San Francisco Chronicle cutting staff but may have to shut down

February 25, 2009

(ChattahBox) — San Francisco may lose its main newspaper the San Francisco Chronicle, as it continues to lose money. Founded in founded in 1865, it is the 12th-largest newspaper in the United States, according to the U.S. Audit Bureau of Circulations, with average weekday circulation of 339,430.

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

“Survival is the outcome we all want to achieve. But without the specific changes we are seeking across the entire Chronicle organization, we will have no choice but to quickly seek a buyer for the Chronicle or, should a buyer not be found, to shut the newspaper down,” said Hearst Corp Chief Executive Frank Bennack Jr.

The specific changes mentioned appear to be cutting a “significant” number of both union and non-union staff.

The Chronicle and its unions are expected to begin discussing the situation later Tuesday and on Wednesday.

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.

Hearst has said it might take the Seattle Post-Intelligencer online only or close the paper if it cannot find a buyer by mid-March.

Hearst owns several other papers throughout the United States including the Times Union in Albany New York, and the Houston Chronicle. It also owns magazines such as Marie Claire and O, The Oprah Magazine.


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