San Diego may be a relatively conservative town. But it looks like quite a few locals are fed up with just how conservative (i.e. unapologetic Republican propaganda) their local paper formerly known as the Union-Tribune has become under new owner Douglas Manchester.
A new Facebook page has popped up begging the LA Times come to San Diego. The page promises that if the Times were to launch a new San Diego section, San Diego news hounds would subscribe en masse. So far only 74 people have “liked” the page. Not enough to subsidize a new section obviously. But the effort is still relatively new.
Your humble Fishie is no businessman, otherwise he’d be neck deep in carbon credit swap schemes, but this seems like a good idea to us. The New York Times‘ strategy for staying competitive is to go national. One would think there could be some money to be made by expanding the Times‘ footprint in California. Who knows, the San Diego section could even be online only. Hire one full-time news blogger to crank out copy, supplement those posts with two staffers and an editor doing newspaper-style city hall and police dispatches as well as longer enterprise pieces. Fill in the gaps with border reporting that would easily work in the LA version of the paper too. Plus pick up work from local freelancers on the cheap displaced by the Manchester regime or by the terrible economy. If done right, that could be enough to convince…say…at least 10,000 news-starved San Diegans to shell out for online access and a Sunday paper.
Admittedly, we have no idea how the numbers would work out. Voice of San Diego has certainly had its financial struggles trying to do a more ambitious version of what we just described. But given how bad the Union-Tribune has become, and considering all the additional California, national and international coverage the Times would have to offer, it sure seems like it could work.