Hearst shedding papers, partnering with Helium

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newspaper_small.jpgADOTAS — As Hearst prepares to close one door, it opens another.

The company said that it will close or sell the San Francisco Chronicle unless a last-ditch cost cutting effort works, though it appears unlikely. The paper is northern California’s largest newspaper with a paid weekday circulation of 339,430, but Hearst, which is already trying to sell the Seattle Post- Intelligencer, said the Chronicle lost $50 million last year.

But Hearst has opened the door to Helium, a citizen journalism community. Under the partnership, Hearst Newspapers will leverage Helium’s social publishing platform to access local and lifestyle editorial content. Additionally, Hearst will employ Helium’s community debate feature for reader comments and better engage readers around the issues they are most passionate about. Hearst plans to go live with the Helium platform at two of its Connecticut newspapers, including the Connecticut Post, in the next few weeks.

“Hearst is proud to be a pioneer in leveraging new models that will transform the newspaper industry,” said Lincoln Millstein, senior vice president for digital media, Hearst Newspapers. “Sourcing Helium’s top-notch writers will allow us to continue to deliver superior local and lifestyle content to our readers while also taking the necessary steps to get our costs in line with today’s economic realities.”

Utilizing Helium’s freelance Marketplace, Hearst Newspapers will be able to identify a stable of community stringers, who are compensated for contributing articles on a variety of topics ranging from wedding planning tips and great day trips with your kids, to seasonal gardening advice and concert reviews.

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