UPDATE: Robert Gammon, the EBX‘s editor, has supplied a comment.
UPDATE: In our haste and alt-weekly-to-alt-weekly sympathy, we initially reported that the entire paper had ceased operations. That was untrue and we regret the error. The East Bay Express is merely (ahem) gutting its entire editorial staff and moving toward an all-freelance model, with only editor Robert Gammon remaining.
Although there has yet to be an official public announcement on Twitter or on the home page, the East Bay Express has laid off almost its entire editorial staff. Now-former Managing-slash-Arts editor Janelle Bitker — who is also an assistant editor at SF Eater — tweeted that the four people were summarily laid off this afternoon.
Ahem, an announcement: I was laid off from the East Bay Express today, along with basically the whole editorial staff.
— Janelle Bitker (@JanelleBitker) January 12, 2019
So, ready for some news…. since I’m getting flooded with texts and DMs, and I know my journo friends are already working on this, I might as well be the one to break the news… I, along with @JanelleBitker @DarwinBondGraha and @_beatricek have been laid off from the Express pic.twitter.com/NsfwnP7b3d
— Azucena Rasilla (@ChroniclesOfAzu) January 12, 2019
It’s almost certainly because of this overtime wage lawsuit the paper lost this week against a former employee. Briefly, the EBX‘s ex-sales and marketing director was owed overtime pay upon his termination, and after a four-year legal battle, the paper is now on the hook to pay his legal costs as well. Oakland Magazine and Alameda Magazine, both part of the same company, were unaffected by the layoffs.
Editor Robert Gammon told SF Weekly that “The folks who got laid off today were all terrific journalists and this is a sad day for the East Bay Express. They’re going to be missed very much.”
From one alt-weekly to another, SF Weekly‘s entire staff are devastated to hear this news.
We will update this story as we soon as we have new information.