Thursday, July 31, 2008

End and beginning of an era for Bayview media

When the first flowers began blooming at the Quesada Garden in 2002, we sent word of the miracle to media outlets all over town. The San Francisco Bay View Newspaper was the first to break the story of Karl, Annette and their amazing contribution to uncovering Bayview's beauty through urban gardening.

Earlier this month, after the Quesada Kids took fruit they had just harvested from backyard trees to Third Street, word got to the Ratcliff's who wanted to share the story with the community. That story appeared on July 2nd, the last print version of the newspaper.

The publishing of the kids' story proved to be an honor to those of us on Quesada Avenue who had been neighbors, just half a block away, from the newspaper's offices on Third Street. Well, we're still neighbors...but the newspaper has undergone some major remodeling!

The San Francisco Bay View Newspaper has been a labor of love for publishers Willie and Mary Ratcliff and the many talented people drawn to their work over the past 16 years. A victim of rising materials and production costs, and other trends that make independent journalism and responsible major media endangered species, the Bay View has transitioned to the web.

A national and international newspaper, a Black newspaper (one of the top 10), and a community newspaper all rolled into one, the San Francisco Bay View was a unique hybrid. It was a one-of-a-kind vehicle for news not reported elsewhere, perspectives that seemed bewilderingly off-the-mark one moment and refreshingly accurate the next, and content that served groups - like the prison population and the faith community - that didn't get attention elsewhere.

Whether you loved what you read, or didn't, the San Francisco Bayview Newspaper represented independence and courage to those who understood what an against-all-the-odds miracle each print issue was. On Quesada, the paper and those behind it were good neighbors and friends.

We'll miss the slender rolls of newsprint with the green banner that arrived like magic on our doorsteps. But we're glad to know that the Ratcliff's and friends aren't going anywhere. In fact, they intend to reach an even wider audience with their expanded website. Visit them at

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