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San Francisco Chronicle to be sold or closed

February 25, 2009|Bloomberg News

Hearst Corp. said Tuesday that it would sell or close the San Francisco Chronicle, the second newspaper the company has put on the block this year, after the publication lost more than $50 million in 2008.

Hearst plans to cut a "significant" number of jobs at the newspaper, the New York-based publisher said.

Hearst said Jan. 9 that it may close the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which lost $14 million last year, if it cannot find a buyer by March.

The Chronicle, founded in 1865, has had operating losses since at least 2001. Hearst said the loss was likely to widen this year as advertising sales continue to dwindle.

Circulation at the Chronicle fell 7.1% in the six months through September, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. It is the 12th-largest newspaper in terms of distribution.

Hearst introduced a redesign of the Chronicle on Feb. 2, including reducing the number of sections and adding more coverage of dining, health and other subjects.

Frank Vega, the newspaper's publisher, said on the Chronicle's website that he planned to continue publishing the newspaper even after the cuts are made.

"We are optimistic that we can emerge from this tough cycle with a healthy and vibrant Chronicle," Vega said.

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