San Francisco Chronicle
The San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco Bay Area
The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, is a populated region that surrounds the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, along with smaller urban and rural areas...

 of the U.S. state of California, but distributed throughout Northern and Central California, from the Sacramento
Sacramento, California
Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the county seat of Sacramento County. It is located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in the northern portion of California's expansive Central Valley. With a population of 466,488 at the 2010 census,...

 area and Emerald Triangle
Emerald Triangle
The Emerald Triangle refers to a region in Northern California so named because it is the largest region in The United States that produces illegal cannabis. Mendocino County, Humboldt County, and Trinity County are the three counties in Northern California that make up this region...

 south to San Luis Obispo County. It was founded in 1865 as The Daily Dramatic Chronicle by teenage brothers Charles de Young and Michael H. de Young
M. H. de Young
Michael Henry de Young was an American journalist and businessman.-Life and career:De Young was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Amelia and Miechel de Young , who was a jeweler and dry-goods merchant. The family was Jewish, of Dutch Jewish descent...


The paper grew along with San Francisco and was the largest circulation newspaper on the West Coast of the United States
West Coast of the United States
West Coast or Pacific Coast are terms for the westernmost coastal states of the United States. The term most often refers to the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Although not part of the contiguous United States, Alaska and Hawaii do border the Pacific Ocean but can't be included in...

 by 1880. It has experienced a rapid fall in circulation in the early 21st century, and was ranked 24th by circulation nationally for the six months to March 2010.


Between World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and 1971, new editor Scott Newhall took a bold and somewhat provocative approach to news presentation. Newhall's Chronicle included investigative reporting by such as Pierre Salinger
Pierre Salinger
Pierre Emil George Salinger was a White House Press Secretary to U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson...

, later to play a prominent role in national politics, and Paul Avery
Paul Avery
Paul Avery was an American police reporter, best known for his stories on the infamous serial killer known as the Zodiac, and later for his work on the Patricia Hearst kidnapping.-Career:...

, the staffer who pursued the trail of the self-named "Zodiac Killer
Zodiac Killer
The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who operated in Northern California in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The killer's identity remains unknown. The Zodiac murdered victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Lake Berryessa and San Francisco between December 1968 and October 1969. Four men and three women...

" whose crimes chilled late-1960s San Francisco. It also featured such colorful columnists as Pauline Phillips
Pauline Phillips
Pauline Phillips is an American advice columnist and radio show host who began the "Dear Abby" column in 1956. Married to Morton Phillips, the couple has two children, a son, Edward Jay Phillips, and a daughter, Jeanne Phillips....

, who wrote under the name "Dear Abby
Dear Abby
Dear Abby is the name of the advice column founded in 1956 by Pauline Phillips under the pen name Abigail Van Buren and carried on today by her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, who now owns the legal rights to the pen name....

," "Count Marco" (Marc Spinelli), Stanton Delaplane
Stanton Delaplane
Stanton Hill Delaplane was a travel writer, credited with introducing Irish coffee to the United States...

, Terence O'Flaherty, Lucius Beebe
Lucius Beebe
Lucius Morris Beebe was an American author, gourmand, photographer, railroad historian, journalist, and syndicated columnist.-Early life and education:...

, Art Hoppe
Art Hoppe
Art Hoppe was a popular columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle for more than 40 years. He was known for satirical and allegorical columns that skewered the self-important. Many columns featured whimsical characters such as expert-in-all-things Homer T. Pettibone and a presidential candidate...

, Charles McCabe
Charles McCabe
Charles McCabe was a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle from the mid-1950s until his death from a stroke at the age of 68. Prior to his work at the Chronicle, he worked at New York American, Puerto Rico World-Journal, United Press and The San Francisco Examiner...

, and Herb Caen
Herb Caen
Herbert Eugene Caen was a Pulitzer Prize-winning San Francisco journalistwhose daily column of local goings-on, social and political happenings,...


The newspaper grew in circulation to become the city's largest, overtaking the rival San Francisco Examiner. The demise of other San Francisco dailies through the late 1950s and early 1960s left the Examiner and the Chronicle to battle for circulation and readership superiority. The competition took a financial toll on both papers until the summer of 1965, when a merger of sorts created a Joint Operating Agreement under which the Chronicle became the city's sole morning daily while the Examiner changed to afternoon publication (which ultimately led to a declining readership).

The two newspapers' editorial staffs combined to produce a joint Sunday edition, with the Examiner publishing the news sections and the Sunday magazine and the Chronicle responsible for features. From 1965 on the two papers shared a single classified-advertising operation. This arrangement stayed in place until the Hearst Corporation took full control of the Chronicle.

