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To cut costs, Contra Costa Times, Mercury News will merge sports coverage

Posted Sept. 15, 2004

The Bay Area's two Knight Ridder-owned newspapers have announced a further merger of reporting. So far they have found synergies in coverage of state government stories in Sacramento, the Scott Peterson murder trial and some sports. Next year that process will expand to eliminate "duplicate" coverage of the 49ers, Giants, Raiders and A's. No sports writers will be laid off, says the Times.


Memo from Contra Costa Times Editor John Armstrong to the staff


In the course of preparing our 2005 Editorial budget, it became apparent that in these difficult economic times in the Bay Area we needed to identify new ways of doing things. I decided we had no choice but to eliminate some duplicate sports coverage costs.

In the past we have relied on the Mercury News for beat coverage of the Sharks and Stanford, and the Mercury News has relied on us for beat coverage of the Warriors and Cal. I have decided to extend that approach to the 49ers and Giants, relying on the Merc for beat coverage of those teams. At the same time, the Merc has decided to eliminate its daily beat coverage of the Raiders and A's.

This change, effective in 2005, starting with the next baseball season, will save approximately $50,000 in travel costs at the Times.

We will continue to assign columnists, other reporters and photographers to the teams as developments warrant, as sports editor Tom Barnidge and photo editor Alan Greth deem appropriate, and as the 2005 budget allows. We have no intention of turning our backs on the 49ers and Giants and, most of all, Barry Bonds' march to sports immortality.

There will be no layoffs at either newspaper as a result of this decision. In the weeks and months ahead, Tom will be working with the Sports staff to determine how best to capitalize on the opportunities this change affords.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like to discuss.

John Armstrong, Editor


San Jose Mercury News sports section cutbacks

Source: Poynter Institute Forum, Memos sent to Jim Romenesko's media blog
9/15/2004 1:12:14 PM

From: [San Jose Mercury News executive editor] Goldberg, Susan

Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 4:34 PM


Subject: Changes in Sports


We've had a number of meetings in the past year to discuss our budget and how our financial situation has been affected by prolonged downturn in the Bay Area economy.

As we plan for 2005, it's become clear that we'll need to do even more to save money. Beginning with the 2005 baseball season, we no longer will assign a daily beat reporter to cover the A's or the Raiders. As we have already done with the Warriors and Cal, we will rely primarily on the Contra Costa Times to cover these teams for us.

For their part, the CCT will use our daily beat coverage of the Giants and the 49ers, as they already do with the Sharks and Stanford.

This move will save us nearly $50,000 in travel costs alone.

Columnists are not affected; they can continue to cover whatever team they and their editors decide. Nor will coverage of playoff games or 1a-level stories change. Each paper will continue to make the news decisions it needs to best serve its readers.

No one will be laid off as a result of this move.

It would be fair to say that we don't relish making these moves. However, given the financial realities, this is a way to save a considerable amount of money while having a minimal impact on readers. I am confident we can make this plan work.

I'll be happy to talk more about this with anyone who is concerned.



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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.

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