The Bay Area News Group announced Tuesday that it is combining its daily newspapers in the East Bay, Silicon Valley and on the Peninsula into two distinct publications ? the East Bay Times and The Mercury News.
The change, which takes effect April 5, will give readers on both sides of the bay more focused regional news that impacts their daily lives, according to Sharon Ryan, BANG?s president and publisher. She said that BANG will continue to include community news in its daily newspapers, and will add three community weeklies ? The Argus in Fremont, The Daily Review in Hayward and the Oakland Tribune ? to its current stable of 27 weeklies in the South Bay and East Bay.
As part of the move, the news organization will create an East Bay-focused website, eastbaytimes.com, replacing the current contracostatimes.com and insidebayarea.com.
The moves are being undertaken in the wake of an extensive survey of print readers last fall.
?Readers have been quite clear with us about how much they like their newspapers and what they want more of, and we?re changing to serve them better,? Ryan said.
In response to specific survey results, the organization is bolstering regional news reporting in the East Bay, adding coverage of transportation, the environment and local business and placing new reporting and editing resources in its community news bureaus in Alameda County.
These changes are part of an ongoing transformation to make BANG more responsive to its print and digital audiences, streamlining production while improving news gathering and presentation to provide readers with news when they want it and where they want it. BANG is launching a new video team, expanding its digital advertising operations and preparing for a technology overhaul later this year that will make its mobile and desktop websites simpler and faster-loading.
The initiatives announced Tuesday will include a modest reduction in staffing in certain areas, some of it through buyouts in the newsroom, and expansion in others. Ryan said BANG will continue to be the region?s dominant local news organization when the changes are complete.
?Our journalism continues to draws millions of readers in print and online. We are committed to enhancing the quality of that journalism and creating an economic model that ensures a thriving BANG and a well-informed Bay Area community,? Ryan said.