Ran into Peter Hillan yesterday. Pete ws the business editor for the San Jose Mercury back in it's heyday and was a prime mover in making the Merc an important technology-covering newspaper. Remember when that was true. He left the paper during the dotcom to start Government West and then came over to the darkside. He's now a VP at Fleischman Hillard in SF.
Our conversation was for professional purposes, but we couldn't start without reminiscing and commiserating about the profession we both love.
Here's the thing that just stunned me. When Pete was the business editor, the Mercury newsroom had more than 450 people covering the news. That was pre 2000. Today, the news staff is around 150 and that's after the Merc was swallowed up and combined with the staffs of more than 90 percent of the papers in the greater Bay Area, including the San Mateo Times and Daily News Group on the Peninsula, and just about everything on the East Bay.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Everyone is bitching about newsroom cuts. The thing is, Pete was one of the great ones. He ran a great technology page, one that a lot of companies still ache to get mentioned in, even though it no longer resembles what it once was. And everyone complains about how bad the media is.
Well, you get what you pay for. What you pay for is PR agencies and consultants to get you ink or virtual ink in publication pages that no longer exist. What you get is your news release regurgitated on multiple websites with no validation.
John Blyler are gonna talk about this, because we've both been thinking about it for a while. As soon as we can coordinate our schedules. You'll hear it.
Oh, BTW, two more companies are signing up for New Tech Press articles. The introductory price will soon be going away.