One day after Neil Henry lit up the mediasphere with his stark comments on the world of journalism in a brave new world of instant, independent media, more bombshells continue to drop at the San Francisco Chronicle, as the beleaguered paper saw its managing editor quit yesterday, despite not having a new job. In his leaving, he said the business model in the newspaper business "is clearly broken."
Not too long ago, San Francisco was a two-paper town, with the Chronicle and Examiner publishing every day. The Examiner functioned as an afternoon paper, including the closing day's stock prices, and the Chronicle was the paper of record. In a series of missteps, the Examiner cut back the number of editions, went to tabloid format, and all but disappeared. The Chronicle, the seeming victor in the race, has seen its own struggles, and is circling the drain in an extremely wired, connected landscape that is turning elsewhere for its media intake.
I was once a newspaper addict. I read the paper daily from the age of 12, scoured for newspaper headlines and editorials all over the nation when the Internet evolved, and seriously considered journalism as a profession, becoming a charter subscriber to the defunct Brill's Content, and making myself a student of the craft. But the landscape changed under my feet, and I was lucky enough to make the jump to a more forward-looking, aggressive environment. If others in the newspaper business don't make similar moves, many will find themselves starting their careers over, voluntarily or not.