The de Young family controlled the paper, via the Chronicle Publishing Company
Chronicle Publishing Company
The Chronicle Publishing Company was a print and broadcast media corporation headquartered in San Francisco, California that was in operation from 1865 until 2000...

, until July 27, 2000, when it was sold to Hearst Communications, Inc.
Hearst Corporation
The Hearst Corporation is an American media conglomerate based in the Hearst Tower, Manhattan in New York City, New York, United States. Founded by William Randolph Hearst as an owner of newspapers, the company's holdings now include a wide variety of media...

, which owned the Examiner. Following the sale, the Hearst Corporation transferred the Examiner to the Fang family, publisher of the San Francisco Independent and AsianWeek
AsianWeek was a widely circulated publication of Asian American news, across all Asian ethnic groups, providing coverage of Asian-American issues such as the killing of Vincent Chin, Asian American college admissions, and quotas on Chinese students in competitive San Francisco examination schools...

, along with a $66-million subsidy. Under the new owners, the Examiner became a free tabloid, leaving the Chronicle as the only daily broadsheet
Broadsheet is the largest of the various newspaper formats and is characterized by long vertical pages . The term derives from types of popular prints usually just of a single sheet, sold on the streets and containing various types of material, from ballads to political satire. The first broadsheet...

 newspaper in San Francisco.

In 1949, the de Young family founded KRON (Channel 4), the Bay Area's third television station. Until the mid 1960s, the station (along with KRON-FM), operated from the basement of the Chronicle Building, on Mission Street. KRON moved to its present studios at 1001 Van Ness Avenue (on the former site of St. Mary's Cathedral, which burned down in 1962). KRON was sold in 1999 and, after years of being San Francisco's NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 affiliate, became an independent station on January 1, 2002 when NBC switched affiliation to KNTV
KNTV, channel 11, is the NBC owned-and-operated television station in the Bay Area market. It is licensed to San Jose, with its transmitter located on San Bruno Mountain, just south of San Francisco. It shares facilities in San Jose with NBC Universal sister station KSTS and CNBC's Silicon...

 in San Jose after buying that station for $230 million.

Since the Hearst Corporation took ownership in 2000 the Chronicle has made periodic changes to its organization and design, but on February 1, 2009, as the newspaper began its 145th year of publication, the Chronicle's Sunday edition introduced a redesigned paper featuring a modified logo, new section and page organization, new features, bolder, colored section-front banners and new headline and text typography. The frequent bold-faced, all-capital-letter headlines typical of the Chronicle's front page were eliminated. Editor Ward Bushee's note heralded the issue as the start of a "new era" for the Chronicle.

On July 6, 2009, the paper unveiled some alterations to the new design that included yet newer section fronts and wider use of color photographs and graphics. In a special section publisher Frank J. Vega described new, state-of-the-art printing operations enabling the production of what he termed "A Bolder, Brighter Chronicle." The newer look was accompanied by a reduction in size of the broadsheet. Such moves are similar to those made by other prominent American newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune is a major daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois, and the flagship publication of the Tribune Company. Formerly self-styled as the "World's Greatest Newspaper" , it remains the most read daily newspaper of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Great Lakes region and is...

 and Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
The Orlando Sentinel is the primary newspaper of the Orlando, Florida region. It was founded in 1876. The Sentinel is owned by Tribune Company and is overseen by the Chicago Tribune. As of 2005, the Sentinel’s president and publisher was Kathleen Waltz; she announced her resignation in February 2008...

, which in 2008 unveiled radically new designs even as changing reader demographics and general economic conditions necessitated physical reductions of the newspapers.

On November 9, 2009, the Chronicle became the first newspaper in the nation to print on high-quality glossy paper. The high-gloss paper was originally used for section fronts and some inside pages, but by 2010 was used for the entire newspaper.


As of 2009 the publisher of the Chronicle is Frank J. Vega, the President is Mark Adkins, the executive vice president and editor is Ward H. Bushee and the editorial page editor is John Diaz.


The online version of the newspaper, is led by President Mark Adkins. As well as publishing the San Francisco Chronicle online, SFGate adds other features not available in the print
Publishing is the process of production and dissemination of literature or information—the activity of making information available to the general public...

 version, such as blogs and podcasts. SFGate was one of the earliest major market newspaper websites to be launched, having done so in 1994, at the time of The Newspaper Guild strike
San Francisco newspaper strike of 1994
The San Francisco Newspaper Strike of 1994 was a labor dispute called by the Newspaper Guild in November 1994. Employees of San Francisco's two major daily newspapers, the San Francisco Chronicle and The San Francisco Examiner walked off the job for eleven days....

; meanwhile the union published its own news website, San Francisco Free Press.

