News

Bay Area newspaper chain announces major consolidation

Parent company of San Jose Mercury News, Daily News to combine newspapers, reduce staff

The parent company of San Jose Mercury News, the Daily News, the Oakland Tribune and more than two dozen community newspapers around East Bay and South Bay has announced a major consolidation plan, a move that will rebrand the company's two major daily papers and impact dozens of editorial jobs.

The company's daily papers in East Bay, Silicon Valley and on the Peninsula will be combined into two publications: the East Bay Times and The Mercury News, according to a Tuesday announcement from the company. In the South Bay, this will mean a consolidation of the San Jose Mercury News and San Mateo County Times into the new Mercury News, effective April 5, according to the company.

The Oakland Tribune and the Contra Costa Times will combine to become the East Bay Times, and a new East Bay-focused website, eastbaytimes.com, will replace contracostatimes.com and insidebayarea.com, according to the Bay Area News Group's announcement.

In describing the reason for the changes, Bay Area News Group Publisher Sharon Ryan pointed to reader surveys that were conducted last fall.

"Readers have been quite clear with us about how much they like their newspapers and what they want more of, and we're changing to serve them better," Ryan said in the announcement.

The company is bolstering regional news reporting in the East Bay; adding coverage of transportation, the environment and local business; and placing new reporting and editing resources in Alameda County news bureaus.

The consolidation is not expected to directly affect the Peninsula-serving The Daily News, according to Mario Dianda, the newspaper's publisher. The weekly newspaper will "continue to cover the same area in the same format," he said in an email.

The Bay Area News Group's announcement notes that the new initiative includes "a new video team" and a "technology overhaul" that will make the company's websites "simpler and faster loading." It will also, however, include a "modest reduction in staffing in certain areas, some of it through buyouts in the newsroom, and expansion in others."

While the company did not elaborate on the staffing cuts, the San Francisco Chronicle (which on Monday broke the news based on a leaked memo) reported that about 20 percent of the Bay Area News Group's roughly 200 newsroom employees are expected to lose their jobs, some through buyouts and others through layoffs.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff

Comments

14 people like this
Posted by Sandra Farrell
a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2016 at 10:47 am

As an Oakland resident, I am not surprised that the newspapers all around the Bay Area are becoming one, eliminating lots of editorial jobs and making sure that everyone is on the same page, so to speak. Investigative journalism died a long time ago so we seek out our news from several other sources, but not from the local papers. This trend cannot be good for the free flow of information.


19 people like this
Posted by Death of Newspapers
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2016 at 11:34 am

Nice spin job by the Bay Area News Group but there won't be any increase in coverage as staff gets shrunk and a paper like the San Mateo County Times has the final nail in the coffin which began over 20 years ago when they were acquired.

I remember how bad it was when the Peninsula Times Tribune was created out of the Palo Alto Times and Redwood City Tribune. Back then newspapers were relatively strong compared to today and they used the same language of increased coverage which never happened.

Long story short, the local daily newspaper is extinct and soon the big daily newspapers will follow suit in terms of being an actual newspaper.


20 people like this
Posted by A sad day for democracy in the Bay Area.
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 3, 2016 at 11:41 am

The loss of investigative journalism is not good for democracy. It gives government and corporations too much power.

If High Speed Rail were getting proper in-depth coverage the project would not have have run "off-the-rails" so badly. The HSRA is squandering precious resources and a rare opportunity. Good coverage would have helped to keep the corrupt influence of contractors, incompetent staff, and developers in check. There are so many examples of this. It breaks my heart.

Support what's left of investigative journalism. It is an essential citizen resource in a democratic society. Our world is changing--largely because the bright light of journalism is no longer keeping our leaders honest.


13 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 3, 2016 at 11:53 am

It is easy to say we should support local journalism, but how exactly should we do that? Paper newspapers don't work any more. Most readers want their news today, not tomorrow. Ideally, news outlets would band together so that readers could pay one subscription fee to read all the local papers online (like cable TV charges one fee to receive all the basic channels), but I don't see anyone trying to do that. None of the local papers have really good coverage of the whole Bay Area and annual subscription fees to multiple local news outlets can add up to $1000/year or more, which is more than I can afford. I know that Facebook and Google are making tons of money through online advertising, but how much of that money goes to the original journalists? What other business model can we use to "support local journalism"?


7 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2016 at 12:53 pm

@Death of Newspapers hits in on the head. When the Times and the Tribune merged, the RC readers thought there was too much about PA, and the PA readers thought there was too much about RC.


16 people like this
Posted by Sell the weekly
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Too bad they did not buy out the weekly. That we could get real news here, instead of the biased, one sided, money is the most important coverage we get today


8 people like this
Posted by Longtime Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Thanks be to God, for the Daily Post. Most of its news is accurate now. Their reporters are trying to be good journalists, giving the public just the facts, not favoring anyone (like the city) in order to pander for advertising money.

We've noticed the Daily Post is often the first to report a story, in Palo Alto and even in surrounding communities. Only later will other newspapers mention it too, including the Weekly, when the news is from Palo Alto.

Condensation in any business is bad news. But at least we do have some local sources of information still here, and a DAILY newspaper too. Maybe the Stanford Daily newspaper can branch out, and how about the high school newspapers? They've done some great reporting in recent years. WE NEED NEWS.


Like this comment
Posted by @Longtime Resident
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 3, 2016 at 7:57 pm

"Thanks be to God, for the Daily Post. Most of its news is accurate now. Their reporters are trying to be good journalists, giving the public just the facts, not favoring anyone (like the city) in order to pander for advertising money."

The Daily Compost, accurate? The same Daily Compost that well out of its way to smear Ken Dauber, day after day after day? THAT Daily Compost?


6 people like this
Posted by Georgia
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 3, 2016 at 8:12 pm

I second the cheers for the Daily Post. The investigate and get to the facts. [Portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Mar 3, 2016 at 9:12 pm

People are voting with their pocket book. You can get an annual subscription to the Chronicle for about $600.

The weekly Palo Alto DAILY News is a free Mercury News light.


2 people like this
Posted by WK
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 4, 2016 at 10:18 am

I like getting the Daily Post. They have stories you won't find in other papers. The problem with the Post is that you have to pick it up in the morning because their boxes are all empty by the afternoon!!!


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