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Pausing to refresh

Off the streets, onto the web

by Betsey Culp (bculp@sfcall.com)

The average lifespan of a San Francisco newspaper, somebody once said, is about two years. You’ve seen them come and go: that sounds about right, doesn’t it?

Two years in a human’s life… the wee bairn has just begun to talk.

Two years for a dog… if he’s a Jewish mutt, he’s just learned his Hebrew text and celebrated his canine bar mitzvah.

Two years for the San Francisco Chronicle… the teen-aged de Young boys were probably still handing out their four-pager in the city’s theaters and restaurants.

Two years for the reincarnated San Francisco Call… this little paper has grown to a substantial twelve pages, reaching thousands of readers through its print and online editions.

And now it’s time for a change.

For the next several months, the Call will run only as an online newspaper. Make a note of the website: www.sfcall.com. Like the print version, it will appear regularly on Mondays; because of the flexibility that the internet offers, updates may run more frequently. (If you’d like to be notified of Call updates, send an email to bculp@sfcall.com.)

During these months, online readers will notice a series of changes as the website moves from an anemic clone of the print edition to a red-blooded cyber-publication with a structure of its own. Because the city’s economic climate has not improved in recent months, CallBoard ads will continue to be free, and we hope their number will grow.

But the print edition will not be forgotten, merely in retreat while we do some much needed fund-raising and reorganizing. You can expect to see the little gray newsracks back on the streets this summer, well before the November election campaign heats up.

Speaking of elections… in case you haven’t heard, there’s a Very Big Shoe scheduled for March 5, boasting a ballot so long that the city’s Eagle vote-counting machines may choke on it. It’s a very important shoe, which will determine whether last year’s progressive victory was just a pirouette in the political history of San Francisco or something closer to a new dance for a new millennium.

In recent weeks, the Call has begun to offer a look at some of the candidates, but what you’ve seen already is only the tip of the brogan. A more complete coverage will appear at www.sfcall.com, supplementing what is already available in the Sentinel (www.sanfranciscosentinel.com) and the Usual Suspects (www.clemens.org).

If we do it right, the beginning of March will find you so excited about the issues we’ve raised that you’ll be eager to vote. I can see the headlines now: San Francisco Records Record 85 Percent Turnout.

Bye for now. See you online!