through a lot of dead ends to find anything I wanted.
This is what is killing the alt weeklies, I think. I want to go there to find out what’s going on in SF and the UI is just such a grotty mess and unfriendly to use. SFweekly & SFBG both. How many f*cking times are you going to show me “Stand-Up Paddleboarding Lessons” on the first page of results!
This paper was so important to me when I first moved to SF, half a life ago. But its place in my info-sphere has definitely diminished, and I finally conceded my hoarded archive of successive Best of the Bay annual issues to the recycling bin, a few years back, albeit under pressure from a much tidier girlfriend…
The editor asserts that it could still be bought and kept alive! Does enough breath remain in the SF left to whip up a collective and buy what remains, or is all the new money in the city tucked into the libertarian digerati’s right-hand pockets?
And how did such a champion of the city’s creative class fail to adapt to digital media effectively enough to survive?
It’s hard to believe there just aren’t enough phone sex lines and medical marijuana dispensaries 'round here to keep the ad quotas filled, if that’s the putative reason for the paper’s shuttering. The SFGate article implies that the SF Media Co decided, simply, swiftly, suddenly, to yank the cord. I have trouble believing that their other holdings, the Examiner and the SFWeekly, are adequately filling their ad spaces either, and in the case of the Examiner, it’s GOT to be far more expensive to crank that toilet paper out however many days a week they do, than to keep the Guardian alive.
I think whatever tenuous grasp I have of the twisted history of SF newspapers has come courtesy of Guardian reporting. Where can the average San Franciscan now expect to find out anything true about what their most powerful and corrupt neighbors are up to?
I assume the Examiner still gets to print legal notices, which are one of the things that can keep small papers in business, and the main purpose of it having a front page and news is so it can keep calling itself a “newspaper” and keep the legal notice business. (Those are the mandatory places for publishing things like “John Doe is doing business as Acme Widget Repairs” and “Not responsible for any debts contracted by my ex-spouse after 10/15/2014” etc.)
Back when I was working in the city, I’d read all of those papers on the train, and generally I thought the Weekly was a bit better about local news coverage, while the Guardian was a lot better at covering local and state politics and ballot issues (whether I agreed with them was a separate question from whether they provided a lot of information and analysis, which they were usually good at even when I thought they were wrong.)
But the Guardian’s been losing money for years, especially since Craigslist took away a lot of their classified ad business, so while their closing is a shock, it’s not exactly a surprise.
If anyone is feeling nostalgic (or just wants to know what the fuss is about), there’s a few years’ worth of the Bay Guardian online at http://issuu.com/sf.guardian
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