Praise, criticism and features

The paper has received the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

 on a number of occasions. Despite an illustrious and long history, the paper's news reportage is not as extensive as in the past. The current day Chronicle has followed the trend of other American newspapers, devoting increasing attention to local and regional news and cultural and entertainment criticism to the detriment of the paper's traditionally strong national and international reportage, though the paper does maintain a Washington, D.C., bureau. This increased focus on local news is a response to the competition from other Bay Area newspapers including the resurrected San Francisco Examiner, the Oakland Tribune, the Contra Costa Times
Contra Costa Times
The Contra Costa Times is a daily newspaper based in Walnut Creek, California, U.S.. The paper serves Contra Costa and eastern Alameda counties, in the eastern part of the San Francisco Bay Area...

 and the San Jose Mercury News
San Jose Mercury News
The San Jose Mercury News is a daily newspaper in San Jose, California. On its web site, however, it calls itself Silicon Valley Mercury News. The paper is owned by MediaNews Group...


Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada
Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada
Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada co-authored the book Game of Shadows while they were reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle...

 received the 2004 George Polk Award
George Polk Awards
The George Polk Awards in Journalism are a series of American journalism awards presented annually by Long Island University in New York in the United States.-History:...

 for Sports Reporting. Fainaru-Wada and Williams were recognized for their work on uncovering the BALCO
Balco can refer to:* the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative - a controversial sports medicine/nutrition centre in Burlingame, California.* Balco balcony systems who develops, designs and manufactures balcony systems and glazing solutions....

 scandal, which linked San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California, playing in the National League West Division....

 star Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds
Barry Lamar Bonds is an American former Major League Baseball outfielder. Bonds played from 1986 to 2007, for the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. He is the son of former major league All-Star Bobby Bonds...

 to performance-enhancing drugs. While the two above-named reporters broke the news, they are by no means the only sports writers of note at the Chronicle. The Chronicle's sports section, called Sporting Green as it is printed on green-tinted pages, is staffed with two dozen writers. The section's best-known writers are its columnists: Bruce Jenkins, Gwenn Knapp, Scott Ostler, and Ray Ratto
Ray Ratto
Ray Ratto has been a San Francisco Bay Area sportswriter since the 1970s and a sports columnist since the 1980s. He is "Senior Insider" for the TV station Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and writes for the website . He also has written national columns for and currently does same at CBS'...


Another area of note is the architecture column by John King; the Chronicle is still one of the few American papers to present a regular column on architectural issues. The paper also has regular weekly sections devoted to 'Food', 'Home & Garden', and 'Wine', the latter of which is unique. The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine is published on the first Sunday of each month and regularly focuses on the previously mentioned topics. In early 2006 a new section, '96 Hours', was added to the Thursday edition of the paper, covering entertainment from that day through Sunday.

Herb Caen

Most likely the Chronicle's best-known and most widely-quoted writer was the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Herb Caen
Herb Caen
Herbert Eugene Caen was a Pulitzer Prize-winning San Francisco journalistwhose daily column of local goings-on, social and political happenings,...

 (1916–1997), a Sacramento
Sacramento, California
Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the county seat of Sacramento County. It is located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in the northern portion of California's expansive Central Valley. With a population of 466,488 at the 2010 census,...

 native who joined the newspaper in 1938 to write a local-radio news column. Caen eventually covered city comings and goings of all kinds—politics, business, and society both high and low, with some San Francisco history added for good measure. He moved to the rival Examiner in 1950 but returned to what he often called "The Chron" in 1958, where he remained until retirement.

His column was subtitled "Baghdad-by-the-Bay" for many years and later shortened to an eponymous title for the rest of its existence. For many years "Herb Caen" was the only feature on its page (it traditionally shared a section front with a Macy's
Macy's is a U.S. chain of mid-to-high range department stores. In addition to its flagship Herald Square location in New York City, the company operates over 800 stores in the United States...

 advertisement). For most of his column's history, Caen somewhat in jest railed against the slang "Frisco", considering it a demeaning term for the city, and in 1953 wrote a book called "Don't Call It Frisco" after a 1918 Examiner news item of the same name. Caen's view of San Francisco was egalitarian and eclectic; he made the daily round of restaurants, clubs, bars, and shops in both the tony and the less elegant quarters of the city. Among his friends were socialites, artists, business leaders, politicians, visiting celebrities, and the unknown eking out an unglamorous existence on the downtown streets—characters equally prominent on the city's stage in Caen's view.

