John Lynch, chief media executive for the new owner of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Douglas Manchester, gave his first public interview to Voice of San Diego about what the future holds for the U-T. His answers were rather unsettling. Lynch makes it pretty clear that the paper will be used as a booster for the San Diego business community, and whatever projects Manchester personally favors.
They plan on starting with a push for a new publicly funded football stadium for the Chargers.
Lynch’s take, from the VoSD:
He wants that sports page to be an advocate for a new football stadium “and call out those who don’t as obstructionists.”
“To my way of thinking,” Lynch said, “that’s a shovel-ready job for thousands.”
More changes will be evident after the deal closes between Nov. 30 and Dec. 15. Lynch said they want a stronger editorial page and to attract younger readers. Lynch hopes to bring other media into the building. He wants to be a newspaper industry precedent-setter.
“You change now or you die,” Lynch said.
Lynch went on to qualify that Manchester will “respect journalistic integrity.”
If Voice of San Diego’s info is right, Manchester bought the U-T for around $110 million. It is poised to make $25 million in 2011. Which means, one would think, not a whole lot of tinkering would be needed. Certainly not a radical altering of the paper’s editorial positions. One has to wonder whether Lynch’s threat “you change now or you die,” wasn’t said in reference to the difficulties of the media business climate–but a direct message from the new boss to the employees he just inherited.
Previously on FishbowlLA: Prop 8 Backer Douglas Manchester to Buy the San Diego Union-Tribune