Recent Comments




CopyCamp is postponed

April 16, 2008 | Filed under: Community

For various logistical reasons, we have decided to postpone the CopyCamp we had planned for this coming Saturday, April 19th. We apologize to those of you who had made plans to join us. However, we intend to re-schedule the event for some time in May on a date we’ll announce shortly. So please stay tuned and we’ll be back in touch.

Please pass this along to anyone you think may have been planning to attend.

Sphere: Related Content

Join us for CopyCamp on April 19th

March 26, 2008 | Filed under: Community

We’d like to announce our first CopyCamp scheduled for April 19th at the San Jose Mercury News. We’ll be gathering folks from our newsroom and the community to discuss our coverage of race and demographis. I’m pasting the invitation below. You can RSVP at our conference wiki. Or can email me.

San Jose CopyCamp…

Ha ha! Your medium is dying…

March 19, 2008 | Filed under: Community

Even Nelson is piling on…

Has it really changed so little?

March 18, 2008 | Filed under: Inspiration

MediaNews’ BANG-East Bay launches NewPaper Project

March 13, 2008 | Filed under: Milestones

Kevin Keane of the Bay Area News Group - East Bay, sent a memo to his staff announcing the start of the NewPaper Project. It’s a comprehensive look at everything those papers do in terms of news gathering, storytelling, and the business:

 Keane writes:
“We’re calling it NewPaper, but we’ll focus on every facet of newsgathering, both in print and …

Latest on our cuts

March 7, 2008 | Filed under: Milestones

50 people gone today in the latest rounds of buyouts and layoffs.

Read our story here.

The future of the Merc, as seen from the outside

March 6, 2008 | Filed under: Inspiration, tips

This week, two local folks offered up some thoughts on the Mercury News and what comes next after our latest round of layoffs, which are scheduled to take place Friday. Neither is particularly hopeful, or flattering. But they’re worth hearing out.

Ryan Sholin, who is leaving the Bay Area for New York state, gives a recap of

It’s official: Our Rethinking leader is departing

March 4, 2008 | Filed under: Milestones

Matt Mansfield, who has been leading our efforts to Rethink the Merc, has announced he’s accepted a buyout and is leaving the Mercury News after 8 years. Matt was most recently deputy managing editor and business development director.

You can read a profile of Matt here, written by a Merc alum, Jonathan Berlin. But let me highlight from that …

Hitting the Pause Button on Rethinking

February 20, 2008 | Filed under: Milestones

Sorry for the extended radio silence on our end. On Tuesday, the Mercury News announced there would be buyouts and layoffs on March 7. The number is undetermined at this point. 

The news tracks with a number of similar recent announcements throughout our industry, including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the L.A. Times. It’s been a challenging …

The December status report

December 14, 2007 | Filed under: Community, Prototypes, Milestones

By Chris O’Brien
+ Matt Mansfield

Here’s our promised (much overdue) update.

The last three weeks have been intense. The Rethink committee put together two sets of prototypes. We revised those. We met with several groups, both inside the Mercury News and around the community, to get feedback. We adjusted again.

While the details varied, a common refrain was heard: You’re not going far enough.

So we huddled again for several days, merged the two prototypes into one, and moved on to the next round. We’ve honestly lost track of which version this is, but, whatever it is, here is the latest overview of what is on the table.

(Disclaimer: These descriptions represent a glimpse of what remains a work in progress. Please be kind.)

Our driving goals in this process remain the same. We must re-imagine the print version of our paper in a way that serves our loyal readers and continues to reward the reading habit we know will be a part of many of our lives for years to come (no matter what the naysayers on “the death of print” say). At the same time, we must redeploy a good deal of our news staff to work online where our business and our readership is growing faster than we could have ever imagined, even in a place as wired as Silicon Valley.


We’re still on track to create a three-section printed newspaper every day, with several extra weekly sections (more on that in a second).

Why this approach? In our interviews and conversations with the community, we’ve heard frustrations with changes in the paper in recent years. We want to stem that tide.

With the three-section daily paper, we would focus on doing greater depth on a smaller range of subjects, but those content choices would be things that the Mercury News reporting staff excels at doing, namely stories about working and living here in Silicon Valley.

We intend to plan a smart, thoughtful blend of news you need and news you can only get from the Mercury News, stories from the worlds of business, technology, politics, and sports, as well as arts and culture news that recognizes the South Bay’s vibrant scene. We want to be mindful of the call for depth and balance that with the need for a quick start to what’s still a morning ritual: reading the newspaper.

We’re not alone: How The Washington Post is trying to figure it out…

December 5, 2007 | Filed under: Inspiration

There have been a lot of conversations in our newsroom about some of the changes we’re considering. Change isn’t easy, or comfortable. But the Mercury News is certainly not the only newspaper trying to find new answers. The other day, one of my colleagues sent around an e-mail highlighting an article that appeared in Fortune magazine about the changes …

Staying innovative

November 22, 2007 | Filed under: Community

Your browser does not support JavaScript. This media can be viewed at

We have been talking a lot about the need for the …

The Washington Post writes about Rethink…

November 19, 2007 | Filed under: Milestones

Howard Kurtz, the Washington Post media critic, featured some of the things we’re doing in his Media Notes column today:
“In an era of declining circulation and shrinking budgets, virtually every paper in America is trying to jazz up its product while beefing up its online presence. But the effort in San Jose, where the Internet bubble popped hard …

And now, a word from our Beat Blogging founder…

November 16, 2007 | Filed under: Community, Online, Social Networking, Milestones

By Jay Rosen

Ladies and gentleman of Rethink, a thought exercise for you…

Al Gore joins a leading Silicon Valley Venture Capital firm. By any measure a big story. And a story the “new” Merc must be all over if it’s going to execute on its plans, at least the ones I read about at Rethink. The story is a bullseye, as well, for Matt Nauman and his beat: green technology.

In fact, the networked beat notion is made for a story like the Gore developments. (See Merc’s Green Tech writer joins Beat Blogging project.) When news radiates outward the network is in a position to pick things up, and to react intelligently, add value, make coverage smarter, fuller, rounder: better.

Are you with me so far? We know that Matt’s got a busy day: There’s a press conference to be at, an interview with Gore to do.

Now jump 20 minutes into the future. Matt has his network together, (let’s just say…) some 33 well connected, widely-distributed, green-tech-focused people, scattered around the Valley and clean energy worlds, for whom the Gore to Kleiner Perkins announcement is also big news. They know about it shortly after Matt finds out about it because… they’re part of his network! They’ve been buzzing about the story themselves.

Merc’s Green Tech writer joins Beat Blogging project

November 14, 2007 | Filed under: Community, Online, Social Networking, Milestones

We’ve been talking a good deal about helping facilitate conversation as we rethink the Mercury News. Well, now we’re ready to try a bold new experiment in partnership with NewAssignment.Net called Beat Blogging.

The New



E-mail It