Earlier this month, the New York Times announced plans to launch a San Francisco metro edition, and the Wall Street Journal has a similar plan in the works as well. While it's unclear just how large the metro section will be, one thing is clear: the Times is trying to capitalize not just on the large subscription base it has in the Bay Area, but also on the fact that the San Francisco Chronicle continues to suffer both in terms of money and quality. Why else would they find it appropriate to launch a print venture when print's epitaph has been drafted by scholars and journalists alike? The Times cites the Bay Area's large number of non-native transplants as a reason locals here don't "cling" to our local papers.
What does this mean for the Chronicle? Not sure. It's capable of collapsing on its own, and its remaining subscribers will probably not drop it in favor of the Times just because of an added city section. With a number of quality blogs reporting on Bay Area news at no charge to readers, the Times could be fighting for the same tech-obsessed audience that abandoned print newspapers long ago. Why struggle to fold a paper and get ink on your hands when you can read the news on your phone? But maybe the lure "All the news that's fit to print" plus news about SF will draw enough readers away from the Chronicle to put the nail in the coffin once and for all. Heap on the expected SF Journal, launching in November or December, and it gets even more interesting.