From this morning’s LA Times:
- At the San Jose Mercury News, reporters have been instructed to wait at home on the morning of March 7. If they don’t get a phone call by 10 a.m. telling them that they’ve lost their jobs, they should head to work.
Long the oracle of Silicon Valley technology and the go-to spot for government and community news in Santa Clara County, the Mercury News has pared back coverage on several fronts as its news staff has shrunk to about 200 from twice that number in 1999.
What’s happening in San Jose is being repeated to a greater or lesser degree across California. Buyouts and layoffs are being imposed at newspapers all over the country, of course, but California is especially vulnerable because of the severity of its real estate downturn. Along with real estate, advertising in related categories such as home furnishings, hardware and even big-box electronics retailing has been slowing, newspaper executives say. More.
The Times points out the appetite for news is as strong as ever. But the problem is that few news organizations have yet found a way to make the kind of money online that they had generated from print.