|3033 North G St.
Merced, CA 95340
Eric Johnston, President and Publisher
Dave Hill, Managing Editor
Laurie Dugo, Controller
Michael Rocci, Operations Director
Deanna Whitmore, Advertising Director
General Hiring Contact: Vice President, Human Resources, Cathy Allison, firstname.lastname@example.org, 209-385-2442.
Market: Merced is the county seat for Merced County and has been one of the country's fastest-growing communities. The economy is based on agriculture but is diversifying. The community hopes to become an educational hub as the University of California, Merced grows. It is the 10th campus in the University of California system and the first American research university built in the 21st century. Just wrapping up its fifth year of operation, despite a harsh economic climate, the campus continues to grow, enrolling more than 3,400 students in the 2009-10 academic year. The numbers of students are expected to reach 4,000 by the fall of 2010 and are projected to reach 11,000 by 2020.
Circulation Area: Circulation Area: Merced/Mariposa Counties and Chowchilla in northern Madera County.
Site: The Merced Sun-Star building is in the heart of the Olive Avenue retail corridor, with grocery stores, big-box retailers and apartment complexes nearby. The building is about 2 miles from downtown Merced and U.S. 99, the main north-south link that runs the length of the San Joaquin Valley.
Readership: 34,125 daily and 44,454 Saturday
Circulation: 14,219 daily and 18,569 Saturday
Size: 24 pages daily and 48 pages Saturday
Single-Copy Sales: 2,522 daily and 2,952 Saturday
Production: Goss Urbanite press with 13 units. With increased color capacity, the Merced Sun-Star is increasing its commercial print work, doing several jobs each week for sister newspaper.
Color: Daily: 15 pages; Saturday: 26 pages
Newspaper Website: www.mercedsun-star.com
Average Monthly Page Views/Unique Visitors: 1.7 million page views and 240,000 unique visitors
Employees: 70 full time and 22 part time
Newsroom Staff: 18 full-time staff members
Weekly Newspapers: Audited: Los Banos Enterprise, Chowchilla News. Other weeklies: Atwater Signal and Livingston Chronicle.
Major Awards: The Sun-Star was awarded first place in the state for general excellence among papers of its size in the 2005 California Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspapers Contest. Individual staff members consistently take home many awards for reporting and photography in the state contest. The weekly Los Banos Enterprise won first place for general excellence in 2010 among newspapers of its size.
Major Advertisers: Save Mart, Coldwell Banker Gonella, Century 21 Salvadori, Rite Aid, Orchard Supply Hardware, Kohl's, Raley's, CVS Pharmacy, Big 5
Creative Ventures: Monthly Home Search glossy magazine is inserted in the Sun-Star and distributed throughout the region.
Special Publications: The Atwater Signal and Livingston Chronicle weeklies are operated out of the Sun-Star newsroom. The Los Banos Enterprise and the Chowchilla News are paid weeklies and part of Merced Operations.
Community Involvement: Yearly Helping Hand at Christmas fundraising drive sponsored along with the Salvation Army has raised more than $60,000 each year for needy families; proceeds from street sales of a special Helping Hand edition are donated to the program.
Market: Merced is America's newest university town. The city of nearly 79,000 ethnically diverse residents is home to the 10th campus of the prestigious University of California system. UC Merced's construction has spawned economic development as the community grows to accommodate researchers and scholars from around the world.
The university isnt the only attraction. New residents are drawn by the area's central location, affordable cost of living and affordable housing. Merced is within a 2-hour drive of Yosemite National Park and the urban centers of the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Modesto and Fresno. Merced County has a population of 240,000 with a median age of 29.
Agriculture accounts for 29% of the local economy and generates an estimated $1.5 billion in gross receipts annually. The UC campus, which opened in September of 2005, is expected to help diversify the economy, with technology spinoff businesses expected to locate near the university as well as revitalize the downtown with shops and eating establishments that cater to the college community. the new state of the art Mercy Medical Center opened its doors in May 2010 and is expected to attract top physicians and create new jobs. The new hospital will be a major economic contributor to the community as well as serve the health care needs for many decades to come.
Location: Located in the heart of the California Central Valley, 115 miles south of Sacramento and east of San Francisco.
Transportation: Merced Municipal Airport offers daily airline service to Las Vegas. Amtrak's San Joaquin service makes a number of stops at the Merced station each day. Merced is slated as a hub for the planned California High Speed rail project -- or bullet train -- which would serve the San Joaquin Valley communities of Merced and Bakersifeld on a route stretching from Sacramento to San Diego.
City Population: 78,760
City Households: 24,752
Education: Percentage of high school education 36%, some college 24%, college 17%, post college 4.78%
Ethnic Makeup: Hispanic 49.23%, Caucasian 48.33%, African American 5.99%, Asian 9.66%. Merced is home to one of the largest concentrations of Laotian Hmong immigrants in the United States.
Median Age: 29
Average Income: $40,293
Median Home Value: $115,000
Average Rent: $650 for two-bedroom apartment.
Climate: Summers are very warm and dry, and winters are cool and sometimes foggy. Spring and fall often dont make much of an appearance, although the citys many trees put on a beautiful fall foliage show each October.
Major Employers/Industries: Agriculture and related businesses dominate the private sector. Foster Farms, the larges producer of fresh chicken in the western United States, employs more than 3,000 at its Livingston plant, which is the largest single-site chicken processing plant in the world. Hilmar Cheese in Stevinson annually produces more cheese from one site than any manufacturer in the world and employs 900 people. Government remains the areas largest employer.
Major Retailers: Kohl's, Lowes, Home Depot, Sears, JC Penny, Best Buy, Orchard Supply Hardware, Target Walmart, Pier One Imports, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens
Higher Learning: University of California, Merced; Merced Community College
Culture: Castle Air Museum, Merced Multicultural Arts Center
Sports: High school football rules fall Friday nights. Merced and Golden Valley high schools usually field competitive teams. Outdoors lovers thoroughly enjoy the area's wealth of sporting opportunities.
Major Annual Events: Merced County Fair is the area's top annual event. The fair begins its week-long run in early July. The McLane Pacific annual bike race brings some of cycling's best to town in early March.
Tourist Attractions: Merced is know as the "Gateway to Yosemite." The park is a 90-minute drive up Highway 140 from Merced. Thousands of tourists headed for the national park spend their nights in Merced.
Recreation: Applegate Park near downtown Merced is home to Laura Fountain, Kiddieland amusement rides and the Applegate Park Zoo. Public golf courses are nearby in Atwater and Stevinson. Lake Yosemite, a 450-acre reservoir, is a popular recreation spot for swimming, picnicking and sailing.
Claim to Fame: Merced County is one of the top agriculture-producing counties in the United States. Some farms are in production year-round. The county is at or near the top for production in the state for almonds, dairy products and chickens.
Famous Citizens: Noted Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree Jr. grew up in Merced.
Area Information: www.yosemite-gateway.org/
Recent Issues of the Newspaper: www.mercedsun-star.com
This profile was last updated on April 25, 2011