As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer prepared for its last run on paper, former staffers at Denver’s just-closed newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News, announced today their intention to start a new online news site for Denver and charge $4.99 for it. They’ll try to get 50,000 monthly subscribers. Could that be a way forward for the San Francisco Chronicle and its popular online presence, SFGate?
Some interesting data points: both Seattle and Denver already have surviving other papers, the Seattle Times and the Denver Post. So their (former?) competitors’ online sites still have to compete, not only with the other papers’ online sites but with their surviving (for now) print editions. But in San Francisco, neither the Chronicle nor SFGate has an equivalent competitor. So if the print Chronicle goes away and it survives as an online paper, it would be the only big-league journalistic operation of its size, influence and considerable reputation.
So would you pay $5 a month — or even more, considering everything’s more expensive in San Francisco — for SFGate?