In a recent DBD, posters discussed the state of newspapers. Let's see what's happening in the world today, courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner. Japan struggles with nuclear meltdown and digging out from a cataclysmic disaster. American and European planes pound Libya. War continues in the Middle East. California lurches towards insolvency. What do the leading papers in one of the world's great cities have to tell us?
The San Francisco Chronicle
Its masthead proclaims it as "California's Best Large Newspaper". LA Times Sucks! What are the metrics for this? Should we be trumpeting dominance over what's left of the once-great San Jose Mercury and the Sacramento Bee, with its interesting new marketing strategy of bashing government and state workers, surely an insignificant part of its readership and business model? No time for such navel-gazing, let's get right to the headlines, in order of space devoted thereto on the front page:
BART has new signage! It's now possible to determine whether the train you are boarding is taking you to San Francisco Airport or Pittsburg [LOL SBN spellcheck hates the East Bay!]. In other good news, BART is apparently unique among all governmental agencies and subdivisions in California and the US because:
with a small budget surplus forecast for the year ahead, this is an ideal time to begin rolling the changes out systemwide.
So thank you to all BART riders who made this possible via paying increased fares for the last few years and the loving taxpayers of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Your sales tax contributions are valued. This irony is not addressed, however, in the article.
And you, online readers, will have to take my word for it because I bought the print version.
This story is exclusive to the Chronicle's Tuesday print edition and will not appear on SFGate.com until 12:01 AM on Thursday, March 24.
I'll pause while you run out to pick this edition up. In the meantime I'll whet your appetite with the two gripping photos accompanying this cutting-edge report.
The only photo appearing in full above the fold:
Straddling the fold is this heart-wrenching image, possibly guaranteeing a Pulitzer all on its own:
The caption in the [EXCLUSIVE!] print edition: The Ashby Station in Berkeley has a variety of signs designed to help BART passengers navigate. I can just imagine late last night the word coming down from editorial: STOP THE PRESSES! WE'VE GOT PHOTOS COMING FOR THE FRONT PAGE! RED ALERT! HOODED MAN WAITS GLUMLY FOR BART TRAIN AT ASHBY!
The other article above the fold is Landmark clean-air law dealt a setback: Judge rules that state needs to consider other options. I will leave all legal commentary on the case itself to the erstwhile CGB Supreme Court, but I would like to observe here and now that "state needs to consider other options" is one of the most boring subtitles I have ever seen for any article in any newspaper. It's Onion-worth
y. I'd also like to note that the above two articles, worthy of the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle, are virtually impossible to find at the moment at SFGate.com without actually searching for them. They're not on the front (web) page, not even in footers or twitter links.
The above articles take up about 1/3 of the space above the fold. The left 1/3 or so of the space is a "Top of the News List" that points you to stories within the print edition. Of the 6, 3 are wire reports via AP or Bloomberg. The hard-hitting local reporting covers the other two: one about the stanfurd women's basketball team, and a profile of the fellow who drives the toy steam train at the SF Zoo. The final article is Lance Williams on the Barry Bonds trial (see below).
The remainder of the above-the-fold space is a picture of a Libyan rebel wearing goggles, and the right 1/3 of the top is an "Arab World Unrest" blurb with a near-incomprehensible crowd shot from some country with a black, white, and red flag. It links to two wire articles, one on Yemen and one on Syria.
Below the fold, about 1/3 of the space is taken up with the BART article. About 1/3 is consumed by an advertisement for the SF Flower and Garden Show. The remainder is split by two articles actually written by Chron writers, one on the trial of accused murderers of Chauncey Bailey, and one on a YouTube post made by Governor Brown appealing to voters about a possible tax extension vote. Decent articles, decent coverage, real stories. Mission accomplished!
San Francisco Examiner
Never fear San Francisco. Your inner reactionary need not wantfor news, for the liberal rag that is the Commicle now has competition. It's got a rich history too, according to Wikipedia:
The Examiner was founded in 1863 as the Democratic Press, a pro-Confederacy, pro-slavery paper opposed to Abraham Lincoln, but after his assassination in 1865 the paper's offices were destroyed by a mob, and starting on June 12, 1865 it was called the Daily Examiner.
This fresh start eventually led to ownership by some guy named Hearst for a while, and thence to forcible acquisition by the Chronicle, some "unpleasantness" in Federal court and then to the Fang family, who turned it into a free tabloid-style format and an odd combination of poorly-chosen wire reports and surprisingly good coverage of local issues like school board and planning commission actions. In 2004 Philip Anschutz added it to his burgeoning media empire, to go with his ownership stakes in various sports franchises and other ill-gotten booty. This reprehensible conservative...wait, what?
BERKELEY –The archives of the San Francisco Examiner are being donated to the University of California, Berkeley's Bancroft Library, University Librarian Thomas Leonard announced today (Tuesday, April 4). The donation is the single largest gift ever to The Bancroft Library.
Hmm, I may have to re-evaluate. Anyway, San Francisco conservatives finally have a daily they can call their own! It may be a free tabloid, but competition among the presses is vital to a vibrant polity. And both of these San Francisco conservatives could dive into 36 pages of hard-hitting news coverage today:
OK CGB newshawks, see if you can beat the professionals at their own game today.