Evaluating print and broadcast news in the San Francisco Bay Area from A to F

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John McManus, founder of Grade the News, has created a new edition of Don't Be Fooled: A Citizen's Guide to News and Information in the Digital Age. It's designed to help people vet news and information purporting to be factual from any source in any medium. Find more information here.



California leaders decry decline in news quality, particularly state coverage

Leaders are more pessimistic than public at large

California's news infrastructure and the amount of reporting on key issues confronting the state are in serious decline. This was the conclusion of a two-month series of interviews with 62 leaders from across the state -- including top journalists, educators and heads of civic organizations and state government -- conducted by the California Media Project in association with the Commonwealth Club of California. Read more

By John McManus
Posted Oct. 3, 2007

Mercury News may lose more staff due to accounting error

A multi-million dollar budget error may cost the Mercury News further positions in its newsroom. See former Mercury News advertising executive Lou Alexander's blog.

Posted Sept. 17, 2007

Abandoning downtown, 50 years later

Today former San Mateo County Times Executive Editor John Bowman begins his blog. Read more

Posted July 31, 2007

No end in sight for newspaper layoffs

Newspapers simply cannot afford to continue this madness of competing with themselves for free on the Internet. More importantly, neither can society. Read more

By John McManus
Posted July 28, 2007
Guest commentary

Making sport of gluttony

The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics suggests that journalists should “show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.” It’s hard to square that admonition with the Mercury News’ continuing promotion of eating contests on its front page and for the first time, on its editorial page at a time when obesity rates among American children are soaring. Read more

By Patrick Mattimore
Posted July 10, 2007
John Bowman

Inside the Bay Area's newspaper giant

'The average reader of the Oakland Tribune or Daily Review, or Tri-Valley Herald or Fremont Argus or San Mateo County Times would be appalled or even a little frightened if they knew how we put out those newspapers.'

Two weeks ago, John Bowman reluctantly cut short a 31-year career in the news business that spanned investigative reporting as a TV journalist in Louisville, Ky., editing The Business Journal in San Jose, the Daily Review in Hayward and the San Mateo County Times. He describes what it's like inside the Bay Area's giant new newspaper company. Read more

By John McManus
Posted June 5, 2007  

Mercury News plans to cut one-quarter of newsroom positions this summer

On July 2, a list with 46 names of Mercury News journalists who would be laid off or not replaced after having resigned was circulated in the newsroom. The list did not contain the name of an additional staff member who is thought to have committed suicide. That brings the total to 47. The newsroom is now authorized for 200 full-time employees. Read more

By John McManus
Posted May 31, 2007  

David Halberstam, 1934-2007

Halberstam recognized what a privilege it was to have attained the recognition from peers and the ability just to write books for a living. But he also indicated that it was much, much more than a job. From covering the civil rights movement in the South in ways that most other reporters wouldn't or couldn't, to upending a nation's misconceptions about how the Vietnam War started, Halberstam was a guiding light for a profession now so commonly associated with shallow celebrity trash and flash -- or worse. Read more

Posted April 23, 2007


Philip J. Trounstine
Guest commentary

The crisis of consolidation in Bay Area news media

'This is the situation one expects in a totalitarian regime, not in pluralistic America.'

The core counties of the San Francisco Bay Area have a population of about six million people. In addition to their seven county governments, they include scores of cities, towns, sheriff's and police departments; school boards, planning commissions, municipal and superior courts; universities and community colleges; water, solid waste and air boards; transportation commissions and public utility, weed-abatement and mosquito control boards; and many more government bodies.
In this region, one newspaper company -- MediaNews -- owns or controls every paid-subscription daily newspaper except for the San Francisco Chronicle. Read more

By Philip J. Trounstine
Posted April 15, 2007
Guest commentary

The critical press

Inflamatory coverage of mishap at a bicycle protest boosts paper's readership

SFGate.com, the Web site of the San Francisco Chronicle, last week provided a fascinating look at how both initial newspaper coverage and Web 2.0 technologies can help shape perception of a story. At issue is a confrontation between cyclists riding in San Francisco's monthly Critical Mass, and a mother from the suburbs and her family in a minivan who got caught behind the bike traffic. There was panic, there was a bicyclist hit (how hard is in question), and then someone broke the back window of her car.

By Josh Wilson
Posted April 16, 2007

Can California still be considered a democracy?

