Bay-Watch in Effect: CIR/Bay Citizen Merger Is Official

Don’t call it a merger, call it an acquisition. So wrote Dan Fost, in an article announcing the two nonprofit companies’ decision to consolidate their newsrooms today. Bay Citizen and CIR began merger talks in February, shortly after the death of billionaire philanthropist and media financier Warren Hellman, who founded Bay Citizen in 2010 to supplement and/or replace the embattled San Francisco Chronicle. The loss of Hellman, coupled with the departure of interim editor-in-chief Steve Fainaru and founding chief executive Lisa Frazier, put the Bay Citizen in dire straits – dire enough for the board to court CIR chairman Phil Bronstein, who will now be executive chair of both companies. Today the boards of directors at both publications voted to approve the merge. Barring any objection from Attorney General Kamala Harris (who can veto any merger of two non-profit corporations), it’s a done deal.

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