Thursday, June 2, 2011

Story examines Chron's retreat from suburbs

In its series on layoffs in the Bay Area news business, SF Public Press has posted two more stories today:

The decline of suburban news bureaus. Angela Hart reports that the number of local offices of the Chronicle has gone from nine to one in the past decade. “Now just two bureau reporters, Lee and East Bay columnist Chip Johnson, remain in one office in Oakland that once accommodated nine. All the other satellite offices have shut down, most between 2005 and 2009, leaving Lee to cover breaking news (mostly crime) from Santa Rosa in the north to San Jose in the south to Pittsburg way out east — hundreds of square miles.”

Santa Cruz Sentinel maintains civic coverage despite cuts. Tom Honig describes the secret trip MediaNews Group CEO Dean Singleton made to Santa Cruz to check out the Sentinel before he bid on the newspaper. Honig details the changes at the Sentinel — 30 full-timers compared to 43 in the old days, but the number of stories per edition is up from 25 in 2000 to 33 in 2010. And there has been a sharp drop in wire stories and light features. “One could argue that the Sentinel’s shift to hard news has happened in spite of the paper’s ownership — not because of it,” Honig writes.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

My comment on an earlier post applies here as well:

"Classic. Yet another narcissistic case of the news business reporting about itself, when no one in the public cares."

Reporters will never change. If it affects their lives, then naturally the universe must stop and pay attention.

Anonymous said...

Instead of whining, they should be innovating -- creating their media outlets. You're not going to accomplish anything by lamenting over the way things used to be.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at whenever I pick up a Chronicle or Mercury-News and see how little local coverage they have. Both papers pack their A section with wire stories. Their local sections have maybe 7-10 local stories. They both have newsrooms of, what, 150 people? What do all those people do? Judging from bylines, you've got maybe 5 to 10 productive reporters at each paper. I realize you need others "behind the scenes" like copy editors, photographers, etc. But neither paper seems to have a very productive staff. And I can read wire stories on the Internet. They need to focus more on local news, and management needs to get everyone working. They're both doomed if they don't serve up more local content.

Anonymous said...

Re: "What do all those people do? Judging from bylines, you've got maybe 5 to 10 productive reporters at each paper. I realize you need others "behind the scenes" like copy editors, photographers, etc. But neither paper seems to have a very productive staff."

Yes, I've wondered about this too: The paper has correspondingly shrunk, so there's much, much less news hole to fill than before, and there is a lot more outsourcing of content from freelancers and such.