Metro Silicon Valley
The July 11, 2012 issue of Metro
|Headquarters||380 South First Street
San Jose, California 95113
|Sister newspapers||Santa Cruz Weekly, North Bay Bohemian|
Metro is a free weekly newspaper published by the San Jose, California, based Metro Newspapers. Also known as Metro Silicon Valley, the paper serves the greater Silicon Valley area. In addition to print form, Metro can be downloaded, in PDF format, for free from the publisher's website. Metro also keeps tabs on local politics and the "chattering" class of San Jose through its weekly column, The Fly.
The newspaper has been published since 1985 and is one of the remaining owner-operated publications in the alternative press. Its principal distribution area encompasses the cities of San Jose, Los Gatos, Campbell, Saratoga, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Milpitas, Mountain View, Los Altos and Palo Alto.
Entertainment and investigative journalism
Metro is largely read for its coverage of the San Jose region's culture and entertainment scene. It publishes an exhaustive arts section, which includes calendar listings, music reviews, critical coverage of the performing and visual arts, as well as movie reviews and information. The newspaper has employed well-regarded film critic Richard von Busack since 1985. Steve Palopoli edited the publication from March 2005 until December 2008 and currently edits Good Times.
In 1986, Metro published the last interview with Don Hoefler, the man credited with naming Silicon Valley. Metro has scooped the daily press on a number of major stories, including the office romance of San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales in 2000 and the Santa Clara County Grand Jury's plans to indict Gonzales in June 2006.
In 2012, Metro published a series of articles on Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors chair George Shirakawa, Jr., who had failed to file legally required campaign disclosure statements and had not turned in receipts for 175 taxpayer-underwritten meal charges. The disclosures resulted in an investigation by the Fair Political Practices Commission and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office. Shirakawa pleaded guilty on March 1, 2013 to five felonies and seven misdemeanors and resigned his office. Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu Towery credited Metro’s reports with prompting the criminal investigation at the press conference announcing the plea and resignation. The House Committee on Ethics investigated Rep. Mike Honda following revelations in Metro that contributors were receiving favors from the congressman’s office.
The newspaper has helped launch the careers of several notable writers, including British television sensation Louis Theroux, conspiracy authors Jonathan Vankin and John Whalen, technology journalist Michael Learmonth, food writer Stett Holbrook, music writer Gina Arnold. Vietnamese-American author Andrew Pham, author Jim Rendon, marketing consultant Vrinda Normand, Obama administration education advisor Hal Plotkin and BlogHer CEO Lisa Stone. It also published the writings of Michelle Goldberg, six-word memoirist Larry Smith and Dave Eggers before they became published authors. It was also one of the first newspapers to publish Matt Groening's Life in Hell long before he created The Simpsons.
In 1986, Metro executive editor Dan Pulcrano co-founded with Ray Rodriguez the San Jose Downtown Association  and led the effort to start Music in the Park, a free public music festival that lasted until 2011 and staged performances by such groups as Neon Trees, Camper, Billy Preston, the BoDeans, Tower of Power and the Tubes.
The San Jose Jazz Society was started by Metro jazz writer Sammy Cohen and resulted in the annual San Jose Jazz Festival.
During the 1990s, Metro purchased community newspapers from companies such as the Tribune Company and established Silicon Valley Community Newspapers, which it sold in 2001.
Metro was the first to call for a Sunshine Ordinance during the 1998 mayor’s race. An ordinance was passed in 2009.
In 2012, Metro sponsored the Silicon Valley Sound Experience, a multi-venue music festival, which led to the establishment of Creative Convergence Silicon Valley, or C2SV, the following year. The 2013 event included performances by Iggy and The Stooges and a three-day technology conference with appearances by Steve Wozniak, Nolan Bushnell and John McAfee. The 2015 C2SV brought camera phone inventor Philippe Kahn and Oculus VR co-inventor Jack McCauley to the stage of the California Theatre.
Metro has received several awards for its work, including:
- Three papers in the Metro Newspapers group won at the National Newspaper Association's 1995 contest, announced September 1996.
- Metro won two awards, for editorial cartooning and writing, at the California Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspapers Awards, July 1996
- Six papers in the Metro Newspapers group were honored for writing, editing and design at the California Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspapers Awards, July 1997.
- Metro Silicon Valley won two awards, in lifestyle coverage and freedom of information, at the California Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspapers Awards, July 2004.
- Metro Silicon Valley won two awards at the California Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspapers Awards, October 2008.
Early online player
Metro was an early participant in the online publishing revolution, launching the Livewire online service in 1993, one of the first online efforts by a non-daily newspaper publisher. The service offered free email accounts, online commerce, chats, posting forums and online articles.
Virtual Valley, a similar service with an emphasis on covering Silicon Valley communities, was launched the following year and helped put the city governments of San Jose, Milpitas and Los Gatos online. Also in 1994, Metro established Boulevards, a network of city guides that pre-dated Citysearch and Microsoft's short-lived "Sidewalk" service.
In 1995, Metro launched the online version of the newspaper on the Web under the brand Metroactive.
Metro was criticized at a press conference by a Santa Clara County prosecutor, speaking as an individual and not in an official capacity, for selling ad space to escort services and massage parlors that he said were fronts for prostitution and human trafficking. Metro denied having control over the contents of Backpage.com,which purchased links from a Metro website, and editor Dan Pulcrano has suggested the issue was raised to distract attention from an investigative story that was set to break the week of the press conference.
- "Metro Silicon Valley". Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Retrieved 2007-02-23.
- Metro Silicon Valley Launches PDF Download Edition, September 29, 2003, Metro Newspapers.
- "Metro's 20th Anniversary". Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper. 2005-03-09. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
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- "King George". San Jose Inside. 2012-09-26. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
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- Lauren French (2015-07-20). "Ethics panel weighs full probe of House Democrat Honda". Politico. Retrieved 2016-02-29.
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- Richard von Busack, "Groening Pull," Metro Silicon Valley, July 4, 2012.
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- Angela Swartz (October 8, 2015). "Oculus VR co-founder Jack McCauley on VR, AR and his creative new project". Silicon Valley Business Journal.
- Awards, Metroactive's web awards, Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.
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- "San Jose Weekly Paper Pressured To Remove Escort Service Ads". KCBS-TV, CBS. 2013-05-22.
- Scott Herhold (2013-05-25). "Herhold: Chuck Gillingham sounds like a DA candidate". San Jose Mercury News.