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SPJ's Northern California Chapter Calls MediaNews out on Staff Cuts

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

SPJ's Northern California Chapter Calls MediaNews out on Staff Cuts

Article excerpt

The Society of Professional Journalists' Northern California Chapter today expressed concerns about the latest round of staff cuts by MediaNews Group at the San Jose Mercury News, Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times, and the 26 other regional newspapers controlled by the company -- and called for more accountability on the company's part for the effect the cuts will have on newsgathering.

"Reports from chapter members signal to us that we can no longer stand on the sidelines when it comes to scrutinizing the effects of these cutbacks on the breadth and quality of news coverage," board President Linda Jue said in a statement. "We aren't simply talking about saving jobs. We're talking about how business decisions are narrowing the choices reporters and editors make about which stories to pursue. This is of special concern during an election year, when keeping the public informed about fast-changing economic, political and social issues is essential to the democratic process."

These staff reductions, which will be made in the next few days, come on the heels of two additional staff cuts in 2007.

While the board is mindful of the economic challenges facing newspapers, it is calling on MediaNews to reconsider its business strategy and recall its stated commitment to quality journalism. …

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