Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rest in Peace, San Francisco Examiner

Newspapers are going under at a tremendous rate all over the country. The economy, the Internet and the fact that they haven’t been forward-thinking in adapting to changing times are the main reasons why. Cities that once had 2-4 daily papers are cutting down to 1 or 2.
I’m predicting the demise of the San Francisco Examiner. It may take 6 months; it could take a year—but the Examiner has a terminal disease and is simply waiting to die.
It’s easy to see what’s going on, even from the cheap seats. I don’t pretend to have any inside information, but I have two eyes.
On Sunday, we got 3 copies of the Examiner delivered to our door. We don’t live in an apartment complex with multiple units, and we normally only get one copy, so getting 3 seemed odd. Then, as I was walking my dogs, I noticed that every single house in our neighborhood got 3 papers dumped on their doorstep.
Now, the Examiner might blame it on a rogue delivery person. So, just out of curiosity, I kept walking, out of Pacific Heights and down to Cow Hollow and then onto the Marina. Every single dwelling got the same 3 newspapers.
Suddenly I realized what the Examiner was up to.
They’re falsely inflating their circulation—it’s so obvious. Advertising is based on how many papers are distributed, and they have to hit certain numbers in order to charge certain rates.
Today is now Tuesday and many of those same newspapers are still there from Sunday, sitting in gutters and on sidewalks, many of them rain-soaked and falling apart within their plastic bags. What a waste! How can the Examiner claim to be green when they’re doing something like this?
Also, the size of the paper has been slowly shrinking. Today’s Examiner is only 28 pages long. That’s not a newspaper—that’s a brochure!
It was bound to happen. The Examiner changed their format recently and, in my opinion, sealed there fate by doing so. They turned themselves into what I’m calling “The Chronicle Lite” – no in-depth news to speak of, but lots of celebrity gossip and photos.
Yes, the Examiner is going to die soon. There won’t be a funeral or a wake; you just won’t find it on your doorstep on Thursday or Sunday mornings. And it’s too bad—because it used to be a great paper and it could have been saved, if the people who ran it had changed with the times and taken some proactive moves to keep it profitable.

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