Have you guys seen the “Save the Merc” campaign launched by employees of the San Jose Mercury News?
The newspaper has served Silicon Valley since long before the region’s technology industry was born, but is now being sold. And it faces some possible bidders who lack dedication to quality journalism, so the journalists fear.
Employees are seeking a buyer who “values our work and is willing to match our long-standing commitment to quality journalism.” The site also carries a list of community leaders who endorse the campaign, from Zoe Lofgren (Member, U.S. Congress) to Carl Guardino (President & CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group) — in a statement, they say residents and workers need quality information to engage fully in civic life.
Former Merc columnist Dan Gillmor rips into the list of supporters so far, noting that it includes public officials, top educators and the heads of several major nonprofit and industry groups, but nobody from the more important Valley power structure, namely the technology crowd.
Where are the CEOs of major corporations, venture capitalists, investment bankers and the like. Where are the Web 2.0 and 1990s superstars — the younger entrepreneurs, programmers, etc. who don’t run big tech companies but who have massive credibility with the tech world’s rank and file. Were I running this campaign, these are folks I’d pursue.
I hope this is an oversight that the Save the Merc team is trying to remedy. But perhaps their names are missing because the Merc has become almost irrelevant to them and to a younger generation that gets its information in ways other than by reading newspapers.
So, dear readers of SiliconBeat (as you may know, we the authors are employed by the Merc), we ask whether you read the Mercury News, and whether it is important to you? Or has it become irrelevant? Would you volunteer your name — and, if possible, your affiliation — as a supporter of the cause? If so, go to the bottom of this page, and submit your name.
Or, if not, feel free to chime in via comments below about why not.
See also Jay Rosen’s lengthy analysis of the Merc’s situation.
Here is the NYT story, to run in tomorrow’s paper (registration required).