SF Chronicle to Outsource All of Its Printing, reports Editor and Publisher Magazine. Will those "competitive" Hearst and Singleton papers cover the monopoly story and its impact on San Francisco and the Bay Area?

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By Bruce B. Brugmann

Well, after checking page the Daily Digest on page 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle business section (where I sometimes find a spot of Hearst/Singleton news), I found the monopoly story of the day in an online Editor and Publisher story out of New York, sent via Chain Links, the online publication of the Newspaper Guild.

It was another jolly tip of the iceberg of what is happening to the chains that dominate the newspaper business. The head: "SF Chronicle to OUtsource All of its Printing." The lead: "NEW YORK: Hearst Corp. has signed a l5-year contract with Transcontinental to print the San Francisco Chronicle and its related products as well as provide post press services." Second paragraph: "Production is slated to start in spring 2009 in a new plant based in the San Francisco Bay Area." Third paragraph: "Transcontinental is a Montreal-based company that prints several newspaper in Canada like the Montreal daily La Presse a well as the New York Times for the Ontario and upstate New York markets?" Montreal? In Canada?

The terse six paragraph story yet again raises some key questions about the impacts of regional Hearst/Singleton monopoly: Wil the "competitive" Hearst and Singleton papers properly cover the story and its impacts for readers and advertisers and the public interest in the Bay Area?

For example, does this mean the end of union contracts for the pressmen? What does Hearst plan to do with its existing press equipment and press facilities? Fourth paragraph: "The new facililty is expected to surpass $l billion in total revenue over the l5-year period." One billion? And just why is that money suddenly going to a company in Montreal, Canada, at the same time that Hearst revenues are going to Hearst headquarters in New York? What's left for San Francisco?

There are already reports that Singleton (and other newspapers) are outsourcing advertising material to India. And there are reports amongst Singleton staffers that copy editing may be next. And then....City Hall reporting?
Again: Will Hearst and the "competitive" Singleton papers tell us what they are really up to? Or will it have to come from depositions and discovery in the Clint Reilly/Joe Alioto antitrust suit? We will do our best to follow the story at the Guardian and the Bruce blog. Meanwhile, I urge you to sign up for ChainLinks and follow the news from the Galloping Conglomerati. Some recent ChainLinks stories below: B3

'SF Chronicle' to Outsource All of Its Printing By E&P Staff

MediaNews profits up on acquisitions By Will Shanley
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