Print Media

Alt-Weekly San Francisco Bay Guardian Goes Under

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As a longtime fan of abundant and free alt-weekly newspapers in major urban areas and someone who loves San Francisco like a second home, I'm sad to report the death of one of its alt-weeklies, the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

I was informed about this sad turn via social network feed of my pal and its editor Steven Jones (fellow author of a book about Burning Man; his was called Tribes of Burning Man and covered the years after my book This is Burning Man.)

The Bay Guardian's website is already dark. UPDATE: It seemed to be when I posted this, but now all links go to this announcement of the shutdown.

I eulogized the Los Angeles New Times back in 2002 on the alt-weekly death watch.

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  1. Crap. Now I need to find something else to use to start fires.

  2. Without enough advertisers, the paper couldn’t maintain itself.

    Surely the number of eyeballs wasn’t a problem (wait, was the problem the number of eyeballs?), so I’m wondering why it couldn’t charge what it needed to for ads… Surely the “medicinal” shops, the “massage” parlors, and other vice should have been more than enough to keep a decent paper afloat.

    1. “to keep a decent paper afloat”

      Therein lies the problem.

    2. urely the “medicinal” shops, the “massage” parlors, and other vice should have been more than enough to keep a decent paper afloat.

      Not when they can advertise on the internet for free.

  3. The Providence Phoenix is being shuttered this month. I yanked my dick off in protest and it was a bloody mess.

  4. Was it better than the rags we get up here in Seattle? Because if The Stranger met the same fate my sympathy would lie only with those who would lose their primary source of birdcage liner.

  5. Now that the hookers singles running personal ads looking for a hookup have gone on the internet, Craigslist, and OK Cupid, what purpose do these althweeklies serve? Moreover, without the money from hooker and massage parlor advertising, how do they generate any revenue even if they do serve a purpose?

    1. I think it’s amusing that Craigslist, run by a rather partisan Democrat, has helped destroy a bunch of left-wing newspapers. (Though I no longer see Craig’s pro-Obama columns on SF Gate, so maybe he gave up on Obama.)

      I think this also puts the kibosh of the Guardian’s long-running crusade for “public power” (that SF should take over PG&E).

      1. I am sure the guy who started Craigslist is okay with that since he thinks the government should be subsidizing these sorts of papers for the public good.

  6. No way it could have sucked more than City Pages in the Twin Cities.

  7. loves San Francisco like a second home

    NTTAWTT

  8. Looks like the SF Weekly, now owned by the same company, survives. They never seemed to be leftist ideologues in the same way the Guardian was.

    1. Is it … possible to have an “alt weekly” that isn’t simply leftist ideologues?

      I’m serious – I’ve never seen it happen, but can it?

    2. I wrote a few articles for the SF Weekly about 25 years ago (amazing how time flies.)
      I recall the editors making my pieces more ‘lefty-oriented’ for me, but it wasn’t ridiculous. They did pay pretty well for a rag back then, I think it was five cents per word. The average article got me about $75, the cover story I did netted about $150.

      In those days, you could have a lot of fun in San Francisco for $75. I don’t think so anymore.

  9. Am I a bad person if I read that as the “San Fransciso Gay Guardian”. Twice.

    1. If you look in the page source, they have it programmed to change Bay to Gay every 23 minutes for about 4 seconds. I think they’re trying to screw with our minds.

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