The East Bay Express has been bought by Telegraph Media Group — ushering in new owners and ushering out editor in chief Nick Miller, who held the position for a little more than a year.
Owners of Telegraph Media, husband and wife Stephen Buel and Judith M. Gallman, have had a minority stake in the Express since 2007, overlapping with Buel’s own turn as Express editor in chief from 2001 to 2010.
An Oakland-based publishing company, Telegraph Media currently owns, in addition to the Express, Alameda and Oakland magazines, the East Bay Monthly, and Bay Woof — “news with bite.”
Gallman has edited Oakland and Alameda magazines since 2003 and will continue in the role with the acquisition of the Express.
Former co-editor in chief of the Express Kathleen Richards, who shared the role with Robert Gammon after Buel left it, will now be taking back the position in full. Richards was most recently managing editor of the Stranger, a Seattle weekly.
Buel and Gallman both described returning to the Express as a sort of homecoming.
“In the seven years since I last worked at the Express, I have often dreamed about reassembling the editorial team that worked alongside me in 2010,” Buel said in an email. “By bringing back (Richards), I am realizing my dream, but dashing Nick’s in the process.”
Started in 1978, today the Express has an alternative reputation with a penchant for watchdog journalism. The weekly paper covers news and culture in the East Bay, distributing 40,000 papers every Wednesday throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
The new acquisition was so swift that Telegraph Media has had little time to determine plans to distinguish between the linked publications. Buel, however, said in the email that their “extremely initial impulse is that the Express will be newsier, the magazines will be more narrative and the Monthly might become a bit more readerly and essay-focused.”
Under Miller’s leadership the paper has sustained extensive and in-depth coverage of local news making national headlines, such as the 2015 Oakland Police Department sex abuse scandal that continues to tear through OPD.
“He is a smart, hard-working editor who has assembled a talented team during his short time at the paper,” Buel wrote of Miller. “He’s been a picture of composure during this obviously painful development.” Buel added that he hopes Miller will remain connected to the paper as a contributor.
“I can’t help but be happy for Steve and Judy and Bob and Kathleen because I know how it feels to love a community and a paper and they get to come back to it,” Miller said. “They get to come back to the paper they love.”
After the acquisition was announced, Miller took to Twitter in an 11-part thread explaining the news — via an East Bay Times article — and his thoughts on the transition. Miller wrote, “It’s disappointing that I will not be able to see through my vision and oversee all the badass changes in the pipeline.”
Miller concluded his thread by giving former New York Times culture columnist David Carr the final word. Speaking on the difficulty of working in journalism, Carr said, “You get to … go out … find people more interesting than you, learn about something, come back and tell other people about it — that should be hard to get into.”