Editor Fired or Retired?
(Bay Times' new publisher Betty Sullivan. Credit: Rick Gerharter, BAR.)
The depressing erratic print and online publishing schedule of San Francisco's longtime smaller gay weekly, Bay Times, continues as does the publication's shameful disrespect of readers.
Back in early March, I blogged about Bay Times not having a print version on the streets for three weeks expressing my concern that the paper inform the community of its troubles, and when it reappeared in print at the end of March I wrote about this development as good news. For my troubles, the publisher and editor, Kim Corsaro, sent me nasty emails over my coverage and never explained what was happening at the paper.
As the months flew by, the Bay Times essentially ceased printing but its web site regularly updated every Thursday with news and commentary from the usual crew of writers and photographers. However, the site never told readers why the recycled tree version was suspended. A sign of deep rudeness to Bay Times' audience.
In late June, Bay Area Reporter Cynthia Laird wrote about the personnel changes at her competitor:
On June 16, the first week in several that the LGBT paper had a print version, Betty Sullivan was listed as the publisher. Longtime publisher and editor Kim Corsaro was listed as contributing editor, along with Dayna Verstegen.
Sullivan, the owner of the popular Betty's List website that promotes events primarily for the queer women's community, was unavailable for comment. ... Corsaro has not returned multiple calls from the Bay Area Reporter seeking comment.
A recycled tree edition of the Bay Times appeared around Pride time, then nothing until July 14 when a radically redesigned and chaotic-looking version hit the streets with out-of-date reports on Pride and the Frameline film festival, and far fewer ads, some of which were missing their full texts and images.
The July 14 masthead omitted Corsaro's name while Sullivan and Verstegen were named as publisher and editor respectively. Unfortunately, in keeping with their habit of not sharing news about the publication, no good-bye note from Corsaro or explanation of the myriad changes from Sullivan or Verstegen was contained in that issue.
Last week, no print version again and the Bay Times web site was not updated, a new instance of trouble. The online masthead shows Sullivan serves as publisher and Corsaro is listed as editor, while a Joni Verstegen handles calender listings. You know what's next. Nothing about the erratic print and online actions for too many months.
Let me state again that I want this news source to stick around on newsprint and online, and this post is not motivated to shame the publisher but to say, hey, your readers, the key component to your success, are in the dark and need some light to be shed on the situation.
Is the Bay Times dead or alive? Was Corsaro fired or retired from the publication she founded? Perhaps other reasons are behind her leaving the paper?
The readers are more than owed a few answers and respect from the Bay Times leaders.