The Guardian is dead, long live the Guardian

We want to take this opportunity to start a conversation with our readers in the hopes that our next steps can be constructive and deliberate

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EDITORIAL First of all, we at the Bay Guardian want to thank our community for its support since the abrupt departure of our beloved leader, longtime Guardian Editor Tim Redmond, on June 13. It was a shock to us and the larger community, and the outpouring of concern and support is a testament to the important role the Redmond and the Guardian have played in San Francisco.

We've all been wondering where we go from here, vacillating between emotional extremes. So we want to take this opportunity to start a conversation with our readers in the hopes that our next steps can be constructive and deliberate, hopefully leading to a renewal of an important media institution that has sadly been in a period of decline for far too long. Moments of crisis can also be important opportunities, and it is our intention for that to be the case here.

It is ironic that the seeds of Redmond's departure were sown on June 12, just as he was leaving to moderate an inspiring community forum on Plan Bay Area and the future of San Francisco, which he organized. Owner Todd Vogt and newly named Guardian Publisher Stephen Buel were there as well, and they share the view of longtime Guardian staffers that the energy in that room represented an important moment of potential progressive resurgence that shows the Guardian is more vital and relevant than ever.

Yet Vogt and Buel also believe that the Guardian isn't resonating with either our readers or advertisers like we should, and those of us who remain want to achieve that resonance once again. We believe in the mission of the Guardian, to raise hell and be forum for progressive change in San Francisco, and we want to reinvigorate that mission with the new generation of Guardianistas who now find ourselves at the helm of this venerable old publication.

So we want to hear from you, our readers and advertisers, about what you want from the Guardian. We want you to help us formulate the plan for achieving greater journalistic relevance and economic sustainability. This is the transition point where the Guardian charts its future or fades into the past.

We have enormous respect for the people who made the Guardian what it is, particularly Redmond, Bruce Brugmann, and Jean Dibble — and we appreciate our new owners' efforts to keep the Guardian going. But we're also ready to help formulate a new progressive vision for the Bay Area and to find new ways of speaking to residents who may not have been engaged with the Guardian or the movements that it has chronicled and advocated, without neglecting those who have stuck with us over the years.

In the coming weeks, we plan to announce another community forum focused on the future of journalism and the progressive movement in San Francisco, and to provide other avenues for you to get involved and shape the new Guardian. Come offer constructive advice — or tell us whatever you're feeling now, whatever ideas you have: we want to hear them.

Let's make a plan and have you hold us to it, and in turn, we ask for your support. The Guardian is dead, long live the Guardian.

Comments

We'll, this post has been up for 24 hours....and I'm the first to leave a note

this in itself, speaks volumes about your readership...hello, can anybody hear me?

hello,

Posted by Guest -bdk on Jun. 28, 2013 @ 10:38 am

It says it is an editorial but, when I click on the Editorial pop-down menu, I don't see it. In fact, I only saw it because of your response to it.

One thing. If a piece is an Editorial, it is still presumably written by someone, so could that someone not append their name to it?

Personally, I'd like to see more articles making a serious attempt to give both sides of a story, and leaving the reader to make up his or her own mind. Rather than shoving down our throats what we are supposed to think and conclude, as both Tim and Steven are wont to do.

I suspect that such additional objectivity and balance will bring in readers who currently discount the SFBG as a "left wing rag", and thereby allow SFBG to project more influence, as well as the extra eyeballs boosting ad revenues.

I'd also like to see more Bay Area coverage. SFBG often reads as a SF-only paper, and even comes across rather elitist about that at times. But the "B" in SFBG stands for Bay, and there are 4 million people who live in the eight neighboring counties who currently have little reason to look at the paper.

Posted by anon on Jun. 28, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

Could you stop patting yourselves on the back about how fabulous you are (were)? I don't give a damn about your personnel turnover and battles with Todd Vogt.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 29, 2013 @ 8:49 am

The Bayview paper is monthly, and on-line. If the Guardian went monthly it could go more in-depth on what it covers, or....do 12 monthly issues, each focusing on ONE ISSUE in extreme depth. Nobody else does that, as far as I know. You would stand out from the crowd.

Posted by GuestThornton on Jul. 02, 2013 @ 11:19 am

That's not a bad idea, thanks for the suggestion.

Posted by steven on Jul. 02, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

Hire an army of journalists + staff and give San Francisco (and the Bay Area) the coverage that it deserves and needs (if only, right?). Actually, consider making an outreach effort to journalistic organizations (cironline.org), graduate programs and relevant organizations in the region. I'm sure there were a lot of bridges burned in the past, and now is a good time to show potential contributors that the SFBG is trustworthy and has standards. Good luck, I always hoped that the SFBG would pull itself together - but I never thought it would take complete destruction to give it the chance.

Posted by phil on Jul. 03, 2013 @ 7:18 am

The transparency that SFBG editors and writers have shown since Tim Redmond's resignation is commendable.

Steve et al were forthright in their disclosure of questions and grievances about the Guardian in where its future direction should be.

I hope you will keep this 'sunshine' policy in place. I think you will attract more readers to both your printed and online publications if you extend the dialogue beyond progressive echo-chamber editorializing. Tim would write a column, a diatribe really, and never engage in discussion of any kind with readers.

In short, I hope you will continue branching out and engage with liberals instead of focusing on the (dwindling) progressive core in the Bay Area.

Posted by Guest lecturer on Jul. 03, 2013 @ 8:03 am

Thank you for asking for input as to what direction the Guardian should take. One thing the Guardian should keep is its journalistic integrity by including substantial articles like the recent write-up on Plan Bay Area. While I oppose the plan for different reasons than presented in the article, I thought it was well-researched, thorough, and a good piece of real journalism. The Chronicle and Examiner would have never included such an extensive write-up on the subject--and they're not very good papers.

One improvement the Guardian could make is to temper its constant support for big government in the lives of San Franciscans. Big government isn't the cure-all for all problems, and in fact the unholy alliance between big government and big business is a major reason prices and taxes are so high in this city. The regulations and laws are overwhelming here, and it's a wonder that any business opens up shop here. I'd like to see more investigative work done regarding what goes on in City Hall behind the closed doors. There's plenty of hanky panky going on and much wasting of tax dollars. Less bureaucrats in City Hall would be beneficial to the average citizen, and lower taxes and fees would make this city more affordable.

Posted by Guest Aubrey Freedman on Jul. 15, 2013 @ 1:34 am

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