Retired Mercury News ad manager Lou Alexander (pictured), who is now a blogger, says several sources have told him that an accounting error of $3 million to $4 million at his former newspaper will force a new round of budget cuts that may lead to fewer reporters. No layoffs have been announced but Alexander says he can’t see how the newsroom could be spared. “I am being told that the people behind well-known bylines who do general assignment reporting and investigative work will be assigned to more mundane beats in business and metro,” Alexander writes. “If this happens there is a danger these talented people will move on to places where they can do more than cover beats like City Hall.” The Merc’s newsroom has been hit with two rounds layoffs in the past year, with 10-16 workers cut in December and 46 more in July. The paper now has about 200 newsroom staffers.

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