A new study warns that just 15% of the state's adults are deciding who governs California and which propositions pass. And that 15% is increasingly unrepresentative of the state's diversity. Politicians and news media must share much of the blame. Read more

By John McManus
Posted Oct. 6, 2006

Longing for the Good Old Days of American Journalism

When we look back on 2006, several decades from now, we may recall it as the good old days for news -- and everything else. Read more

By John McManus
Posted July 13, 2006
Guest commentary

Bonds hits 715; news media strike out

When Barry Bonds breaks a record, the world stops. Or at least Bay Area news media do. Read more

By Richard Knee
Posted May 31, 2006

Grade the News wins two national journalism awards

Grade the News has been named the 2006 receipient of the award for media criticism given by the Cultural and Critical Studies Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. GTN also won a citation from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism for uncovering ethical misdeeds of the news media. Read more

Posted May 2, 2006
The San Jose Newspaper Guild's map of the Bay Area illustrates the new MediaNews empire.

Mercury News and Contra Costa Times sold to MediaNews

Newspaper chain would dominate Bay Area with more than 800,000 daily circulation, placing Hearst Corp.'s Chronicle a distant second; union voices concerns and urges government antitrust probe

The San Jose Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times were sold by the McClatchy Co. to the MediaNews Group of Denver as part of a four-newspaper $1 billion deal announced Wednesday. The sale would lead to an unprecedented concentration of ownership in Bay Area newspapers. Read more

By Michael Stoll
Posted April 26, 2006


William F. Woo

GTN advisor, much loved Stanford professor, dies

Grade the News lost a friend and guiding spirit Wednesday when Bill Woo succumbed to cancer. More importantly, the Bay Area, indeed the world, lost one of its most insightful journalists and educators. Read more

By John McManus and Michael Stoll
Posted April 13, 2006

How clustering works at ANG newspapers

Pooled resources boost efficiency but eliminate competition

Now that the MediaNews Group, owner of nine metro dailies surrounding San Francisco, has bid for the San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times, it may be instructive to look at the practice of sharing reporters and centralizing publishing known as clustering.
At its Bay Area newspapers, MediaNews has pooled resources to keep moribund papers alive and produce some in-depth journalism, say defenders. But skeptics cite sparse news staffs and a single news angle as clusters limit competition. Read more

By John McManus
Posted Mar. 31, 2006

Department of Justice opens antitrust inquiry about potential sale of Mercury News and Contra Costa Times to MediaNews

Legal scholars doubt feds will intervene

The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice has begun a series of interviews this week to determine whether the potential sale of Knight Ridder papers in the Bay Area to Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group might lead to higher prices for advertisers and less competition. Read more

By John McManus
Posted Mar. 29, 2006

Did Mercury editor cross an ethical line testifying at a city council meeting?

On Tuesday night at the San Jose City Council meeting, Mercury News Editorial Page Editor Steve Wright testified during a formal public hearing on proposals for a new law providing for more open government.
It wouldn't have been appropriate for a reporter. But the editorial page editor follows different rules. Read more

By John McManus
Posted Mar. 23, 2006

Knight Ridder sale bodes ill for journalism, particularly in Bay Area

The investor-forced sale of so esteemed and profitable a newspaper company as Knight Ridder means three things: Wall Street doesn't value quality journalism; The glory days of newspapers are behind us; The Bay Area could be on the brink of an unprecedented media monopoly. Read more

By John McManus
Posted Mar. 17, 2006

Prominent TV news doctor puts own name on pre-fab reports

San Francisco station also ran press releases under his byline on Web

Syndicated multimedia medical reporter Dean Edell, who calls himself "America's Doctor," has for years taken credit on KGO Channel 7 for medical reports wholly or partially produced by an outside company. And his byline has appeared on the KGO Web site and a health-advice site over articles that were taken verbatim from medical center press releases. Read more

VIDEO: See a side-by-side comparison of a March 2 story voiced by Dr. Dean Edell and the near-original version by Ivanhoe Broadcast News.
By Michael Stoll
Posted March 16, 2006
The sale of Knight Ridder removes a landmark from San Jose.

Knight Ridder breakup may create unprecedented concentration of ownership in Bay Area newspapers

Fears of reduced competition and newsroom cutbacks spur interest in employee plan

The sale of the Knight Ridder newspaper chain over the weekend, to a company that plans to resell three local titles, raises the possibility of an unprecedented concentration of ownership in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read more

By Michael Stoll
Posted March 14, 2006

Liberal bias or public bias?

