Accuracy in Media

In what the the Bay Area News Group (BANG) is calling a rebranding, they announced that they are consolidating eleven newspapers into just two editions starting in November.

The publisher said this would have occurred whether or not circulation improved, as the Internet has become the source of choice for many in the tech savvy Bay Area. In all, 120 people are expected to lose their jobs.

The Contra Costa Times, Valley Times, San Ramon Valley Times, Tri-Valley Herald, San Joaquin Herald, and East County Times will now be just the Times, while the Oakland Tribune, Alameda Times-Star, Daily Review, Argus and West County Times will carry the East Bay Tribune moniker.

This isn’t a rebranding, as the publisher calls it, but yet another in a long line of retrenchments by newspapers across the country as the industry continues to struggle due to the long ad recession and changes brought on by the Internet.

Earlier this week The Wall Street Journal reported that several major newspapers were trimming their profit forecasts as business has remained soft, though the pace of the decline has slowed from the 2008-2009 period.

The decline has even affected the American Society of News Editors which announced recently that it was laying off four full-time staffers and is considering partnering with a J-school for “office space and operational synergies.”

Nice language, but the fact remains that it is barely keeping its head above water and as newspapers continue to consolidate, there may come a time where there won’t be enough editors to form a society.

For newspaper readers in the Bay Area this move is likely no more than an interim step before folding the papers entirely, unless the advertisers and former subscribers return in droves. But based on recent trends that is highly unlikely.

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