Tuesday, December 05, 2006

George Riggs Drinks From A Half-Full Cup At The Mercury-News

Forgive the Newspaper Guild, Though, If They Decline A Sip
Hardly a shock that George Riggs, publisher of the San Jose Mercury-News would call the tentative contract he reached with The Newspaper Guild a "good deal for both sides."
While, yes, the number of threatened Guild layoffs was reduced from 69 to 27.51, the upshot is those who are lift will be kicking in serious dollars for health care, losing their pension plan and getting annual 2 percent pay increases.
It's not so much a win-win, as it is a win-save face, which was reflected in the glum assessment by Guild officer Luther Jackson: ``I think we did the best we could in a very tough strategic environment.''
And he's right.
Which is sad.
Assuming ratification, what remains to be seen is the effect on the layoffs on top of the cutbacks already suffered at The Merc, the one-time pig in doo-doo of the newspaper world during the dot-com boom now slashing and burning its way to survival.
There's still a passionate if dispirited bunch of journos there, as evidenced by the Save the Merc Web site. Now we'll see if they'll be allowed to practice great newspapering again, or, as MediaNews, might prefer, fill in the blanks in the spaces where there are no ads.
Those left in the newsroom have to find a way to still care. Same goes for the Merc's readers.

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