October 22, 2014
SF Guardian staffers rally to buy newspaper, “raise hell”
by Kirsten Reach
After forty-eight years, the San Francisco Guardian announced it would be shutting down last Tuesday, but would still be open if anyone felt like making an offer. This week, the staff is trying to buy the paper themselves.
The local, free, left-leaning paper is becoming a rare species, even in major cities like San Francisco. So what’s the price of a local paper like this one?
“The last we heard was ‘more than 32 dollars,'” former publisher Marke Bieschke told Erin Sherbert at SF Weekly. “We wish SF Media Co. had come to us about wanting to offload the Guardian before shutting it down so abruptly and completely; we’re confident we could have come to some agreement.”
There’s a rally today at noon, pitched as “the first Wednesday without the SF Guardian,” to raise funds for the paper. Copies of the election issue will be distributed at the rally (the free paper is going for $29.99 on eBay).
Jean Dribble and Bruce Brugmann, a husband and wife team, founded the company in 1966. The mission, with a commendable zeal for profanity, was to “Print the news and raise hell,” and the local slogan was, “Read my paper, dammit.”
“Because of their willingness to advocate most strongly for their causes, at their apex they were probably the most influential newspaper in San Francisco,” political consultant Eric Jaye told SF Gate.
But the political climate in San Francisco has changed since ’66, and Dribble and Brugmann eventually sold the paper to the San Francisco Media Co. (This company also owns the Examiner and SF Weekly.) This would be the second sale of the company since 2012.
Kirsten Reach was an editor at Melville House.