Friday, April 4, 2014

The Future of the San Francisco Chronicle; Up in the Air? Friday Opener

 I was talking to a columnist in town not so long ago and he predicted, matter of fact, that the Bay Area would become a one-newspaper town. He didn't say what paper but from all indications it would not be the SF Chronicle. (He didn't work for the Chron).


Which got me to thinking: What about the future of the paper? Without the vast financial pockets of the Hearst Corporation, (which owns the paper), would the Chronicle even be around now? Probably not and this isn't a sudden phenomenon in the newspaper business. Most newspapers are dying and the only ones that are surviving are behemoths like the Wall Street Journal and only marginally, the NY Times. And both of those survive mostly from their pay wall web sites, which are one of the few that are profitable.


The Chronicle and more specifically, SF Gate. com (its website), has tried the pay wall route in various forms but it never worked. The Gate is immensely popular, (even with the largely soft news and  image-friendly real estate porn), but according to most industry people, has never turned a profit. Matter of fact I heard the Chronicle loses several millions of dollars a year.


As a consumer of news myself I buy the paper. I still like the feel of actual newsprint but I also read SF Gate too. I couldn't imagine San Francisco without the Chronicle but then again if it continues to lose the millions it reportedly does, how can Hearst keep it going? There has to come a point.


Do you all still read newspapers or is it Internet only? Or like me, both. I'm interested in your response.


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41 comments:

  1. Both. For sure. I get tired of looking at everything on a screen be it a monitor or a smart phone.

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  2. I do, but I don't subscribe to one anymore. I use to get the Chronicle when I lived on the Peninsula for many years, (and do again) then I moved to Benicia, changed my to the Contra Costa times, could not imagine beginning my day with a paper, especially on Sundays, breakfast in bed one of 2 cats sleeping at the foot of the bed, birds singing outside my condo's bedroom window, it was heaven. Couldn't imaging snuggling up in bed with a computer or IPAD. However, when I moved back to the Peninsula money was tight for awhile, so I would just buy the Sunday paper, usually San Mateo Times. I don't anymore I do in fact get in the Computer every morning. One reason is that papers are not what the use to be, still like all the insert and Sunday Magazine, but lot of local, real estate info, things to do, is pretty scaled down and you get better info on the internet. We get the paper where I work (retail) whenever we have an advertisement, often Sundays and midweek, it is the San Jose Mercury news, no else pick up the paper of read it, so I do, and I still enjoy it. Also pick up the "Examiner" whenever I go remember, I usually have to make an extra stop to pick it up, so it is not that often, I like especially on Sundays

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  3. For me, it has been Internet only for about the last 17 years. Primary reason? I already pay for internet, and I am cheap!

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  4. The Chronicle will go out of business, in part based on biased instead of impartial reporting which makes it to me, no loss.

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    1. Agreeded!!!!

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    2. The SJ Mercury is also biased, during the run up to the York's moving the 49ers Stadium form SF to Santa Clara, the Merc, & the SF Chronicle were "both" overwhelmingly for the move to the South Bay?! So much for bias....smh.

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  5. I read both but, Internet is news while the paper is olds (old news).

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  6. I like the idea of a newspaper, and I don't like reading news on the internet unless I have to. A friend of mine who is an eye Doctor tells me that in 20 or so years, we're going to have a huge number of people in this world who are going to have major vision problems because of all of the staring that they've been doing for so long at screens. He says that over an hour of screen time a day is not a good thing for the eyes!

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    Replies
    1. I'm in my 50s, and I have been regularly staring into these screens for almost 30 years. With the exception of some periodic eye strain, my eyes are fine. And I do get them examined each year.

      This may sound trite, but a diet rich in nutrients that are good for the eyes really does help. That, and getting enough sleep!

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  7. I just stopped my subscription this week and I'm still getting over it.

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  8. How can SF Gate be losing money on the net? You pay for the site...and then put what you paid staff for doing on the paper on to the net. How expensive can that be? No second set of reporters or writers. But a second set of advertisers.
    I read the paper for news. The PC is never fast enough for one,and the papers articles are longer.

    Radnich updates: The chit chat between Raddy,Pam and Jackie is now only Pam and Raddy. Jackie is off the set now during those times. Maybe being the butt of those "You'll be in Los Angeles any day now" jokes sank in.
    And I sure would like to know what he has that Kate wants. That was scary weird,way past awkward, yesterday.

