San Jose Mercury News

From Academic Kids

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The Merc's sections vary by day of the week, but Business, Sports, and The Valley are standard daily fare.

The San Jose Mercury News is the major newspaper in San Jose, California and the Silicon Valley. The paper is owned by Knight Ridder. Its sprawling headquarters and printing plant are located in North San Jose next to the Nimitz Freeway.

In the late 1990s, as Silicon Valley and the Mercury News soared in national prominence, KR moved its headquarters from Miami to an office tower in downtown San Jose to be closer to its rising star. The paper has a daily circulation of 274,000 and a Sunday circulation of 303,000.



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 claims that its name, "Mercury", refers to the importance of the mercury industry during the California Gold Rush, when the city's New Almaden Mines were the largest producer of mercury in North America, although the name Mercury is commonly used for newspapers without the quicksilver association.

Because 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 Nicaraguan contras organizing the distribution of crack cocaine into Los Angeles neighborhoods. Eight months later the executive editor would concede 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".


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 Philippines, and one in 1989 for their comprehensive coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake. 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 Cruz. Therefore, it is most widely available in those areas, as well as San Francisco. However, because Knight Ridder also owns the Contra Costa Times and the Monterey Herald, the Mercury News has not expanded its distribution or coverage in those areas.

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