Man Bites Dog – Chronicle to Lay Off 25%

I have little sympathy for the Chronicle, it was a shit awful newspaper before Hearst acquired them and in the years since it has improved little. In reporting on their own demise, the newsroom is putting out some novel spin by suggesting that online readers will suffer because Google News doesn’t actually publish anything…

Analysts predicted the reductions at The Chronicle could have repercussions for readers. While an increasing number of people get news from online aggregators such as Google News and Yahoo, those stories are most often originally reported by print journalists.

I would like to know what “analysts” made that prediction because it’s factually inaccurate as Google News prints headlines and then links to the source article. Another analyst had this to say:

“…is that 25 percent of what goes on in the Bay Area won’t be covered. It will happen in the dark. … Our research shows that there is a lot of information that appears in a daily newspaper that doesn’t get covered by TV stations or citizen journalists or bloggers when a newspaper’s staff is cut.”

I think that’s a pretty broad brush stroke considering that the Comical doesn’t seem to cover much outside of San Francisco and Marin, meaning Oakland and the rest of the East Bay, the Peninsula, and San Jose don’t have much reason to subscribe to the newspaper to begin with, which may explain why they are #13 in circulation for major U.S. daily newspapers despite having one of the largest metropolitan regions when taking total population from Sacramento to San Jose into account. To suggest that “25 percent of what goes on in the Bay Area” won’t get reported on is just crap when so little of what goes on in the Bay Area actually gets covered by the Chronicle.

I live on the Peninsula and find little reason to pick up this newspaper. My observation is that the international, national and statewide news they report is coming from the AP (although Ms. Marinucci does report from them on politics), I don’t give a crap about sports (and if I did I would certainly get that online), and their business coverage is pretty thin.

SFGate is a pretty good website but the redesign of the Mercury make them stiff competition. Anything I want to buy/sell is going to go online, either through Craigslist or Ebay, and their blogs are nothing but rant fests.

Newspapers are a dying business as they currently exist and on the trajectory they are on the Chronicle will become a much much smaller business. There is in fact a segment of the market that actually wants to get a print newspaper on a daily basis, but overwhelmingly that demographic is literally dying off and there is little chance that the under-40 segment is going to grow an appreciation for print news.

There’s that old cliche about buggy whip manufacturers at the turn of the 20th century, but the fact of the matter is that there are still some buggy whip manufacturers in busines… and their primary market today is probably the Amish. The newspaper business ultimately will be proved to be the buggy whip business of the 21st century. Now the business of journalism is probably brighter than ever, it’s the business of newspapers that I am referring to…

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