‘Mercury News’ Drops Foreign Language Publications

By: GREG SANDOVAL, Associated Press Writer

(AP) The San Jose Mercury News, which has won accolades for the diversity of its newsroom and coverage, announced Friday it plans to drop its Spanish and Vietnamese-language newspapers because the free publications aren’t profitable.

The company plans to stop printing Nuevo Mundo and is selling Viet Mercury to a group of businessmen. Their last editions as Mercury News publications will be Nov. 11, Mercury News Publisher George Riggs said.

The sale price of Viet Mercury was not disclosed.

The Viet Mercury, launched in 1999, became the leading Vietnamese-language paper in the area with a circulation of 35,000. But Nuevo Mundo, launched in 1996, is fourth among six Spanish-language competitors, Riggs said.

The Mercury News’ abundant resources didn’t overwhelm Nuevo Mundo’s competitors as the Mercury News had expected.

“We’re very saddened by the news, but we respect the business decision,” said Nuevo Mundo’s editor and publisher Marina Hinestrosa.

The Mercury News also is closing its zoned editions of The Guide, weekly sections on five Silicon Valley communities, Riggs said. Mercury News parent company Knight Ridder Inc. recently announced it was acquiring Silicon Valley Community Newspapers, publisher of eight weeklies in the same coverage area.

“While we are proud of the editorial accomplishments of both the Viet Mercury and Nuevo Mundo, as well as The Guide, in this business climate we need to turn our focus to the core Mercury News,” Riggs said.

Higher newsprint and health costs, combined with sagging advertising revenue, have cut profits across the newspaper industry. Knight Ridder, the second-largest newspaper publisher in the country, announced last week that its third-quarter earnings from continuing operations had fallen while its newsprint and related costs rose more than 7%.

The Mercury News announced last month that it would lay off 60 employees, including 52 in the newsroom, after first offering buyouts.

Executive Editor Susan Goldberg said the Mercury News would continue to reflect Silicon Valley’s diverse communities, both in coverage and staff.

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