Updated: 5 PM
According to at least one SF Weekly staffer, the San Francisco Weekly will experience multiple layoffs as a result of the publication’s sale to the San Francisco Newspaper Company.
A source close to the deal contacted The Appeal this morning, telling us that the sale of the Weekly to the San Francisco Newspaper Company, a consortium including “Co-Owner, President & Publisher, The San Francisco Examiner & The Bay Guardian” Todd Vogt and the CEO of Canadian newspaper company Black Press, would be announced this morning.
Mike Aldax, the Examiner’s crime reporter later confirmed the sale via tweet, saying “It’s true, folks.”
— Mike Aldax (@SFExMikeAldax) January 9, 2013
San Francisco Weekly was owned by Voice Media Group, which was known as Village Voice Media until a September, 2012 reorganization.
According to a Voice Media Group press release sent late this morning “The deal, effective immediately, means that The San Francisco Newspaper Company (“SFNP”) will assume operations for the paper beginning today.”
According to the release, financial details of the deal will not be disclosed.
According to the Seattle Times, another Voice Media Group publication, the Seattle Weekly, was also sold to Sound Publishing, in a deal announced today.
The announcement of the Weekly sale was long in the making — Vogt told the Appeal on December 20 that he expected to be making that announcement that day.
At the time, Vogt told the Appeal, “The new acquisition will be highly complimentary to The Examiner and the Guardian.”
“[The acquisition] will give us, by far, the greatest readership, reach and audience in the Bay Area, effectively covering every demographic in every corner of The City.”
The sale means that Vogt’s company will own three of the four major English-language print newspapers in San Francisco. Far from upsetting former media consolidation opponent Clint Reilly, he instead praised the (then rumored) sale, telling The Appeal that “We ought to be giving Todd awards for public service because he’s helping keep the dialectic alive in San Francisco.”
Reilly’s one-time opponent, now executive chair of the board of the Center for Investigative Reporting Phil Bronstein also shook off concerns of a monopoly, saying “The Guardian was failing, and probably the Weekly was failing. Separately all three would fail, if together they don’t fail have you gained anything or lost anything?”
According to sources, a mandatory staff meeting was called at the SF Weekly offices at nine this morning. After the staff meeting, SF Weekly music editor Ian Port tweeted that layoffs were soon to come.
There will be layoffs here at SFW, in every department, we were told. We’ll be interviewing w/ new bosses to see who stays.
— Ian S. Port (@iPORT) January 9, 2013
According to a staff report in the Ex, they will “continue operating the venerable alternative newsweekly as a standalone publication with separate editorial content from the both the Examiner and the Guardian.”
The Weekly “will eventually move from its current location near Pier 33 into the home of its new parent company, at 225 Bush St. The paper will be printed at the Examiner’s Bayview printing facility,” the Ex reports.
In a post this afternoon on SF Weekly’s “Exhibitionist” blog, Weekly staffer Erin Sherbert writes “As of midnight Wednesday, SF Weekly staff was no longer employed by Voice Media Group.”
Tim Redmond, editor and publisher of the Guardian, said in a blog post this afternoon that “there are no plans to merge the two weeklies or consolidate them or combine the editorial staffs. We will continue to do our best to be the progressive voice of San Francisco; the Weekly, I assume, will continue to do its own different thing.”
An email to Vogt for additional details on the acquisition has not been returned at publication time.
There’s another all-hands meeting at the shared offices of the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Examiner this afternoon.
Max A. Cherney contributed significantly to this report