San Francisco’s hub of things San Francisco young people think about, The Bold Italic, announced today that it would cease operations after over five years running the site. The site, which was a project of Gannett Company and originated as a collaboration with IDEO, didn’t disclose what’s behind the decision. Here’s their statement:
Since our launch, The Bold Italic has strived to faithfully serve San Franciscans near and far, whether born and bred here or having just arrived in the city. We have a great passion for the Bay Area and all that it has to offer — and have had a lot of fun sharing our enthusiasm with you. Together we have built a strong community of followers, contributors, and partners. However, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations. It’s been a great run and we supremely thank everyone who has supported us along the way.
Over the years, the site gained a reputation for its whimsical, creative approach to San Francisco culture and news. It’s carefully designed pages brought together local writers with local illustrators to elevate the common internet fare of listicles and personal essays to some very pretty, frequently entertaining stuff. Be it reviews of top restaurants by children or personal essays on about identity, the Bold Italic frequently had its finger on the pulse of the 20 and 30-something zeitgeist.
While its critics will point out that the content was often a little light on the substance, one thing I always appreciated about the Bold Italic was their eagerness to find and pay for new local talent. Heck, they published my whacko tale of being an online Cyrano de Bergerac and it was a pleasure to work with them.
If anything, the Bold Italic’s demise means San Francisco is without a fun-loving, graphically-rich, and persistently young take on life in the city.
In an email to past contributors, Bold Italic editor Jennifer Maerz wrote, “We’re proud of the stories we’ve told about this amazing place where we live and work.”
Later in the day, Maerz published a lovely personal essay on Medium about her experience editing the site. While it doesn’t provide more details about what led up to the Bold Italic’s demise, it does sum up what made the site unique:
Where else would you see essays about race (“I’m Not Your ‘Black Friend’,” or “Are There Fat Asians? Yes. I’m One of Them”) coexisting with content about “Guys with Fancy Lady Hair” or our kid food review series, which landed one four-year-old on Good Morning America?….
The Bold Italic was an experiment in trial and error. We didn’t have strict guidelines about what we could or couldn’t cover, and we used our space in the media world to try out so many ideas, some of which resonated and others that fell completely flat or instigated streams of wrathful comments. But through everything, those of us committed to this site — from the staff to our wonderful pool of freelance writers and illustrators and made-up chart makers and photographers — we created this site out of love for our city and a passion for expressing that love in new and unusual ways. I’ll be forever grateful to Gannett for letting us help tell our cities’ stories in our own way.
The site will continue to remain viewable for a few months, but will stop publishing stories today.
We’ll update this post with additional information as warranted.