It appears that the Chronicle's exclusive content, which has been locked behind that dreaded subscriber paywall since they launched it in late March, has magically appeared today again for free on SFGate, without much fanfare. Verge reporter and former Chron staffer Casey Newton caught the news and tweeted about it several hours ago, and the Appeal got word from the paper's marketing director Michael Keith. Basically, he's neither confirming nor denying what can be observed on the SFGate site today.

This development arrives, interestingly, just a week after the latest report by the latest, sad report by the Alliance for Audited Media which detailed the circulation numbers, both print and digital, for various papers around the country. There were no updated numbers on the main report for the Chronicle, but we know that their combined daily print/digital circulation was 219,000 as of March, pre-paywall, and once can assume that number has gone down, not up. As of the tally in March, the Chronicle had just slipped off of the ranking of the top 25 newspapers in the country for the first time in many years.

Here's what is easily observable:

Popular Chronicle columnists have already been making their stories available for free, like Matier & Ross, who have been basically duplicating their columns on their SFGate blog, and Michael Bauer, who since April has been providing free links (via a Twitter extension on the URL) to his reviews on the Inside Scoop blog.

We'll update wth more if needed, but keep checking SFGate to see for yourself. Subscribers will likely be informed soon, we'd imagine, that they don't need that digital subscription anymore. Or something.

And would someone please tell them to stop delivering the Sunday paper to us? It's too much paper, and we canceled our subscription months ago. Thanks.


Previously: San Francisco Chronicle Ducks Behind Paywall, Confounds Readers
Ink Death: AARP Mags Boast Top Circulation In Print World, Most Newspapers Struggling