The dying roar of Bay area news

The press is reporting that the Bay Area News Group-East Bay, which includes the Oakland Tribune, the Mercury News and 14 other local newspapers, has offered all 1,100 of its employees the opportunity to apply for buyouts–if there isn’t a large enough reduction in force (RIF). Management cites the recession and the housing slump as factors and believes the papers will eventually rebound.
According to the BANG web site, these the web sites for these papers serve up 27.6 million monthly page views per month to 7.1 million unique visitors; web sites include ContraCostaTimes.com, PaloAltoDailyNews.com, MercuryNews.com, SiliconValley.com,
and TimesHeraldOnline.com.
One wonders how many of these web sites will be cut and what the consolidated presence will be–ie will the Merc Web site continue and even expand as the paper itself is cut? Or will Singleton cut it back and cede the Valley to SF Gate?
Susan sez: On one hand, the idea of this region with fewer newspapers, especially stalwarts like the Merc, is frightening; on the other, it offers hope that other media entities will arise, in the online medium and take the place of the old school paper newspapers.
In fact, I’d like t think that the newspapers shrinking could result in more online local and news sites–a depressed economy may actually create greater pent up demand for something fresh and local. In a way, I wonder if reducing Bay area newspapers can replicate conditions in Korea around the launch of OhMyNews–a need for more liberal, cheap and accessible mean outlets that TV and print could not meet.