A shade over four months ago, Chronicle President Mark Adkins announced the installation of a long-planned paywall for the paper's online content.
Adkins has since been transferred to Beaumont, Texas -- and the paywall has been transferred to an even more backwater locale called "nonexistence."
Per newspaper staffers, employees were summoned to an afternoon meeting Monday at the paper's 901 Mission headquarters and told that the paywall segregating SFChronicle.com and SFgate.com will be leveled.
Subscribers, however, can still have the option of paying for a subscription to SFChronicle.com, even though all of its content will, once again, be available at SFGate.
See Also: The Chron Finally Launches its (Leaky) Paywall
If the Chron can induce large numbers of subscribers to shell out legal tender for content readily available for free, then it will have solved the media conundrum of our age.
That's not likely. But this will allow readers who want only Chronicle content and don't want to wade through the dreck on SFGate to pay for that privilege.
The move was described to SF Weekly as being the brainchild of newly installed publisher and president Jeffrey Johnson and Joanne Bradford (the latter of which is a former Yahoo! exec). The two have, per sources, been busy revamping advertising and sales procedures. Now they have apparently seen little reason to stick with an unpopular paywall installed by a departed regime and acknowledged internally as "not a big success."
Calls to Johnson, Bradford, and editor-in-chief Ward Bushee have not yet been returned. Messages for managing editor Audrey Cooper were shunted to marketing director Michael Keith, who stated "I can't comment on anything."
But, when he does, it'll be online for free.