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San Francisco Chronicle to Shut Down Its Food Section

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Here now, the latest victim of print media implosion: The New York Times reports that the beloved food & wine section of the San Francisco Chronicle is getting axed. Anonymous Chronicle staffers tell the Times that instead of an entire food section, food coverage will be rolled into a new "lifestyle" section that will also include coverage from the paper's home section. Apparently the working title for this brand-new section is "Artisan," and it's possible that it will debut in February 2014. Staffers report that the Chronicle's departing present Joanne Bradford said in a meeting that the food & wine section was not "sustainable."

There's no word yet on whether this development will impact the Chronicle's food blog Inside Scoop SF and whether critic Michael Bauer will still be filing reviews for the new section. That said, staffers tell the NYT that no layoffs are planned at this time. But they will be moved out of the building that houses the food and wine section that has "a test kitchen, an extensive wine cellar, bees and a rooftop garden."

The New York Times reports that the announcement isn't public yet; as of publishing there's no word from the section's Twitter, on the blog, or on the section home page. The Chronicle's food & wine section leaves behind a distinguished record including four James Beard Awards (most recently in 2011). Stay tuned for more details.

UPDATE 4:31 pm: Chronicle managing editor Audrey Cooper writes a response to the New York Times report, calling it "inaccurate." Cooper writes that "Instead of cutting, as our competitor asserts, we are increasing our investment in terms of digital and print offerings." She concludes the response without confirming how exactly that will happen: "I'd love to tell everyone right now what we're going to do. The truth is that we haven't decided it yet. But I can tell everyone unequivocally that our top priority is to continue doing the nation's best coverage of Northern California food and wine coverage."

· San Francisco Chronicle Plans to End Its Prized Food Section [NYT]
· Managing Editor's response to New York Times [SFGate]
· All Food Media Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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