Bay Area News Group Combines Papers

Move ends 137-year run of the Oakland Tribune

by Brian Leubitz

In another sign of the struggling nature of the journalism business, the Bay Area News Group is combining 11 East Bay newspapers into just two.  In the process, they’ll be laying off 120 production workers and up to 40 editorial staffers.  I suppose it won’t shock you that it is all about the money and falling subscriptions:

“After many months of research and planning, we are taking a strategy of re-branding,” said Mac Tully, BANG president, in an interview. “We are trying to gain efficiencies through streamlining. A lot of positives are being added: a local section seven days a week, a stand-alone business section every day and the successful technology section from the South Bay being brought up to the East Bay.”

BANG will shift more of its print dollars to digital offerings, its iPad and iPhone apps and upcoming products, he said.

Starting Nov. 2, the Oakland Tribune, Alameda Times-Star, Daily Review, Argus and West County Times will appear under the name East Bay Tribune. Tully said it will primarily serve the Interstate 880 corridor.  Also, the Contra Costa Times, Valley Times, San Ramon Valley Times, Tri-Valley Herald, San Joaquin Herald and East County Times will be re-branded as the Times to serve the Interstate 680 corridor and east, Tully said.  In addition, the San Mateo County Times will be branded under the Mercury News title. Tully said it’s still under discussion whether the Mercury News will keep San Jose in its name.(SF Chronicle)

BANG has some great writers who do some yeoman’s work covering local and state politics, including writers regularly featured here like Josh Richman and Steven Harmon.  Journalists are often stretched to incredible lengths, and more work than ever is expected out of them.  And don’t expect to see any skyrocketing salaries from the industry either.

With any luck, these moves will keep BANG stable for a long time as we continue to feel our way out in the new information economy.