Guardian on the move: Into the mall, under new management

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The Guardian now occupies a former SFSU extension classroom in Westfield Mall.
Steven T. Jones

There were a couple of big changes for the Bay Guardian this week. We and our sister newspapers within San Francisco Media Company — San Francisco Examiner and SF Weekly — moved into the Westfield Mall. Yes, the mall, but in the fifth floor business offices formerly occupied by the San Francisco State University School of Business extension program.

The company, owned by Black Press in Canada and Oahu Publications in Hawaii, also named Glenn Zuehls as the new publisher and Cliff Chandler (who worked for the Examiner for years) as the senior vice president of advertising. Zuehls, who comes from Oahu Publications, replaces Todd Vogt as the head of SFMC. Zuehls and Chandler told the staff of all three papers that their primary goal is to grow the company’s revenues, a point that Black Press CEO Rick O'Connor also echoed during the annoucement this morning: "It's all about revenues."

Oahu Publications President and Publisher Dennis Francis will also serve as president of SFMC, which now has the same owners as the Black Press and Oahu Publications after Vogt's ownership interest was bought out by his partners in May. The combined company owns newspapers throughout Canada and Hawaii, as well as around the continental US, including Seattle Weekly and the Akron Beacon Journal. 

Editorially, the Bay Guardian remains an independent publication under the leadership of Publisher Marke Bieschke and Editor-in-Chief Steven T. Jones, yours truly.  

 

 

Comments

Whatever, dude. You still only preach to your choir and it gets smaller each day.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 9:50 am

Hey Probal, how's it hanging? Having a hundred accounts on sfgate getting too boring for you?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 11:18 am
Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 10:08 am

I'm happy that those running this business want to increase revenues, but like most newspapers, there's a wall of separation between advertising and editorial. My motivations and the decisions that I make as editor have nothing to do with revenues. My job is to speak honestly to our readers and to write in their interests, independent of our business interests, except in that I help bring eyeballs to the ads. We're fighting for the soul of San Francisco, and while we need resources to do it, that's someone else's job. In the newsroom, we strive for credibility with readers and speaking with a true voice about the many challenges facing this city.   

Posted by steven on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 10:36 am

Oh please....we know that the new guy is watching but claiming that you "strive for credibility with readers and speaking with a true voice about the many challenges facing this city" is hilarious.

In reality you try to grab (and expand) facts from one side of the story to take shots at a small number of targets: Ed Lee, Ron Conway, tech firms, cops that ticket bicyclists.

True voice? I'm sure that it sounds that way to you. To the readers it is anything but.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 11:20 am

to see the profits of your parent group to be taxed at a very high rate, to reflect your underlying belief that profits belong to the entire community and not only to those who have the privilege of having excess capital to risk?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 11:21 am

Sure, we've long made the case that corporate tax rates are too low and there are too many loopholes, particularly when you look at how corporate profits are way up in recent decades while workers' wages have been stagnant. Throughout my 24-year newspaper career, I've always spoken the truth as I see it, even when it's upset advertisers, investors, or my company's owners. Y'all should try it sometime, it's liberating and something this fearful country needs more of. The day that I need to moderate what I write to appease those on the business side of the newspaper is the day that I move on to another job. Believe it.

Posted by Steven T. on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 1:40 pm

their desire for more profits, but you also insist that they be allowed to keep far less of those profits?

Which might sound a lot like you in fact want them to have less profits.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 1:50 pm

I wholeheartedly support the company's desire for more revenues, partly because it will hopefully give me more newsgathering resources, not simply so the company will have more profits. You trolls and your gotcha games are hilarious, but there's nothing inconsistent between the company pursuing a stronger revenue stream -- which I think we need -- and the progressive view that corporations should pay their fair share of taxes. I want the Guardian to grow, which is exactly what San Francisco needs to counteract the self-serving spin we hear from the Mayor's Office, many media outlets, and our most regular and hateful trolls.

Posted by Steven T. on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 3:48 pm

want your owners to have greater profits and to have smaller profits?

Got it.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 3:59 pm

Steven, I believe you are a misguided narcissist. I admire your willingness to stick your head out for it though. Best of Luck.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 3:40 pm
Posted by GuestD on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 10:11 am

Damm I hope that this Zuehls guy is willing to put up with Steven's nonsense.

I can't wait to read about Airbnb's taxes for the 1,367th time.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 10:41 am
:-)

From its own building on sunny Potrero Hill to a room above the mall's food courts. At least Steven and the crew have a good view of Bloomingdales shoppers and when their cash reserves run low they can always cruise the food court for free samples.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 11:15 am

Why, the "Westfield San Francisco Centre" is a virtual festival of high-end chain stores!