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    1. No one finds your 'Raddy updates' interesting. Keep them on your site.

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    2. I second that. Stan, get psychiatric help or whatever is else necessary to cure your Radnich disorder. But please, just stop. Enough already. It's pathetic and tiresome. If you don't like Radnich, STOP WATCHING.

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    3. Awww,cant accept that the most popular topic is what Radnich is up to?-lol. That's just a fact. I get 4-5x more views on any Radnich topic. I'm sure Rich see's the same thing here..or more.
      Nobody ever went broke selling to the public what it wants. I invented that saying..so write it down as my quote.

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  9. For me it's both and its always been the Mercury News. If the Bay Area did become a one newspaper town I'd bank on the Mercury News or one of the Bay Area News Group papers (of which the Mercury News is one of the largest in that group). I have never purchased a Tribune, Chronicle only for some Giants commemorative sections, and maybe a USA today for the color covers.

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  10. Used to be everyday, now only on Sundays.

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  11. I still like to read a newspaper even though they are not what they once were. I like the feel of holding one and I am the same way about books. Also, if I try to read anything on a screen for a fair amount of time, my eyes get blurry and I end up with a headache.

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  12. I was thinking the other day along these lines...Net vs Paper. Since going to Comcast has anybody read a single word Monte Poole has written? Not me. Ray Ratto?..nope,nothing. Ann Killian at Comcast was so watered down she didn't write about any real controversial topics like she now does again at the Chron.
    The newspaper living or drying I cant predict..but they are better then the internet for local news.
    Marcus Thompson might not be up to Monte level yet. But,HIM I read.

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    1. You're exactly right, Stan. Baggarly was great on the Giants beat writing for the Merc. Maiocco was the gold standard on the 49ers beat even though he wrote for the small town PressDemo. It's embarrassing and frustrating to see them now writing inane fluff pieces for CSN. Pavlovic has filled in nicely for Baggarly at the Merc but there's still a big empty void at the PressDem for 49er coverage.

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    2. I have continued to read those writers. Follow them on Twitter and when they write an article they post their link. It isn't difficult.
      They were employed by different papers anyway, unless you had the time to purchase and read two newspapers you didn't read them anyway.

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    3. At StansFan: This is Pavlovic's third year. He's way better than Baggarly was who had a H-on for Aubrey Huff....broke the thong item that was meant to be in house and was ASKED to keep it in house and broke the divorce filing by Huffs Mrs....even tho all scribes had the news but Buggarly HAD to put it in print...then when Huff gave Schulman the Anxiety exclusive interview Baggarly went crazy....with even more hatred towards Huff. He broke the Cabrera item TOO soon. Had it correct but needed to be FIRST then had to apologize. Baggarly is from Chicago and he'll be doing Cubs Comcast in a few yrs down the road....IMO

      -San Carlos Bob-

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    4. Thank you S'F- I meant to add that Maiocco was the big name for scoops..for years. Now? He does cute commercials for Comcast. Its not like before. Nice call S'F.

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  13. I look at SF Gate and I read Chronicle digital edition because I live in an apartment and when I did have print copy delivery it was hit and miss to my door. Sometimes left out front of building, etc.

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  14. How does a free paper like the SF Examiner stay in business?

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  15. I went digital newspaper several years ago and love it. Decided to take the Sunday newspaper a while back but canceled it. Hate dealing with all the paper. I really thought I would miss the physical newspaper but don't. Additionally with the digital version you can access old articles via the archives button..

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  16. The Chron subscription is generally expensive and deals are hard to come by. I tried a delivery and digital combo deal and after I signed into the on-line version I saw that delivery became irregular. I think they were trying to wean me off the delivery and hope I was happy with digital only. I wasn't and I canceled both sides. They should learn not to play games.

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  17. i subscribe to the physical Cron and pay for digital subscriptions to the LA times and the NY times.
    It's only fair.

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  18. ".. he predicted, matter of fact, that the Bay Area would become a one-newspaper town."

    God forbid it's the Contra Costa Times, which the BART vendor is always left with a stack of because most riders prefer the Chron. No surprise. The Times is full of ads and wire.