Caen gave his readers an intimate cross-sectioned look at San Francisco that few local writers anywhere could offer. Caen also took a positive, if sometimes bemused, view of those in the forefront of the convulsive cultural (and counter-cultural) changes to the city from the 1950s to the 1970s. Frequent observations of the city's "beatnik
Beatnik was a media stereotype of the 1950s and early 1960s that displayed the more superficial aspects of the Beat Generation literary movement of the 1950s and violent film images, along with a cartoonish depiction of the real-life people and the spiritual quest in Jack Kerouac's autobiographical...

s" (a term he may have coined) and "hippie
The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

s" appeared in his writing, and he extended the hand of acceptance to those who added to San Francisco's warmth and color. With tongue-in-cheek he called his writing "three-dot journalism"; his columns comprised brief items neatly tied together by ellipses.

His Sunday feature was often a sentimental retrospective of San Francisco, sometimes comparing the present state of the city with the 1930s and 1940s—which he celebrated as a halcyon time. Though he lamented the incursion of freeways, high-rise towers, and chain stores as a devaluing of his beloved "city on golden hills," he usually concluded that his adopted home town's beauty and character was sufficient to withstand any and all changes. From the late 1940s to late 1990s a dozen books of Caen's writing and reflections were published.

In late 1996, after some protracted absences led readers to inquire after his whereabouts, Caen disclosed that he was being treated for lung cancer
Lung cancer
Lung cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung in a process called metastasis into nearby tissue and, eventually, into other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in lung, known as primary...

; after several public ceremonies and fetes (and after a section of the city's waterfront Embarcadero was renamed for him) he retired, passing away on February 1, 1997.


Circulation has fallen precipitously since the heyday of the dot-com boom
Dot-com bubble
The dot-com bubble was a speculative bubble covering roughly 1995–2000 during which stock markets in industrialized nations saw their equity value rise rapidly from growth in the more...

 from 1997 to 2001. The Chronicle's circulation dropped by 16.6% between 2004 and 2005 to 400,906; in 2006, daily circulation dropped to 373,805. In response, the newspaper has cut back on local news coverage and takes many national and international stories from the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 instead of relying on Chronicle correspondents. There have also been major cutbacks in staff, with one fourth of the newsroom being let go in 2007. At the same time, the online edition has continued its growth and in 2006 SFGate was fifth among U.S. newspaper Web sites with 5.2 million unique users per month.

On February 24, 2009, the Hearst Corporation released a statement that the Chronicles financial position necessitated sharp and immediate reductions in operating costs. In a joint statement Frank A. Bennack Jr., Hearst vice chairman and chief executive, and Steven R. Swartz, president of Hearst Newspapers, said that the paper, with a circulation of 312,000, had sustained losses in every year since 2001, lost more than $50 million in 2008 and faced an even gloomier 2009. The statement read in part, "Without the specific changes we are seeking across the entire Chronicle organization, we will have no choice but to quickly seek a buyer for The Chronicle or, should a buyer not be found, to shut the newspaper down." Media reports in late February speculated that the paper might be required to slash its workforce by half to remain in business. Hearst recently took the same course with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is an online newspaper and former print newspaper covering Seattle, Washington, United States, and the surrounding metropolitan area...

, and if the Chronicle is closed San Francisco would be America's largest city without a full-service English-language daily newspaper.

On October 26, 2009, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported that the Chronicle had suffered a 25.8% drop in circulation for the six-month period ending September 2009, to 251,782 subscribers, the largest percentage drop in circulation of any major newspaper in the United States. The Chronicle publisher, Frank Vega, said in response that the drop was expected as the paper moved to a business model that focused less on advertising, and hence less on high numbers of subscribers, and more on increased subscription fees. The paper claimed that the new strategy had produced significantly improved financial results.


  • M. H. de Young
    M. H. de Young
    Michael Henry de Young was an American journalist and businessman.-Life and career:De Young was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Amelia and Miechel de Young , who was a jeweler and dry-goods merchant. The family was Jewish, of Dutch Jewish descent...

     1865 to 1925
  • George T. Cameron 1925 to 1955
  • Charles de Young Thieriot 1955 to 1977
  • Richard Tobin Thieriot 1977 to 1993
  • John Sias 1993 to 1999 First publisher not a member of the de Young/Cameron/Thieriot Family.
  • Steven Falk 2003 to 2004
  • Frank Vega 2004 to present

Historical note

The Zodiac Killer
Zodiac Killer
The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who operated in Northern California in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The killer's identity remains unknown. The Zodiac murdered victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Lake Berryessa and San Francisco between December 1968 and October 1969. Four men and three women...

sent his cyphers and letters to the Chronicle during his murder spree in the late 1960s.


The Chronicle prices are: $1 Daily, though the paper sells for $0.75 at some newspaper boxes; $3 Sunday.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.