An item we posted yesterday implied John Bowman resigned as executive editor of the San Mateo County Times because of cuts the paper's owner, MediaNews, made at the San Jose Mercury News. While Bowman was present at the meeting where the Merc cuts were discussed, he said he resigned because of deep cuts MediaNews made at the San Mateo County Times. (Yesterday's item has been corrected.)
"Staffing is dangerously thin," Bowman said today. An overworked staff is making "the kind of mistakes that absolutely destroy the credibility of a newspaper." For example, he pointed out that front page headlines in the past few weeks have had the wrong cities in them. Front page stories say they're jumping to a certain page, but the rest of the story cannot be found on that page or anywhere in the paper. Copy editors don't have enough time to proof the paper's pages before they go to press, he said.
Bowman also said working conditions in the San Mateo County Times building have deteriorated — that the copper tubing in the Times building at 1080 S. Amphlett Blvd. was stolen by vandals, resulting in no hot water, and that the ventilation systems are also down. He said a pregnant reporter was working from home because of 90-degree temperatures in the newsroom. He said his office's temperature was 100 degrees. Reporters have also found rat droppings on their desks, Bowman said. He said the union has filed a grievance over working conditions.
MediaNews is about a week away from moving the Times to a building on 9th Avenue in San Mateo and putting the Amphlett Boulevard real estate up for sale.