Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Q&A with the Chronicle's new editor

The new editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, Ward Bushee III, is a native of Watsonville and the son of Register-Pajaronian editor Ward Bushee Jr., a Pulitzer Prize winner. That fact wasn't lost on Jondi Gumz of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, who did this Q&A with Bushee. The first question: What was the most important thing you learned from your father? Read more

Meanwhile, the SF Weekly's Benjamin Wachs suspects that Bushee wasn't hired to improve the paper's journalism but to restore the Chronicle to profitability. Wachs points out that Bushee comes from Gannett, which continues to make money despite the downturn in the newspaper industry (See Yahoo Finance's numbers for Gannett: profit margin 14%, operating margin 24%). Wachs quotes Poynter's Rick Edmonds as saying:
    "We’re looking at a guy who will very much work with the business side to do what he can to improve performance pretty quickly ..."
Edmonds also says a change in direction at the Chronicle is possible if Bushee does in San Francisco what his paper in Phoenix has done:
    “The most interesting similarity between the Phoenix market and the San Francisco market is that they have this very broad sprawl out from the center, and the one of the Chronicle’s biggest problems is that their core city, where they can expect to have high penetration, is pretty small -- and then they have strong local competition everywhere they go ... That’s not something that works well for advertisers. He’s got a record for getting attention to a central city paper and website from these outer cities.”

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