Wednesday, November 14, 2007

MN merger triggers a seismic shift in Bay Area journalism. Is SoCal next?

A Palo Alto Online news analysis today suggests the Bay Area is ground zero for newspaper consolidation and the fears it has generated. MediaNews owns at least 29 daily newspapers in Northern California and nine in Southern California, and the company's unprecedented merger of news operations at a number of it's Northern California papers are its effort to "eliminate wasteful redundancies, streamline management, and redirect staff and resources to [it's] interactive services and other priorities, such as watchdog journalism".

Note that "watchdog journalism" is last on that list. And as a result of its skewed priorities, MN employs fewer reporters, editors and copy editors — wasteful redundancies.

"There's no variety, there's no differentiation... When all papers are owned by one person, there's just one voice," Harry Press, a longtime journalist and former editor is quoted as saying in the analysis.

What is happening in the P-T newsroom that suggests MediaNews has similar consolidation plans here in Southern California?

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