I'm sure the SFBG will moderate its hatred of chain stores, once staff has had the opportunity to pick up some trendy items at Abercrombie & Fitch or Aeropostale!

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 2:29 pm

"The combined company owns newspapers throughout Canada and Hawaii, as well as around the continental US, including Seattle Weekly and the Akron Beacon Journal." Hard to denounce big corporations when you ARE a big corporation!

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 2:31 pm

his situation. But to fully understand his dilemma, we should surely take into account one simple factor. What other job could Steven possibly do?

Tim could quit SFBG and start his own non-profit blog because he owns a million dollar home in 94110 and his wife is a lawyer,

But Steven is a renter with no means. So he has to suck the teat of those he hates while rationalizing it to the rest of us. We should forgive.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 2:49 pm

Mid-market high-rise big-corporate gentrifiers.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 7:44 pm

SFSU-CSU must be cutting back their expenditures since the big land-grab prior, or maybe they are trying to save up for their next expansionism project which is why they gave up the leases downtown.

They have to fund the repairs on UPS, and Stonestown Apartments, in addition to the new creative arts center, and recreation center they are building post the library project.

gotta save that cash.....

Posted by Guest on Jul. 01, 2014 @ 9:23 pm

The SFBG banished to a mall, fenced in by the retail outlets it abhors. Once Steven is finished with his one-man protest of Jamba Juice I'll buy him a mango smoothie, because as he said above, increasing revenues is an admirable goal for a capitalist enterprise.

Posted by Chromefields on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 6:36 am

Karma points to the first SFBG reader who buys Steven a gift certificate to the Hugo Boss store!

At last, SFBG staff can explore the wonderful world of high-end chain retail!

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 6:54 am

SFBG staff will glide across that monument to unfettered capitalism with nary a moment of self-doubt.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 9:00 am

Let's see: our revenues, web users, and page count are up; we've added tons more great advertisers and a bunch of new staff; signed a long lease on nice new offices, and still retain complete editorial control to hold big businesses accountable and support local arts and small businesses -- which continues to garner us national attention and awards. It looks like your constant trolling is definitely working. Keep it up!

We'll take low-fat, please. Because of our great FIGURES.

Posted by marke on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 10:33 am

corporation and can piggy-back on their vast resources.

Oh, and you do not have "complete editorial control" because you have never said a bad word about your corporate owners even while criticizing any and every other corporation. You are scared shitless to call them out.

You've had several hours to come up with a rationalization for your sell-out. Is that really the best you can do?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 11:01 am
Nah

It's all due to our great pageviews, thanks to our favorite trolls. I'll be crying inside we get that new website in a couple months and have to kick y'all off :/

Posted by marke on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 11:27 am

And trolls don't click on no stinking ads.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 12:20 pm

Who knows, libertarians know no bounds when it comes to serving the market as dutiful and loyal consumers.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 04, 2014 @ 10:36 am

SFBG gets zero revenue unless you click on an ad. I never click on ads, here or anywhere.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 04, 2014 @ 10:52 am

stop people posting here!

Well, maybe, but only by stopping EVERYONE posting here.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 04, 2014 @ 10:54 am

Congratulations, Marke B, you've earned an extra shot of wheatgrass and I'm happy to do my bit. Being part of a successful, profitable organization always makes me feel good too.

There better be some colored people of color among your new hires or I'll put you on a glitter time out that will have your jazz hands withering from disuse.

See you at Chipotle!

Posted by Chromefields on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 11:25 am

IOW, just like WalMart, another great corporate success story.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 12:21 pm

Why do you post so many unmitigated lies?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 03, 2014 @ 9:57 pm

defend his indefensible comments?

Marke deserves his brown-nose categorization more than ever now. Make that a double wheatgrass shot.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 12:22 pm

Three comments aren't enough for you? I made my points and I really have better things to do than keep taking troll bait, particularly of the vacuous "neener-neener" variety. 

Posted by steven on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 12:52 pm

Or are you claiming to know which "Guest" is which?

By syntactic style, perhaps? Divine intuition?

I'd have more respect for you if you were simply honest and said that it is entirely inappropriate for SFBG to be located there but you suck it up because you need this job.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

I've said before that I'm not thrilled about being in the mall, but we were forced to move by tech companies driving up rents in our last building. It's also no secret that we Guardianistas loved our independence and would have preferred to remain that way. But as long as our new owners enable us to continue being an important progressive voice in a city that needs it more than ever, then we'll gladly endure any of the less-than-ideal baggage that comes with that. Even after my mentor Tim Redmond got forced out, he expressed appreciation to San Francisco Media Company for keeping the Guardian alive, and I feel the same way. This city needs more media, not less, and I think all three papers under the SFMC banner are doing some of the best work in the city these days.  

