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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Will The Chronicle Survive? Will Digital Papers Soon Replace Newsprint?

As a Bay Area commuter, most of my work days for almost 24 years have started with the San Francisco Chronicle as a regular morning companion. In the early days Herb Caen's column was a favorite morning read. Lately, Jon Carroll's column has provided many wry smiles. Sports, Business, then the front pages, then Bay Area and World, finishing up with Datebook, Food on Wednesdays, and what used to be Wine on Fridays.

Recently the sections and layouts have been modified but my reading habits have followed their usual trails. Last Friday, I had to take this newstand photo as the news is not so good these days for the Chron. Will it still be on the stands next week, next month, next year? After more than 140 years of publishing daily news and entertaining features, the paper has been losing $50 million a year and the Hearst Corporation must now find ways to save or it will be the end of the Bay Area's major daily newspaper. Founded in 1865, the Chronicle ranks as the daily with the 12th largest circulation in the U.S. But like so many traditional newspapers, its future is now in question. Will all of our major papers be replaced by digital editions this year, next year, or sometime in the next decade or so? Will the Chronicle survive as an online resource?

On the same day that I shot the Chronicle in the newspaper vending machine, some online research pointed me to a moving video that tells how the Rocky Mountain News, another major urban newspaper, reached the end of its long life. All who love journalism will appreciate the story as told by those who worked for the paper. And commuters may have another reason to move their daily news reading habits online. Click here

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