Thursday, March 19, 2009

Two opinions on the Chron's plight

Here's a stunner of a headline, at least for Bruce Brugmann's Bay Guardian: "Save the Chronicle!" He's been criticizing the Chronicle for 42 years for failing to cover stories and for its biased slant on others.
    But if the Chronicle dies, the city will lose an important, if often infuriating, civic institution. Hearst should not be allowed to turn San Francisco into the first major American city with no major daily newspaper — not without extensive oversight, hearings, and a chance for somebody else to take over the paper and try to make it work.
Brugmann also calls Speaker Nancy Pelosi's idea to loosen antitrust laws for local newspapers a bad idea. He urges her to instead push legislation barring a daily newspaper in a one-paper town from closing down unless and until the owners offer it for sale at a fair price and give someone else a chance to run it.

The second opinion is from Jon Mays, editor of the San Mateo-based Daily Journal and president of the Press Club. He also opposes Pelosi's proposal.
    Granted, everyone in the news industry is feeling the effects of the Internet on advertising but larger papers have layer upon layer of contracts, antiquated news gathering methodology and presentation in addition to a blatant ignorance of issues that matter most to the people who read newspapers.

    As newspapers got larger, and the Chronicle is the poster child for this in its quest to become a regional paper or the “New York Times of the West,” they ignored the bread and butter of journalism. That is, simply put, a focus on the community they serve.

    And any deal with MediaNews will not bring that type of focus. Instead, it will likely lead to further consolidation of reporting resources and more regional news that has little relevance to the people who rely on the newspaper for their primary source of information about the community in which they live.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Right on to Jon's point about local news. I stopped reading the Chronicle long ago when it they stopped covering the peninsula. That was probably 1999 or 2000. One day they just stopped printing stories that were from San Mateo. I waited for a while and then called. They told me they had closed their bureau. I like having several local free papers because they all approach news a little differently and, taken together, you get a good picture of what's going on locally. But to Jon's point, he's exactly right about local news.