The Malibu Surfside News reappeared in newsstands this week, the first issue since it ceased publication in June, when long-time editor and publisher, Ann Soble, became gravely ill. Soble's son, Mark, broke the news about his mother in an editorial in the paper's June 13th edition, and said he was looking for someone to take over. In August, the sale of the newspaper to former U.S. Senate candidate Jack Ryan, co-owner of an Illinois-based chain of weeklies, was announced.
The new version of the 37-year-old paper is a smaller tabloid than the original, with the front page nature photo, a hallmark of Soble's tenure, replaced by community news and an ad. Inside there's a mix of news and features, as well as a new -- and savvy -- emphasis on prep sports.
The verdict so far? The writing's smooth, photos are plentiful, and the paper's ad staff has done a decent job of filling the pages. Online, what had been a weekly PDF of the print edition is now an actual web site. Though in September former Arcadia Patch editor Natalie Ragus tweeted the news that she would be the paper's new editor, she's now identified as a contributing editor and doesn't appear in the masthead. The "here we are" note in the inaugural edition was written by Heather Warthen, the managing editor.
I'm glad we're back to being a two newspaper town, and watching the new Surfside News and the Malibu Times compete should be fun. Mostly though, I'm sad. I already miss the original Surfside News. It was odd and lumpy and defiantly quirky and, best of all, it was that fast-vanishing rarity -- Old Malibu.