San Francisco Chronicle may shut down

A brief mention of me was made in the newspaper last year. From Reuters

San Francisco may lose its main newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, as owner Hearst Corp cuts a “significant” number of jobs and decides whether to shut or sell the money-losing daily.

The privately held New York-based publisher already is considering shutting a second West Coast paper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, in the face of a devastating decline in advertising revenue and big losses.

Founded shortly after Gold Rush fever hit California in the mid-19th century, the Chronicle has long been an essential part of daily life for many Bay Area residents, even as it sometimes disappointed or outraged them.

But the Chronicle lost more than $50 million last year and this year’s losses to date are worse, Hearst said on its website on Tuesday. It said the paper has lost “major” amounts of money since 2001, a year after Hearst bought the paper.

I don’t see how those losses can be sustained. If drastic cuts are made, the product is likely to be vastly inferior and that’s not a way to get people to buy your product or sell advertisements in it.

I don’t rub my hands with glee as some do in the conservative blogosphere when news of a media outlet having financial difficulties is announced. Less news sources isn’t going to improve reporting, but do the reverse. Government corruption is more likely to be missed. Here in Palm Beach County, if it wasn’t for the work of the very liberal Palm Beach Post, three corrupt county commissioners may still be profiting from the public office they held. The Post helped to break one of the three, the other two’s demise could be chalked up to in part to the Domino effect.

We should mourn the death of a major daily newspaper, not celebrate it. Without papers like the Chronicle the Seattle PI and other newspaper, where are bloggers supposed to get the material they need to do commentary with?

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