The Guardian is dead, long live the Guardian

Pub date June 27, 2013

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.