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Bay Area loses in Guardian sale

In more than two decades around the news business, I’ve never heard worse first-hand horror stories about a news organization’s ethical standards that I have about those of the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Despite ethics that would make Stephen Glass blush, Bruce Brugmann and the Bay Guardian represent an evaporating breed: The truly local, homegrown Bay Area media company.

Tuesday the Bay Guardian officially announced their sale to San Francisco Newspaper Company LLC, the owners of the San Francisco Examiner since last December.

But don’t be fooled by the name: The San Francisco Newspaper Company LLC is about as San Francisco as a ten-gallon hat stuffed with deep-dish pizza.

Its investors include David Holmes Black, founder of Black Press Group Ltd., a private Canadian publisher of mostly small-time weeklies, and Examiner publisher Todd Vogt, a former Hollinger exec with a history of shady newspaper deals.

If the Canadian-tinged owners of the Examiner complete their purchase of the Bay Guardian, the domination of Bay Area media by out-of-town behemoths is all but complete.

From newspapers to television stations, from alt-weeklies to snarky blogs, the deep pockets of the Bay Area media landscape reside mostly in places like New York City and Atlanta. Run through the list, if you like:

Bay Area media outlet ownership

Outlet Owner Headquarters SFBay Media Associates LLC Mission District
San Francisco Chronicle Hearst Newspapers New York
San Jose Mercury News Digital First Media New York
Oakland Tribune Digital First Media New York
Marin Independent Journal Digital First Media New York
Contra Costa Times Digital First Media New York
San Francisco Examiner San Francisco Newspaper Company LLC San Francisco*
San Francisco Bay Guardian Bruce Brugmann San Francisco
SF Weekly Village Voice Media New York
KNTV-11 TV NBC New York
KGO-7 TV ABC New York
KQED-9 TV Northern California Public Broadcasting San Francisco
KRON-4 TV Young Broadcasting New York
KCBS-AM CBS Corporation New York
KGO-AM Cumulus Media Atlanta
KALW-FM San Francisco Unified School District San Francisco
SFist Gothamist LLC New York
Huffington Post AOL, Inc. New York

* – Allegedly.

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