Sunset Beacon

Sunset Beacon Turns 30

Paul Kozakiewicz (center) accepts his certificate of honor for his decades of service to the community from former District 1 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer (left) and District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar at a ceremony at City Hall in May, 2019. Kozakiewicz, former editor and publisher of the Richmond Review and Sunset Beacon newspapers, created the first issue of the Sunset Beacon with co-founder Christopher B. Rivers 30 years ago this month. Photo by Michael Durand.

Editorial by Michael Durand

Paul Kozakiewicz should be feeling mighty proud this month. One of his “babies,” the Sunset Beacon newspaper, just turned 30 years old.

Running a community newspaper is the definition of a “labor of love.” Since I took over as the editor and publisher of the Richmond Review and Sunset Beacon newspapers more than two year ago, I have learned how much work goes into putting a newspaper together. 

I can only imagine the determination and love of this business Paul must have had 30 years ago when he, along with co-founder Christopher B. Rivers, started the paper in 1991.Starting anything from scratch takes a strong will, a clear vision, great skill and a LOT of hard work. When I think that Paul was the driving force behind the two papers for more years (33+) than I have been for months (30), it really elevates my level of respect and admiration for him – which started out high the day I met him.

There are many benefits that come with creating a neighborhood newspaper every month. Among the best are meeting my Sunset neighbors and hearing the comments I receive praising the papers. 

“Oh, I love the Sunset Beacon!” is a common response I get when meeting people. “My wife and I read every word of every issue,” one man said, echoing similar comments. “The Police Blotter is my favorite column,” is also a quote I hear often.  

In fact, meeting people is one of the very best parts of the job. This community has a wealth of fine people who love their neighborhood and are proud to be a Sunset resident. We are very lucky out here on San Francisco’s western edge.

The only reason the Sunset Beacon has stayed strong all these years is because we get such great support from our advertisers. To have local businesses contribute to help provide a free newspaper distributed throughout the district is a wonderful gift to the community. We sincerely appreciate our advertisers and encourage our readers to thank them and support them.

We are also supported by the San Francisco Neighborhood Newspaper Association (SFNNA) and the Bay Area Media Agency (BAMA) who help find advertisers looking for citywide exposure. Thank you!

We are very lucky to have a great team of writers, photographers, copy editors and other creative individuals who truly love what they do. I hope some day we will have a budget that allows us to pay them what they are truly worth. In the meantime, it is very gratifying to be able to provide an outlet for their creative spirits. 

While we’re on the subject of talent, we’re always looking for great writers, photographers, copy editors, layout artists and other related skilled contributors. Your local paper is a great place to use your skills, gain some experience or just learn more about the business and the community.

The columnists who contribute to the paper offer some interesting facts, opinions and perspectives for our readers. We thank them all for their significant contributions.

Sue Kozakiewicz, Paul’s wife and our trusted bookkeeper, has been with the papers from the beginning. Thank you for all your great work, Sue!

One of the newer achievements in the last 30 years is the expansion of our website. In 2019, we were averaging about 4,000 views per month. Now we get an average of 20,000 views every month. It’s a great place to find letters, photos, press releases, columns, cartoons, story archives and more. The website is also another great affordable advertising opportunity

We also have several social media accounts and are always looking for people who would like to contribute there, too. Look for us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

A special thank you goes to our loyal readers who are the inspiration for the work we do. We love our community and are proud to serve as a voice to help tell our stories. 

Two very important teams provide a significant service to the production of the papers. We are very grateful to the San Francisco Media Company for printing our issues, and to Scot Caldwell and his team for their work distributing the papers. Thank you.

Finally, to the throngs of Paul Kozakiewicz fans out there, he is doing great and loving retirement. His love for the papers can be felt in every issue. Paul edits every issue, catching typos, punctuation errors, missed page jumps, awkward headlines, factual mistakes, name spellings and offers many layout and editorial improvement suggestions. Just to be clear: If you find any errors, they’re all mine! I sometimes even make mistakes fixing an error Paul calls out to me. I thank him often for his help and mean it every time.

OK, back to work. Thirty years down, many more to go!

Michael Durand is the editor and publisher of the Richmond Review and Sunset Beacon newspapers and the website.

1 reply »

  1. Congratulations on a job well done, Paul. Thank you for highlighting my art business over the years, for the many wonderful local articles and your concern for our community. Happy Anniversary!


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