The Chronicle has begun covering the Bay Guardian’s predatory pricing lawsuit against the SF Weekly — now that the case has gone to the jury. The story made the front page of today’s Chron.
While mainstream dailies and alternative weeklies seldom have anything nice to say about one another, the Chron’s Meredith May generously pointed out that both weeklies are award-winners.
- Despite their small staffs — the Guardian has three staff writers and the Weekly five — both have won prestigious George Polk Awards. The Weekly won the award in 2002 for a series on mishandled radioactive waste at Hunters Point shipyard, and the Guardian took its prize in 2005 for a look at life in San Francisco’s public housing developments.
The jury got the case on Thursday after five weeks of testimony. The question jurors must decide is whether the SF Weekly and its corporate owners, Village Voice Media of Phoenix, sold ads at below cost in order to run the locally-owned Guardian out of business. By the end of the trial, there was little dispute that the SF Weekly had sold below-cost ads — the chain-owned paper has lost money for 12 years. But question of intent was still in dispute.
“It seems like given the losses that both are experiencing, maybe the San Francisco market can’t support two alternative weeklies,” activist Randy Shaw of the blog Beyond Chron told the Chron. “It’s likely, after the outcome of this court case, there might only be one left standing.”