Friday, March 21, 2008

One less reason to buy the Mercury News

I wouldn't call myself a TV addict, but for the past nine years I've been able to count on Charlie McCollum to tip me off when there was something worth watching on the tube...and when I shouldn't waste my time. As you may know, McCollum writes the TV column in the San Jose Mercury News...or at least he used to.

Turns out that Monday's column -- which told me that The Riches is back and I might want to spend some quality time with Minnie Driver -- was his last. McCollum noted that "due to the recent staff reduction and a resulting realignment of assignments at the Mercury News...I will be moving on to other writing and editing jobs at the paper."

One less reason to read the Mercury News.

Here's another: Today's SV Life section, which includes movie reviews, had no reviews by local reporters. There was one from the LA Times News Group, another from the LA Times (is there a difference?), and one from the Sacramento Bee. Oh, and commentary from the Miami Herald, and a filmmaker profile from the Minneapolis Tribune. Plus Dear Abby, the comics and the movie listings. That's it.

I guess a local reporter still compiles the "Three Things to Do Today/Tomorrow" listings for this section, but everything else is canned.

Tell me again why I should buy this newspaper?


ValleyDriver said...

i also was a fan of charlie's and was disappointed to see his move from the media section.

i've noticed this kind of 'movement' with the car reviewer and also in the tech section.

i wondered if the Mercury News was trying to get the old crowd to leave the paper without having to offer them severance.

i realize things have to be shaken up occasionally, but call me a conspiracy nut, but i think there's more at work.

here's to charlie!

S. Dulai said...

Wow... they got rid of Charlie... first Dean and now Charlie to... wow, what has happened to the Merc?

I'm not looking forward to picking it up next time I'm in SJ... please tell me that at least Richard von Busack is still writing for the Metro and there is still some form of local criticism in San Jose publications.

camccune said...

You know, valleydriver, that thought also crossed my mind! Take away the job a person excels at, tell him he's got to do something else, something less interesting...and hope he goes away on his own (without firing and severance).

Hey, s. dulai, they didn't actually get rid of Charlie -- just cut his column and moved him to a less desirable position. Same as?

C&M said...

Wow, that is a shame. Being from San Diego myself, when I pick up the Mercury News, I'm not really excited about - like I was about my old newspaper at home, The San Diego Union Tribune.

It is crazy what is happening to the newspaper industry - it's scary, I want to have a future in journalism. I know online is the new thing, but we shouldn't forget our past either. We need insitutional memory so good journalism can survive.

The Merc needs to localize it's newspaper again - I mean really take it to the extreme. For some reason the Merc still thinks of itself as a national newspaper, but it's not even close to it anymore. It seems more like pieces of news agencies like AP.

Removing their best reporters to other sections or out right "letting them go" is just more damage to their newsroom and their reputation.

Things will most likely get worse than better. I feel for them, really.

camccune said...

Hey, Carlos!

The Merc used to be a national paper, but national news is migrating online...just like the classifieds.

Getting super local could also be tough -- then they're competing with local freebie papers. It's not easy when your niche shifts out from under you.