American Journalism Review, in a lengthy article about layoffs in the Bay Area newspaper business, says former Knight Ridder chairman Tony Ridder of Woodside still reads the chain’s Mercury News every morning, but with a mounting sense of disappointment and sadness.
- “There’s less there there … Most newspapers are so incredibly important to the area they serve. Most of the great enterprise journalism is done by newspapers. They keep the government honest. They tell us about the state of the educational system. Who’s going to do it when they no longer can?”
The AJR article by Paul Farhi also discusses the cutbacks at the Chronicle.
- From a practical standpoint, [Executive Editor Phil] Bronstein can see the advantage to the Chronicle in Singleton’s editorial retreat (“It’s a shame that their quality is dropping, but as a competitor I’m happy,” he says). Yet he recognizes that this is a danger for his paper, too. “The problem is, you can get into a death spiral, where you’re less and less effective each time you have to cut something,” he says. “I can’t tell you that that’s where we’re at now. But is there a point when you’re no longer effective to readers? Probably there is. Is it a danger? Yes, it is.”