Have you noticed a new feistiness among journalists? Maybe it was news anchors flooded with despair in New Orleans showing images that put the lie to FEMA pronouncements.
Or after President Bush's state of the union speech, NPR finding experts to comment on the veracity of the president’s main points.
To some, challenging the Bush administration's grip on reality may seem a slam dunk case of liberal bias. Read more

By John McManus
Posted Feb. 27, 2006
A note to readers

We're broke, but not done

GradeTheNews.org will run out of funds at the end of February. The site will not go dark, however. We will keep it going, in some capacity, on a volunteer basis. Still to come are two major analyses of Bay Area news media, including our annual report card detailing which of the region's most popular news media best served the public in 2005. Grade the News has succeeded in calling attention to a number of ethical problems in local media, many of which have been resolved. Still, there's much to do. Read more

Posted Feb. 22, 2006
Milo Radulovich
Interview: Milo Radulovich

How journalism saved one man, and the rest of us, from McCarthyism

At 79, Milo Radulovich is as outraged about government-sponsored injustice as the day he stood up in 1953 on Edward R. Murrow's "See It Now" to proclaim his innocence of charges by the Air Force that he was a security risk. The real-life hero featured in the 2005 docudrama "Good Night, and Good Luck" speaks about Sen. Joseph McCarthy's legacy in the war on terrorism. Read more

By Michael Stoll
Posted Feb. 20, 2006

Society of Professional Journalists announces 21st annual James Madison Award winners

SPJ's Northern California chapter will recognize retired Point Reyes Light publisher David Mitchell with the Norman S. Yoffie Career Achievement Award at the James Madison Freedom of Information Awards dinner March 16. Mitchell and 13 other winners will be honored a banquet at Sinbad’s Restaurant on the San Francisco waterfront. Read more at www.spj.org/norcal

Posted Feb. 17, 2006
Guest commentary & counterpoint

Is news just another business?

ChronWatch.com's Jim Sparkman says journalists should drop the pretense that news is different from any other business; GradeTheNews.org's John McManus responds. Read more
Posted Feb. 15, 2006
Updated Feb. 16, 2006

The Sparkman response: 'The business' of newspapers

By Jim Sparkman
Posted Mar. 28, 2006

John and I agree that the newspaper business is in trouble. From that point on, we disagree on the cause, the implications, and the solution. I believe that John’s attitude produces no discernible action steps, and represents little more than complaining about the problem. Read more

Tony Ridder

Pssst investors! There's no business like news business

What CEO Tony Ridder should have told bidders for America’s second-largest newspaper company

My fellow moguls: I could tell you there's more profit to harvest at Knight Ridder and bump up my stock portfolio by a couple of million. But instead I'm going to level with you: News is the only business where you are called on to alienate some of your best customers. You can't give advertisers the news stories they most want. And if you give readers what they want rather than what they need, you're not really in the news business at all. Read more

Society of Professional Journalists calls for national debate on sale of Knight Ridder newspapers

The Society of Professional Journalists and its Northern California Chapter call for an urgent national conversation about how to preserve public-service journalism in light of the likely sale of the Knight Ridder newspaper company. Read more at SPJ-Northern California | Backgrounder on Knight Ridder sale

Posted Jan. 26, 2006

Was response to governor 'warm' or 'chilly'?

An instance of media bias?

The Chronicle, top, and Mercury News, framed the MLK breakfast quite differently in their headlines.

Did Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger get a "chilly reception" at a breakfast honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Monday, as the Oakland Tribune reported? Or was it a "surprisingly warm welcome," as the San Francisco Chronicle reported? Or was it "hostile," as the San Jose Mercury News reported?

The seemingly contradictory stories illustrate the subjectivity inherent in news-gathering, even when reporters are striving for objective accounts. Read more

By John McManus
Posted Jan. 19, 2006
Interview: Jerry Ceppos
Jerry Ceppos

Plagiarism a widespread problem at newspapers, former Knight Ridder exec says

But ignoring important stories isn't an ethical issue

Until he retired last September, Jerry Ceppos was the vice president for news at Knight Ridder, the person in charge of journalism ethics for the nation's second largest newspaper chain. He worries about widespread plagiarism, a disconnect between journalists and the public over what's ethical, and journalism educators taking ethics too lightly. Read more

By John McManus
Posted Jan. 13, 2006
"Big" news.

