Monday, December 15, 2008

Singleton sees a turnaround in San Jose

Dean Singleton, MediaNews chief executive, tells The New York Times that in the long run, California — particularly the Bay Area — is the place to be. “I have no doubt that The Mercury News’s revenue base will perform better when things turn around than almost any newspaper in the country ... California has always been bigger than life, in the upturns and the downturns ... This thing will turn around.”

The Times described the Merc this way:
    The Mercury News, the Silicon Valley paper that was long considered one of the nation’s best, began shrinking years before MediaNews took over, under the now-dissolved Knight Ridder chain. The news staff, from a high of more than 400 people early in this decade, has fallen below 150, producing a much slimmer, more locally focused paper.

    It no longer has a movie reviewer. The science and book sections are gone. Most national and international news comes from wire services. ...

    “And this building is pretty rundown,” [Editor Dave Butler] said, waving his arm across a sprawling newsroom where some employees are surrounded by empty desks. The dinginess is made plain on his unadorned office walls, where lighter-colored rectangles show where pictures used to hang.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Times got it wrong when it claimed the Mercury is more locally focused. I've been reading it for years and there are fewer local stories now than ever---maybe dozen bylined local stories on a good day. A lot of the local coverage is from the wires or the Palo Alto Dally News. It's hard to believe the Mercury is the best effort of 150 people. I've worked in smaller newsrooms that have produced much more.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with the above post. The content strategy was to pilfer from the weeklies and the free daily so that they could pick off higher priced employees at the Mercury News. The problem is that Goldberg and Butler do not think the content fron DNG is good enough, so now they are screwed.

In the end, David Butler wanted to re-locate to SJ so they moved Carole Leigh hutton out and because of that former CNP head George Riggs quit. In the end Dean is quite smart, but not towards people. Because of this no one has the heart to stick around and tough this out with him. What he will end up with once the economy comes back is a lot of people fleeing to better jobs and he will be left with a mess.

mark my words MNG will default and Hearst will run the Bay ARea. Their way through Justice will be that they are losing $60m a year and if they can't join BANG then they have to close their doors. Justice can't afford to see that happen so Hearst will take over the Bay Area papers owned by MNG.

That's the real story