20th Anniversary -- Selective Memory
A short history of Monterey County Weekly.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
With this issue, we celebrate Monterey County Weekly’s 20th anniversary of publication.
It’s an achievement in which we take special pride, especially coming at a time when new technology, particularly the rise of the Internet, is altering the way we look at the world.
To paraphrase John Kennedy’s 1960 inauguration speech, we at the Weekly do not fear such changes– we welcome them.
While the print Weekly remains our core product, in 1997 we became the first newspaper in the county to launch our own website. We look forward to continuing to break new ground in print and electronic journalism.
The Monterey County Weekly’s mission statement says it best: “The mission of the Monterey County Weekly is to inspire independent thinking and conscious action, etc.’’ It’s the et cetera– most readers and editorial staffers alike will probably agree– that has made the critical difference.
This one-time underdog is now an established, respected member of the community, while still exercising its right not to join the Establishment.
We may be 20, but we still see ourselves as upstarts– brash, sassy and willing to challenge our readers’ assumptions and our own.
That’s what “independent thinking and conscious action’’ mean.
Below, we remember these moments with a combination of pride, amusement and sheer astonishment at beating the odds.
Thanks for joining us along the way– it’s been a great ride.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is 4 years old.
Fort Ord has 37,000 soldiers, dependents and civilian employees.
Ronald Reagan is president. Iran-Iraq war ends. U.S. engages in combat in El Salvador. South Africa under apartheid. Pan-Am flight 103 explodes over Scotland.
Monday Night Football debuts. Paul Simon’s Graceland and U2’s Joshua Tree win Grammy awards.
Coasting and its companion classified shopper, The Exchange, are nearly bankrupt. The printer, one of the five owners, calls his note and forces the papers’ sale.
Milestone Communications Inc. is created, and buys the paper on Sept. 1.
Page count is 24 to 32 pages.
The paper’s name is changed to Coast Weekly.
Two full-time typesetters in production department. A converted bathroom in Carmel office functions as a darkroom.
We publish Mapplethorpe photos.
Fort Ord troops sent to Panama.
Tuesday, Oct. 17– Loma Prieta earthquake hits at 5:04pm. Paper completed on a manual typewriter with corrections taped in. We go to press on time with our original cover story– the Aquarium’s fifth anniversary– and only one paragraph about the earthquake.
Nude beaches on cover. Tossed out of several distribution sites and accused of being Hustler magazine.
We purchase our first computer: an Apple SE.
First BEST OF Monterey County® issue– 40 pages.
First editorial award from California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA)– for Arts Coverage.
Exxon Valdez oil spill.
The Weekly joins Association of Alternative Weeklies (AAN).
Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney proposes that 35 military bases be closed, including Fort Ord.
In November, News Editor Jim Cole travels with Fort Ord troops to Saudi Arabia. Only AAN paper to send a reporter to cover Desert Storm.
“Migrant Farmworker Education” story wins California Teachers’ Association’s best feature award.
We build a ramp and gleefully push the $55,000 typesetting machine down the stairs. “Desktop publishing” arrives.
A new university is proposed for Fort Ord.
The Weekly publishes a cover story, “The New Majority,” about the recent increase in local Latino political power.
A third-grader shows her classmates a gun at Colton Middle School.
We move from Carmel to Seaside, into a building designed by renowned architect Charles Moore.
First day in our new office, a neighbor punches the window at the crack house across the street, cuts an artery, comes into our office bleeding, asking for help. Our new receptionist quits.
Rodney King verdict on a Tuesday. We send a reporter to L.A. and change our cover story at the last minute.
Publish “Safer Sex Guide” and hand out free condoms to focus attention on HIV. Over 300 people from a P.G. church sign a petition to boycott our advertisers, sent to every advertiser. No one cancels.
“Cheap Rent” is cover story– abundance of apartments.
Investigative story about methyl bromide wins first place for ag reporting from CNPA and National Newspapers Association.
Longest story to date– nearly 5,000 words about Rancho San Carlos and “green development.”
Finalist– “Business of the Year” by Monterey Chamber of Commerce.
First Weekly Halloween ball, with 1,500 revelers. Benefit for Surfrider Foundation.
Local economy suffers due to Fort Ord’s closure and California recession. We respond by publishing California’s Guide to Monterey Bay, with a circulation of 1.2 million, inserted into alt-weeklies on West Coast.
SUPER BIG logo introduced.
A story about Monterey Bay’s warming trend is one of the first to show the impact of global warming on the oceans. It is published three months before Science reported it.
Aquarium full-page ad– with a coupon for free admittance– gets 10,238 responses in seven days.
Investigative story about Seaside City Manager Sam Head leads to his firing by the City Council. Seaside Mayor Lance McLair rages in front of our building the day the story breaks but can’t identify a single error.
McLair is defeated in his race for mayor that fall. We endorsed his opponent.
Santana plays at the county fair. In our fair guide, we misspell Monterey.
First edition of our Best of Monterey Bay Visitor’s Guide comes out with a circulation of 100,000.
March floods hit the county hard.
Cal State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) opens its doors.
The display sales staff is captured in a front-page Herald photo attending Friday’s midday Pebble Beach Tennis Challenge– using comp tickets intended for clients.
New salespeople are hired.
Cover story about bingo parlors in Salinas wins first place investigative reporting award from AAN and NNA.
