The Mercury News needs your help

As revenue plummets, and their number of journalists has dropped from 400 to 125 over the last nine years, the San Jose Mercury News wrote yesterday that they need help from readers in trying to figure out how to transform their business:

The Mercury News is already greatly diminished. As advertising revenue has declined in recent years, we've killed features and sections that aren't coming back. We've closed bureaus. And we've lost hundreds of talented journalists through layoffs and resignations. A news operation that bustled with about 400 journalists in 2000 is now down to about 125.

That less than positive news was followed by these questions about the future of the Mercury News:

So, how do we save what we have and work toward building it into something better?

Silicon Valley is filled with brilliant minds and good hearts who want better things for this newspaper. Tell us: What is it that draws you subscribers to the Mercury News every day? What would get you non-subscribers to join those who do subscribe?

What would you pay for on the Web? Are there benefits print subscribers should receive that Web users don't?

I think it's great to see someone come out like this and actually ask their customers for their help and their support, instead of trying to sugarcoat the issue.

Because I don't live in their area, I wouldn't pay to read their content if they start charging for it, but as a free, ad-supported site, I do check out their site at least once a week.