Where did all the online news go, San Francisco?


On no level do I feel like I really need to stay completely on the top of the goings on of my former city, but at the same time, I like to check in and see what’s happening beyond Facebook IPO’s and some new restaurant opened by some guy from that place somewhere in New York City or whatever. My general option for seeing actual “news” was sfgate.com but this all changed in mid-October when they relaunched their site with their goal hell bent on making one of the worst Buzzfeed copies ever seen.

I don’t read Buzzfeed as I like to actually read the news as opposed to having it imaged or listed at me so this new look is impossible unless I know about some news item I want to read, search for it on Google, and then go to the article directly. This avoid one of the worst implementations of space since my in-laws decided to cram a toilet, shower, and double sink in to what should have been a wash room.

It’s rather unclear as to who this design is targeted and maybe it looks better on a tablet as the desktop version is not 10-foot-pole touchable. It’s also unclear as to what their overall strategy is beyond, “Web? Fuck it.” as sfchronicle.com seems to be much more in line with how a newspaper website should currently function given that it’s a knock-off of the New York Times. NYT by the way, in my estimation is one of the finest sites out there you can currently visit, not just for content, but also for readability. I believe in this so much that I actually pay for monthly digital access.

The sfchronicle.com website is also pay, sorta. You can typically find some version of the article on sfgate.com which is not pay so I don’t really know what they’re doing which is probably why I’m guessing the most visited website from the Chronicle offices is that of Craigslist’s new job postings.

This naturally makes a rather large hole in news coverage for me (beyond the NYT and BBC of course) when it comes to my home state of California. I’ve sometimes glanced at latimes.com but naturally it’s South California centric which would be fine if I wasn’t from North California. I don’t really care for eater.com or any of those as a) there is more to the news than restaurant coverage and b) they just rehash what was written on other websites. The latter I know from having written The Tender for years.

The tech blogs out there get boring very quickly as in between Apple product announcements they talk about how the latest startup has plans to defeat Ebola with an app you can download to empower aid workers while not having to actually touch that dirty, dirty place called Africa. Or something like that as everyone just loves them some solutionism these days.

So, I’m somewhat at a loss for decent San Francisco Bay Area and greater North California online coverage. This is all no end of ironic given that San Francisco is also seen as the navel all of things digital in the world yet a proper news site appears as palpable as public wifi in the little town. I guess I should start looking at Al Jazeera and see what they’re doing…

2 Replies to “Where did all the online news go, San Francisco?”

  1. no one else seem to notice than you and me…
    the new sfgate format (and content) is a bad joke. you should check out the new eater sf, too. it’s quite similar and just as terrible.
    yes, the new york times still sets the standard. BUT! the new format which the nyt introduced last jan/feb is disappointing. way too many clicks and navigational work to get where you want to get. and i just don’t want to read an article in a traditional print format on a screen. too much white!
    i almost only read the nyt on the iphone. i wish they had an iphone only subscription.
    well, the lack of well communicated news seems to be symptomatic for sf, which in the end is only a small provincial town with a provincial mind.

  2. Jesus, not only is Eater even worse than I remember, but it just seems to link off to their partner, Curbed for the most part.

    While there is honestly little of merit to report on in San Francisco these days and investigative journalism doesn’t exist anymore, I really wonder when someone will wake up to the fact that news in the US is mostly just guys screaming at the TV on Fox “News”.

    Not that it’s all that much better in the EU and most papers hang on only due to government support such as in Italy.

Comments are closed.