The Bay Area News Group is reversing course and will retain the names Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times and other newspaper titles it uses in the East Bay. BANG also reduced the number of newsroom employees it will fire from 48 to 25.
Also, the San Mateo County Times will retain its name. The earlier plan was to distribute newspapers with the San Jose Mercury News flag to Times subscribers and single-copy buyers.
BANG President Mac Tully held a news conference yesterday to announce the changes to the company’s original plan. According to Bay City News:
- … [T]he Tribune also will open two new community media labs in Oakland, which are part of the news group’s plan to emphasize social media and community participation that’s focused on local news.
- One of the community media centers will be located in the Tribune’s newsroom when the paper moves back to downtown Oakland. The paper had always been located downtown since it was founded in 1874 but in 2007 it moved about five miles away to Oakport Street, near the Oakland Coliseum and the Oakland airport.
- The other community media lab will be a satellite office.
- Oakland Tribune Editor Martin Reynolds said, “Today is a very good day for Oakland. So much of the news about the newspaper industry is about its demise but today we’re looking at building something.”
- Reynolds said the media labs are part of a plan to have “an open newsroom” in which community members contribute items to the newspaper and its website.
- Reynolds also said he’s “excited” that the paper will be moving back downtown sometime early next year, although the site hasn’t yet been determined.
- He said newspaper officials considered moving back into the Tribune Tower at 13th and Franklin streets, a landmark building that opened in 1924, but its now in foreclosure proceedings so moving back isn’t feasible.
- Reynolds said, “The staff never wanted to leave downtown and the community took exception to our move and thought we had somehow abandoned the scene even though that wasn’t true. Now we’ll be back where we want to be.”
- Tully said moving the Tribune back downtown “is part of re-engaging the community and inviting them in and this building (on Oakport Street) is not conducive to that.”
The changes are set to go into effect on Tuesday, Nov. 1.