Yahoo and other tech companies are squeezing the Chronicle's newsroom

The Chronicle Building at 5th and Mission streets is being slowly taken over by tech companies.
Judith Calson/SF Chronicle

With high demand for office space in San Francisco these days — thanks largely to the latest technology bubble, Mayor Ed Lee’s economic development focus, and its amplification by the San Francisco Chronicle — Hearst Corp., which owns both the paper and the Chronicle Building, seems to be more focused on property management than journalism these days.

Following up on blogs that broke the story, Chronicle Technology Columnist James Temple today reported that Yahoo is negotiating with Hearst to move its headquarters into the Chronicle Building at 5th and Mission streets. What Temple didn’t say -- and what sources at the Chronicle confirmed to the Guardian, despite the fact that it hasn’t yet been announced to Chronicle staff -- is that the third floor newsroom will soon be relocated while the space undergoes a renovation.

It’s not clear whether the two pieces of news are related, and we’re still waiting for a response to our questions on the subject from Chronicle Editor Ward Bushee. But it certainly seems true that Hearst and the Chronicle are doing everything they can to profit from the commercial real estate market that they have helped to heat up while operating a newspaper that has struggled to become profitable in recent years.

Valued at more than $30 million and covering nearly a full city block in the heart of the city, the Chronicle Building has been steadily taken over by outside companies in recent years, many of them technology corporations such as Square, the online payment company. The newsroom that used to occupy the second and third floors has already been squeezed onto the third, and now even that space is getting an overhaul.

Meanwhile, Hearst has been working with Forest City and Strada Investment Group on a plan to redevelop the property, reportedly replacing the old Hearst headquarters and other buildings that share the block with an office and residential tower and trying to win historic landmark status for the Chronicle Building itself.

Chronicle staffers tell the Guardian that they were surprised to hear about the newsroom relocation last week and they don’t have many details, except that they will remain in the building. And given how valuable it has become, they say they’re just happy to not be totally squeezed out by the tech boom.


Not sure if I buy the argument that a newspaper building built in 1924 is ideally suited for a 2013 newspaper. In other words, they just might not need the same space, what with reporters filing from home using their phones and all. I bet they got rid of all the 1924 typewriters also.

And in terms of a struggling newspaper cashing out on its real estate....didn't the SFBG just do exactly that? So it should be understandable.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 30, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

beating on the Chronicle developing/selling its real estate (implying journalism is not a priority) when SFBG did precisely the same thing. The author would refer to you as a "troll" for doing so.

The author should also read up on the concept of "highest and best use" with regard to real estate - this is a concept that his "trolls" understand but it appears he does not...

Posted by Guest on Jul. 30, 2013 @ 4:50 pm

So this is a news article based on an assumption by the author which has no basis or confirmation as fact??

Posted by Rhinna Sante on Jul. 30, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

But the Chron cannot?

Most major newspapers have moved to newer buildings, often further out of the city, and cashed in on their property. NBD.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 30, 2013 @ 9:45 pm

It's not generally considered a bubble until it bursts, which it hasn't. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Posted by Chromefields on Jul. 31, 2013 @ 6:03 am

In most responsible publications, the term means a market that has gone up strongly, but where the fundamentals did not support it. Then, IF and when that same market crashes, then it is retrospectively categorized as having been a "bubble".

But the special SFBG use of the word "bubble" uses it to refer to any economic, market or business success at all, even if it is rational, continuous and not under any form of stress. In other words, dismissing success as a bubble is little more than a thinly disguised expression of the more familiar SFBG idea - hating on success and worshipping failure.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2013 @ 6:18 am

It is a bubble when the previously adopted counter cyclical policies, in this case taxing stock options adopted in 2004, are repealed because we can't possibly be in an other bubble now.

Posted by anon on Jul. 31, 2013 @ 6:35 am

You only know that afterwards and only then IF it actually collapsed.

So when you read that SF home prices are at a record high (they are) or that stocks are at a record high (they are) then that isn't usually any sign of a bubble. Such measures have hit hundreds, if not thousands, of all-time highs in the past and only very rarely have they collapsed from there.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2013 @ 7:21 am

I contend that the moment that you know that it is a bubble is when the euphoria of the moment causes policy makers to roll back counter cyclical responses to the previous bubble.

There is no fundamental basis for economic growth in the US that is not speculative bubble related, that does not tie directly to the Federal Reserve Quantitative Easing helicopter drops of money on the banks.

Obama is even recalibrating the metrics used to determine GDP in order to incorporate financial speculation to cook the books to provide the illusion of broader, greater economic growth.

Posted by anon on Jul. 31, 2013 @ 7:34 am

very very very rich by now.

I am guessing that you are not.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2013 @ 8:01 am

Yahoo was founded 18 years ago.

'Bubble', I fear, is just wishful thinking in this case. The market will have ups and downs, and some startups will fail of course, but declaring public companies that have been generating serious revenue for decades as being part of a 'bubble' is problematic, to say the least.

When it is done with the level of certainty that the SFBG uses it is shoddy 'journalism'.

BTW, we heard a lot in these pages about Facebook's stock price when it was plummeting. They just had a knockout earnings report and the stock price is back up to the IPO level. Don't expect to read about that here.

Posted by Guest George on Jul. 31, 2013 @ 7:35 am

In other words, anyone who declares matter of factly, without a doubt, that it is NOT a bubble is being irresponsible, just as Steven is being irresponsible for the level of certainty that he uses when he says that it IS a bubble.

Posted by Guest George on Jul. 31, 2013 @ 7:50 am

Let's talk about what is a bubble and what is not a bubble after the Fed ends QE and the music stops and chairs are removed.

Posted by anon on Jul. 31, 2013 @ 7:52 am

And those who have been betting on that have lost a lot of money.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 31, 2013 @ 8:03 am

Sorry, everyone, that's it for now. Come to our forum tonight or send a letter to if you want to comment further this week.

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