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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ray Ratto Leaving Chronicle

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 10:44 AM

click to enlarge ray_ratto.jpg
Word out of the San Francisco Chronicle newsroom is that Ray Ratto, the paper's longtime prolix sports columnist, is leaving the newsprint world -- a move Ratto has confirmed to SF Weekly.

Ratto is jumping ship and heading over to Comcast, where he'll do TV work and write a blog; he is already a frequent contributor to the Chronicle Live show on the network. His last day at the paper is Sunday.

"The pull is, they've been interested in me and it seemed like a real good time to do something slightly different," said Ratto. "Opportunity is not going to put its tongue down my throat that often. Better seize what I can seize."

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Ratto confirmed he'll be better compensated at Comcast than at the Chron. "But that wasn't the huge motivator -- though I was a big fan of that," he notes. Comcast is "certainly bankrolled" and stocked with "young, eager, bright people who want to run into walls, pick themselves up, and run into more walls. There's a lot of energy there." 

Other than loosely veiled allusions to the instability of the newspaper business, this is, in many ways, a counter-intuitive move. It's hard to imagine wider exposure for Ratto on basic cable and a Comcast blog than as the Chronicle's lead sports columnist. Ratto didn't deny that, but noted "at some point, it's got to sort of be about the work. And I figure if you do it well enough people will come and find you." 

Ratto has written for the Examiner or the paper it bought, the Chronicle, since 1973. He left for a columnist's position at the Peninsula Times Tribune from 1981 to '86 and for the short-lived sports newspaper The National from 1990 to '91. Both times, however, he returned to the Hearst family's employ. That's far from certain this time, however.

While he says his departure from the paper's fold has been "profoundly amicable," nobody has told him he's welcome back if his latest foray doesn't work out. "Nobody knows what the market will be like. Nobody knows what papers will be like," he says. "I don't think anybody's in the position to commit to anything two years down the road."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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