What top-10 lists say about the people who produce the news

'Purely unscientifically,' journalists pick stories based on a mix of values

As sure as a hangover on New Year's Day, newspapers compile lists of the top stories in the last year. But such lists say more about journalists' selection values than what was significant in 2005. Read more

By Michael Stoll
Posted Jan 6, 2006

Workers wage uphill battle to commandeer Knight Ridder papers

A union offer to orchestrate a "worker-friendly" buyout of parts of the Knight Ridder newspaper company, including the San Jose Mercury News but not the Contra Costa Times, has sparked excitement among employees at the chain's papers across the country, union leaders said this week. The company was skeptical of the Newspaper Guild's bid. Read more

By Michael Stoll
Posted Dec. 24, 2005
Anna Werner interviews an organic food advocate for "30 Minutes Bay Area."

'60 Minutes' spinoff for Bay Area takes time to go deep

The CBS 5 show, "30 Minutes Bay Area," looks like the network show, in both style and substance. It offers a rare opportunity to glimpse what local TV news might look like if stations invested in in-depth journalism. Read more

By Michael Stoll
Posted Dec. 16, 2005
Guest commentary

What's next for Knight Ridder?

The company that publishes the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and 30 other metro dailies across the nation is likely to be bought by a consortium including Gannett, Dean Singleton's MediaNews and one or more investment firms.

The consortium would cluster KR papers with existing ones, such as the Oakland Tribune, Marin Independent Journal and San Mateo County Times, realizing economies in the newsroom and other departments. There's an outside chance Tony Ridder will try to take the company or parts of it private. Either strategy would probably lead to much deeper cuts in KR newsrooms than have already been exacted. Read more

By Lou Alexander
Posted Dec. 15, 2005


Flagging station tries reinventing TV news with home-video tech

KRON-TV in San Francisco has eradicated the distinctions among reporters, editors and photographers, making everyone a "video journalist" with a camera and a laptop. The station says this move will be its salvation. Critics say this will be its undoing. Read more

By Michael Stoll
Posted Dec. 13, 2005
Bruce Sherman

Don't let corporate raiders liquidate the fourth estate

A single wealthy investor is threatening the civic vitality of 32 American metropolitan areas by forcing the sale of their newspapers to new owners merely to satisfy his demand for larger profits.
Can anyone stop him? Yes! Readers can, but only if they act together. Read more

By John McManus
Posted Nov. 29, 2005

Write a letter

If you want to speak your own truth to power, here's a customizable letter to Bruce Sherman of Private Capital Management. Please cc us. Please forward this call to letters to others. If you'd like to help save quality local newspapers, please get in touch at jmcmanus (at symbol) gradethenews.org.


Lou Alexander
Guest commentary

Sale of Knight Ridder may be close

The retired Mercury News ad executive who predicted Wall Street might move on Knight Ridder earlier this fall thinks the nation's second largest newspaper company is on the verge of a sale. Read more

By Lou Alexander
Posted Nov. 23, 2005

When reporters testify about secret sources, leaks can turn into floods

New York Times reporter Judy Miller's testimony about Bush administration leaks may have cheered liberals. But those who value open government have more to lose than gain when reporters reveal confidential sources. Read more

By John McManus
Posted Nov. 22, 2005

A response: Journalists have another option -- report the misinformation effort

By Peter Sussman
Posted Nov. 23, 2005

Mercury News renounces microscopic ad label

If you have less-than-perfect eyesight, you might be excused for not seeing the disclaimer on a full-page ad in the San Jose Mercury News that said "Special advertisement feature." The page was laid out to look vaguely like a news story. An editor at the Mercury News said the ad violated the paper's policies. Read more

By Michael Stoll
Posted Nov 21, 2005

Mercury News buyout list includes stars

The San Jose Mercury News has accepted buyout requests from about 50 staff members, including some well known to local readers. Approximately 25 others who asked for buyouts were denied by the company. Among those leaving are author John Hubner, reporter/columnist Larry Slonaker, business writer/editor David Sylvester, business writers Michael Zielenziger and Margaret Steen and ethnic paper editors De Tran and Marina Hinestrosa. Read more

Posted Nov. 16, 2005

Mercury News Guild members prepare for possible sale of company

The San Jose Newspaper Guild circulated a memo today warning that were Knight Ridder to sell off some of its newspapers, the purchaser could cancel union contracts, fire the staff and unilaterally set new wages and working conditions. Were the chain sold as a whole, however, union contracts might be protected. Read more

