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The Impending Demise of San Francisco Newspapers

Randy Shawbyline‚ Jan. 14‚ 2013

Last week’s purchase of the SF Weekly by the owners of the SF Examiner and Bay Guardian was a shocking and telling development. It was shocking because few seemed to care, and telling because it showed the increasingly irrelevance of daily print English language media in San Francisco. I described in 2009 why the San Francisco Chronicle’s huge financial losses and circulation decline put its future as a daily print newspaper in doubt, and these losses have continued while the paper has fallen out of the top 25 in circulation for the first time (its print version had only 165,000 readers in March 2012, a nearly 50% drop since 2009). The Chronicle’s owner is looking to profit from real estate development, not journalism. Layoffs at the SF Weekly have begun and the staffs of the once combative weeklies will eventually merge. The end of the line for English language print newspapers in San Francisco is near.