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New York Times first local pages debut Friday

A Twin Cities edition could be a long way off, or never come to pass, but tomorrow’s San Francisco rollout will provide the first evidence of what may come.
By David Brauer

Regular readers know I’ve focused extensively (and probably excessively) on the New York Times move to add local news pages in selected cities — perhaps some day in ours.

But as long as I’m following the story, here’s the latest: “Times local” debuts in San Francisco Friday. A Thursday media release includes more details:

♦ The new SF content will appear two days a week — Friday and Sunday.

♦ Timeswoman Felicity Barringer will edit the content, which will mostly be generated by the 10-person Bay Area staff. (The Times doesn’t have a bureau here, by the way.)

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♦ However, two freelancers, including an ex-Sacramento Bee political reporter, will contribute columns. Do I hear some downsized locals drooling?

♦ will add a “Bay Area” blog.

♦ While staff is providing the bulk of the content now, the Times reiterates its commitment to finding local partners “to provide the same kind of regional report, devoted to local news and written by local reporters with deep roots in the community.” Do I hear some local organizations drooling?

Optimally, the Times will provide more news for local issue junkies, and jobs and income for local journalists, plugging holes opened by shrinking local outlets. That’s why I’m pumped. Then again, it could speed up cannibalization and concentration. Stay tuned.

[Update: Nice interview/analysis from Paid Content here.]