Posted Nov. 10, 2005
Lou Alexander
Guest commentary

Knight Ridder in grave jeopardy

Power brokers on Wall Street have ensured that the relatively comfortable status quo employees and readers of Knight Ridder's newspapers and Web sites enjoyed as recently as Monday is gone.
Things are going to change forever in the 29 markets the company serves with daily newspapers and the 110 markets reached by Knight Ridder Digital. None of the scenarios that can reasonably be anticipated allow Knight Ridder and its newspapers to operate in the future as they have in the past. And I assure you there will be chaos and uncertainty. Read more

By Lou Alexander
Posted Nov. 3, 2005

An open letter on Judith Miller and anonymous sources

From the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists

We hope to set the record straight on behalf of conscientious journalists around the country who support journalists' First Amendment responsibilities but are deeply troubled by Miller's earlier unprofessional conduct and SPJ's failure to fully apply its own Code of Ethics to this case. Read more on the SPJ-NorCal site

Posted Nov. 3, 2005
Guest commentary

A great week for sensation, but not for fair trials

The media hit a trifecta the week before last. Three gruesome murder stories dominated the headlines. They made for sensational reading, but perhaps not for fair trials. Read more

By Patrick Mattimore
Posted Nov. 1, 2005
16-year-old Scott Dyleski's name and image were in the paper before he was charged.
Make the call

Should the news media reveal the name of a juvenile murder suspect before the police have charged him?

News organizations and journalism groups mostly urge caution in identifying juvenile suspects of crime. In the case of a 16-year-old arrested in connection with a high-profile murder case, editors diverged widely in their judgments. Some said their obligation was to be cautious in protecting juvenile suspects, while others said all bets are off if the crime is particularly gruesome. Read more, and then participate in our online straw poll

Posted Oct. 31, 2005
Craig Newmark

Citizen Craig doesn't trust 'MSM'

Craigslist's founder wants to change the news paradigm with high-tech grassroots journalism

Craig Newmark, whose Craigslist.org deprives newspapers such as the San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News of millions of dollars a year in classified advertising, has lost faith in traditional journalism's ability to safeguard the republic. Read more

Interviewed by John McManus
Posted Oct. 25, 2005
Lou Alexander
Guest commentary

Loss of Merc's foreign-language papers will hurt communities

Under previous management, the San Jose Mercury News started Viet Mercury and Nuevo Mundo for reasons that weren't limited to the bottom line. Read more

By Lou Alexander
Posted Oct. 22, 2005

Mercury News will shed 2 ethnic papers, 5 local 'Guide' editions

Nuevo Mundo to close, Viet Mercury to be sold

The management of the San Jose Mercury News today announced the closure of its Spanish-language weekly Nuevo Mundo and the impending sale its Vietnamese language weekly, the Viet Mercury. The weekly local Guide sections will also be discontinued. Read more

By Michael Stoll
Posted. Oct. 21, 2005

SPJ names Nicole Sawaya of KALW as journalist of the year

The Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists announced the winners of its annual Excellence in Journalism awards contest. KALW general manager Nicole Sawaya was named journalist of the year for her important contributions to the diversity and availability of news programming in the Bay Area. Read the press release

Posted Oct. 20, 2005
Shades of Scott Peterson?

News media make crime pay

But risk losing public trust

Like hyenas converging on spoil, Bay Area and national media are feasting on the fame of attorney Daniel Horowitz and the bludgeoned body of his wife.
The murder of a celebrity's spouse will affect the lives of only a handful of the Bay Area's seven million residents. For 99.9% of us, it's morbid entertainment. Its news value is near zero. And yet news execs wonder why the public holds them in low esteem? Read more

By John McManus
Posted Oct. 18, 2005
Whither network news? (Graphic by Albert Corona; reprinted with permission from the Riverside Press-Enterprise.)

