Monday, March 30, 2009

SF Bay: CoG?

As the daily SF CHRONICLE (called The Chron, here), currently owned by Hearst Corp., is currently halving staff & may well disappear; back East in NYC, the NYT claims it's because "SF Bay has no real center of gravity." Actually, SF Bay has multiple centers of (media) gravity, which may prove 2B the wave of the future. e.g.:

Aristide Maupin, once a Chron columnist, became a bestselling gay novelist, TV-script-writer etc., & is now its emeritus gay media-star; murdered gay supervisor Harvey Milk is back (as portrayed by Sean Penn), thanks to Hollywood. Super-photogenic mayor Gavin Newsom is making (inter)national news (cf. gay marriages, etc.) To the major media, SF is America's gay-capital.

Last nite I was watching Will Smith in "The Pursuit of Happyness" (on DVD) realizing it all took place in SF & I knew every landmark in it, proving even I've become visually familiar with SF in only a few years (thanks to my indulgent friends, the National Writers' Union, & having interviewed for PR-jobs in downtown), while living 50 miles south at the bottom of SF Bay in Silicon Valley, whose 'capital' is San Jose, daily is The San Jose Mercury-News, once the premier Knight-Ridder paper, but now a McClatchy. Across in the East Bay, the Media News Group-owned Oakland TRIB, & McClatchy-owned Sacramento BEE papers are micro-regional.

Meanwhile, the NYT & WSJ sell down here at the bottom of the Bay because many people (like me) are East Coast transplants, so the NYT connects many with where they grew up or were schooled, etc. (Not me; tho a Boston-area resident until 62, I read the Guardian Unlimited on-line; I began reading it in hardcopy while living most of 1985 in Scotland with Carolin Combs.)

[aside] Back-East, Boston is notably ethnic (Irish) & architecturally historic (Revolutionary-era); the liberal daily Boston GLOBE (partially owned by the NYT) is losing millions a month, while its competitor, the rightwing daily Boston HERALD (a fat tabloid) ex-Hearst, now independent, also owns many of the region's weeklies; in my mid-20s, I began there; decades later, before Harte-Hanks pulled out of the region, I wrote for a suburban daily & a suburban weekly. In the nearest major city, 40 miles due west, the Worcester TELEGRAM is also partially owned by the NYT; 50 miles due south, the independent Providence JOURNAL serves RI; slightly southwest, the independent Hartford COURANT serves CT, but the NYT has local editions (pages) for both, so someday it all may end up totally NYT-ish.

Meanwhile, small-tab newspapers can, will & do supply micro-local news to every town, no matter how small. But What's news reportage (vs opinion), Who gets paid to write any of it, & Who reads it, & Why? I've done both, on both coasts, & am doing it now, on-line, as you read this. Soon after I arrived here in SF Bay, I wrote for the on-line reincarnation of the once-subfamous SFCall ( that Mark Twain wrote for; now even that on-line Call is defunct.

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