The Ark newspaper is an independent, locally owned subscription newspaper that covers the people and activities of the Tiburon Peninsula, which includes Belvedere, Tiburon, Strawberry and East Corte Madera.
The Ark is published once a week arriving in our subscribers’ mailboxes on Wednesdays. With newsstand sales and a pass-on factor of 2.36 (to account for more than one person reading the paper per home), The Ark reaches a paid readership of more than 6,000 people. From our subscribers to the residents who pick up the paper at The Ark’s office on Tuesdays so they can get the news early, our readers are devoted to the paper, reading it cover to cover, including the advertisements.
Kevin Hessel serves as The Ark’s executive editor. He joined The Ark in June 2011. Hessel came from the Marin Independent Journal, where he had been since 1999. He started there as an intern while still a journalism student at San Francisco State University, then was hired and eventually promoted to assistant news editor, design chief and online editor. He trained in newsroom leadership at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., in digital media at the University of California at Berkeley, and has guest lectured in design at San Francisco State.
Hessel heads a dedicated team. On the editorial side, Rebecca Wilson serves as assistant editor, editing special sections and the weekly calendar. Our beat reporters include Deirdre McCrohan, who covers Tiburon; Teri Roney, who covers Belvedere and peninsula crime; and Michelle Aschwald, who covers Strawberry and health care — as well a long list of talented writers who cover topics from sailing to appraising, from finance to features. Proofreader Azi Najafi ensures our editorial perfection.
On the business side, Director of Advertising Henriette Corn heads the ad team, which includes Laura Rousseau and Linda Peterson. Linda also handles subscribers and legal advertising. Art Director and Production Manager Joven Chacon leads a team of graphic designers, Josh O'Malley and Andrew Scott, who produce advertisements and design the paper itself. Office Administrator Michele Cuneo takes care of classified and service guide advertisers as well as the office. Alison Kern serves as publisher.
History of The Ark
The Ark was founded in 1973 by a group of local Tiburon Peninsula people who were upset with The Ebb Tide, the local paper at the time, for not publishing a promotional article on Ayala Day, an annual Belvedere-Tiburon party that was held on Angel Island. They decided to start their own newspaper, The Ark, which suffered financial difficulties until James B. McClatchy, of the highly respected McClatchy Co. newspaper chain, bought it out of bankruptcy in 1975.
Marilyn Kessler and Barbara Gnoss started at the The Ark in 1979, when it was under McClatchy’s ownership and the editorial leadership of Brad Breithaupt. Breithaupt, now at the Marin Independent Journal, hired both Kessler and Gnoss as feature writers. In 1985, Kessler and Gnoss started job-sharing the editorship, each one working four months working and then taking four months off. The arrangement, which was the envy of the community, allowed both Kessler and Gnoss flexibility to travel.
In 1987, Kessler, Gnoss and Steve McNamara, the former owner of The Pacific Sun, bought The Ark from McClatchy. The Ark enjoyed a productive run under their joint leadership. Kessler and Gnoss bought out McNamara’s share in 1999, continuing their unusual job-sharing arrangement as joint publishers and editors, and enjoying a long partnership at The Ark.
Unfortunately, Gnoss became ill in 2007. When her Ark responsibilities became too great, Judith Wilson took on Gnoss’ editorial role. Wilson (no relationship to Rebecca Wilson) had been at The Ark as a reporter editor since 1998, and special sections editor since 2003. To the dismay of the crew at The Ark and our community, Gnoss passed away in July 2009.
In January 2010, a four-partner ownership group was formed when George Gnoss, Barbara’s husband, sold her stake in The Ark. Alison and Arthur Kern (as AMMI, LLC) and Judith Wilson joined Kessler as owners. Under the new leadership arrangement, Kessler and Judith Wilson shared editorial responsibilities and Alison Kern joined the team as publisher.
After more than 32 years of writing for and leading The Ark, Kessler retired in February 2011. Her retirement marked the end of a remarkable era under the partnership of Kessler and Gnoss. Kessler sold her stake in The Ark to the Kerns.
Through it all, The Ark crew has been the heart and soul of the paper: filling the pages with excellent articles and photographs, and supporting the editorial content with advertising sales, subscription sales and fast-turn-around graphics.