Employees of San Francisco Print Media Company, the parent company of the Examiner, SF Weekly
, and San Francisco Bay Guardian
were this morning informed that the latter paper will be shuttered after 48 years.
The paper was founded by husband and wife Jean Dibble and Bruce Brugmann — whose visage, urging locals to "Read my paper, dammit" — grew ubiquitous over the years. Its founding mission was to "print the news and raise hell," and, as an independent paper, it ostensibly did just that for 46 years. In 2012 Brugmann and Dibble sold the Guardian
to the San Francisco Media Company, which subsequently acquired the Weekly
last year. After decades of lawsuits and acrimony, the dueling San Francisco weeklies were situated next door to one another, within the same office suite.
That situation changed today, however.
"Unfortunately, the economic reality is such that the Bay Guardian
is not a viable business and has not been for many years," wrote SFMC publisher Glenn Zuehls in the interoffice communique "When SFMC took over the publication, the company believed the publication’s finances could rise out of the red and benefit from joining forces with the Examiner
and the Weekly
. We have tried hard to make that happen over the past few years. ... Since then, I have come to realize that this isn’t possible and that the obstacles for a profitable Bay Guardian
are too great to overcome. The amount of money that the Bay Guardian
loses each week is causing damage to the heart of the company and cannot justify its continued publication. The success of this company, providing the highest quality journalism for our readers along with superior results for our advertisers, is my sole priority."
Zuehls characterized the decision as the most difficult of his career.
editor Steven T. Jones describes himself and the staff as "in shock. We're still trying to stay cool. We're still trying to absorb this."
The paper's curtailment is effective immediately. The edition hitting the streets tomorrow figures to be its last.
"We are in discussions of the possibility of buying the paper," Jones says. "We'll turn to our community and try to see if this is possible."
Zuehls tells SF Weekly
that a sale is
possible: "Anybody can come and ask." Exactly what one obtains in buying the Guardian
is a matter to still be negotiated.
"I hope the passion of the Guardian
lives on. Everyone in San Francisco can learn from that passion," Zuehls continues. But "it has lost revenue since day one and the trend is losing more."