Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Oakland Tribune to cease as a daily after 150 years as BANG consolidates, 33-43 jobs cut

Six daily newspapers in the Bay Area will be consolidated into two, one serving Oakland and the East Bay and the other Silicon Valley, and about 33 to 43 of the company’s 200 journalists will lose their jobs.

The move means the end of the 150-year-old Oakland Tribune as a daily newspaper. It’s last edition will be April 4.

The Bay Area News Group is offering 23 buyouts to newsroom employees 60 or older, who have been with their paper for at least 20 years. In addition, 10 to 20 employees will be fired, according to the Chronicle.

The company now has about 200 news employees, so this represents a reduction of 16.5% to 21.5% in staffing.

In the East Bay, The Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, The Daily Review and The Argus will combine to become the new East Bay Times, which will debut April 5.

Subscribers in Oakland, Hayward and Fremont also will receive new community weeklies.

In Silicon Valley, the San Jose Mercury News and the San Mateo County Times will become the Mercury News, dropping the words "San Jose" from its title, according to BANG's vice president for audience, Dan Smith.

He says the changes were prompted by a survey of subscribers.

Digital First Media, a New York publishing company controlled by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital, owns BANG. Digital First had been for sale for a couple of years, and rumors were circulating earlier this year that it might be acquired by Gannett Co.

The Chronicle reports that union officials at the newspapers are pushing for “fair wages and job security” at their papers, where some workers have gone eight to 10 years without a raise.

As part of the move, BANG says it will create an East Bay-focused website, eastbaytimes.com, replacing the current contracostatimes.com and insidebayarea.com. BANG is calling it a "newspaper rebranding."

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