Robert MacMillan and Janet Kornblum
February 25, 2009
NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – San Francisco may lose its main newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, as owner Hearst Corp cuts a “significant” number of jobs and decides whether to shut or sell the money-losing daily.
The privately held New York-based publisher already is considering shutting a second West Coast paper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, in the face of a devastating decline in advertising revenue and big losses.
Founded shortly after Gold Rush fever hit California in the mid-19th century, the Chronicle has long been an essential part of daily life for many Bay Area residents, even as it sometimes disappointed or outraged them.
But the Chronicle lost more than $50 million last year and this year’s losses to date are worse, Hearst said on its website on Tuesday. It said the paper has lost “major” amounts of money since 2001, a year after Hearst bought the paper.
“Survival is the outcome we all want to achieve. But without the specific changes we are seeking across the entire Chronicle organization, we will have no choice but to quickly seek a buyer for the Chronicle or, should a buyer not be found, to shut the newspaper down,” said Hearst Corp Chief Executive Frank Bennack Jr.
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