Monday, July 02, 2007

Black Monday at the Merc


July. 2, 2007

Today, the San Jose Mercury News loses the talents of more than 40 journalists in a combination of layoffs and resignations demanded by the California Newspaper Partnership, a consortium owned by MediaNews, Gannett and Stephens Media. These 40 journalists represent hundreds of years of service to the Mercury News and to hundreds of thousands of readers. They are reporters, editors, photographers, copy editors, designers, graphic artists, support staff and librarians. They take with them their knowledge of what makes San Jose and Silicon Valley a special place.

This would be a blow at any time but it comes on the heels of nearly two years of deecost-cutting. Since 2000, the newsroom at the Mercury News has been cut in half from about 400 journalists to 200 full-time positions.

This bloodletting has to stop.

San Jose deserves a great newspaper. Silicon Valley deserves a great newspaper. There are hundreds of stories to be told about changing communities, cutting edge technologies, pop culture and high art, school boards and government. Who will tell these stories?

The newspaper industry is in turmoil across the country as information moves to the Internet. The answer to this threat from our parent company is to cut staff and damage the newspaper – both in print and online. We, the members of the San Jose Newspaper Guild know that the success of this transition depends on investment in technology and investment in journalists.

We want to be partners in the growth of the Mercury News and mercurynews.com. We don’t want to be a part in the dismantling of a newspaper that has served Northern California for more than 150 years.

So we urge our supporters to make mercurynews.com their home page. We ask you to sign up for our email newsletters with news that interests you, click here, we ask that you tell us where our coverage lacks and what interests you.

Most of all, we ask that you demand a great newspaper. You deserve it.

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