In the 15 months that he directed SF Weekly, Shafer made significant contributions to the paper. He shifted its focus to in-depth reporting of local news and assembled a group of talented staff writers, most recently hiring prize-winning journalists Lisa Davis and Gordon Young. Shafer also expanded arts and music coverage and redesigned Calendar to create the city's most comprehensive source of entertainment listings.
SF Weekly's achievements have been recognized this year by two national journalism competitions. The Medill School of Journalism chose Ellen McGarrahan's "Ship Happens" (June 14, 1995) as a finalist for the John Bartlow Martin Award honoring public interest reporting. In the Maggie Awards, sponsored by the Western Publications Association, the paper captured two finalist designations: George Cothran's "The Last Seduction" (Oct. 18, 1995) for Best Interview/Profile; and SF Weekly for Most Improved Consumer Publication (circulation over 50,000).
Writers Davis and Young joined SF Weekly in March of this year. Davis, a journalism/urban studies graduate of San Francisco State, covered education and minority community issues at the Phoenix Gazette before moving to SF Weekly's Phoenix counterpart, New Times, in 1994. During her tenure there she became a John Bartlow Martin finalist and won a Benjamin Fine Award for outstanding education reporting. Young, formerly a staff writer at Spectrum Weekly in Little Rock and Metro in San Jose, has a broad background in investigative reporting. His 1991 story chronicling the flaws in then-Gov. Bill Clinton's workfare program in Arkansas won an Investigative Reporters and Editors award for magazine writing.
As SF Weekly searches for a new lead editor, it will add yet another talent to its staff: Bill Wyman, who has written and edited at the Chicago Reader for the past seven years, will become SF Weekly's arts editor on April 29. Author of the Reader's Hitsville music column, Wyman has experience in both feature writing and political reporting. He lived in the Bay Area for nearly 10 years, where he wrote for several dailies and weeklies, including the East Bay Express.