Panel: Foundations probably won’t save the SF Chronicle

E.B. Boyd covers the Journalism Innovations II conference in San Francisco ahead of the launch of mediabistro.com’s newest blog BayNewser–Coming May 11.

The Society of Professional Journalists’ Nor-Cal chapter is hosting a conference at the University of San Francisco today on the future of journalism (“Journalism Innovations II: New Work & Ideas for Making the News”).

In a panel on the prognosis for San Francisco’s chief—but imperiled—rag Jon Funabiki, a former media-program officer for the Ford Foundation, said “It’s pretty doubtful that a foundation or set of foundations is going to save the San Francisco Chronicle.”

On a more optimistic note, he added: “There is growing interest in the foundation world in this issue of how the society will be impacted if the primary purveyors of news [disappear].”


Other notable observations:

  • “It’s very unlikely that the Chronicle or any newspaper of that size is going to be saved…. If the Chronicle survives, it’s just going to be a much, much smaller entity.” &#151Dave Westphal, Executive in Residence, USC Annenberg School of Communications
  • “Newspapers were not necessarily the pillars of society” that they are sometimes made out to be, said Barry Parr, a former analyst at Forrester Research who created Coastrider.com, an online news site to cover the coastal parts of San Mateo county. “Newspapers left a lot of stuff uncovered.”
  • “We’re just going to have figure out how to tell stories in different ways and reach audiences in the ways they want to be reached.” &#151Robert Rosenthal, executive director of the Center for Investigative Reporting
  • The outlook for freelancers is not great: “I thought it was bad a few years ago when we’d pay $600 for a story, but now there are great experiments out there, like spot.us, but the expectation is that you’re going to get $200 to do a major investigative story, and that’s just not sustainable for the long term.” &#151Holly Kernan, KALW-FM