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Friday, August 3, 2012

Newspaper Drama in the South Bay Gives Other Newspapers Something to Write About

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 2:22 PM

click to enlarge Mercury News executives pose with a local cop. WTF? - SANJOSEINSIDE.COM
  • Mercury News executives pose with a local cop. WTF?

There's nothing we enjoy more than a petty newspaper fight, especially one that includes the phrase "put down the news rack."

Down in the South Bay, the San Jose Mercury News was busted with news racks from competing papers inside a dumpster at the Merc's headquarters, including those belonging to the Metro, The Palo Alto Daily Post, The Mountain View Voice, and many others.

Here's how explains the drama:

The container, about the dimensions of a mid-sized moving van's cargo area, was mostly full, and more news boxes were stacked around the dumpster. The apparent operation to round up and destroy racks targeted the distribution channels of competitors to San Ramon-based Bay Area News Group (BANG), which owns daily newspapers from Marin to Monterey, and community newspapers in Silicon Valley.
After learning about the stash of racks, angry executives at the Metro and the Daily Post drove over the Merc's headquarters to confront their rivals, but were ordered off the property by Mercury News personnel.

Wait. It gets even better.

Security guards then reportedly threatened to arrest Daily Post co-publisher Jim Pavelich "if he didn't put down a rack" of his that he found in the Merc's back lot, according to an article in today's Post.

"This is every publisher's worst nightmare," said Palo Alto Weekly publisher Bill Johnson.

San Jose police arrived at the scene where they mediated the bizarre media dispute. In the end, BANG executives told competing newspapers could come pick up their news racks, which did not satisfy the wronged media outlets -- they want police to investigate the Merc for theft.

Merc executives yesterday released the following statement to media critic Jim Romeneskso, denying anyone in the organization stole news racks from competing papers:

Earlier this afternoon, representatives from a local newspaper came onto our property unannounced claiming that we had stolen their newsracks. To be clear, we have not stolen anyone's newsracks. We were, however, recently contacted by local authorities and instructed to remove several newsracks that were not in compliance with a local rack ordinance. We complied with the request and notified the individual publishers whose racks we removed. The racks have been stored on our property since that time.This is a normal practice in the industry that is recognized by the various municipalities as well as the publishers who place racks on the streets. This afternoon was the first time any of the publishers notified us that they were interested in retrieving the racks.Given that we had not been provided with prior notice of their desire to retrieve the racks, after discussions with the publisher's representatives and the San Jose police, we agreed earlier this afternoon to meet again tomorrow. At that time, we would make all the racks available for pickup by the publisher's representatives, which had been our desire all along. Everyone was satisfied with this arrangement. Given this prior understanding, we are unclear what led to the incident earlier this evening.
But today, fired back with a post titled "The Mercury News Is Lying."

We hear Aaron Sorkin is looking for consultants with "real world newsroom experience" to help him write the second season of The Newsroom.

Follow us on Twitter at @SFWeekly and @TheSnitchSF

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.

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