Ownership in Guardian's parent company may shift

Todd Vogt may give up his ownership interest in San Francisco Print Media Co. by the end of the month.
Mike Koozmin/SF Print Media Co.

Greetings, Guardianistas. Almost a year ago, when we went through a management struggle here the newspaper, I promised to let readers know if we encountered any threats to our editorial independence from our San Francisco Print Media Co. owners.

Frankly, we haven’t. We’re still calling events as we see them, bringing you the best emerging artists, and making endorsements from the same independently progressive perspective that we’ve been operating from since we were founded in 1966.

Principal owner Todd Vogt has kept his word and let us handle editorial content while he helps improve our revenues and grow the paper. Both have been on the upswing in recent months, and we’re grateful for his role in keeping the Guardian alive and thriving.

But as our colleagues down the hall reported last night, Vogt may be on his way out. This week, he informed the staff of the three San Francisco Print Media newspapers -- the Bay Guardian, San Francisco Examiner, and SF Weekly -- that he will be parting ways with his partners at Black Press Ltd., which also owns Oahu Press, Inc., by the end of the month.

Vogt has been talking to potential investment partners around San Francisco about exercising his option to take full ownership control of San Francisco Print Media Co. in the next couple weeks, but he said that he considers it unlikely given the high cost of buying out his partners.

Representatives from Black Press and Oahu Press were in the office yesterday and they told us they will be conducting a search for a new president of the company over the next few months, and they don’t expect to make any major changes in the operations of the Guardian or the other two papers before then.

Don Kendall with Black Press, who will be assessing the operations of all three papers during the search for a new president, called the papers “editorially solid.” A long-planned move by the three papers into new office space -- into the top floor of the Westfield Mall, in a former SFSU Downtown Campus space -- will also proceed as scheduled next month.

Spirits here at the Guardian are strong, we appreciate the role that Vogt has played in helping the Guardian mount a comeback after some tough financial times, and we’re hopeful that the new ownership team will appreciate the Guardian’s history and role it plays in the city -- and that it will see us through our 50th anniversary and beyond.

And most of all, we appreciate the support of our readers and community, without whom we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. So thanks, and keep reading.  


P.S. We’ll be continuing the soft-launch of our new radio show, Alternative Ink, this Sunday from 6-8pm on bff.fm. The Guardian alternates Sundays with the SF Weekly, with both papers featuring music and talk. This week, we’ll have some great audio clips for the week's news events, music from local bands, and we might even get into the topic of this post and let some secrets slip, so don’t miss it.   


Stay strong, SFBG. When others have dithered, you have come through.

Posted by SF'er on May. 07, 2014 @ 12:21 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2014 @ 3:20 pm

I don't really understand what's going on here. If Vogt has done a good job why is he being forced out, with the unlikely option of gathering a new group of investors?

Posted by Barry Eisenberg on May. 07, 2014 @ 7:03 pm

has little correlation to staying power or success. In fact, I daresay it has an inverse correlation.

Posted by Greg on May. 07, 2014 @ 7:17 pm

So say losers

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2014 @ 7:31 pm

He thinks that Hispanic families don;t read the Guardian.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2014 @ 8:53 pm

Yawn. News only for 43 people.

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2014 @ 9:56 pm

Same events covered either way, and that way there would be more balance in the articles?

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2014 @ 10:18 pm

or actual articles, the Guardian has agitprop.

The Guardian would have never done that thing on MUNI buying shoddy busses. They will do an expose on a politicians that doesn't vote the party line and then try and kick that politician off the island.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2014 @ 7:23 am

There is no comparison. The SF Weekly frequently has articles that are informative and leave it up to the reader to draw their own conclusion. Usually they are well written and fun.

Meanwhile the SFBG rarely (never?) has an article that doesn't try to hit you over the head in the first paragraph to make sure that you know how awful the bad guys are. It gets tiresome the 3rd time, let alone the 300th..

