Bay Area Reporter
|Owner||Benro Enterprises, Inc.|
|Publisher||Thomas E. Horn|
|News editor||Cynthia Laird|
The Bay Area Reporter is a free weekly newspaper serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) communities in the San Francisco Bay Area; it is one of the largest LGBT newspapers by circulation in the United States and the country's oldest continuously published newspaper of its kind.
Co-founded by Bob Ross and Paul Bentley on April 1, 1971, the Bay Area Reporter -- known by locals for most of its history by the initials B.A.R. that were included in its nameplate until April 2011 -- was originally distributed to gay bars in the South of Market, Castro District, and Polk Gulch areas of San Francisco. Today, the paper is distributed throughout the Bay Area and beyond.
The Bay Area Reporter has evolved from its early years of uneven editorial and news quality to become of the most respected LGBT community newspapers in the United States. Its annual Gay Pride issue in June is the largest and most-read edition of the year. It also features its reader's choice awards on its anniversary in the first week of April with a special Best of the Gays edition. 
In the 1980s, the Bay Area Reporter became a leading source of updated developments about the AIDS crisis; in 1983, the paper broke the story that up to 40 percent of people with AIDS in the United States were from racial and ethnic minorities, shattering a widely held stereotype that AIDS was a "white gay man's disease." In 1998, the paper made headlines around the world with its now-famous "No Obits" headline, marking the significance of HIV treatments by noting the first time since the AIDS epidemic began in 1981 that the newspaper received no death notices in a given week.
With an audited weekly circulation of 29,000, the Bay Area Reporter is the third largest LGBT newspaper in the United States, after New York's Gay City News and the Washington Blade. The award-winning newspaper is well known for its editorial commentary, investigative reporting, extensive sports journalism, and arts and entertainment writing.
Co-founder Bentley sold his half-interest in the Bay Area Reporter to Ross in 1975 and died of cancer in 1991. Ross, who remained the paper's publisher, died in 2003 (The name of the newspaper's parent company, Benro Enterprises Inc., is derived from a combination of Bentley and Ross). The current publisher is attorney Thomas E. Horn, and the current editor-in-chief is Cynthia Laird.
Assistant editors have included Matthew Bajko, Zak Szymanski (until 2006), and Mark Mardon (until 2006), each of whom contributed breaking news and nationally renowned articles on topics such as public health, social justice, law, race relations, transgender issues, art and music, and politics. Longtime Arts editor is Roberto Friedman. Assistant editors as of 2008 include Bajko, Jim Provenzano (who also wrote a sports column from 1996–2006), and Seth Hemmelgarn. For many years, two of the paper's most-read columnists were Wayne Friday, whose "Politics and Poker" column was a must-read for anyone interested in following LGBT-related political goings-on at San Francisco's City Hall and in Sacramento; and leather columnist Marcus Hernandez, better known as Mister Marcus. Friday retired from the newspaper in 2005. Hernandez died in 2009.
On March 30, 2006, the newspaper published a special edition to celebrate its 35th anniversary.
In 2007, reporter-editors Bajko and Szymanski were honored by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association with second and third place in the organization's "Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media" for their collections of LGBT articles published in the Bay Area Reporter during 2006.
In 2009, the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco launched an online searchable database of the more than 10,000 obituaries and death notices that have appeared in the Bay Area Reporter, starting with the first such article published in the newspaper in 1979; many of the obituaries reflect the catastrophic toll of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco from the early 1980s through the late 1990s.
The paper celebrated its 40th anniversary with a special edition published April 8, 2011, and with a weeklong mini-exhibition and slide show of historic front pages at The GLBT History Museum in the Castro District of San Francisco. The following week saw the Bay Area Reporter completely redesigned -- and without its longtime B.A.R. initials, which were dropped not only from its nameplate, but also from all references to the newspaper in its articles. Even the paper's Website now bears a new URL -- bayareareporter.org -- although its original URL, ebar.com still functions.
- "Annual Audit Report 12 Month Audit". Verified Audit Circulation. 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- Editors (2010). "About the BAR". Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- Zak Szymanski (30 March 2006). "Unique Local Feel Fave B.A.R. World-Class Reputation". The Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- Matthew S. Bajko (30 March 2006). "Publisher Reflects on New Role". The Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- Jim Provenzano (30 March 2006). "Sportstory 3.5". The Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- "About NGNG". National Gay Newspaper Guild. 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- Tom Avila (30 August 2007). "NLGJA Announces 2007 Excellence in Journalism Award Winners & LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame Inductees". National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
- Hemmelgarn, Seth (2009-11-26). "B.A.R. Obituaries Go Online". Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- Wright, Chris (2011-03-25). "The Bay Area Reporter, the USA's oldest continuously published LGBT newspaper, celebrates 40th anniversary". Stark Insider. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
See also 
- The Bay Area Reporter official website
- GLBT Historical Society: Online Database of B.A.R. Obituaries