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  19. I love to read and I crave information, but as America's newspapers systematically vaporize in a death spiral I can only react with indifference. What is it exactly that we're losing? Certainly not the impartial news reporting that was long and loudly claimed. The American press has never really been in the news business, at least not once it found it more profitable to peddle influence wrapped in entertainment. That said, at least this country enjoyed a few decades where there was diversity of influence peddlers -- so one could chose his slant, but those days ended after the industry was overrun by the arrogant outcasts of the baby boomer generation. An uglier, more biased collection of misfits I've never seen.

    The internet destroyed newspapers for one simple reason: it was no longer necessary to go to the news stand to get your fill of slanted hyperbole, half-truths, and character assassinations. Had it been honest, professional journalism they'd been selling, the public would still be buying.

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  20. Internet. But then again I'm old but probably younger than most of the people that read you. I don't like "being told". I like to search things out myself. That's why I hate television "news" as well. I'm not interested in sports for instance, or the latest pull on your heart strings, or cute moments with animals or children. I want the news, straight, no chaser. You have to look for it.

    The Chron SFGate are terrible but they're better than say the Press-Democrat out here in Slowcoma. That is one awful newspaper.

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  21. One more for Friday on KRON for 415 readers. Jackie had on a very short skirt and I tell you all,that's the only way she can get any leg shot of herelf on TV. For some strange reason,its now a no-no to show all your weather woman head to toe in a shot. And with Jackie KRON keeps it at waist high and above-mostly.
    She has gear strapped to her thigh? So? adds to the sexy super woman look. If we have to look at all of Spencer Christian or Steve Paulson on 2, whats the fear with all Jackie?
    Higher somebody beautiful...then hide her. Make any sense? nah.None.

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  22. To quote Charles Foster Kane:

    "You're right Mr Thatcher. I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next year. You know Mr Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in......sixty years."

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  23. One last on SF GATE. They should blame Phil Bronstein who took that massive paper and reduced it to a shell, and made the online version something like tabloid World Daily and Bat Boy. When he wrote that ed-op on commenter's going to lowest denominator,uncivil? I had to guffaw since his papers website was king,invented the snark.
    Phil got rid of talented writers and steered that paper into the gutter. He ran it as well as he ran that marriage of his. The Comodo Dragon biting his foot couldn't have been a more perfect metaphor.

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  24. I grew up reading the Chron and Time. I cancelled them years ago for being so crummy and biased. Now subscribe to nothing, get all my info from the net.

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  25. Live in the South Bay, and subscribe to both the Mercury and Chronicle. Still love the physical paper. I'm originally from the city, and want to keep up on all things SF, but since I also want to keep up with the local High School sports and real estate happenings, I also take the Mercury. Also, you pick up a lot of things scanning the paper. Internet stuff is a lot more specific and less scattered. Pretty pricey for what I get. Realize it won't be long before home delivery will cease to exist...so hanging on while it lasts.

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  26. If the bay becomes a one-paper town, my bet is on the Bay Area News Group. Better coverage of the entire bay area when you combine all of its papers. BTW, BANG should consolidate their dozen or so papers into one brand, as it would be nice to have truly one paper that covers the entire Bay Area. The Chron is waaaaay too slanted towards S.F. news and a bit of Oakland, and that's pretty much it.

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  27. I am puzzled as to just why the SF Chronicle did not do what the SJ Mercury did...The SJ Mercury expanded their circulation all the way out to the East Bay, Contra Costa County, & San Joaquin County...

    As a long time time subscriber to the SF Chronicle when I lived in the City, I would really like to "still" like to receive the Chronicle out in Tracy delivered to my home. But when I asked if they delivered out here, they said "no, you can get the Chron at the newsstand boxes in the Tracy area." In my humble opinion the SF Chronicle dropped the ball on this one.

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  28. I used to subscribe to the SF Chronicle, Monday - Sunday, but since I am currently out near the Tracy area, & the Chron, does not deliver here...I get my news from sfgate, and get a Sunday Newspaper from the East Bay Circulation, which is the SJ Mercury, which to me is horrid....But its the only game in town.

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  29. Even though the subscription prices increase every quarter due to paper printing costs, I continue to support the delivery aspect for the San Jose Mercury News. The Monday and Tuesday issues are slim and the news content for Saturday seems sparse. Sometimes, the newspaper is a "quick read" for some reason. I've considered asking for discounts or too cancel whenever another increase notification is provided, but I figure I can absorb the newspaper circulation cost for now...

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  30. You tell that columnist..If anything,in a few years the online will be supporting the printed paper.
    You can't run video commercials in pressed wood...

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