Expecting a lot from the New York Times’ new “Bay Area Report”? Don’t, at least not at the start. The circulation-driven editorial product launches Friday with additional local pages for Bay Area coverage but only on Fridays and Sunday. The online component, more of an afterthought to the print edition, will be led by “The Bay Area” blog launching next week. Local collaboration is a “longer-term objective” but, despite reports that an agreement has been reached, the announcement carefully avoids identifying the new non-profit Bay Area Project as a partner. The fine print: “A longer-term objective of this initiative is to work with local journalists and news organizations in a collaborative way, first in the Bay Area and then in other major markets around the country. The Times is in discussions with news organizations in the Bay Area about supplying journalism for these pages.”
A variation of the concept is in the planning stages for Chicago, where the NYT will need to pair with local media to produce enough region-centric coverage. The company expects the print and online components for both editions to be supported by local advertising. Unstated: the real hope is to keep and grow lucrative print circulation.
In the here and now, the NYT will rely on its own reporters and contributors, particularly its 10-person San Francisco bureau and “will include enterprising coverage of local concerns, focusing on public affairs, culture and lifestyles in San Francisco, the Silicon Valley, the East Bay and the region.” More to come.