Six weeks after acquiring the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Dean Singleton’s MediaNews group has decided to print the 25,000-circulation daily at his Mercury News plant in San Jose. As many as 33 of the Sentinel’s 120 employees will be looking for work as a result of the switch.
The move comes a week after MediaNews voided the paper’s contract with its 10 Teamster pressmen. They will receive two weeks of severance pay for every year of service with a cap of 24 weeks. In addition, 23 employees in the paper’s mail room will be let go, but it is unknown how much severance they will get, if any.
The Sentinel said that its last edition to be printed in Santa Cruz will be on April 30. The paper has been printing on its own presses for 151 years.
When MediaNews bought the Sentinel in February, it said it wasn’t planning to close the Santa Cruz press room. But Mercury News publisher George Riggs, who oversees the MediaNews Group’s papers in California, said Wednesday that a sharp decline in advertising revenue in the first weeks of the year has company executives “scrambling as fast as we can to offset those” losses.
Riggs said it is also possible that the Sentinel will move from its current home on Church Street since it will not need so much space with the closure of its press.
• Press Club, Feb. 3: MediaNews buys Santa Cruz Sentinel