‘San Francisco Examiner’ To Become Tabloid

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(AP) The San Francisco Examiner plans to become a tabloid in an effort to make readers “perk up and take notice” of the newspaper, which has been marked by management upheaval since an ownership change in late 2000.

The switch from the industry’s more common broadsheet format should occur by mid-May, according to a staff memo from Examiner Executive Editor Zoran Basich.

The new format “will emphasize our editorial strengths and cause (San Francisco) to perk up and take notice,” Basich wrote. Later in the memo, Basich described the new look as “a great opportunity to take our newspaper to the next level.”

Tampa, Fla.-based Garcia Media, which is helping to redesign The Wall Street Journal, is overseeing the Examiner‘s new look.

The redesign is just the latest in a series of changes at the Examiner since local publisher Ted Fang took control of the paper from the Hearst Corp. in November 2000.

New York-based Hearst agreed to provide Fang and his family with a $66 million subsidy to run the paper through November 2003 to gain antitrust approval of its $660 million purchase of the much-larger San Francisco Chronicle.

To herald the change in ownership, Fang hired design consultant Roger Black to overhaul the Examiner‘s appearance in 2000 and changed the paper’s publication schedule from afternoons to mornings.

Less than a month after Fang took over, the paper’s top editor, Martha “Marty” Steffens, relinquished her job. Her replacement, David Burgin, subsequently fired another top editor, Robert Porterfield. Late last year, Fang’s mother, Florence, fired Ted Fang as publisher. In January, Florence Fang fired Burgin, too.

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