Merc business staff wins 3 top awards

The Mercury News’ business staff has taken three top professional awards, including one for overall excellence, in a contest sponsored by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. The awards recognize the best publications and Web sites and the best business news reporting for 2009. The Mercury News was the only Bay Area newspaper honored this year. Brandon Bailey and Elise Ackerman won top honors in the breaking news category for their coverage of Carol Bartz’s appointment as CEO

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Merc offering free ads

Not to be outdone by KLIV-AM 1590 (see below), the Mercury News has begun offering free classified ads. “A 3-line ad with one photo runs for 30 days on MercuryNews.com and in the Mercury News itself for FREE,” the house ad says. The ad must be for merchandise at $500 or less. Obviously readers are being targeted rather than businesses. Maybe the Merc has offered free ads before, but we’ve never seen it. And who is the guy in the

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Melissa Jordan leaves Merc for BART

Melissa Jordan has jumped from the post of senior editor for recruiting and training at the Mercury News to BART’s senior Web producer. She tells Poynter Online (link to Q&A) that she wanted to try something new. Jordan, who was with AP before the Merc, says she’s excited about her new job. Asked by Poynter’s Joe Grimm to name something that surprised her about her new job, she replied: How great a fit it is for me with the public

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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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San Jose rejects plan to open police records

The Mercury News reports that a proposal to make public most San Jose police arrest records has been rejected by City Council, which said it would put crime victims in jeopardy and hinder crime fighting. Mayor Chuck Reed, who had previously been on the side of making more records accessible to the public, said he was worried that no other city had opened up its police records to the extent that San Jose would under the proposal from the Sunshine

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‘Local’ must have broad interest at the Merc

The Merc’s Mike Cassidy is back with another column responding to readers about the paper’s coverage. This time the subject is local news coverage. He explains that the paper’s local coverage means stories that have a broad interest among all of its readers: If you want to be local, argues reader Michael Bower, how about more news “such as covering high school sports or events going on among high schools, junior highs and elementary schools?” It sounds good on paper,

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Merc columnist asks readers for help

Merc columnist Mike Cassidy is asking readers to e-mail him with ideas about how to improve his newspaper. He writes: Silicon Valley is filled with brilliant minds and good hearts who want better things for this newspaper. Tell us: What is it that draws you subscribers to the Mercury News every day? What would get you non-subscribers to join those who do subscribe? What would you pay for on the Web? Are there benefits print subscribers should receive that Web

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San Mateo County Times will be a Merc edition

The following was e-mailed to Bay Area News Group employees: All BANG Employees: This Sunday the San Mateo County Times will become an edition of the San Jose Mercury News. The current San Mateo County Times masthead will remain in place, as does our commitment to local coverage of the San Mateo market. The only physical change you will notice in the newspaper will be the addition of a logo “an edition of the San Jose Mercury News” on the

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Photographer Len Vaughn-Lahman dies

Len Vaughn-Lahman, a Mercury News photographer for nearly 30 years died Friday following a year-long battle with cancer at age 55, the Merc reports. “His favorite motto,” said Sharon, his wife of 12 years, “was ‘Drive it like you stole it.’ And he ran his life that way. He lived life fully. His favorite thing was being a foreign correspondent, traveling to Iraq, to Afghanistan, any place there was a war. He was an adrenaline junkie. He liked being put

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