Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

SF Chron: Cheaper than paper towels

Posted by Richard Koman - May 18, 2007

So it's come to this. I'm a subscriber again.

About a month ago, I cancelled my subscription to the Chronicle. Over the past six months I'd watched the front page become filled with giant photos and human interest stories, while day after day news about the US attorney crisis, debates over Iraq and other major stories were relegated to nine inches on A12 - or not even run at all. Cruising the Web, I'd read things in the Times and the Post - not to mention the international press - that never appeared in San Francisco's only surviving daily.

Then yesterday I got a call from the paper, asking why I dropped it.

"Because it sucks."

There ensued a lengthy conversation in which the salesperson agreed he didn't read the "liberal rag" for the news, that there was sports and coupons and the pink pages and what the hell, you get some news in the bargain. He said "we really want you back" and the price was just 38 cents a week for Wednesday through Sunday delivery.

I figured this was one of those deals where it's 10 cheap weeks, then you're back on the seven days a week at 50 cents a day deals. I said I wasn't interested in coupons and it wasn't about the paper being liberal. "It's about the fact that Hearst Corp. has gutted the news operation and filled the front page with meaningless fluff."

Eventually he clarifies: $10 for six months of five-days-a-week service. And the kicker: "Just use it clean your windows. It's cheaper than paper towels."

So that's the state of newspapering today. They really are selling newspapers for birdcage liners. So, I went for it. $10 - what the hell? So if you want the Chron, I highly recommend dropping it and waiting for that ten-buck call.

And my wife misses the Cryptoquip.

Stanford pardody below:

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