San Francisco: Far Out on the Publishing Continuum
From its counterculture days to its present position on the cusp of Silicon Valley, San Francisco has nurtured a number of prestigious publications and the employees who make them run. Media stalwarts Rolling Stone and Wired were birthed in the Bay Area, and many magazine and tech media entities call this slice of the Left Coast home.
Kaitlin Quistgaard, who until recently was Editor-in-Chief at Yoga Journal, grew up in San Francisco, and returned to the city in 1997 to work at Wired. She describes a thriving media community in those "wild dot com days," one that was "really fun and super interactive. There were lots of events all the time where everyone got together." Even now, says Quistgaard "the San Francisco magazine community is small so you do know everyone, and everyone is friendly and supportive."
Another publisher who is very tied into the city is Ali Ghanbarian. Once a self-described "bored engineer looking for something different to do," he is now 27 years into his role as Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of SOMA magazine, a stunningly visual publication which he launched "to create a platform for the cultural community to have a voice."
"Most great magazines start in San Francisco," says, Ghanbarian, mentioning Rolling Stone, Wired and Parenting. "I love San Francisco. It's a beautiful piece of heaven on earth with cultural diversity, great weather and within three hours the most beautiful nature you can dream about." (A restaurateur as well, he also raves about the local cuisine and access to fresh ingredients.)
As to what feeds this thriving world of local publishing, he explains: "San Francisco has always been an intellectual city." The city, he says, "is a breeding ground for creativity and innovation, not just in technology but arts and culture." And as for the techies in town? Ghanbarian says: "they grab my magazine to be cool!"