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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chronicle Newsroom to be Decimated

Posted By on Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 4:19 PM

click to enlarge armageddon29zb.jpg

Stop the presses! Actually, don't do that -- even we here in alt-weekly land don't want to see the demise of the city's last paid-circulation daily paper, the San Francisco Chronicle. But things are looking grim over at Fifth & Mission. Today, the union that represents Chron reporters met with members and shared the outlines of a deal offered by management that would result in major cuts to the newsroom.

Actually, it's hard to describe management's offer as a "deal." But when a paper is losing $1 million a week, there's not much room for negotiation. Chron execs reportedly want to lay off at least 150 members of the Northern California Media Workers Guild; most of those layoffs would come from the newsroom, which now has about 275 people working in it. (To see more details about concessions being sought by company negotiators, check out this story in the East Bay Express.)

The shit's coming down fast here, kids. Last week Hearst Corporation, which owns the Chron, said that unless significant cuts were made pronto, the company would sell or close the paper. A week later, it looks like the union is about to accept its cod liver oil. Sources at the paper predict that the guild's membership will vote on whether to ratify a deal by the middle of next week.

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