00:59 AM

Firings show Chron cuts come from hard news

The Chronicle identifies some of those laid off last week. The list is notable for being weighted towards the serious journalists and editors, with a special emphasis on enterprise reporting. Among the fallen:

David Tong - assistant business editor. "David Tong came to The Chronicle in 1997 after many years at the Oakland Tribune. In his career as a business editor he has nurtured many reporters who went on to great careers, several at the Wall Street Journal." - Ken Howe, business ed.

George Judson - asst. ME for enterprise. "He oversaw some of the newspaper's major enterprise projects -- including much of the coverage of the BALCO steroids scandal, extensive coverage of global warming, a series on execessive use of force by city police and more." - Deputy ME Steve Proctor.

Gail Bensinger - foreign editor. "Gail was involved in some of the biggest stories of our time. It was her acuity that was largely responsible for the consistently outstanding files from Iraq, the Middle East and elsewhere that graced the Examiner's and Chronicle's foreign pages, not to mention Page 1. The "megagraphics" that she conceptualized and produced set the gold standard for reader service. Oh, and when she had the time, Gail also wrote beautifully. Her departure after 32 years of faithful, professional service represents an irreplaceable loss, for her colleagues and for the reading public." - National editor Andrew Ross

Marc Sandalow - Washington reporter. "His contributions to the paper over the years were enormous, but his under-fire direction of bureau coverage on 9-11 will always stand out. More recently his three-part series examining the career of San Francisco Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi was the first thorough look at the woman." - Politics editor Jim Brewer.