More details are emerging about Susan Goldberg’s decision to resign as executive editor of the Mercury News and take the same job at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. As we reported yesterday (see below), Goldberg will be replaced by former Detroit Free Press editor and publisher Carole Leigh Hutton, currently head of the Palo Alto Daily News group for MediaNews.

    • Goldberg wasn’t present yesterday when her newsroom was told she was leaving, according to a story in this morning’s Merc. Managing Editor David Satterfield read the staff a letter from Goldberg in which she said the “disappearance” of former Merc owner Knight Ridder is “a loss that continues to reverberate on an individual level all over the country.”

    • Officially, Goldberg’s start date is May 29, but the job becomes vacant on Wednesday. Cleveland editor Doug Clifton said in a column Sunday that Tuesday would be his last day.

    • In that column, by the way, Clifton says newspapers can’t continue to give away content for free. Merc executives have held the opposiite view over the years.

    • Hutton’s departure from Palo Alto leaves that group of newspapers without a publisher or ad director. Hutton has headed the group since Jan. 17. The group, in addition to the free “Daily News” papers in several cities, also includes the paid San Mateo County Times.

    • Top-level MediaNews executives from the Bay Area will be meeting in Colorado later this week to discuss strategy. The meeting was planned before Goldberg’s departure.

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