The Mercury News has launched an initiative called “Rethinking the Mercury News” where employees of the paper will, among other things, shadow ordinary people to watch how they use the news media. Details of the project can be found at and the effort is being spearheaded by Deputy Managing Editor Matt Mansfield.

The introduction to the project includes these statements:

    “We all look at our slumping circulation and revenue numbers and wonder what kind of changes it will take to grow – or even keep – our audience. The good news is that we can find out. The answers lie in the people who walk, talk, drive, shop, and read among us every day. …

    “We’ll also be listening for what they don’t say, along with what they do. We’ll also observe them — how they interact with our printed pages and Web site, how they find information in general, and how the media weave into the fabric of their days.

    “Think of this as going out on a story assignment or cold calling customers — but rolling that process back a notch. Rather than selling a specific product or researching a specific story, we’re simply looking for insights. Later on, we’ll work on turning those insights into ideas. Our only agenda is to discover what our agenda should be.”

The photo above is apparently from the Merc’s library and was posted by Mansfield on the Facebook site that has been established for this reinvention project. The picture shows Merc veteran Willys Peck on the copy desk. Anyone know the year?

Aug. 7: Chron is also reinventing itself under the slogan “Journalism of Action”

SF Press Club News


  1. how many times has the merc reinvented itself? they do a re-design every couple of years that manages to piss off a large number of readers … remember last time when they combined the local news section with the a-section? i understand that tony ridder himself had to step in and tell local management to change it back … typically these redesigns are intended to give the paper a “new look” while papering over the reduction in news coverage.

  2. Willys Peck lives in Saratoga and writes for the Saratoga News. Probably can ask him what year. I think he’s reachable through that paper. Nice man.

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