San Francisco Bay Guardian

By Fitzgerald, Mark | Editor & Publisher, July 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

San Francisco Bay Guardian


Fitzgerald, Mark, Editor & Publisher


When Bruce B. Brugmann and his wife Jean Dibble arrived in San Francisco a year ahead of 1967's Summer of Love and the heyday of underground New Left papers, their mission was to launch an alternative newspaper that would challenge and compete with the city dailies -- or, as Brugmann still calls them, the "monopoly combine."

Brugmann brags that the San Francisco Bay Guardian was the first-ever true alternative west of the Mississippi, maybe even the Hudson. And he frets -- again, with some justification -- that the Guardian is among the last crusading "progressive" alt-papers left standing in a glut of demographically targeted marketing vehicles. "Jean and I are almost anachronisms," he says.

Love him or hate him, and plenty of San Franciscans line up on either side, Editor/Publisher Brugmann has taken the Guardian from the prototype to the archetype of the politically involved, locally focused alternative newspaper that's an alert and occasionally rabid watchdog.

Back in 1966, the "monopoly combine" in the Guardian's line of fire was the joint operating agreement between the San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle. The Guardian's antitrust lawsuit eventually failed in court, but a lump-sum settlement financed the paper's move from fortnightly to weekly publication.

Fast forward 40 years, and the Guardian was back in court last winter demanding, with partial success, that a judge order MediaNews Corp. …

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