Hearst’s SF Chron to Cut Newsroom by 25%

Here’s the Chronicle’s own piece announcing the cuts:

Eighty reporters, photographers, copy editors and others, as well as 20 employees in management positions are expected to be laid off by end of the summer. Chronicle Publisher Frank Vega said Friday that voluntary buyouts are likely to be offered.

Vega declined to say whether the paper is continuing to lose $1 million a week, as Hearst attorney Daniel Wall stated in court in November during a hearing on an antitrust suit filed by San Francisco businessman Clint Reilly.

As the article itself points out this may accelerate further declines not shore up losses and stabilize the organization. Still, if the numbers above are real, there was a need to do something.

There are reactions from Dan Gillmor and many others, as well as related discussion from Mark Potts about the industry more generally. Some of the commentators discuss newspapers taking refuge in “hyper-localism.” There’s truth there — at least in terms of the importance of the local connection — but it’s not that simple. The challenges reside in a mixture of quality content, features and usability.

For years I’ve believed that “newspapers should own local.” A lack of resources, sometimes vision, but more often resolve and cultural inertia (until recently) have seen newspapers make incremental changes (with a few exceptions) while others have more aggressively pushed into their markets.

Newspaper sites have gotten much better but still aren’t as easy to use and engaging as some of their competitors.

One Response to “Hearst’s SF Chron to Cut Newsroom by 25%”

  1. Newspapers, HotJobs and Yahoo! « Screenwerk Says:

    […] Not long after the SF Chronicle’s 25% newsroom cuts were announced Media News’ San Jose Mercury plans similar staff reductions (via […]

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