Oakland Tribune, Once a Model of Newsroom Diversity, Is Folding 

It’s being consolidated along with five other news outlets into one: the East Bay Times.

The Oakland Tribune in Oakland, Calif.
The Oakland Tribune in Oakland, Calif. Twitter screenshot

Buyouts, Firings Planned as Papers Consolidate

No longer will a daily newspaper bear the name of Oakland or San Jose due to a mass consolidation by Bay Area News Group, which on Tuesday also announced plans to cut roughly 20 percent of the company’s newsroom staff,” Marissa Lang reported Tuesday for the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Half a dozen Bay Area newspapers will be folded into two daily publications meant to serve the East Bay and South Bay.

“The last daily edition of the 150-year-old Oakland Tribune will be published April 4.

“On April 5, the East Bay will get its first look at the East Bay Times — a consolidation of the Contra Costa Times, the Oakland Tribune, the Daily Review in Hayward and the Argus, which serves Fremont. The company will also replace the contracostatimes.com and insidebayarea.com websites with a new East Bay focused site, eastbaytimes.com. . . .”

The Oakland Tribune holds a prominent place in the history of journalists of color and of advocates of newsroom diversity because of its ownership by Bob and Nancy Maynard in the 1980s. During the decade they owned it, the Tribune became a model of newsroom diversity. Its alumni, whether retired or working in newsrooms, journalism foundations, academia or other parts of the news industry, spread that message to this day. Maynard became the first African American publisher of a mainstream newspaper.

According to the 2010 Census, Oakland is 34.5 percent white, 28 percent black, 25.4 percent Hispanic or Latino, 16.8 percent Asian American and .8 percent Native American and Alaska native. The city had a population of 413,775 in 2014 Census estimates.

With the latest changes, Lang reported, “Roughly 20 percent of the news group’s 200 newsroom employees are expected to lose their jobs — some through voluntary buyouts, and others in layoffs.

“A total of 23 buyouts will be offered to newsroom employees age 60 or older, who have been with their paper for at least 20 years. There are only 30 people company-wide who meet these conditions. Out of the 23 newsroom buyouts, only five will be offered to reporters, said Dan Smith, BANG’s vice president of audience.

“On top of that, 10 to 20 employees will be fired. . . .”