CHRON-EX MERGER -- A SPECIAL FEATURE:
A) Introduction [ A Note from the Editor ]
B) Opinion [ Editorial ]
C) Main Feature [ The Power of the Press ]
D) Bay [ Coming to Dinner | Political Potstickers ]
E) News [ Competition Pressures and the JOA | Washington Journal ]
F) A&E [ Fighting for Publicity ]
The Chinese American group that rose to political prominence by championing an initiative to rebuild the Central Freeway now plans to host one of the measures most powerful opponents at its third anniversary dinner this fall.
Rose Tsai, a co-chair of the San Francisco Neighbors Association, admitted that the invitation to Examiner editor Phil Bronstein came as a surprise. Tsai added that she has no working relationship with Bronstein. Most people [in the SFNA] dont know who he is...I heard some people wanted Sharon Stone. With Sharon Stone, we could charge $100.
Tsai said she was not part of the committee to find a speaker and was on vacation when the decision was made this summer. Many people in the group, she said, thought it was strange to ask Bronstein to be the keynote speaker, including myself.
I was under the impression we were going to ask [former Senate candidate] Matt Fong, but I guess he couldnt come, so they decided to ask someone else. I have no idea whose idea it was. Im going to find out.
The Examiner in 1997 endorsed a no vote on Proposition H, and Tsai said no one from the paper contacted her about her view beforehand. Despite getting a no vote from both the Examiner and its JOA partner, the San Francisco Chronicle, SFNAs measure passed that year only to be overturned by a rival measure in 1998. This Novembers ballot includes two measures, one for rebuilding a freeway and one against the idea.
As the papers executive editor, Bronsteins responsibilities include overseeing such endorsements. Nonetheless, said SFNA co-chair Julie Lee, I think especially at this time, we want to have this man.
We want to hear what he has to say and build bridges, she said. It will be education for him and an exchange of culture and knowledge so that we can get more attention. That was the purpose in inviting him.
Bronstein on Friday said he welcomed the opportunity to reach out to Asian Americans at the October gathering.
Well see...It should be enlightening, he said. Its always worth getting out and getting into the neighborhoods.
He stressed the papers commitment to continuing its strengthening of minority-issues coverage. And for her part, Tsai said the mainstream dailies have improved their coverage when compared to five or six years ago. Recently, she said, they have been giving Asians a more positive view, giving us more voice.
But she added, The newspaper can always improve more.
Journalists at the San Francisco Independent, owned by the same company as AsianWeek, were quick to predict that such interests would vaporize if the Examiners owners get what it says Hearst wants -- a competition-free town. In an Aug. 24 editorial, the Independent said the Hearst Corp. likely would use its post-merger monopoly power to put out a free, home-delivered newspaper, once again attacking the Independent and attempting to squash competing voices.
SFNAs invitation notwithstanding, both Tsai and Lee stressed that all San Franciscans would lose were the Examiner and Chronicle to merge, as could happen if Hearst does not find a buyer for its paper.
Competition is always good, said Tsai. Im sad to see it happen.
Added Lee: Personally, it would be a loss for the city, especially a big city like San Francisco. A morning and afternoon, two-paper system in the mainstream is ideal.
But now, most stories are one-sided. They dont care much about minority communities. With one-third of the population is Asian American, there is not enough coverage from our perspective.