San Francisco ChronicleChronicle Metro Section Editor Audrey Cooper sent out a memo to staff last week that touched on Warren Hellman‘s Bay Area News Project. While she didn’t mention it by name, she did say that her staff will “smash whomever is naive enough to poke their noses in our market.”

Eve Batey, who is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal, thinks that’s sad.

Everyone who is wringing their hands and saying WE NEED TO SAVE NEWSPAPERS is afraid we’re going to lose smart, professional stories from people who will uncover injustice and change lives and do all that other stuff that only a free press can do. They are probably right — we do need people doing that (personally, I’m just not convinced that newspapers are the only way this will get done). But here we have the section head of our City’s major paper (sorry Examiner!) saying “fuck that shit, we just want to DOMINATE.”

Batey says that healthy competition will get everyone in the Bay Area to “raise their game.” Which is probably true (plus it may mean more employment options for newshounds). But we’re not totally sure that Cooper’s one sentence of encouragement to her staff is equivalent to saying “Screw all y’all, we’re the only game in town.”

What say ye?