By: Joel Davis
The Gate’s General Manager Moves On
John Coate, general manager of SFGate.com (The Gate) and the man
often credited with giving the Web site of the San Francisco
Chronicle its visionary and irreverent flavor, resigned on
Monday in what is the latest shakeup at the Hearst-owned
Although Coate had been head man at The Gate since its launch in
the mid-1990s, Hearst in the fall hired Robert S. Cauthorn,
former director of new technology at the Arizona Daily
Star in Tucson, Ariz., and more recently a new-media guru for
Hearst Newspapers, as its top online news executives.
“I resigned because I didn’t want the role it looked like I was
being asked to play,” Coate, 50, told E&P Online. “There isn’t
much more I can say about it, or about the details of my decision
as it relates to the new management. I think I can serve humanity
better in a different capacity. It was really out of respect for
the profession and my desire for more people to actually read the
news. Even a lot of people in the Chronicle didn’t really
When Cauthorn, 44, was brought on board, he told E&P Online that
he wants to “expand opportunities and do new things,” namely
attract more readers outside of San Francisco.
“The Gate is a fabulous site right now,” he said. “One thing I
don’t want to do is disrupt what it’s done. We just want to do
Coate seemed perplexed by Cauthorn’s hiring, saying at the time,
“I’m just not sure right now what it all means for me.” Asked
Monday if having to answer to Cauthorn led to his resignation,
Coate said it played a role.
“I guess it’s fair to say that I chose not to serve under him at
this time. But not that many words were spoken, ” he said. “New
hierarchies are being formed all over the company right now and I
didn’t see how to fit into it in a way that takes full advantage
of what I have to offer. Or so it seemed to me enough that I had
to break things off. There was no incident, no big fight,” he
Joel Davis (email@example.com) is West Coast editor for E&P.
Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.