UPDATE: Editor Responds to Rumors of Massive Job Cuts at 'Mercury News'

By: E&P Staff Just days after news emerged that the San Francisco Chronicle is slated to lose almost 25% of its newsroom staff comes word that its southern neighbor, the San Jose Mercury News, may face the same cutback.

At the popular Web site, Grade The News, John McManus asserted yesterday that 60 more newsroom positions, almost one in four at the paper, "are to be eliminated at the San Jose Mercury News this summer after a layoff moratorium negotiated with the local Newspaper Guild expires."

Responding to the report, Carole Leigh Hutton, the new executive editor and vice president at the paper, sent a memo to staff, which was quickly posted at the Romenesko site. It reads:

"I'm seeing and hearing a lot of rumors about plans for cuts and consolidations here. There's no denying that this has been a tough year financially and we're in the midst of a difficult budget season for the fiscal year that begins in July. We're discussing a number of cost-cutting measures. As soon as I can give you some definitive plans, I will. Meanwhile, I hope we can focus some of that energy on doing the journalism we do so well. This is a tough business these days, but it remains the very best profession, and we should all remain proud of our contributions to it."

Grade the News had reported: "John Bowman, executive editor at the San Mateo County Times until last week, said the staff reductions were discussed at an April meeting he attended at the Mercury News along with top editors of MediaNews, which now owns every paid daily newspaper around the San Francisco Bay but the San Francisco Chronicle. The proposed cuts would affect 24% of the 250 member Mercury News staff.

"Mr. Bowman said he disclosed the layoff plan and resigned as executive editor of the Times because he was fed up with MediaNews' policies of trying to run newspapers short-handed....David Satterfield, managing editor of the Mercury News, refused to discuss staff cuts."

The full report is at www.gradethenews.org.


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