By Tim Redmond
JANUARY 14 — The longtime editor of SF Weekly was just fired in a move that suggests the Canadian owners want more of an entertainment focus at the city’s last alternative paper.
I am awaiting a statement from management at the SF Media Co, which owns both the Examiner and the Weekly and is owned by Black Press.
But there’s lots floating around in this small media world; you can’t make a move at a newspaper in SF without word getting out. And what I’m hearing is that Brandon Reynolds didn’t get along with management (neither did I way back when, though different management) – and that the people who run the two papers see the Examiner as more of the news outlet and want the Weekly to be more focused on arts and entertainment.
Weekly newspapers have always done both news and arts, and typically done both well. But news was always a critical element – and for all the times I’ve blasted the Weekly and its politics, the paper spent money on journalists and on investigative reporting.
Reynolds and I were never close. For a while we worked in the same office, but he took a Village Voice Media approach to the news, which was often cynical about the left, and I was (and am) a proud progressive.
I never met him for lunch or drinks, never saw him outside the occasional pass in the hallway. I don’t even have his phone number. But he had a reputation as a skilled editor, and you could see that in the clean copy the paper produced, and he cared about news.
If the Weekly moves more in the A&E direction, it will be one less news voice in the city at a time when there are so few paid reporters covering local issues.
And it’s interesting that the SF Media Co. is moving this way. First the company shut down the Bay Guardian, which was the leading progressive news outlet in the city for 47 years. Now they’re apparently shifting the focus of the Weekly.
Nobody from SF Media Co responded to my voice mail and email tonight.