By Barbara Falconer Newhall
Another newspaper has bit the dust. The last edition of the 150-year-old Oakland Tribune with its familiar gothic nameplate was stuffed into local news racks and tossed onto driveways around San Francisco’s East Bay on Monday morning, April 4. Twenty-four hours later, the Oakland Tribune would be no more.
It would be subsumed, along with a handful of other Bay Area newspapers, by what is now known as the East Bay Times, owned by the Bay Area Newspaper Group.
The Trib is gone. But dozens of Tribbers live on. Some have gone on to community relations jobs or in-house corporate publications. Some have retired or resorted to freelancing. Many have written books. A few, a very few, continue on as newspaper staff reporters, photographers, editors and printers.
Mourning the Oakland Tribune
Clearly, the demise of a major metropolitan daily calls for a wake. And, sure enough, emails were exchanged, and long-time sportswriter and author Dave Newhouse put an event together. Tom Henderson, a former Tribune paperboy now in possession of the old Trib Tower at 13th and Franklin in downtown Oakland, graciously opened the Tower’s doors for a tour.
It had been a while since my stint at the Tribune — 1980 to 1992 — but I wasn’t going to miss this wake.
Henderson treated us all to an elevator ride to the top of the Trib Tower. As a working stiff back in the 1980s, I’d never had the privilege of checking out the view from way
up there. It was spectacular. And the old city room — where a baby had been born in the women’s room some years before my arrival at the Tribune, and where, during the ’80s, staff diversity was said to match the diversity of the city it represented — had been beautifully renovated, complete with a cushy employee lunch room. Where reporters had sweated out their deadlines at mismatched desks on rickety office chairs under dingy ceilings, office workers now enjoyed tidy cubicles and bright, industrial-chic decor.
The Tribune Tavern — Hipster Hangout
The tech boom is pushing young creatives out of San Francisco and across the Bay to Oakland these days, which means trendy restaurants are now replacing the quick and predictable sandwich shops I frequented in my Tribune days.
After our tour of the Tower, we Tribbers treated ourselves to lunch at one of the new, spiffed-up places — the Tribune Tavern. The bustling place is owned by Trib groupie
Henderson, and the food is great. We former Tribune staffers might not be able to report for duty at our old newspaper any more, but at least there’s one congenial place in town that we can still call home.
Note to readers: You may have noticed that from time to time I’ll post (with permission) one of my old Oakland Tribune columns. They’re all about my days as a woman with a job, a husband, a couple of kids and a much-needed sense of humor.
Some of my favorites are: “How Much Life Is Enough? A Friend Dies,” “Kindergarten Looms for a Five-Year-Old and His Mom” and “‘Madman’ Exposes the ’60s Girdle — But Will She Get It Off in Time?”