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Two weeks ago, the Chron announced that,* in an effort “to provide a better reading experience for Sunday print subscribers and to differentiate it from our website,” certain items that appear in the print and e-edition Sunday Chronicle would not appear on their website until the following Tuesday. (Don’t worry, I am not going to bore you with my thoughts on this plan!)**

Perhaps you, like I, have wondered, “what, if anything, am I missing by not reading these stories on Sunday?” So when the dog needed to go out right when the Sunday paper was being delivered (7:45 AM, but you can get the e-edition earlier, I hear) to the vacant house around the corner, it seemed like a sign.

On the top of the front page, we read that all the stories that appear on the Sunday Chron’s front page, as well as today’s Willie Brown, Ray Ratto, Scott Ostler, and Matier and Ross*** constitute the “news” the Chronicle believes is not imperative enough to be available online immediately.

Let’s check it out:

Ad blend reflects shifts in US mood
Business reporter Tom Abate gives an overview of Super Bowl commercials, (51% of game viewers say they enjoyed the commercials more than the game itself!), and covers who will be advertising (anti-choice folks, Budweiser, Intel, GM, Audi, Dennys) and won’t (Pepsi).

Firm’s direct route to Wine Train job
Former Chron investigative reporter Lance Williams, who left the paper for the Center For investigative Reporting (CIR) last summer, makes a return to their pages with this story on contractors responsible for building a railroad bridge for the Napa Valley Wine Train Tourist Attraction. Of course, since CIR shares their content with other news orgs, this isn’t actually “only in the Chronicle,” and can be read over here at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat site.

Or you can get the whole package: read the story, see a slideshow, check out a map, find more online resources on the story, and hear Williams talk about the story over at CIR’s California Watch site. Enjoy!

Parties gridlock in a sea of red ink
Washington bureau reporter Carolyn Lochhead reports that there’s a partisan budget deadlock, no one wants to increase taxes or cut spending. If you’re not reading the news as it happens all week, it’s a good summary and analysis of the recent national budget mess – but if you don’t care enough about the news to read it during the week, will you care enough about the topic to make it through this article without TL;DRing? You tell me, on Tuesday.

M&R estimates that each meter maid earns SF $200K in profit a year.Food reporter Stacy Finz profiles Slanted Door empire head Charles Phan. It’s a basic Phan bio, then goes into the Slanted Door; which began on Valencia, got a three star Chron review (“for an unknown, self-taught cook, the review was almost unheard of”), moved the the Ferry Building on 2004, and has opened several other places to mixed reviews since.

And there’s your front page. What about those columns?

Matier and Ross — Newsom hears chilling stories from truants
Gavin’s been calling truants on Saturday mornings to bitch them or their parents out. A mother from Dublin has allegedly been harassing a girl who broke up with her son (this story is kind of funny, look for it on Tuesday!). 10 more ticketers are on SF the streets on Saturdays (on overtime), all of whom have also been told to end the grace period people who had parked in commute lanes had been given, and to start towing on the dot. (What grace period? We’ve seen tow trucks start hooking up cars at 2:59 in these lanes!) Though at one time, plans were to lay off 24 parking officers, that’s changed– and M&R estimates that each meter maid earns SF $200K in profit a year. I’ll say it: this was an exceptionally good M&R! Good enough to start getting the print paper, I dunno, but if they keep saving the good stuff for print-delay, my neighbors had better get up at 7:44 on Sundays.

Willie Brown — State of the president: He should lower his profile
Obama’s overexposed, says the former mayor with a column in SF’s print daily. He was at dinner at Cut steakhouse with various boldfaced names (Dolly Parton!) including McCain campaign manager, who told tales of Sarah Palin madness, like how she’s go into a store, “buy everything in sight” and bill the RNC. Two progressive politicos “almost came to blows” over drinks over their support of a Leland Yee mayoral campaign. The Colts are going to win the Super Bowl. Gavin should run for Lt. Gov. Willie loved Extraordinary Measures and Edge of Darkness! John Edwards is the Bernie Madoff of politics.

Ray Ratto — Warriors fans shouldn’t go overboard yet
Some discussion of Larry Ellison’s announcement that he’s decided against buying the Warriors. It’s fine analysis, but if we go back to the core reason for keeping this offline, it seems like the kind of article that readers would want to comment on and share — and by Tuesday, it’s going to be a bit stale for that, which is too bad.

Scott Ostler — Bowl of gumbo for the soul of the city
In this bite-sized piece, Ostler consults Harry Shearer on the much-hyped Super Bowl angle that a win is what beleaguered New Orleans needs to feel better about still being kind of a disaster so many years after its flooding. Unsurprisingly, Shearer says “yes.” Too bad Ostler didn’t ask Willie!

And that’s it, folks: the content the Chron won’t let online readers see until Tuesday. What do you think?

*They had been doing this sort of thing, sort of at random, for a while, but this was the first formal announcement we saw regarding the strategy.

**OK, one thing: why not just put that stuff behind a paywall on SFGate, accessible by subscribers or those who pay a day pass fee? Alright, I’m done.

*** Isn’t it weird that since some of these columnists appear Sundays and Mondays, the column you’ll see online on Tuesday is actually staler news than the one you read the day before? No, just to me? OK.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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  • areallyniceguy

    How about a synopsis of the funny pages? It is the only reason I would ever want to buy the Chron anymore…

  • Eve Batey

    I was thinking about this when I opened the paper, about how reading the comics online is just not the same! However, the Gate does have a comics page that seems to have most of them. Shylock Fox’s puzzle was especially challenging today!

  • sanfranciscodays

    I think we’re meant to overlook the largely superfluous and irrelevant nature of their content and appreciate that the paper was printed on very expensive new presses. Personally I enjoy Chron/SFGate because I find their ineptitude, timidity, and PC-ness to be hilarious and perversely inspiring. I propose a toast to the local media arena’s court jester.

  • cedichou

    I’m sure I missed a very profound “analysis” by Carolyn Lochhead. Let me guess: Democrats are divided, and Republicans are on the upswing.

  • bloomsm

    What good is Sunday’s news on Tuesday? Would anybody willingly pay for the privilege of reading the entire Chron online? See Newsday’s problem: set up a pay wall, and watch the numbers drop: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/26/newsday-paywall-only-35-s_n_437624.html

  • Eve Batey

    You will not get an argument from me there! But if they are insistent on pursuing a strategy of charging for content, it seems like making it accessible to readers online, but for a fee, seems far more forward thinking than keeping it offline.

  • kl2real

    Eve, I think it will be funny when the Chronicle finally sinks, and all their writers and editors come to you begging for a job. Can I watch?