The Newspaper That Almost Seized the Future

The San Jose Mercury News, Silicon Valley’s own daily, was poised to ride the digital whirlwind. What happened?
  1. ‘It Was Written’

    Randall Keith and I are talking about the past when his boss, Dave Butler, slides open a glass door, eases his long frame into a chair, plants his feet on the conference room table, and makes clear by his weary affect that the topic does not interest him.

    Instead, this is what Butler wants to talk about when he talks about his newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News: all the many readers—2.7 million weekly, in print and online when you factor in the Merc’s smaller sister papers across the Bay Area; the Merc’s new “spiffy” app; its willingness to focus on the “important stuff” rather than compete with “every school board that has a website” and all the many tech bloggers—“I have no idea how many blogs are dedicated to covering Apple”—because, he says, the Merc is “willing to be more interesting.” He wants to talk about making money, too, because the Merc makes some. How much he will not say, except that most of the profits still come from print.

    Dave Butler ha...

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