Hearst Corporation said Tuesday that it would close or sell The San Francisco Chronicle unless it could wring concessions from its unions, raising the prospect of San Francisco becoming the largest city in the country to lose its dominant newspaper.
Hearst said The Chronicle, which has daily circulation of 339,000, lost more than $50 million in 2008 and will lose more this year. It has had significant losses every year since 2001.
“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,” said a statement by Frank A. Bennack Jr., Hearst’s vice chairman and chief executive, and Steven R. Swartz, president of its newspaper division. The company did not specify those changes, other than “a significant reduction in the number of its unionized and nonunion employees.”