On January 16 the San Francisco Chronicle turned 144 years old. Today; only a month and a week later talks of selling or a possible shutting down of the institution have been made public.
I can not say that I was an avid reader of the Sf Chronicle but I am sad to see it disappear. In these uncertain and unforgiving times were long established traditions and institutions are looked upon for guidance; to see them tossed away or buckle under the weight of their own inflated importance (and in most cases arrogance) does cause one to question (if maybe only in the quiet and private recesses of the mind) the order of things which one has come to know.
With such one time or sometime contributors to The San Francisco Chronicle like Mark Twain and Bret Harte one would again reason that not seeing in on laying on a BART train seat or the man in front of K-mart soliciting you to purchase a year subscription is very unfathomable.
As a little boy growing up in Oakland. I would pass the Oakland tribune building and look upon the old style of the structure and its green pyramid top and take notice of how different it was from the rest of down town. When I was older and did decide to become a patron of the many printed words and letters I felt a true disdain for what I found to be a lax in the average Oaklander (or bay area for that matter) point of view. My mother and I would some time would play a game and see how many spelling and or editing errors we could find in a single article and by the year 2000 well lets just say that we both canceled or subscriptions. (Saying that I realize I open myself up to the fullest of scrutiny and the label of hypocrisy. I will answer that now by saying I am not "paid" to write any articles and everything I write is of my own free will and time. When one is "paid" to do a job the level of quality should match such.)
I then turned across the bay to the Chronicle. I did find that its views did (at one time but no longer) seem to echo mine. Also, reading it was not some laborious Sisyphean task that made me break out my grammar book to see if I or this nationally syndicated thing was wrong in its usage of the English language. That too did get put to rest when I purchased my first computer and then my first cell phone. There was no need to "buy" the news when it was readily available and more often than not up-to-date. It was (back then) the way of the future. You could get the latest, more accurate, and even differentiating views at the push of a button or click of a mouse. This I believe was one of the biggest steaks to be driven into the heart of all newspapers everywhere. Once back when "The Paper" was thee only source of local and international information people could not even think of a day when it would not be such. With the on set of the twentieth century The Chronicle had already survived and reported on major events such earthquakes, fires, stock market crashes and the changing from nineteenth to twentieth . Now, this time, almost ten short years after reporting (yet again) earthquakes, fires, stock market crashes, and the changing of twenty to twenty one the Chronicle might have to take its final bow.
"The way of the future" as the ancient saying goes. The average person probably does not even have the time to sit down and read a full an entire news paper anymore when they can read the two paragraph blurb while checking their e-mail. The classifieds are of little use when there is Craigslist, monster, hotjob, and e-bay (lest we forget amazon). The business section is said to be out of date the minuet it is printed just by the ever quicken nature of its name sake. Even the comic section does not print the classics of childhood nor the interesting quirks of today (we have you tube for that).
So farewell SF Chronicle you will be missed but nothing not even the mountains and the sea last forever. The things of old must make way for the things that are new so, "C'est la vie".
©Christopher F. Brown 2009