California Media Workers Guild, the union that represents employees at the San Francisco Chronicle wants to buy the paper if Hearst puts it up for sale.
The SF Weekly reports the Guild made the request last week along with a written set of suggestions for keeping the paper alive. The Guild wants to form a “public-labor partnership” to continue operating the paper after Hearst announced in February that it would sell or shut down the Chronicle if it couldn’t achieve massive cost reductions in coming weeks.
Sources have told the SFW that the company may lay off up to half of the Chron’s 275-person newsroom. But insiders tell me the news staff is bare-bones as it is and it would be next to impossible to put out the paper with such little staff.
The thought of the paper closing is inconceivable for Delfin Vigil, a Chronicle reporter, who paid for a full page ad in the S.F. Examiner. Vigil, who compares the sinking of the Chronicle to that of the Titanic, asks Hearst to hand over the name and allow employees to own and run the paper.
It’s not the first time employee ownership has come up in the past couple of years. When Knight-Ridder went up for sale, the Newspaper Guild and San Jose Mercury News employees tried unsuccessfully to acquire the paper.