Caller I.D. is introduced by the phone company. Borders opens in Sand City.
The Weekly distributes 20,000 red antenna balls at local retail shops in less than two days. The marketing slogan: We’ve Got Balls.
The Herald is sold to Knight-Ridder.
At Salinas Peppers’ July 4 game, 3,000 fans perform the wave holding the Weekly.
The window of the Ramada Inn is shattered when a driver tosses a bundle of Weeklies too far. Replacement cost: $900.
Whole Foods and Wal-Mart open. John Denver crashes his plane off the shores of Pacific Grove.
The Weekly expands into building next door. A tower staircase is built and the classified department moves upstairs.
A scathing review of Clint Eastwood’s Absolute Power gets the paper evicted from Mission Ranch. Our distribution returns there two weeks later.
Story about hate crime perpetrator, an MPC football player, leads to personal threats against the publisher.
Squid writes his/her/its first column.
The Weekly becomes the county’s first newspaper to publish online.
Hillary, Bill and Al speak in Monterey at an oceans conference.
Floods take out the Carmel River bridge; the Peninsula becomes an island.
The Steinbeck Center opens.
Some 25,000 attend a Christian music festival at Laguna Seca.
Story about Marina homeless woman inspires one reader to pay her rent for a year.
April 1: We erroneously report that Fort Ord will be re-opened. Some readers are pissed.
Erik Cushman is found; becomes the Weekly’s new publisher.
Two cover stories about Y2K.
Cover story about the burgeoning wine industry.
Controversial cover story about the methamphetamine labs in North County.
Art show at Morgan’s Coffeehouse features the Pebble Beach Company’s trademarked Lone Cypress tree. They threaten legal action. We publish our own photo of the tree on our cover.
The classified section wins top honors from CNPA.
U.S. Open Golf tournament at Pebble Beach.
Two local activists sue the county for permitting ghostwriting of public documents.
Marina passes an Urban Growth Boundary.
We host the first of three annual Monterey Bay Film Festivals at CSUMB.
Raw sewage runs into the bay from P.G.
The County’s General Plan update begins.
An “anti-dam” majority takes over the Monterey Peninsula Water District.
In a two-part series we examine the economic challenges facing the county’s poor.
Cover story reports the extensive impact the Packard Foundation has on the community.
James Brown plays Monterey Blues Festival.
We become the publisher of the Monterey Jazz Festival Program.
Paul Taylor Dance Company performs at CSUMB.
Cruise ships dock outside Monterey Harbor.
As the nation prepares for war, we report on the changes locally and nationally since 9/11.
We are the only local media to editorialize against the Iraq war– one day after it begins.
Two-part investigative story is published about Census Tract 7 in Salinas– wins a national award.
Staff creates a new mission: “To inspire independent thinking and conscious action, etc.”
The $21 million restoration of the Carmel Sunset Center is completed.
Weekly reporter Andrew Scutro spends Christmas in Baghdad. Only AAN paper and only local media to send a reporter to cover the Iraq war.
NNA honors us for Best Review, Best Performing Arts story, Best Environmental story and Best Investigative story. CNPA honors us with first place in page layout and design.
We celebrate our 16th birthday with a special 176-page paper.
April 1: We erroneously report that Disney is buying the city of Del Rey Oaks and renaming it Happiness, California.
An illustration in our story about money in local politics ignites calls of racism against the Weekly.
A three-part cover story about immigration goes on to win a state investigative reporting award.
The Aquarium captures and displays its first great white shark. Attendance soars.
Our illustrated Measure W story wins a first place national AAN award for format busting.
We introduce 831classifieds online to compete with craigslist. Today we have over 4,000 ads online.
Tryone, Zeve’s dog, goes on a five-day walkabout from our Seaside offices and finds his home in Carmel Valley.
After 10 months of work, the newspaper redesign is completed.
We slightly modify the logo.
Part of the editorial department moves upstairs, into the newly expanded office.
We report on the pending sale of the Herald to Media News.
Squid makes the cover for the first time.
We install 162 solar panels on our roof, a 33 kw system. First newspaper in the country to go solar.
Milestones: Carmel Art Association turns 80, Carmel Bach Festival turns 70, Monterey Jazz Festival turns 50, Laguna Seca turns 50, Helvetica turns 50, KAZU turns 30 and Typo, our goldfish, passes away.
Suterra sues us in L.A. County for disclosing the ingredients used to combat the Light Brown Apple Moth. We sue them in Monterey County court to defend our First Amendment rights. Suterra dismisses their suit seven days later.
After one year in redevelopment, the new website is launched.
We kick off the new year with a prediction story: “Leap of Faith’’ and a cover picture of a skydiver jumping off a cliff. (The photo turns out better than the predictions.)
Fourteen years after Fort Ord closed, we report that it’s still riddled with dangerous munitions.
The Center for Ocean Solutions, spurred by a $25 million Packard grant, opens in Monterey.
“Love & Sex’’ reader survey provide “stunning stories, raw advice and captivating stats.’’
FIRES! Lightning hits Big Sur on June 21; 2,095 fires hit 1 million acres across California, making it the biggest statewide fire event in history. Estimated economic damage to the Central Coast: $25 million.
July 27, 7pm: Basin Complex fire is 100 percent contained.
Future casting: Crystal ball hazy. Will it be Barack and Joe, or McCain and the “pit bull with lipstick”?
Will mudslides follow the fires?