Mac Tully, publisher of the MediaNews Group newspapers in the Bay Area, announced today that he's consolidating his East Bay papers and putting them under the titles "East Bay Tribune" and "The Times."
Starting Nov. 2, the San Mateo County Times will carry the Mercury News flag on page one, but will continue to report local news.
The Contra Costa Times, Valley Times, San Ramon Valley Times, Tri-Valley Herald and the East County Times will now be branded under the masthead "The Times."
The Oakland Tribune, Alameda Times-Star, Daily Review, Argus and West County Times will be rebranded as the "East Bay Tribune."
As part of this streamlining, the company will shut down its Walnut Creek offices, where it produced the Contra Costa Times, and consolidate its production operations to three existing plants located in Concord, Hayward and San Jose.
The move will result in 120 fewer jobs out of a workforce of 1,500. Whether those jobs will be cut by attrition or layoffs wasn't immediately known.
"These are challenging times for the newspaper industry," Tully said. "These adjustments, some of them very difficult position us to execute our strategic plan to maintain and grow our position as the leading multi-media company in the Bay Area."
Tully said the newspapers’ various web sites including www.MercuryNews.com; www.ContraCostaTimes.com; www.SiliconValley.com; and www.InsideBayArea.com will not change.
According to Tully's announcement, other changes include:
- • All the papers will have a separate, stand-alone local news section, seven days a week.
- • Top local, national and international news will appear in the "A" section. The Morning Report section will be discontinued.
- • The East Bay papers will have a stand-alone business section every day that will include business news from across the region.
- • A section focusing on technology will be added to the East Bay papers on Mondays.
- • The sports section in the East Bay papers will be expanded to include more pro and college coverage.
- • The line-up of comics, which has varied from paper to paper, will become more uniform and will contain the most popular comics as determined by a recent poll of readers.
- • Two weekly newspapers will be launched, the Valley Journal (serving Alamo, Danville and San Ramon) and the Times-Herald (serving Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore and Sunol).
UPDATE, 6:30 p.m.: The AP says the moves will help the company save money so it can invest in ways to bring in more revenue from the Internet and mobile devices.