SF Political Group Backing Latest Iteration of Bold Italic Online Magazine

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Last December, San Francisco political advocacy group GrowSF announced that it was acquiring local first-person culture website the Bold Italic. On Monday, the group announced it was relaunching the site as a nonprofit publication that “celebrates life in the Bay Area.”   

The Bold Italic, once known for its irreverent takes on local culture, has died and come back to life several times since its founding nearly 15 years ago as a collaboration between design firm Ideo and national media chain Gannett. They sold it to local owners in 2015, who in turn offloaded it to the blogging plaltform Medium in 2019. Recently, it has featured sporadic write-ups about things like food and architecture.

Going forward, the site has lined up a stable of about 20 contributors to write “first-person stories by locals on issues and topics that are on the brains and lips of San Franciscans,” said the online magazine’s new editor-in-chief, Saul Sugarman. 

“We’re not a newsroom,” Sugarman stressed. 

He was clearly anticipating questions about whether the publication would reflect the views of its owners. GrowSF was launched more than two years ago by a pair of former tech executives seeking to become active in civic issues by supporting moderate candidates.  

The group has taken stands on hot-button issues, ranging from the recall of the San Francisco School Board to the renovations of the Castro Theatre. 

But Sugarman, a longtime local journalist who has worked at the San Francisco Daily Journal, the San Francisco Examiner and Bloomberg, among others, said the publication’s only agenda is to create “positive content” about San Francisco. He added that GrowSF directors Sachin Agarwal and Steven Buss don’t vet or edit stories. 

The Bold Italic recently published an “I Love San Francisco” series. 

“We’re constantly flooded with such bad news,” Buss said. “The Bold Italic is a breath of fresh air. It celebrates what’s great about the city.” 

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