Who said print is dead?
Less than three months after shuttering The Boston Courant newspaper, publisher David Jacobs is back with another weekly publication.
The Boston Guardian hit some 40,000 doorsteps on Friday morning. The new paper sports a cleaner design than the Courant, but will cover the same downtown neighborhoods and topics such as development and politics.
This time, neither Jacobs nor his wife and longtime business partner, Gen Tracy, will own the paper. Rather a half dozen investors stepped forward with about $90,000 to help start the Guardian, which Jacobs described as being owned by the community.
“I’m a Jewish kid who is starting to believe in resurrection,” joked Jacobs earlier this week as he was putting together the 16-page inaugural issue of the Guardian.
After two decades, the Courant abruptly stopped publishing on Feb. 5. The paper lost a wrongful termination suit from an executive hired to help increase print and online advertising sales. Jacobs ended up not launching the website, and the executive in his lawsuit said he was fired about a year after online plans were scuttled.
Jacobs said the judgment with interest grew to about $300,000, and the legal fees tallied $250,000. That left him no choice but to shutdown the Courant and liquidate its assets.
He and Tracy took about three weeks off, escaping to Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. for a stretch, but they soon grew bored. They just wanted to get back to Boston to start another newspaper.
After the Courant closed, Jacobs fielded dozens of calls and received over 400 emails from readers, advertisers, and potential investors. He was struck by the impact the paper had made in the community and the desire for hyperlocal news in neighborhoods such as the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and the Fenway.
“We started with the premise that there is a need,” said Jacobs. “We are self-centered enough to know we can fill the need.”
The staff is still tiny. Jacobs is the editor and publisher; his wife is the associate editor, and Jennifer Maiola is back as managing editor. The Guardian has two full-time reporters and will bring on a third.
Old advertisers are back such as real estate company, Coldwell Banker, which took full-page ads out in the Courant and will continue to do so in the Guardian.
“A community newspaper like David’s – it might sound corny – it weaves the neighborhood together,” said Coldwell Banker manager Ken Tutunjian.
In his second turn as publisher, Jacobs plans to shake up the formula with more in-depth coverage and even more changes later in the summer.
But one thing Jacobs still won’t do is launch a website.