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2014 @ 7:37 am

Let's clarify something here. Oahu Publications and Black Press are controlled by the same person, David Black. This move simply paves the way for David Black to own more of San Francisco Print Media Co.

I've no idea whether or not this is a good thing in itself. For one thing SFPM and it's portfolio represents the opposite of the usual Black Press business model: to buy multiple community papers that represent different geographical parts of a given metro area, and sell advertising in all of them as a package. Instead SFPM has a portfolio of publications based in the same city, presumably aimed at different demographics but with some clear overlap of readership. Commercially, you have less added value with such a proposition. Something has to give.

I do believe and sincerely hope that this means that we can finally consign the Bay Guardian to the trash heap of history and finally call it what it is: a vicious, racist, classist propaganda organ of old, white, selfish NIMBYs, along with the real estate industry.

For a long time, the Guardian was the glue that held together the alliance of left wing NIMBYs and right-wing landlords together to oppose development of housing in San Francisco. If you want to blame something for why your friends are being evicted, or why inequality has gotten steadily worse, or why communities of color have been forced out of the city, look no further.

Perhaps Black Press could sell the name to the real Guardian Media and they could set up a branch bureau here. Then we'd have a REAL progressive paper in town.

Posted by Able Dart on May. 08, 2014 @ 9:41 am

Michael Ege, you make the SFBG look good in comparison, which is no mean feat.

Posted by marcos on May. 08, 2014 @ 9:53 am

Perfect categoriization of SFBG and it's small band of followers.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2014 @ 10:39 am

Able Dart, the voice of anti-progressivism in the SF blogosphere, decrying the lack of a "real progressive paper" in San Francisco -- that's almost as funny as claiming we're the allies of Realtors and right-wing property owners. Tell the truth, Mike, it's the progressive perspective of the Guardian and our larger community that you really oppose, and you're just hurling whatever epithets you hope will sully us. Nobody's buying it, back the Wall with you. 

Posted by steven on May. 08, 2014 @ 4:59 pm

The corporate sellouts being sold out by the corporation! This is great!

Let's face facts - compare a Weekly with a BG and which one has more articles, more ads and makes money and which one has few articles, one staff writer who is a college boy, fewer ads, and weights like a piece of toilet paper. The answer is the BG.

The Guardian is a debt soaked POS that has an aging readership and an out of touch leadership. Plenty of people have looked at the books and ran away from this Money Pit of a "business".

This delusional piece of corporate propaganda is embarrassing to read, because it's so "we're doing great nothing is wrong don't look at that man behind the curtain" bullshit it is a joke. Then again this is Steve Jones, who can watch a clown like Avalos lose to a clown like Ed Lee, and still say Avalos "won".

Bye Bye BG! When you start some shitty blog that makes no money like your predecessor, name it 48 Bong Hits or something. Maybe you'll get a few pennies from Google Ads.

Posted by Tarquin on May. 09, 2014 @ 10:10 am

Steven was always the token hippie here. When Tim was around, Steven was only trusted to write about pot, Burning Man, bikes and nightlife.

A drowning man out of his depth usually, er, drowns.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2014 @ 10:28 am

I think you overestimate the effect of the political writers on the bottom line. Local advertising is much more important so the food and music sections are what makes a difference.

Having someone like Steven in charge of the political writing obviously doesn't help but I think that you are overstating the resulting damage to the SFBG as a business.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2014 @ 10:44 am

Under Redmond, the SFBG was a mouthpiece for the nonprofits, Hestor, Welch, etc. They've abandoned the SFBG now and are throwing their hints 48hills way. None of their pitches really require output in print since they are not directed towards actual people, the ones like us who cannot be trusted. Rather these are pitches to influence the political class.

The SFBG had a chance to reinvent itself after the departure of the hippies but that did not happen.

Posted by marcos on May. 09, 2014 @ 11:26 am

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.