BANG is using words like "streamlining" and "rebranding" to describe the merging and cutting. The actions should not come as a surprise given the decision MediaNews made in June to consolidate editorial control of the papers.
Here's part of the story (which appears to have been written by an ad agency) published on the soon-to-be retooled Contra Costa Times website:
Bay Area News Group (BANG) today announced a rebranding of many of its newspapers to better reflect the scope of its regional coverage. The changes - which include a streamlining of its print operations - primarily involve its East Bay newspapers, and will result in greater emphasis on providing high-impact, regional and local coverage.
The streamlining of its print operations will also result in a reduction of approximately 120 jobs - primarily in the production and editorial divisions - out of a local workforce of 1,500 employees.Management at MediaNews will argue, as it does in the story, that this consolidation is about much more than job cuts; that its a necessary step to position the BANG as a competitive news outlet in the rough and tumble 21st century. And maybe this smaller knot of news power will get the job done. But we cannot overlook the fact that this recently bankrupt company is trying to raise $350 million to buy newspapers from Freedom Communications. And we know editorial power wanes when you eliminate four dozen news staffers.
Or as the San Francisco Chronicles' Carla Marinucci tweeted: “Corporate PR spin: Release from CA’s Bay Area News Group, announcing decimation of its newspaper/staff chain tday, calls it ‘rebranding.’” (found via Romenesko)