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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

San Francisco Bay Guardian Holds Rally to Protest Paper's Closure

Posted By on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 2:59 PM

click to enlarge RACHEL SWAN
  • Rachel Swan
San Francisco's first Guardian-less Wednesday brought a lot of long faces to the corner of Powell and Market streets, where a small army of former editors, writers, politicos, and sympathizers gathered to eulogize the progressive alt weekly.

"Twenty years ago, the Guardian taught me San Francisco," San Francisco Bicycle Coalition director Leah Shahum told the crowd. "Every Wednesday I ran to that box."

She went on to extol the paper for changing the city's conversation on bikes, at a time when other media outlets were pitting "angry cyclists against drivers who are just put upon." She praised the paper's unwavering political stances, its clear-cut endorsements, and the arts and culture coverage that made it a monarch of the alternative media world.

At that time, the Guardian weighed in at a hefty 140 pages, with a masthead listing hundreds of names. By the time it closed, the paper had been reduced to a seven-person editorial staff, and an average issue ran less than 50 pages.
Sadly, that's the reality for many media outlets, Pacific Media Workers Guild Executive Officer Carl T. Hall warned the assembled crowd. "Even those new websites are having trouble," Hall despaired, as onlookers shook their heads.

Gone are the days when page views weren't considered a form of journalistic currency, and San Francisco's various press corps had enough reporters to leave no stone unturned at City Hall. But the Guardian isn't dead yet.

While rumors about a future acquisition may be premature, the Guardian currently has an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for a final commemorative issue, and to enhance the paper's archives, which are owned by San Francisco Media Company (also the proprietor of SF Weekly and San Francisco Examiner). 

"We're not focused on purchasing the Guardian right now," former editor Steven T. Jones explains. But, he added, the staff will stand ready to help anyone who has designs on the foundering paper.

Right now, he's just hoping for a proper goodbye. 

Save the Bay Guardian from #givingtuesday on Indiegogo on Vimeo.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.


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