There have been two separate San Francisco magazines published in San Francisco. The first was started in the 1970s and published for many years, under a series of different publishers, until it went out of business around 1985.
The second magazine has its roots starting in 1955, when San Francisco public broadcasting station KQED-TV began publishing a programming guide called KQED in Focus. The program guide began to add more articles and took on the character of a regular magazine. The name was later changed to Focus Magazine and then to San Francisco Focus. In 1984, a new programming guide, Fine Tuning was separated off from Focus, with Focus carrying on as a self-contained magazine.
In the early 1990s, San Francisco Focus was the recipient of number of journalism and publishing awards, including a National Headliner Award for feature writing in 1993. In 1996, KQED sold San Francisco Focus to Diablo Publications in order to pay off debts. The magazine was spun off into an independent entity in January 1997. In October 1997, the magazine re-branded itself as simply San Francisco. In 1999, new management took over and Editor-In-Chief Bruce Kelley arrived in June 2000. Under Kelley's leadership, San Francisco has been nominated for two National Magazine awards and has garnered three Maggies as Best City and Regional Magazine from the Western Publications Association (2006, 2007 and 2009). In 2005, San Francisco was sold to Modern Luxury Media (a nationwide conglomerate of city and lifestyle magazines).
Fifth-generation San Franciscan Steven Dinkelspiel stepped to the head of San Francisco magazine as the publisher in March 1999 after working as both circulation director and general counsel for the magazine. After the merge of the magazine with Modern Luxury, he became the president of the magazine. With a B.A. from Yale University and a law degree from Stanford, he was a local district attorney for seven years, as well as a private business consultant specializing in libel law.
Editor in Chief
Jon Steinberg became editor-in-chief of the magazine in February 2012, before which he was a Senior Editor at New York Magazine.
American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME)
ASME'S "Ellie" Awards are the Oscars of Publishing
- Finalist, Personal Service: "The New School of Fish," by Erik Vance, 2012
- Finalist, General Excellence (Special Interest Magazines), 2011
- Winner, General Excellence, 2010
- Finalist, Public Interest: "War of Values," by Danelle Morton, 2010
- Finalist, Public Interest: "Innocence Lost," by Nina Martin, November 2004
- Finalist, Public Interest: "Trouble in the Presidio," by Kerry Tremain, December 2001
City & Regional Magazine Awards (CRMA)
The CRMA's annual awards honor the best city and regional publications throughout the country.
- Gold Award, Civic Journalism: "Innocence Lost," by Nina Martin, November 2004
- Bronze Award, General Excellence, 2003
- Bronze Award, Reporting: "The Brobeck Mutiny," July 2003
- Bronze Award, Special Issue: "Think Green," June 2003
- Silver Award, Special Issue: "Our Dot-com Decade: What Really Happened," April 2002
- Bronze Award, Reporting: "What Just Happened Here?," April 2002
- Bronze Award, Food and Dining Criticism: Josh Sens's monthly review "Critical Dish" ("The Best Restaurant," July 2002; "Now We're Not Cooking," September 2002; "A Maison of His Own," November 2002)
- Bronze Award for General Criticism: Dana Goia's classical music criticism ("Good Lord!," December 2001; "Glass Appeal," October 2002; "Moulin Rogue," September 2002)
The Western Publications Association honors the "Best in the West" in editorial and design excellence in magazine, periodical, and online publishing.
- Best Feature Article/Consumer: "What Happened to Black San Francisco", Sept. 2006, by Jaimal Yogis
- Best Feature Article/Consumer: "What it Really Means to be Green," June 2003
- Best Regularly Featured Department, Section or Column/Consumer: "City Journal"
- Best City & Metropolitan/Consumer: April 2006
James Beard Awards
These are the highest honors in the land for food journalism.
- Winner, Best Food and Culture Writing, "The Toxic, Abusive, Addictive, Supportive, Codependent Relationship Between Chefs and Yelpers," Rebecca Flint Marx, August 2014
- Finalist, Best Feature Writing, "King of the Mall," Maile Carpenter, August 2004
- Winner, Best Feature Writing, "Eating in Michael Bauer's Town," Maile Carpenter, August 2001
- San Francisco Review of Books
- Modern Luxury