Reinventing the network evening news

Departure of Rather, Jennings and Brokaw offers networks rare opportunity

The three broadcast networks are rethinking how to gather and present their evening newscasts with the hope of reclaiming lost audience or at least holding current viewers.
The networks could boost the entertainment quotient of the news, as CBS Chief Leslie Moonves suggests. Or they could follow the lead of one of only two broadcast news media gaining audience -- Fox and National Public Radio. They won't outfox Fox, but a visual in-depth approach to news a la NPR might give people who already know the headlines a reason to reconnect with the newscasts most American households once tuned in. Read more

By John McManus
Posted Oct. 17, 2005
With so many free options, who would pay for news? That's what paid papers are trying to figure out.
Last of three articles

Free papers' growth threatens traditional news

'Micro-dailies' excel at efficiency, but the competition could displace experienced journalists

The free daily tabloid newspapers that have popped up around the Bay are flourishing, adding to the woes of major metro papers, which are cutting staff as they lose subscribers and advertisers. The trend bodes ill for the kind of depth reporting the paid broadsheets supply and for journalism as a craft that pays middle-class wages. Read more

By Michael Stoll
Posted Oct. 13, 2005

Check out our chronological archives for older stories, or see the topic index



A project of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at San Jose State University, Grade the News is affiliated with the Graduate Program in Journalism at Stanford University and KTEH, public television in Silicon Valley.

Monitoring the Bay Area's most popular news media:

Contra Costa Times


San Francisco Chronicle


San Jose Mercury News


KTVU, Oakland (FOX)

KTVU, Oakland (FOX)

KRON, San Francisco

KRON, San Francisco

KPIX, San Francisco (CBS)

KPIX, San Francisco (CBS)

KGO, San Francisco (ABC)

KGO, San Francisco (ABC)

KNTV, San Jose (NBC)

KNTV, San Jose (NBC)


Bay Area media advocates:

Media Alliance
Center for the Integration and Improvement of Journalism at SFSU
Maynard Institute
Youth Media Council
Project Censored
New California Media
Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California chapter
National Writers Union Bay Area chapter

Syndicate this site

What is this?

Site highlights


The three-part series follows the rise of three Bay Area handouts:
• Part 1: At free dailies, advertisers sometimes call the shots
• Part 2: Free daily papers: more local but often superficial
• Part 3: Free papers' growth threatens traditional news
• See also: SF Examiner and Independent agree to end payola restaurant reviews
• And: The free tabloid that wasn't: East Bay's aborted Daily Flash


Lou Alexander started a firestorm with his original guest commentary predicting the company would be sold. Several other experts on newspapers have weighed in:
Newspapers can't cut their way back into Wall Street investors' hearts, by Stephen R. Lacy; Alexander responds
Humbler profits won't encourage buyouts, by John Morton; Alexander responds
Newspapers can't maintain monopoly profits because they've lost their monopolies, by Philip Meyer
Knight Ridder in grave jeopardy, by Lou Alexander...


Leakers and plumbers: Journalists need a federal shield law. 11/22/05
Unintended consequences: Is society well served when Craigslist and similar services suck revenue from faltering newspapers? 9/13/05
Is CPB irrelevant? As Congress moves to cut public broadcasting funds, has CPB become obsolete in the modern marketplace. 6/26/05
The paradox of news: There's more news available and it's cheaper and more valuable than ever before, but fewer young people are interested. 5/12/05


Grade the News' funding has lapsed. We are maintaining and occasionally updating the site. If you have ideas for fund raising, partnerships or new initiatives, we want to hear from you. Write to jmcmanus [AT] gradethenews.org. Thanks.


Oct. 17 , 2007

What's been lost at the Mercury News in the first year under Dean Singleton?

Former Merc staffers provide their observations over changes at the newspaper once rated among the nation's ten best.

Lou Alexander reports.

Past blogs from John Bowman and Lou Alexander...


Bouquet to the San Jose Mercury News for an ambitious, must-read, nearly book-length five-part series this week on how the criminal justice system sometimes grossly fails to protect the rights of the accused.


SF businessman Clint Reilly sues MediaNews on antitrust grounds.

Join the discussion ...


Should the news media reveal the name of a juvenile murder suspect before the police have charged him?

Take our online straw poll ...


He said it was time to start giving consumers what they want, which was more entertainment news and 'less long series that we love to do but our readers hate to read.'

--William Dean Singleton, new owner of the San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times, quoted in the New York Times, April 27, 2006.


More quotes ...

2003-04 GRADES

Take a Flash animated tour through Bay Area Journalism!
Or go straight to the report.

Most recent updatesHow the Bay Area's most popular media stack up. Talk about Bay Area journalism in our on-line discussion forum. A printable news scorecard you can use at home or in school. Raves and rants aimed at the local media. What would you do if you were the editor? Upcoming happenings and calls for public action. Let 'em know! Contact a local newsroom. Codes of ethics, local media advocates and journalism tools. Tip us off about the local media, or tell us how we're doing. Oops. A comprehensive list of past GTN exclusives.