BANG asked to reconsider closing Walnut Creek office

City leaders in Walnut Creek are urging the Bay Area News Group to reconsider its plans to close the Contra Costa Times main office and printing presses in that city. The closure is part of a consolidation plan that will result in 120 layoffs throughout the East Bay (see below). “We were surprised to learn of the closure, and we certainly want to keep the Times here,” said Assistant City Manager Lorie Tinfow, according to a report in the Coco

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New publishers for Marin IJ, Coco Times

Wilson MediaNews Group announced today that Matt Wilson is leaving as publisher of the Marin Independent Journal and would be replaced by David Rounds, former publisher of MNG’s Contra Costa Times. In addition, Rounds will serve as vice president in charge of circulation for MediaNews Group in the Bay Area. MNG described the moves as a “management realignment.” Today’s announcement said that Wilson, 54, of Berkeley, will be “leaving the newspaper to pursue other opportunities.” Wilson had been executive editor

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Chronicle circulation plunges 25%

The Chronicle’s circulation fell by 25.8% in the past year. Of the nation’s 25 largest newspapers, the Chron reported the largest percentage decrease. The Chron’s daily circulation now stands at 251,782, down from 339,430 a year ago. Sales of the Chron’s Sunday edition fell by 22.9%, to 306,705. In one year, the Chron lost 87,648 daily customers and 91,411 Sunday customers. The figures are from the Audit Bureau of Circulation’s FAS-FAX reports, which were released today. In San Jose, the

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NLRB upholds newspaper layoffs

The Contra Costa Times reports that the National Labor Relations Board has dismissed the Guild’s complaint that three employees were wrongfully laid off because of their union activities. The Oakland office of the NLRB ruled in December that the company was within its rights to fire Sara Steffens, Rebecca Rosen Lum, and Geoff Lepper. Now the NRLB’s national office has upheld that decision and rejected arguments to the contrary from the union. Steffens, who had just been elected union chair

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List of CCTimes, ANG layoffs released

Kevin G. Keane, vp of news for Bay Area News Group – East Bay, has released the following list of employees who were laid off as a result of budget cuts at his MediaNews Group papers. In that e-mail he wrote: “Instead of relying on job performance, we eliminated positions that we felt we could no longer afford in this economic environment or in those areas where we felt the work could be absorbed by others. We took a hard

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Contra Costa Times editor explains page 1 ad

The Contra Costa Times has joined the ranks of newspapers, including the Chron, with ads on the front page. In this commentary, Executive Editor Kevin Keane explains why the MediaNews-owned paper did it. “In e-mails and phone calls, we received dozens of comments over the next few days about the ad. Some readers accused us of selling our collective news souls to the highest bidder, while others thought we were “cheapening” the day’s headlines by running them alongside a paid

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Court leans toward open public pay records

Members of the state Supreme Court indicated during a hearing Wednesday that they are going to rule that local governments must make the names and salaries of their employees public, according to reports in the Mercury News and San Diego Union Tribune. “I don’t understand what is so personally intrusive about knowing what somebody on the public payroll is earning,” Chief Justice Ronald George said to a lawyer for Oakland police officers opposing release of salary information. “Doesn’t the public

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Court to rule on paper’s fight for salary data

The California Supreme Court this morning (May 30) heard arguments about whether the salaries of government employees should be public information. The case pits the Contra Costa Times, which has been fighting for the records, against public employee unions, who claim the data invades their members’ privacy. The court heard arguments today about a case in which the Coco Times requested the salaries of all Oakland city government workers who made more than $100,000 a year. The unions sued to

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UPDATE: DOJ clears way for newspaper sale

The U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division today (July 31) approved the sale of the Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Monterey Hearld and St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press to MediaNews Group in a $1 billion deal partially financed by the Hearst Corp., according to the AP and Reuters. “After a careful investigation…the antitrust division determined that the transaction if not likely to reduce competition substantially,” the Justice Department said in a statement. McClatchy Co., owner of the Sacramento Bee, bought

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