Readers say that the new SF Chronicle has greater depth, breadth, and is more current than the old version. (Context link: UK Guardian)
The San Francisco Chronicle has announced that in an effort to save money and provide readers with more up-to-date and in-depth news, they will start sending a day-old copy of the New York Times instead of the Chronicle to subscribers.
"We’ve piloted this approach to select households for the past three months, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive," said the Chronicle’s circulation manager Thomas Anderson. "We’ve had to cut back in the newsroom so much, that we’ve only been running a few pieces by Chronicle reporters in the 10-page first section of the paper," said the Chronicle’s managing editor, referring to Monday’s tissue-paper-thin issue. "It makes financial sense to instead close down our reporting operation and leave journalism to the professionals, as it’s increasingly difficult to hire NYT-caliber reporters or do investigative reporting with our current budget."
The Chronicle’s managing editor explained the rationale: “We thought about partnering with a paper with more reporters, like the Daily Californian, but the feedback we got from focus groups was that they preferred us sticking a “San Francisco Chronicle” masthead over yesterday’s New York Times and sending that out to readers.”
Oakland Unseen spoke with Janice Swanson, a Chronicle focus group participant, while she was double-parked in Latham Square:
"The new San Francisco Chronicle is a lot more timely and covers many more stories than the old paper. Yes, I miss the local coverage. But honestly, they only ran a couple local stories per day in between old wire reports. The Chronicle would occasionally report on the Bay Area’s most important stories, like fraternity guys moving into Fort Mason and Danielle Steel’s hedges, but the new format also has some real journalism with intelligent writing and analysis, and these reporters seem to be really up on New York politics. Kudos to them! I’m looking forward to their winter fashion insert and what they come up with for the crossword next Monday.”
When asked about how she thinks the disappearance of this local paper will negatively impact Bay Area residents, making them a less-informed citizenry, Janice Swanson replied that she didn’t see it that way. “I’m glad the Chronicle has gone this route. It saves readers money and recycles papers that would otherwise have been thrown away. Now is not the time to experiment with journalism or shake up print-first publishing models, like the Orange County Register is doing. The Chronicle is smart to outsource not only its reporting, but its layout, design, and printing as well.”