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UPDATE: Bay Area News Group to Cut Jobs As It 'Streamlines' East Bay Papers

Walnut Creek Shadelands operations to move; BANG will consolidate 11 East Bay papers into two: the Contra Costa Times and the East Bay Tribune.

UPDATED 

The Bay Area News Group (BANG) on Tuesday announced a "rebranding" of most of its East Bay newspapers, including "a streamlining of its print operations."

Eleven East Bay newspapers will be consolidated into two: the Contra Costa Times and the East Bay Tribune (formerly the Oakland Tribune).

BANG announced its intent to close the Contra Costa Times building on Shadelands Drive "to move to a smaller one in Contra Costa County," the San Jose Mercury News reported. (The Mercury News is the flagship of BANG). BANG would like to remain in Walnut Creek, said Nina Lesowitz, a spokeswoman for BANG from JStokes, an advertising agency in Walnut Creek.

The company will consolidate production into three existing plants in Concord, Hayward and San Jose. Mac Tully, the San Jose-based president of BANG, said that production efficiencies at those plants "will enable BANG to utilize a smaller facility than the one currently operating in Walnut Creek." 

Layoffs

The streamlining will involve layoffs from the company's East Bay papers.

Lesowitz said 120 positions will be eliminated out of about 1,500 in the company by Nov. 2, the scheduled date for most of the changes to take effect.

About 40 of those are expected to be newsroom positions, one source told Patch. Lesowitz said it's difficult to be that precise. "Management is going to evaluate who will be leaving and who will be switching over to a different position," she said.

Tully said existing newspaper titles will continue to be published after the changes take effect on Nov.  2, but under two consolidated mastheads: the Contra Costa Times and the East Bay Tribune (including the current Oakland Tribune), according to the Mercury News article. That consolidation is due to take place Nov. 2.

The Contra Costa Times, Valley Times, San Ramon Valley Times, Tri-Valley Herald, San Joaquin Herald, and East County Times will now be branded under the Times masthead, while the Oakland Tribune, Alameda Times-Star, Daily Review, Argus and West County Times will be rebranded as the East Bay Tribune.

This shakeup comes almost two months after l in which BANG put San Jose-based editors in charge of the operations of the Contra Costa Times and the Tribune, including the ouster of two longtime Walnut Creek BANG editorial leaders, Kevin Keane and Pete Wevurski.

It's just the latest in three years of restructuring and layoffs the company has gone through in an attempt to cope with losses in advertising sparked by the recession, lagging circulation and a move in ad dollars to the Internet.

(Click this link to read about a cut of 17 employees at the company in 2009.)

Rebranding

The current rebranding includes enhancements plus an emphasis on multimedia content delivery that will continue to enlighten and entertain readers while providing new opportunities for advertisers to engage readers, the Mercury News said.

The consolidation will include the launching of two new weekly newspapers under the BANG flag — the Valley Journal, serving Alamo, Danville and San Ramon; and the Times-Herald, serving Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore and Sunol, according to a Frequently Asked Questions page on the Mercury-News website.

"We will continue to be the largest newsgathering and newspaper publisher in the Bay Area," said Tully. "We remain committed to embracing emerging digital technologies to buttress our existing products and services."

"I hope the paper stays around for a while," wrote Oliver jb, a commenter on Patch's Facebook page. "The Internet just doesn't have the right crinkle sound like a real paper, and I need that with my morning coffee!"

Fran August 28, 2011 at 01:10 AM
What a moron that gut is. And Harvard's "The Forum for Growth and Innovation" is equally moronic. Can't beleive this is the crap you learn at Harvard. "Disruptive innovation" describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves ‘up market’, eventually displacing established competitors. Ex. Cell phones disrupting land lines, and discount retailers disrupting full service retailers. Duh. One commenter was right when he wrote, "It´s easier for companies like Garnett or McClatchy to learn to capitalize on their local websites than to AOL to compete with them for local news and revenue."
MIKE ALFORD August 28, 2011 at 03:01 AM
The best thing that ever happend is patch ! this is the only media where you get constant feedback and we dont have to put up with the polictaly correct dead - beat B.S. that the Times & Martinez gazette with their bias Fluff reporters give us every day ! In another time not so very long ago --- their were real reporters - and they wernt afraid to tell the truth !! and America was a better place --we stood up for what we beleived in ! --- At least now we get feed back -- because we can speak up ! --- now if we can only learn to stand up for the truth !! Thank You Patch !!
Milan Moravec August 28, 2011 at 05:40 PM
Periodocally the CCT does some thoughtful investigative reporting. Mat Krupnick has demonstrated the capacity for informative investigative reporting. Increasingly his reports are just repeating what the spin doctors create at Cal in support of their policies and goals. Return to investigative reporting role Matt
Zoe Claire August 29, 2011 at 04:51 AM
Let's see if I have this right: Patch is a doomed business and its people are spineless corporate lackeys because A). There are too many big ads and not enough small ads, B). There are too many small local stories and not enough "big" national stories, C). Patch reporters don't do enough digging or they dig too much, and D). Patch isn't as good as older, more established and traditional newspapers, even though most of those newspapers are dipping their toes into Patch's space in an effort to stay relevant. Yep. Seems like perfectly reasonable arguments to me. Next.....
Ari Soglin August 29, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Thanks for the great discussion on local journalism in the East Bay. As a former BANG employee and now a Patch editor, I know that there are many excellent journalists working hard for both organizations. Success for both journalistic endeavors are in everyone's best interests. We're going to redirect the comments on this article to our East Bay Patch Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/EastBayPatch) mainly for technical reasons: We're getting so much participation on this story that the comments have dominated the "What Do You Have To Say" box on our individual Patch home pages. Generally, we don't have a concern about that. However, when the story is regional and the discussion is this robust, we have a comment stream that takes us away from our mission to be locally focused. Maybe we'll find some technical solutions so that in the future we can continue to offer articles that are regional in nature without having this issue crop up. In the meantime, if you care to continue to talk about East Bay journalism, please join us here: http://www.facebook.com/EastBayPatch.

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