With the departure of 15 to 18 percent of its news department, the combined Contra Costa Times-ANG Newspapers are launching an effort called NewPaper to re-examine what they’re doing, a memo from editor Kevin Keane (via Poynter) says.

    “For the sake of the NewPaper discussion, we must assume that the business model of newspapers has been permanently altered, and that we will never be able to support a fulltime news operation larger than what we have now. …

    “Perhaps we should shrink our coverage area and concentrate on what we know we can still cover well given the size of our staff. Or form regional partnerships with other media. With pressure to reduce newsprint consumption, should we combine sections on certain days? How should our papers be organized and zoned? And what elements of design should we embrace?”

The CC Times and ANG are controlled by MediaNews Group, whose CEO, Dean Singleton, reportedly was displeased by the Merc’s recent redesign proposal. A few days after Singleton saw a presentation outlining the Merc’s plans, editor Carole Leigh Hutton abruptly resigned.

SF Press Club News


  1. “… to mask the fact that there’s less content in the paper. …” CONTENT? Remember when they used to call content “news”?

  2. Whenever a paper announces a redesign, it’s not so much an effort to improve the paper as it is a way to mask the fact that there’s less content in the paper. This will be another attempt to hide the obvious — that readers are getting fewer local news stories. How does making a newspaper worse fix the problem?

  3. Smart money says that there is a very , very good chance that at least some of the people who put a sincere effort into the NewPaper effort and come up with some really good ideas will be shown the door in Singleton’s next round of layoffs.

  4. One way to get more news in the newspaper is allow reporters and editors to do their jobs and now force them to waste time on projects like “NewPaper.”

  5. The geniuses at MediaNews who have run their Bay Area newspapers into the ground and chased journalists out of the business are now going to put their heads together to come up with a successful way to run newspapers? Great idea. I’m sure they’ll come up with a winning plan in no time. They’ve done a great job with all their newspapers so far haven’t they?

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