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The San Jose Mercury News is the major daily newspaper in San Jose, Californiamarker and Silicon Valleymarker. The paper is owned by MediaNews Group. Its headquarters and printing plant are located in North San Jose next to the Nimitz Freeway .

The Mercury News was one of the very first newspapers to publish on the WWW. It soared to international prominence as a result of Gary Webb's 1996 controversial "Dark Alliance" articles (linking the CIA to import of crack cocaine into US) receiving over 1.3 million hits a day on its website.The then-owner Knight Ridder then moved its headquarters from Miamimarker to an office tower in downtown San Jose to be closer to its rising star.


The San Jose Mercury was founded in 1851 as the San Jose Weekly Visitor, while the San Jose News was founded in 1883. In 1942 the Mercury purchased the News and continued publishing both newspapers, with the Mercury as the morning paper and the News as the evening paper. In 1983 the papers were merged into the San Jose Mercury News, with morning and afternoon editions. Eventually the less-popular afternoon edition was dropped, so at present the newspaper publishes only as a morning paper.

The paper says that the name "Mercury" refers to the importance of the mercury industry during the California Gold Rush, when the city's New Almaden Mines (now Almaden Quicksilver County Park) were the largest producer of mercury in North America. The name has a dual meaning, as Mercury is the Roman messenger of the gods as well as the god of commerce and thieves, known for his swiftness, and the name Mercury is commonly used for newspapers without the quicksilver association.

Mercury News headquarters
of its location in Silicon Valley, the Mercury News has covered many of the key events in the history of computing.

In August 1996, the newspaper published Gary Webb's "Dark Alliance", a series of investigative articles linking the CIA to Nicaraguanmarker contras organizing the distribution of cocaine into United States. While first enthusiastic about the story, eight months later the executive editor would claim the story was faulty, in a letter to readers in which he stated: "I believe that we fell short at every step of our process."

Corporate ownership

On March 13, 2006, The McClatchy Company announced their agreement to purchase Knight Ridder, the United States' second largest chain of daily newspapers and owner of the Mercury News. McClatchy decided that it would be expedient to explore the immediate resale of the Mercury News. [55108]

On April 26, 2006, it was announced that Denvermarker-based MediaNews Group would buy the Mercury News. [55109] However, on June 12, 2006, federal regulators from the U.S. Department of Justicemarker asked for more time to review the purchase, citing possible anti-trust concerns over MediaNews' ownership of other newspapers in the region. Although approval by regulators and completion of MediaNews' acquisition was announced on August 2, 2006, a lawsuit claiming antitrust violations by MediaNews and the Hearst Corporation had also been filed in July 2006. The suit, which sought to undo the purchase of both the Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times, was scheduled to go to trial on April 30, 2007. While extending until that date a preliminary injunction which prevented collaboration of local distribution and national advertising sales by the two media conglomerates, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston on December 19, 2006 expressed doubt over the legality of the purchase.[55110] On April 25, 2007, days before the trial was scheduled to begin, the parties reached a settlement in which MediaNews preserved its acquisitions.[55111]


The Merc's sections vary by day of the week, but Business, Sports, and The Valley are standard daily fare.
The newspaper has earned several awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes, one in 1986 for reporting regarding political corruption in the Ferdinand Marcos administration in the Philippinesmarker, and one in 1989 for their comprehensive coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquakemarker. The Mercury News was also named one of the five best-designed newspapers in the world by the Society for News Design for work done in 2001.


Much of the paper's local coverage is concentrated on Silicon Valley, the Peninsula, the southern portion of the East Bay, and Santa Cruzmarker. Therefore, it is most widely available in those areas, as well as San Franciscomarker.


For some time, the normal cost of a paper purchased Monday-Saturday was 35 cents (25 cents in some areas and $1.00 everywhere on Sundays). In 2005 the price was increased to 50 cents. (The price of the Sunday paper remained at $1.00). The price increase came at a time of falling revenues and was an effort to increase those revenues. In 2008, the price was increased again to 75 cents daily and $1.50 Sunday.

See also




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