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Hearst threatens to sell or shutdown SF Chronicle

Heart Corp has announced today that it will begin making short term cuts to both union and non-union staff in order shore up the paper that lost $50 million last year. If the company cannot get its spending under control, Hearst said it will put the paper up for sale and if no buyer is found, close the paper. The paper began in 1865.

Hearst announced back in January that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer was up for sale and if a buyer was not found by March it will close the Seattle paper.

Community Comments

#1 Ted Rall
February/25/2009
@ 8:41 am

Sounds like a typical management bluff to bust the union. They should hang tight. The Chronicle is too big to simply shut down. And if Hearst makes good on their threat, the state of California should expropriate the property and turn ownership over to the employees. This kind of behavior is way over the top, even for a corporation.

#2 Paul Fell
February/25/2009
@ 9:11 am

What I’m afraid is going to happen is that when one of these major dailies closes its doors it will set of an avalanche of newspaper closings nationwide.

What I hope for is down the road the publications that replace these dead ducks will be REAL newspapers run by REAL newspaper men. I hope a lot, though

#3 Mike Peterson
February/25/2009
@ 9:13 am

I doubt it’s a bluff.

Maybe the union should buy the paper. Snowball could be the editor and Boxer would be in charge of deliveries, and there’d be no more of this bluffing — They’d always make honest decisions in the best interests of employees and readers.

#4 Ted Dawson
February/25/2009
@ 10:39 am

Paul, I share that hope. Sometimes I think the best thing for the industry is if newspapers run by media giants start shutting down, so that new papers run by journalists can take their places.

#5 Steve Greenberg
February/25/2009
@ 12:52 pm

I worked at the Chron in 2000; this is unbelievable. But Hearst is a pretty cynical company these days.

I just wrote an analysis of the situation on my blog:
http://blog.cagle.com/greenberg/

#6 Zach Trenholm
February/27/2009
@ 9:19 pm

Well, considering that they have big plans/ $ invested with a large Canadian printing co. to open a new plant here in S.F.(in June) with state of the art printing presses to publish the paper, it does make one wonder what’s really going on…

Either way I’ve had a long working relationship Chron & would really hate to see it go. But beyond that bit of bias as well as cuts to staff & content that it’s experienced over the past few years, it’s still one of the best papers around, even nationally.

It’s web presence, SFGATE, with the almost the same content but far more immediate & timely, doesn’t have the same enjoyability….

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