I hesitated at first when SN&R’s co-editors Nick Miller and Rachel Leibrock asked me to ante up an editor’s note for the 25th-anniversary issue. As the former editor of the paper, I’d written such remarks many times over the years—on the occasions of our fifth, 10th and 20th anniversary issues. What did I have to add?
Then I thought of three things.
One is I can't help noticing that SN&R still exists. The struggle to have accomplished this, given the severe challenges the paper has faced over the decades, cannot be overstated. Lots of large, successful alt-weeklies across the country simply did not make it, and some that survived (the San Francisco Bay Guardian) seem a shadow of their former selves.
Two is I can't help observing that the paper's latest incarnation has consistently been a joy to read—smart and surprising, a regional touchstone. How lucky we are to live in a town where such a space endures, where crucial reporters and writers like Nick, Rachel, Cosmo Garvin, Raheem F. Hosseini, Joey Garcia, Alastair Bland, Janelle Bitker, Becca Costello, Shoka, Jonathan Mendick and others are free to tell us stories of our town?
Three is I can't stop reflecting on the secret ingredient that binds the SN&R together in the first place: the paper's owners Jeff vonKaenel and Deborah Redmond. The pair somehow infused the company early on with an ethos that routinely overcomes the odds and gathers just the right talent at just the right time. Unlike many newspaper owners, they've always backed an editorial philosophy that pokes, challenges and, occasionally, even illuminates.
Most astonishingly, they have mixed love and ideals throughout it all.
Anyway you slice it, the Sacramento region has been the 25-year beneficiary of a great weekly newspaper. SN&R, long may you run!