The Tardy Times

    The sad perspective on Perspective:
   It was 'in the line of fire for years'

                                          . . .and other scribbles
MANY of the Merc's former employees landed in unemployment lines, but  most of their old bosses landed on both feet.
     David Yarnold is executive vice president of Environmental Defense, based in New York.
     Susan Goldberg is editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
     Jay Harris is Prof. Jay T. Harris, holder of the Wallis Annenberg Chair at USC's Annenberg School for Communications. He also teaches closer to home (in Los Gatos) at the University of Santa Clara, as one of its three Presidential Professors.
     Carol Leigh Hutton is the new head of Silicon Valley United Way. Reported salary: $225,000 per year.
     Old-timers were saddened at the death on April 23 of Donna Pope, wife of retired reporter and former city editor Ed Pope.
     Leigh Weimers, the Merc's popular 40-year columnist (and onetime reporter and assistant city editor), took the buyout in 2005 but didn't stop writing. His columns appear in San Jose Magazine and  his commentaries on KLIV-AM. After all, he's seen 'em come and seen 'em go in the half century since he graduated from San Jose State.
    Rich Ramirez, found June 20 in his back yard in Livermore with a knife wound in the abdomen, was ruled a suicide. “Personal issues,” and not the layoffs, said the announcement. He was Carole Leigh Hutton's assistant.
   In late February, Steve Wright had enough. The longtime editor of the editorial pages, according to the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club's email newsletter, took the buyout to go a-blogging . . . .  The axe came in June for the Merc's acclaimed no-ads Perspective section which, according to Wright, featured “great editing and writing” but “has been in the line of fire for years.” The editor, Roger Cohn, former editor of Mother Jones magazine, had already decided to quit.  Barbara Marshman, the assistant editor, will succeed Wright.
   Steve Trousdale, the deputy business editor, was named to replace assistant AME for business Rebecca Salner, an SF State alumna who took the buyout. Other reported buyouts:  Alvie Lindsay, state bureau chief; Pam Moreland, features editor; Sue Hutchinson, features columnst; Julie Kaufmann, food editor, and Levi Sumagaysay, assistant business editor.
     John Bowman resigned as editor of the San Mateo Times, citing MediaNews-mandated staff cuts. “They're way past the point of diminishing returns, of penny-wise, pound-foolish,” he said   . . . He was succeeded by Glenn Rabinowitz, copy desk chief at the Merc.
    Incredibly, the bean counters dumped former columnist and feature writer Lisa Chung, the former Chronicle writer who was one of the Merc's brightest lights. Copy editor and former editorialist Barbara Egbert landed at the Hoover Institution as a grant writer (see SF State:Former Greats).
     From the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club bulletin we learned this year that Kevin Wendt, the AME for sports and the copy desks, left to become editor of the Huntsville, Ala., Times; Kimberly Kindy, from the Sacramento bureau to the Washington Post political desk;  technology columnist Dean Takahashi, to blog at; business columnist Vindu Goel, to the NY Times. The March list of pink slips, as published in the bulletin (and not official), included Steve Chae, library; Katherine Conrad, commercial real estate reporter;  Barb Feder, medical writer; Dennis Georgatos, 49ers beat writer; Elizabeth Goodspeed, features designer; Joanne HoYoung Lee, photographer; Carolyn Jung, food columnist (and SF State J-grad); Dave Kiefer, sports writer; Thu Ly, photographer; Mike Martinez, travel writer; Javier Erik Olvera, Connie Skipitares and Barry Witt, metro reporters. The names alone suggest disaster for the Merc's acclaimed campaign to diversity the editorial staff.
MATT MANSFIELD, the deputy managing editor for design, photography and the business section, is president-elect of the Society of Newspaper Design and winner of scores of its awards during his eight years at the Merc. He also took on "Rethinking the  Mercury News" project. Perhaps the front office noticed when the very popular design editor came up with a candid explanation for newspaper problems in this decade of staff cuts, shrinking ad revenues and young people blissfully indifferent to the news of the day.
    If the report is accurate, he told students at Santa Clara University, "The problem we have is, Nobody likes us."  
     The layoff list in March included his name.  
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