The SF Chronicle’s Demise …

by on March 4, 2009

To the Editor:

We can’t really know how much or if Hearst is losing to the point of demise. It is a private company, but quite a good many educated guesses surmise they aren’t losing money; just making less. And when you are accustomed to a staggering 30 percent profit — which none of the big American Co’s are, the 15 percent they are believed to be reaping is peanuts.

None of these rich owners have stepped up to accept less in the greater good for their newspaper and the communities they cover. Even Radolph might cringe that profit means more than information in the news business. (Note the sinking of railroad business at turn of 20th century) They belly-up because no one in their field saw the railroads were in the transportation business.

In the 21st Century, newspapers think they are in the print business – they lost to fact newspapers are in the information business. Shame Shame, to the Hearst kingdom, and to the others who know this and say nothing about it. Because there is no wrong than when the money people sink the ship.

Maria Soler

To the Editor:

Are there any “public” newspapers? Would it be possible to follow the model of National Public Radio? I realize there are significant differences — such as the national w/ local affiliates structure — but I’m
curious about this.


To the Editor:

Certainly, “the Chronicle’s top management has ignored [its] progressive customer base,” but even as a “Contra-Costa” voice, a mediocre centrist product is still mediocre. Editorials appear slapdash, unsophisticated and oversimplified, the letters area is littered with tiresome, incendiary talking points to provoke liberals, and the local columnist, Debra J. Saunders, is underwhelming even when coherent, stocked with strawman arguments that don’t advance the debate, here or nationally. Likewise for the narcissistic Mark Morford. Also, front page reporting and political analysis vary considerably in accuracy and sophistication.

In short, as the regional audience grows more savvy, demanding greater complexity and range (as you provide), the Chronicle remains fixed in time, a master of the obvious, complacently offering the surface as if that’s all there is. Or, with Saunders, relying on a closed, ad hominem ideology, not insight or innovation.

A progressive newspaper would be welcome but competence must rule here too — and engaging, even riveting prose wouldn’t hurt either.

Robert Becker
Mendocino CA

To the Editor:

The Chronicle will be missed. Nowhere else will we get the same coverage of city politics that the Chronicle provides. We will be left with amateurss and even more narrowly scoped, politically charged and slanted coverage than we have now, from sources like BeyondChron, the Bay Guardian, SFWeekly, etc.

What we won’t get are perspectives from people who don’t always share our City’s views. I don’t necessarily agree with the Chronicle opinions, and I believe the paper panders to gays in order to sell papers, but I will miss it. We are better off as a society with a strong 4th Estate. Just as video killed the radio, the internet is killing newspapers.

Tony Belway

You can submit letters to the editor by clicking on this link: or by writing to:

Beyond Chron
126 Hyde Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
415-771-9850 (phone)

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