San Francisco Chronicle Magazine
|Staff writers||Sam Whiting|
|First issue||November 26, 2000|
|Company||San Francisco Chronicle, Hearst Publications|
|Based in||San Francisco|
The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine is a Sunday magazine published on the first Sunday of every month as an insert in the San Francisco Chronicle. The current magazine was born out of the ashes of the San Francisco Examiner Magazine when the staff of the Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner were combined in 2000 following the sale of the Examiner.
Prior to the creation of the magazine, the first issue of which appeared Sunday, November 26, 2000, readers of the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner were served by the San Francisco Examiner Magazine, included in the Sunday edition of the papers which were produced jointly under the JOA that the two papers operated under. The San Francisco Examiner Magazine was preceded by Image magazine, which was in turn preceded by California Living Magazine.
The San Francisco Chronicle was the first newspaper in the country to introduce a Sunday magazine when it did so in 1869 with the aim of providing a "literary dimension" to the newspaper. That magazine, however, ended sometime prior to the Chronicle's absorption of the Examiner staff and the creation of the current San Francisco Chronicle Magazine.
The San Francisco Examiner magazine, also known as Examiner Magazine, had won various awards in the years preceding its absorption by the Chronicle. In 2000, "India: Land of Marx and Maharjahs," by free-lance writer Adam Hochschild was given the Sigma Delta Chi Award for excellence in magazine reporting by the Society of Professional Journalists and a bronze medal from the Society of American Travel Writers' Lowell Thomas Awards for magazine writing on foreign travel. Also in 2000, the magazine was given several awards by the Sunday Magazine Editors Association: Second place in the essay category for "Boy's Life," by Theodore Roszak; third place in the overall design for Examiner Magazine art directors Josephine Rigg and Zahid Sardar; second place in the single spread design category for "Tale of the Tapes," about the Kennedy/Nixon tapes, went to Examiner artist Andrew Skwish; third place in the illustration category for "Boy's Life," Colin Johnson's illustration of Roszack's piece. At the time of these awards, Executive Editor of the Examiner Phil Bronstein said, "The San Francisco Examiner Magazine has become one of the top Sunday newspaper magazines in the country, offering our readers well-written and provocative articles accompanied by attractive, witty and sophisticated graphics." In 1999, the Examiner's magazine won several awards as part of the annual Gold Ink Awards: the magazine's fall "Destinations" issues won the Silver Award; the magazine's two spring and fall Home Design issues and a spring "Destinations" issue, edited by John Flinn, each won Pewter awards. The Gold Ink Awards are given for quality of printing. In 1998, the Examiner's magazine won four SunMag awards from the Sunday Magazine Editors Association: first place in Best Use of Illustration to Art Director Josephine Rigg and freelance illustrator Adam McCauley for a Bay to Breakers Race Day Map; third place in Overall Design to Rigg and Associate Art Director Zahid Sardar; Honorable Mention to Examiner Science Writer Keay Davidson for "Weird Science," about the 50th anniversary of the first "UFO sighting"'; Honorable Mention to writer Neal Gabler for a cover story about Walter Winchell and Herb Caen. Alluding the fact that many newspapers were cutting back or eliminating their Sunday magazines, Bronstein said at the time of the 1998 awards, "The Examiner bucked the national trend when we decided to revitalize our Sunday Magazine to provide more for our readers. We're honored to... [be] recognized by our peers from across the nation."
Image magazine, also known as Image: The Magazine of Northern California, was the second incarnation of the Examiner's Sunday magazine, following California Living Magazine. Image was edited for some time by David Talbot before he went on to found Salon.com.
When Hearst Corporation, owner of the Examiner, bought the Chronicle in 2000, it sold the Examiner and offered positions at the Chronicle to all Examiner staff members. The Examiner Magazine was discontinued by the new owners of the newspaper, and the staff migrated the Chronicle, creating the new San Francisco Chronicle Magazine. In a letter to readers of the new magazine, the editors wrote, "Now that the... staffs have merged, we plan to deliver an even better Sunday Magazine, larger in scope and full of new material, as part of the ongoing changes that will make the Chronicle a truly great regional newspaper," the editors' note continued, "We welcome you to the new San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, and promise to do our level best to deliver literate, exciting and visually attractive journalism."
In 2001 the magazine underwent a redesign as part of a general overhaul of the Sunday edition of the Chronicle with the professed goal, "to put [readers] in touch with where [they] live, and... to celebrate and highlight the rich tapestry of diversity that makes us unique." The redesigned magazine sported a "cleaned-up design" and five new departments. Bay Wrap, "a compendium of people, places and things," was put at the front of each edition, and Food, Fashion, Design and Neighborhoods, were put at the back of each edition.
In 2002, weekly production halted and the magazine became biweekly. Chronicle Editor Phil Bronstein told Editor & Publisher magazine that the newspaper was hemorrhaging money on the magazine but readers were furious about the halting of weekly publication. "We were getting completely hammered [financially]. But then we decided we ought to either kill it, or bring it back every week."
In 2003, the magazine underwent another redesign. In addition to returning to weekly publication, restaurant critic Michael Bauer's weekly reviews moved to the magazine from Sunday Datebook and Merl Reagle's popular crossword puzzle returned to the magazine after being moved to the Datebook when the magazine became biweekly. A weekly San Francisco/Bay Area focused literary essay was introduced inside the back cover and featured essays by the likes of Garrison Keillor. The fashion and design departments of the magazine were visually overhauled for a "brand-new look." The magazine's paper stock was upgraded to a heavier grade for improved display of photography. According to published letters in the Chronicle, the 2003 redesign was quite popular among readers, with many specifically hailing the return of Reagle's crossword puzzle.
The magazine underwent a third redesign in 2007. This redesign brought several new features to the magazine: Tripping, a travel column; Perspectives, an expert advice column; Healthy Obsessions, featuring local athletes; Take Two, a design column by Design Editor Zahid Sardar; Bright Ideas by Sam Whiting, exploring new ideas in the Bay Area; On the Couch, about how couples met, which later moved to the Style section of the Chronicle, before eventually being discontinued. Additionally, Michael Bauer's restaurant reviews were integrated with SFGate, the Chronicle's website, where 360-degree views of the restaurants were featured.
On July 6, 2008, the Chronicle announced that the issue of the magazine in that newspaper would be the last weekly issue, and that starting August 3, the magazine would be published the first Sunday of each month. Each issue of the new magazine would focus on a single subject such as home design, travel, food or weddings. Many weekly magazine features migrated to other sections of the newspaper. Merle Reagle's crossword puzzle moved the Datebook, On the Couch and Michael Bauer's restaurant reviews moved to Style, and Zahid Sardar's Take Two moved to Home & Garden.
Unlike the 2003 redesign, the magazine's move to monthly publication was widely panned by readers in published letters in the Chronicle.
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