Posted by steven on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

shrine to free-market capitalism, and surrounded by the very symbols and trappings of rampant consumer, corporate and capitalist excess that you rant and rail against.

Could your readers not be excused for struggling with how you reconcile that on a day-to-day basis?

Why instead not take a risk and strike out just like B3 did all those years ago, and forge your own destiny rather than make this foul-tasting compromise with those whom you claim to disdain and yet suck at the teat of?

You have struck a Faustian bargain over the decaying bodies of those who struggled to fight for social and economic justice and against oppression.

Can you really sleep at night?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 2:06 pm

"'I've said before that I'm not thrilled about being in the mall, but we were forced to move by tech companies driving up rents in our last building."

Evil tech companies are forcing SFBG staff to eat lunch in the food court!

Seen the sale at J. Crew? It's wonderful!

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 2:11 pm
Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 2:39 pm

champagne socialists. Just because I hate the rich doesn't mean that I have to eat like I'm poor.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 3:19 pm

It's so awesome, yet so creepy.

Do you guys realize how totally NASDAQ Press Release you sound? "We've been bought out again and are downsizing again and merging with for a few other downsized companies into cubicles and we could not feel more excited about these opportunities!"

Just four years ago your paper was double the size, you owned your own building, you had an owner who actually lived here, you had *real* autonomy. And now you have Marke's sad ass trying to brag about page view count being up? Good lord, at least teach him how online revenue works before you bring him in to defend Steven's tragic life.

I'll leave it with this: 10 years ago would a guy Scott Weiner be running a virtually uncontested campaign for reelection in D5? Tell me, please, have you gained or lost in this time?

Posted by Scram on Jul. 02, 2014 @ 9:46 pm

I know you're anxious to condemn us, Scram, but your claims just aren't true. Our revenues and page counts have been declining for more than 10 years -- like most newspapers around the country in this digital age -- but both have begun to turn around in the last year. And as an editor here for the last 12 years, I can tell you that I have as much editorial autonomy today as I ever have. It's also pretty silly for you to blame the sorry state of modern electoral politics on the Bay Guardian. 

Posted by steven on Jul. 03, 2014 @ 2:38 pm

The booming local economy is bailing you out.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 03, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

Oh no, lol.

In regards to your paper "turning around" in the last year, do you think that *might* be because you are in the epicenter of the largest tech boom in history? (Yes, even larger than the first dot.com). This city has record employment, record jobs, record real estate prices, record median income. In fact, your very own site has banner ads for rentals at NEMA, "with 1 BDs starting at just under $3000/month"! Given your external circumstances, I'm hardly impressed that the last year has shown you've slowed down the bleeding. Jesus, man... And really, you can say what you want, but your action show that you're being downsized and merged after being bought out for the second time in... two years?

And for this gem, "pretty silly for you to blame the sorry state of modern electoral politics on the Bay Guardian". OMFG my irony-meter just violently exploded... You did not. I just... I can't. So after years and years of your douchey editorials where you insinuate that thanks to the Guardian's in-depth reporting a political tide is turning you're now going to claim the complete opposite. You now have no real sway in the local political scene, and it's silly to assume you ever would? Oh no, dude... See, you *tried* really hard to carry political weight, but you suck so bad at it we've only seen the opposite agenda unfold. You are the self-proclaimed mouthpiece of progressive SF, and now that progressive SF is dying you're going to pretend you never wore that tag?

Oh, bulllllllllllsssshhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiittttttttttttt. LOL.

Funny, you've been an editor for 12 years. Your time as editor at the Guardian coincides almost exactly with SF's shift towards the center. Good work.

Posted by Scram on Jul. 03, 2014 @ 5:16 pm

Maybe San Luis Obispo will take him back...

Posted by Guest on Jul. 03, 2014 @ 5:35 pm

Don't forget - the influx of rich techies with minimal social skills is also doubtless fueling the enormous number of "gentleman's club" ads on the SFBG webpage.

Win, win!

Posted by Guest on Jul. 04, 2014 @ 7:31 am

Add to that the fact that I'm yet to see an advertisement on this page that didn't come from those selfish, socially numb invaders who ride the Google bus.

Just run your cursor over any ad to see what I mean.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 04, 2014 @ 8:15 am
Posted by Guest III on Jul. 04, 2014 @ 10:00 am

is still a Lucretia. If what Marke wrote about the new website causing the eviction of the most avid readers and commenter(s) of The Guardian is true, I guess Lucretia can continue his/her pathological fixation on The Guardian at the SF Gate comments under the name MissionRosalind.

Posted by Guest III on Jul. 04, 2014 @ 10:06 am

If even Lilli is allowed to troll here, then everyone is

Posted by Guest on Jul. 04, 2014 @ 10:12 am

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