Best Neighborhood Newspaper San Francisco 2002 - San Francisco Call
A self-described "Bay Area blend of the New Yorker and the Nation," the San Francisco Call is the brainchild of Betsey Culp, who's trying to bring a little class to the often-shrill world of local political commentary. Launched in 2000 and taking its name from a defunct daily, the Call weighs in each week with essays on local politics, reports from community meetings, and assorted musings about city life. At a scant eight pages a week, it isn't yet the New Yorker-Nation blend it hopes to be, but it's slowly becoming a must-read for the hard-core local political junkie, thanks to its mix of interviews (Supervisor Matt Gonzalez has chatted with school board commissioners, artists, and poets in its pages) and commentaries on homelessness and development. The Call can be light on new insight, and the writing can be a dreary journey to the center of wonk (maybe it is the Nation after all), but its heart is in the right place, and Culp does think clearly on politics, which makes her a rare creature in this town. Hard to find in its printed form -- try various corners in the no man's land between Nob Hill, Polk Gulch, and the Tenderloin -- the Call has smartly moved online as well. Sometimes intriguing and sometimes snooze-inducing, it's always worth keeping an eye out for.