Do you know the way out of San Jose?

The Mercury News, once the flagship of Knight Ridder will axe more than 100 staffers before December 19. Happy holidays! Well, the editors and writers are mainly atheists, so why not then? The way out of San Jose, Hwy. 101 south to LA, about a five hour drive or North on 101 to San Francisco. Not much work there, unless you want to be a server in the Castro.

The San Jose Mercury News plans to lay off another 100 or so employees over the next two months to cut costs and make up for declining advertising revenue, the paper said Friday. The news came on the heels of the grim word from Philadephia of likely slashings ahead at the former Knight Ridder papers in that city.

The company will eliminate 41 newsroom positions – or about 15 percent of its editorial staff – by Dec. 19, with the rest of the cuts coming from other departments including circulation, finance, marketing and human resources, said Dan Breeden, a Mercury News spokesman. The cuts, which officials say will be made mostly through layoffs, will sever about 8 percent of the paper’s overall workforce. About 10 to 15 currently open positions across the company could be included in those cuts, Breeden said.

The company does not yet know which employees will be laid off, and all employees in targeted departments were notified about the plans.

“It’s an economic decision,” Breeden said. “We’re preparing for needing to lay off 101, but it’s really our hope that the cuts don’t go quite so deep.”

Newspapers across the country have been cutting “dead wood” as investors have increasingly demanded they maintain their profit margins amid declining revenues. Also last Friday, the new publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News told employees that layoffs are “unavoidable.”

The job cuts in San Jose come after Denver-based MediaNews Group Inc. acquired the Mercury News from McClatchy Co. in August.

It also acquired the Contra Costa Times in the same deal. Publisher John Armstrong said Friday that Editor Chris Lopez was leaving the paper, but no other layoffs were planned at this point in time.

Armstrong said in a statement to the staff that Lopez’s position had become “redundant” as the company consolidated its Bay Area news operations.

“Given the serious revenue pressures all newspapers are facing … we cannot afford any redundancy, especially at the senior management level,” he said.

Riggs said in a note to his staff that the company was required to give the 60-day notice under state law. “I understand the uncertainty these staffing cuts create for everyone, and deeply regret that we have to take this action,” Riggs said in the note. “Please know that we would not do so unless it was absolutely necessary to ensure the future.

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One thought on “Do you know the way out of San Jose?

  1. Will the mainstream media get it?

    “I think if they’re smart, [mainstream newspapers] are going to change,” said Bob Norman, a columnist for New Times, an alternative newspaper in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “I’m not saying they have to print all the salacious details, but I think if they’re going to keep up with the general trend of keeping more real, toward telling the truth no matter how ugly it might be, they’re going to have to change.

    “Otherwise,” Norman said, “they’re going to have to cede more influence to the Internet, and I wonder if it’s not inevitable anyway.”

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