Yesterday Hearst Corp. announced that it will make “significant” staffing cuts to recover financial losses at the San Francisco Chronicle, and if savings can’t be made quickly, it will sell or close the newspaper. The Chronicle lost more than $50 million in 2008 and is headed for more losses in 2009.

Robert Rosenthal, CIR’s executive director and former managing editor of the Chronicle, told NPR: “This is arguably one of the great cosmopolitan, sophisticated markets in the world, and yet the business model of the Chronicle has been broken for years. We’re in a crisis and I think in the next few years there will be solutions, but right now nobody has one.”

Rosenthal also spoke to local ABC News affiliate KGO and other outlets about the state of the newspaper industry.

“Is this a move to go just to a web-based newspaper?” he said to the online news service The Public Press. “I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Photo by Dickson Louie