There's still plenty of life in newsprint: Welcome The Boston Guardian

The Boston Guardian, a new weekly newspaper that’s the successor to the recently closed Boston Courant, has come out with its first edition. The paper serves Boston’s downtown, Back Bay, Beacon Hill and Fenway neighborhoods and will soon expand circulation into the booming Seaport District.

The profitable Courant had a hefty circulation of 40,000 and The Guardian will probably do at least as well.  While it has a somewhat different design than The Courant it will cover the same sort of topics, especially development and politics.  I hope  that they also do more profiles of the many curious characters who live and/or work in their circulation area, one of the  world’s most stimulating urban centers.

David Jacobs is the editor and publisher and his wife and longtime business partner, Gen Tracy, is the associate editor of the new paper – the functions they had as The Courant’s owners. Jennifer Maiola is the managing editor of the new paper, as she was of The Courant.

Neither Mr. Jacobs nor his wife own The Guardian. Rather, a group of investors have capitalized it to let the couple and their colleagues continue to serve their community. {Disclosure: The duo are friends of mine, and I have long admired their commitment to community journalism, not to mention their ingenuity, good humor, civic courage and resilience.}

Mr. Jacobs and Ms. Tracy have gotten a lot of attention for deciding to push back against the idea that all print publications must have a Web site. They  have come to see such sites as just sucking money, energy and attention from the profitable print product, which, in any event, their readership prefers over staring at screens for coverage of their neighborhoods. And of course Web sites, as wonderful as they can be, are also fertile ground for cut-and-paste plagiarism of copyrighted journalistic work.

The Courant was closed on Feb. 5.  In what many legal and media observers saw as an outrage against justice, The Courant lost a wrongful-termination suit from an executive hired to help increase advertising sales.

Mr. Jacobs said that the judgment with interest grew to about $300,000, with $250,000 in legal fees, forcing the couple to shut The Courant and liquidate its assets.

But The Guardian will now take up where The Courant left off as a source of rigorous, useful and often entertaining reportage about the heart of Greater Boston.

-- Robert Whitcomb