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SF Chronicle Owned By Craigslist? A Possible Future

According to Real Clear Politics, The San Francisco Chronicle is one of ten newspapers in trouble.  The total list in order from "still alive" to "almost passed on" is:

10. NY Daily News
9. LA Times
8. St. Paul Pioneer Press
7. Chicago Sun-Times
6. Detroit News
5. San Francisco Chronicle
4. Miami Herald
3. Philadelphia Daily News
2. Rocky Mountain News
1. Seattle Post-Intelligencer





The San Francisco Chronicle, at number five, may cease to exist if management and union can't get together on an adjustment to the collective bargaining agreement.  (UPDATE: Seattle P-I reported close to closure).  That did happen on Monday, with Thursday of this week set as the day for a large meeting for the Chronicle Guild to ratify the agreement.  As of the making of the video, no place was secured but that was to happen today, Tuesday.  It did according to Mediaworkers.org.

The day and time of the meeting is Thursday, March 12,  5-8 p.m respectively and the place is Cyril Magnin room, Parc 55 Hotel, 55 Cyril Magnin St in San Francisco (north from the Chronicle building on Fifth Street and across Market),  and discussion will be from 5:30-7:30 p.m.  They expect to have the vote at 7:30 p.m.

The Chronicle is threatening to cut 225 or more guild positions if the union that represents journalists and other employees doesn’t meet the company’s demands, according to Mediaworkers.org.

The paper has about 500 total guild members, according to a source at the Chronicle.

If the union does agree to concessions, then the paper would cut at least 150 guild positions. The paper wants workers to give up senority rights, cut back vacation and sick leave.  So the paper lays off employees, agreement or not. 

While this is happening, people are steadily moving online to get news.  The number of people visiting newspaper Web sites in January reached a new high,  according to the Newspaper Association of America.  During that month, 74.8 million unique visitors went to newspaper Web sites, an increase of
11% year-over-year and due to the interest in the Obama Inauguration.  It is the highest number of unique users recorded since the association started tracking online industry stats in 2004.

Meanwhile, San Francisco-based social listing site Craigslist drew  26.7 million unique visitors in May 2008 alone according to Nielsen Online.  That's just over one-third the total number of new visitors for all of the newspapers in their best month in history.  Craigslist earned $81 million in 2008, $55 million in 2007, and could "easily top $200 million" with some small increase in fees.  All of this with a staff of about 20 people. 



Craiglist is a giant, dwarfing the New York Times and SFGate.com in unique visitors by a large margin claiming 60 percent of daily page view traffic in an Alexa comparison with the two sites.  Why did the SF Chronicle not copy Craigslist?

Or more to another point, is the SF Chronicle going to merge with Craiglist?  I can tell you from a good source that conversations have taken place on some kind of relationship.  Will it lead to Craigslist
buying the Chronicle is anyone's guess, but it's a possible future.


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