Holy smokes.

This just in: the SF Chronicle is (practically) up for sale. Word is that "if they don't sell it, they'll shut it down." No deadline communicated yet.

The following memo was sent to SF Chronicle employees today.

Memo from Frank Vega, Chairman & Publisher
February 24, 2009

Dear Fellow Employees:

The rapidly declining economy, coupled with severely declining advertising revenues, is forcing nearly every newspaper company to re-think how it conducts business while continuing to serve its respective communities.

Despite all of our best efforts as an organization, The Chronicle continues to show staggering losses each week. Recent staff and expense reductions have not stemmed these losses, which are only worsening in the present economy. In response to our financial picture and the bleak economic forecast for the foreseeable future, our management team has begun a series of cost-saving initiatives designed to alleviate those losses.

First and foremost of these cost savings will be a significant reduction in force across all areas of our operation affecting both represented and non-represented employees. We will shortly begin discussions with union leadership on proposals. Our current situation dictates that we accomplish these cost savings quickly. Business as usual is no longer an option.

If we are unable to accomplish these reductions in the immediate future, Hearst Corporation, which owns The Chronicle, has informed us that it will offer the newspaper for sale or close it altogether. We know these are painful times for everyone and we face difficult choices. We share in the sincere hope that we will reach agreement with all parties involved on the concessions needed to continue to operate and provide the Bay Area with a quality newspaper.