Last month’s retirement by longtime Mercury News metro columnist Scott Herhold marked yet another departure for the South Bay’s daily paper of record, which has recently seen quite a few of its journalists call it a career or get poached by competing outlets. In June, columnist Mark Purdy hung it up after several decades of penning columns about sports and french fries. A month later The Athletic, a chain of subscription-based sports websites that wants to lay waste to the newspaper industry, launched a Bay Area vertical under the leadership of former Merc columnist Tim Kawakami, who brought along fellow Bay Area News Group (BANG) scribe Marcus Thompson II and others; BANG is the Merc’s parent company. Now there’s word that the Merc’s county beat reporter Eric Kurhi is leaving to join the local Registrar of Voters’ press team, which is usually very responsive even if final vote tallies aren’t. Merc managing editor Bert Robinson told Fly that there isn’t a set plan yet on replacing Herhold for opinions on South Bay politics, and the task in the meantime will fall to the paper’s on-staff editorial board members: Barbara Marshman, Ed Clendaniel and Daniel Borenstein. Asked why the paper decided to replace one old white guy with three old white people, Robinson noted that the paper’s opinion staff could use more diversity—admittedly, so could Metro’s—but the trio aren’t replacing Herhold as much as taking a new approach to editorial writing. “To be clear, we’re not replacing Herhold. This is a different thing,” Robinson said. As reader habits shift, he added, so, too, should older formats such as anonymously written columns by the editorial board that “don’t draw the traffic that we hoped.” The Merc’s counting on online readers responding better to bylined pieces.