Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SF Bay Times: Dead or Alive?
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Pride time, then nothing until July 14 when a radically redesigned and chaotic-looking version hit the streets with out-of-date reports on Pride and the Frameline film festival, and far fewer ads, some of which were missing their full texts and images.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.


Michael Zonta said...

Thanks for this. Inquiring minds want to know.

Larry-bob said...

I thought I heard that it was going to an every two weeks schedule, so I didn't look for a print issue or updates.

Michael said...

i'd like nothing better for the bay time to survive and thrive. bet i'm not alone in such thinking.

Tracy Gary said...

Michael, is this meant to be supportive of one of our communities' greatest assets, The Bay Times? Give transitions a chance. Info is forthcoming I am sure. In case you have not read them check out the last four issues that are both on line at and all around the City and Bay, which have been done in expanded partnership with Kim and team. Lets all help em, I say. Patience all. Tracy Gary, a supporter

Michael said...

hi tracy,

i have read the last four issues both online and in print and found nothing, except the changes on the masthead, explaining the transitions and problems. you say info is forthcoming, and i hope, after months of no info about all the changes at bay times, that what you say is true. if the paper wants help, they should ask for it.

Tracy Gary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracy Gary said...

I hear you Michael that they have not responded amidsts the changes. That's no doubt frustrating for a news breaker. You can see then that the paper is operational clearly so why question if it's alive or dead. I had to wonder that's all. Dayna, Betty and Kim and their team are cooking together to improve and make changes. It's a good news story which you will get when they are ready. As a founder of the Women's Building and the Women's Foundation and supporter of Horizon's, Word is Out and many more, it's clear we have to keep these good institutions and their leaders thriving, including you, during these times. Imagine our community without these hubs for our economy, culture and fun loving ways. There are what, less than 50 glbt owed (not mainly sex) pubs in the country. How lucky we are that we have those we do here. Onward to supporting their sustainability, I say.

Michael said...

hi tracy,

you seem to have much more than a passing interest in the bay times, not to mention a probable connection to the women at the paper. what exactly is your investment, politically or emotionally or monetarily, in bay times? also, are you the same tracy gary who advises wealthy gays how to manage and invest their money? really curious to learn more about you and your attachment to the publication.

Tracy Gary said...

MIchael, yes same person, but my work has been with the whole community and national for a long time as a philanthropic advisor. I gave away money I inherited by the time I was 35 years old, now 25 years ago. At least 60% of it in our Bay Area and 3% to glbt projects or its leaders. I have what I hope is shared interest with you: for our community to thrive. I am a volunteer with Bay Times, and strategic partner to those people and projects I esteem. i am fully employed at Inspired Legacies, my 18th nonprofit start up. My "attachment to the publication" is simply for its success for our glbt community, our culture and economy. That was true 30 years ago also. How about yours? I long ago put money and time to build institutions and to learn together during the early years of the 70's-90's and still do what I can with less of both to build or support productively leaders who have vision and are committed to co-creating a better world. Anything else you want to know about my intentions? What if they were pure? Hopefully the news will return to HOW we can help our glbtq community to get through these times and to keep doing breakthrough work for the world. End of dialogue from here. Onward Michael, ok? No scoop here just earnest faith and care.

Michael said...

we are clearly on opposite ends of the gay spectrum, politically and economically and your notes remind me of the deep class divisions in the community.

the nut of this thread is about bay times, and it really has disrespected the readers, while betty sullivan has moved to make it an arm of her list without being honest and upfront with the community. really not the best way to take over a publication and try and convince readers the paper is independent, unbiased, etc.

i expect to be critical of bay times and betty sullivan in the near future. lots of questions need to be raised in public about her motives and plans.

Tracy Gary said...

Michael, so sorry you feel that way. I would guess we have way more in common than you may think. I hear you are a good guy. Sure our politics may differ, but from all I see you clearly care to make things better. This is shared values. Lets build from there.
FYI, I gave away that inheritance which divides us in your mind by the time I was 35. Still give 10-20% per year and 40% when I can or economy is better. Post above should have said 30% to glbt community, which is average, did you know for our glbts. We can do more and I hope to inspire more over time. Lets have a cup of tea sometime. CAll me if you want to have real exchange on what we believe can happen that's positive. Meanwhile PAX. My email, if you want to more from blog land to connecting for real. Happy to hear you on class and concerns for our community. It's another thing we share that I have spent a lifetime on. I'd love to listen to what you see and can be done. Best, and thanks for all you do. Keep us all on our toes but I hope you will grow trust here. Tracy

Michael said...

hi tracy,

i've blogged for a number of weeks about the cuts to my SSI check and medi-cal services, while asking EQCA to both speak out about the safety net cuts affecting thousands of low income gays and PWAs and work to restore the cuts. well, EQCA has said and done nothing about the cuts, but they talked about gay marriage, gay marriage, gay marriage and the potential for a repeal of the gay education bill. got any ideas to force EQCA to start dealing with safety net cuts hurting low income gays?