The San Jose Mercury News, owned by Knight Ridder, is shutting down its Spanish-language weekly, Nuevo Mundo. The last edition of Nuevo Mundo as Mercury News publication will be on Nov. 11. The Viet Mercury is being sold to a group of businessmen that include a former Mercury News staffer. The sale price was not disclosed.
Nuevo Mundo, launched in 1996, is distributed free and has a circulation of 57,000. "We're very saddened by the news, but we respect the business decision," said Nuevo Mundo's editor and publisher Marina Hinestrosa. "I'm very proud of our team and all that we've accomplished in serving our community."
“The publications have been losing money consistently for several years,'' Mercury News President and Publisher George Riggs told the Associated Press. “Despite our best efforts to increase revenue, we simply have not been able to gain the level of support to be financially viable.” Riggs said multiple forces are battering newspapers. Those include a migration of readers from papers to the Web, cut-rate competition for advertising from internet companies, a decline in help-wanted classifieds and advertising from some national retailers and a generally unstable economy, which threatens to reduce ads further.
Knight Ridder publishes two Spanish-language dailies. El Nuevo Herald in Miami and Diario La Estrella in Dallas/Ft. Worth.
The Mercury News launched Nuevo Mundo on May 3, 1996. "We want to be the newspaper for all people here," wrote Jay T. Harris, then the Mercury News publisher, on the first front page. Viet Mercury became the leading Vietnamese-language paper in the area, but Nuevo Mundo was fourth among six Spanish-language competitors. Nuevo Mundo's competitors include El Mensajero, La Oferta, El Observador and Alianza Metropolitan News.
Executive Editor Susan Goldberg said the Mercury News will continue to reflect Silicon Valley's diverse communities, both in coverage and staffing." Coverage of the Hispanic and Vietnamese communities always has been and remains part of our core mission in the daily Mercury News," Goldberg said.
A group of Mercury News reporters who call themselves the Latino Coalition wrote a letter on Oct. 17 urging Riggs and Tony Ridder, chairman of the paper's parent company, Knight Ridder Inc., to keep the ethnic papers open.
"Nuevo Mundo and its sister paper, Viet Mercury, are among the finest examples of the commitment to diversity and excellent journalism expressed by the Mercury News and Knight Ridder," the reporters wrote on Oct. 17.
Nine editorial employees at Viet Mercury and Nuevo Mundo will be bought out as will two business-side employees.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists said in a statement that it was “troubled'' about the shutdown of Nuevo Mundo. It is critical for local news operations to have a presence in the communities they serve so they better understand the informational needs of those they cover,'' NAHJ's Executive Director Ivan Roman said in a statement.