The Union-Tribune has shrunk its weekly eight-page "Street" section from eight pages to one. Over its 21-month history as a pull-out section in "Night and Day," Street had featured local-music types such as Michael Horvath (Lessons from Zeke) and Mario Orduno (Art Fag Records) on its cover. Each week a different local band was featured in a section called "America's Finest."
"The shrinking of the U-T is on all of our minds," said guitarist Peter Bolland, whose band the Coyote Problem was featured twice in Street. "The columnist in the [U-T's] business section is gone, and so is the book section. I don't think the U-T is doing anything horrible. It's just the way things are happening all over the country.... I teach at Southwestern College. My students don't read the paper. That's just the evolution of our culture. Old guys like me  lament the decline of the printed page."
The last Street section appeared June 28.
"I just hope they can retain local writers and it doesn't become a USA Today paper with articles written on the East Coast."
Night and Day editor Michael Crowell says even though it was never announced to the public, it was the plan all along for Street to exist primarily on the Internet.
"Everything you saw in the printed Street will still be available on line [utstreet.com]." Crowell says none of his editorial staff were cut back in the move.
"I do know younger people read more online than on the printed page," says Bolland. "But how could Street have the same impact [online]? There will be a smaller amount of people reading it."
Crowell guesses that 1000 to 1500 people a day now look at Street online.
"It's awful," says singer/songwriter Lisa Sanders about the shrunken Street. "I'm perplexed."
Both Sanders and Bolland say the best way for adult-skewing local artists to get coverage now is a 9 p.m. Saturday locals-only show on KPRI hosted by Astra Kelly.
"Wow, that sucks," says singer/songwriter Josh Damigo, a former Street cover subject. "I'm a little shocked. That was my favorite part of the newspaper."
"My dad was in the newspaper business [as a typesetter], and computers killed his job," says Bolland. "I liked the way Street presented the local scene in an eye-popping, visual way."
One veteran U-T newsroom staffer did not feel the same way about Street's reliance on photos. "It had no depth. It was like a junior high paper where everyone writes about their friends. If you were a friend of the Street staff, that's how you ended up in Street.... People around here are depressed. They are running scared. Until six months ago the downtown bureau had a staff of 15. Now it's down to 4 or 5."