Bay Area News Group to lay off workers, rebrand papers

Company to lump East Bay papers under two mastheads, shift focus on digital media

In the latest sign of economic distress in the newspaper industry, the Bay Area News Group announced Tuesday its plan to consolidate its printing operations and rebrand its newspapers -- a move that the company said would lead to elimination of about 120 jobs.

The Bay Area News Group (BANG), whose publications include the San Jose Mercury News and the Daily News, plans to combine its East Bay papers and split them between two mastheads, the Times and the East Bay Tribune. Under the move, BANG's newspapers would continue to operate but would be leaner and more focused on multimedia. The restructuring effort also means that well-known newspapers such as the Oakland Tribune would now operate under a different name.

According to BANG's announcement, the new Times publication would include the Contra Costa Times, Valley Times, San Ramon Valley Times, Tri-Valley Herald, San Joaquin Herald and East County Times. The Oakland Tribune, the Alameda Times-Star, Daily Review, Argus and West County Times would all be rebranded as the East Bay Tribune, according to BANG's announcement. The San Mateo County Times would be branded under the San Jose Mercury News.

Each paper would continue to have a stand-alone local section, BANG announced.

The changes are slated to take effect Nov. 2.

"We're taking these actions to strengthen the company for the future and to offer additional value to readers and advertisers," BANG President Mac Tully said in the company's announcement. "With these changes, we will continue to serve our communities with high-quality daily and weekly newspapers featuring extensive local coverage.

"The continuing integration of the newspapers with digital products will allow readers to access timely news and information when, where and how they want it."

The newspaper announced that the restructuring efforts would lead to elimination of about 120 jobs from its staff of 1,500 -- an 8 percent reduction.

The company also plans to devote more resources into its digital products, including apps for the iPad and the iPhone.

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Like this comment
Posted by It's-In-The-Air
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 24, 2011 at 1:38 pm

> The company also plans to devote more resources into its
> digital products, including apps for the iPad and the iPhone.

It's really hard to believe that most paper-based newspapers will be much, much, smaller than they are today, and most of the news, and other information needed by people (advertising) won't be Internet-based.

iPads/iPhones/Tablet PCs, and the ever-increasing signal of wireless Internet will change the world very quickly.

Like this comment
Posted by It's-In-The-Air
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Oops ..

It's really hard to believe => It's really not hard to believe ..

Like this comment
Posted by Some guy
a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2011 at 6:20 pm

What does this mean for the Palo Alto Daily News? No one seems to be reporting that. Will there be cuts, layoffs or neither? Can someone tell me...

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2011 at 10:44 pm

It is about time--why are we still killing trees and clogging mail boxes for junk that we use to line cat boxes with or just burn or throw away.
By the time these papers publish the news it is days old--they are real estate ads in an era when every one goes for their news, real estate, coupons--etc to the web/blogs.

These local rags add no value and even their blogs are too little, too late, too censured and too lame.

qq gives better timely,local crime reports.

WSJ adds value--look at their reports today on Jobs and Apple--they have incisive reporting and un censured blog comments

Like this comment
Posted by question
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 25, 2011 at 10:20 am

@Sharon -- what is "qq" (where you get crime reports)

Like this comment
Posted by Alex
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I haven't read the Weekly's print edition in years even tho it is mailed to me. It goes right in the recycling. I've been looking at the Weekly's Palo Alto Online for years. I wish the Daily Post would go online, too. I have to get a copy of that paper every day, and it's frustrating if I don't get out there early enough, they're gone.

Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm

I don't have an Ipad, I admit, but when you look online at the Chronicle, for example, it doesn't seem identical to the print edition. I still think there is a difference. Not just presentation. Sometimes substance, too.
I have more faith in the "journalistic quality" of the print edition. I am not elderly (not young either...) but my concern is for the benefit to U.S. citizens of having a variety of views in the press. It is really important that local, state, and national government be reported on by real journalists.
So many self-appointed bloggers are merely opinionated ppl w/hutzpa - I am sorry I do not care that Kim Kardashian (or her assistant) leads on Twitter - and they are not equivalent to educated journalists. Sorry to the techies or social media fans I irritate with my comments, but there it is.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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