Stories that you shouldn’t miss:
1. The Oakland Tribune and the Contra Costa Times are now editions of the San Jose Mercury News, the Merc reports. The papers will keep their individual names, but will be combined as a package of the Mercury News for advertising purposes. MediaNews, the owner of the papers, hopes that combining them will result in more ad sales at higher rates. The move also makes the Mercury News the sixth largest Sunday paper in the country with a circulation of 549,024. And it’s now the eighth largest weekday newspaper with a daily circulation of 516,701. According to the Merc, combined circulation of the papers decreased 5.4 percent on weekdays and 3.1 percent on Sundays compared to last year.
2. The San Francisco Chronicle, meanwhile, experienced another huge drop in circulation because of the paper’s decision to dramatically increase subscription prices in 2009. Although the paper now has fewer subscribers, it actually earns more money because of the higher rates. The move also changes the paper’s business model so that it now depends more on subscriber revenue and less on advertising than before. The Chron’s daily circulation dropped 22.7 percent from 312,118 to 241,330. The Wall Street Journal was the only major paper to show a circulation increase, rising 0.5 percent.
3. The City of San Jose now estimates that it will cost at least $72 million in redevelopment funds to bring the Oakland A’s to the South Bay, the Merc reports.
4. Small, organic farmers are worried that a crackdown on food safety aimed at big agribusiness will hurt them too, the Chron reports. A bill moving through the US Senate designed to curb E.coli and salmonella outbreaks could be too costly for small farmers to implement. Small farmers note that E.coli and other dangerous food-borne microbes are more common in factory farms where livestock live in miserable conditions or in pre-processed food conglomerates that package produce in plastic and ship it around the world.
5. The new filters required for dirty old diesel trucks at the Port of Oakland are turning out to be more expensive than expected because they must be cleaned routinely, the Trib reports.
6. And Republican moderate Abel Maldonado is now California’s lieutenant governor, replacing East Bay Congressman John Garamendi.