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SF Chron, SJ Mercury News fire Sharks beat reporters

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Clerk Typist, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    From Sharkspage.com, as tipped by Romenesko:

    Black day for hockey coverage in the Bay Area, SF Chronicle and SJ Mercury News lay off Sharks beat reporters
    Confirmed a few minutes ago: The San Francisco Chronicle laid off Sharks beat writer Ross McKeon, who has been covering the team since 1991. Also, Sharks beat writer Victor Chi is on the list of 31 San Jose Mercury News employees who were laid off on Monday. Fifteen others, including soccer and boxing reporter Dylan Hernandez and photographer Meri Simon, voluntarily resigned.

    It is a paradigm shift for local sports reporting, and for coverage of the San Jose Sharks. The San Francisco Chronicle, the largest newspaper in the Bay Area, is expected to cut approximately 100 of its 400 editorial positions. The San Jose Mercury News, founded in 1851, lost 50% of its staff from a high of 400 only a few years ago.

    Chronicle reporters have set up a blog with job opportunities and resources for those who have been let go at chroniclecolleagues.blogspot.com. When deputy managing editor John Curley accepted a buyout at the Chronicle, he posted a farewell on his flickr page that reflects on his many years on the paper.

    On MN Technology reporter Dean Takahashi's tech talk blog, he asks if the Mercury News can be saved? He also mentions an upcoming interview with Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, who along with Craig Newmark of Craigslist have had a significant impact on the bottom line of newspapers across the board.

    It is tough to quantify how much losing the two main San Jose beat writers will impact coverage of the team (with news about both layoffs coming on the same day). Lost in a lot of the hype and hyperbole surrounding blogs, web 2.0, and "citizen reporting" is how much hard work goes into their reporting day in and day out.

    The Chronicle is expected to scale back its coverage of the Sharks and the NHL, possibly to wire reports that are readily available in dozens of other locations. Letters can be sent to Sporting Green editor Glenn Schwartz at letterstogreen@sfchronicle.com, the editor at letters@sfchronicle.com, the San Francisco Chronicle's reader representative readerrep@sfchronicle.com, or via a feedback form. Chronicle EVP and Editor Phil Bronstein can be reached at pbronstein@sfchronicle.com.

    It is too soon to tell how this will effect the Mercury News coverage of the Sharks, but it should remain a prominent position as the South Bay's largest sports franchise. John Ryan of Morning Buzz and David Pollak have filed stories on the Sharks after the layoffs. The Mercury News Sports Editor, Rachel Wettergreen Wilner, can be reached at rwilner@mercurynews.com. The Mercury News Deputy Sports Editor, Bud Geracie, can be reached at bgeracie@mercurynews.com.

    More information will be posted as it comes in.

    [Update] This post last August detailed what was expected to be reduced NHL coverage in the Washington Post, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times. The Washington Post did a complete 180, and it has moved into a position of leadership online (if not with its hockey coverage). The New York Times adapted on the fly and published several long personal interest stories, and several extensive reports about different issues facing the league instead of regular game reports. The Los Angeles Times was effected by default, as the Anaheim Ducks made a long playoff run to a Stanley Cup Championship.
  2. Bump_Wills

    Bump_Wills Member

    Can't see a scenario under which the Mercury News wouldn't continue to staff the Sharks home and away, so somebody will be getting that job. At the Chron, though, the Sharks beat may well be a thing of the past.
  3. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Unbelieveable... two major papers in the area ditch beat writers for the same beat.
    Hmmm, wait. Carole Leigh is at SJ... brings this all into perspective...
  4. Susan Slusser

    Susan Slusser Member

    Just a slight clarification: Ross was not laid off, he took a buyout offer. He's a total pro who will be greatly missed by his colleagues.
  5. Claws for Concern

    Claws for Concern Active Member

    Did the Merc have any sponsorship ties to the Sharks' arena? Just asking because I'd think if there was, there'll be much less of one now.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    So her paper could still write colorful, quote-filled stories on the Sharks, without actually having to be there? Genius!

  7. The slapster is dogged in pursuit.
  8. One of Carole Leigh's former writers did a colorful, quote-filled column on the Final Four without the subjects themselves being there, so there is a precedent.
  9. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd New Member

    Perhaps you've never heard of Dean Singleton.
  10. Left_Coast

    Left_Coast Active Member

    Lean Dean's goal, just like it was in SoCal, will be one writer covering each team/sport for all the Bay Area papers: San Jose, Contra Costa, Oakland, papers in the East Bay. Throw in Monterey, too, since Lean has that place in his clutches.
    And with him and the Chron already making deals for circulation and distribution, I suspect the Chron will be part of that contingent as well down the line.
    One writer for the Giants, A's, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders, Cal, Stanford. To be divided among the papers Lean has. Again, see SoCal with Dodgers, Angels, Lakers, Clippers, Ducks, Kings, USC, UCLA, with the L.A. Daily News controlling most of those, certainly the biggest/most high profile beats.
    It won't be LANG (Los Angeles Newspaper Group) but BANG (Bay Area Newspaper Group).
    Of course, the bang is the implosion of newspapers in the Bay Area.
    It was as predictable as a sunrise.
  11. DPollak@TheMerc

    DPollak@TheMerc New Member

    Here's the situation at the Merc.

    For the past five years, the paper has had two of us covering the Sharks … Vic as the
    full-time beat writer, me spending about 50 percent of my time supplementing his coverage with features, notebooks, attempts at analysis. Frankly, I always thought I had the better job (playoff travel only, just a handful of gamers over the years).

    Unfortunately, we lost several good reporters in all departments during this week's layoffs,
    Vic among them. Hockey is one of many areas where the paper is reducing its staffing and I'm the guy left standing.

    The Sharks are now my full-time beat. We do plan to redefine our coverage approach, but …
    despite the speculation out there … we won't stop following the team on the road.

    Hope that helps clarify things.
  12. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    How'd they decide the layoff-ees? Performance? Years of service? Pull 'em out of a hat?
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