San Jose Mercury News
The December 22, 2011 front page of the San Jose Mercury News
TypeDaily newspaper
OwnerMediaNews Group
EditorDavid Butler
Founded1851; ago (1851) (as the San Jose Weekly Visitor)
Headquarters750 Ridder Park Drive
San Jose, California 95190
United States
CirculationAt 2011:
527,568 daily
602,566 Sunday[1]
OCLC number145122249

The San Jose Mercury News is an American daily newspaper, published in San Jose, California. It is owned by Media News Group. Its headquarters and printing plant are located in North San Jose next to the Nimitz Freeway (Interstate 880). The Mercury News encompasses all other Bay Area newspapers owned by Media News Group, including the Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times, Marin Independent Journal, San Mateo County Times, Santa Cruz Sentinel, and 10 other local daily newspapers, each of which are branded as "an edition of the San Jose Mercury News," which accounts for the newspaper's high circulation.


File:San Jose Mercury News HQ.jpg
File:SJMerc wb elf.jpg

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 newspapers were merged into the San Jose Mercury News, with morning and afternoon editions. The afternoon edition was later abandoned.

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.

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

Ridder bought the Mercury and News in 1952. Ridder merged with Knight to form Knight Ridder in 1974.

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 cocaine into United States. This provoked a right-wing reaction, first from The Washington Times, and then from other major American newspapers.[2] 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."

On March 13, 2006, The McClatchy Company announced their agreement to purchase Knight Ridder. McClatchy decided that it would be expedient to explore the immediate resale of the Mercury News.[3]

On April 26, 2006, it was announced that Denver-based MediaNews Group would buy the Mercury News.[4] However, on June 12, 2006, federal regulators from the U.S. Department of Justice 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.[5]

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.[6] On April 25, 2007, days before the trial was scheduled to begin, the parties reached a settlement in which MediaNews preserved its acquisitions.[7]


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 1990 for their comprehensive coverage of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Assistant managing editor David Yarnold was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2004 for a local corruption investigation.[8] 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.


The paper's local coverage and circulation is concentrated on the entire Bay Area, plus Santa Cruz County and excluding San Francisco and Sonoma County.

See alsoEdit


  1. "Circulation averages for the six months ended: 9/30/2010". Audit Bureau of Circulation. 2011-04-21.
  2. Parry, Robert (2011-12-09). "The Warning in Gary Webb's Death". Consortium News. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
  3. Seelye, Katharine; Sorkin, Andrew Ross (2006-03-13). "Newspaper Chain Agrees to a Sale for $4.5 Billion". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-02-22.
  4. "McClatchy to sell four Knight Ridder newspapers for $1 billion". The McClatchy Company/Media News Group. 2006-04-26. Archived from the original on 2006-07-14.*/ Retrieved 2011-02-22.
  5. Egelko, Bob (2006-12-20). "Hearst-MediaNews ruling extended". SFGate - San Francisco Chronicle (Hearst Communications). Retrieved 2011-02-22.
  6. Egelko, Bob (2006-12-20). "Hearst-MediaNews ruling extended". SFGate - San Francisco Chronicle (Hearst Communications). Retrieved 2011-02-22.
  7. Egelko, Bob (2007-04-25). "Hearst, MediaNews Group settle Reilly suit". SFGate - San Francisco Chronicle (Hearst Communications). Retrieved 2011-02-22.
  8. White, Dana. (2001-02-24) "For the Birds" Westchester Magazine. Retrieved 2012-01-04.

External linksEdit

Commons-logo.svg Media related to San Jose Mercury News at Wikimedia Commons

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