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Posts Tagged ‘Doug Manchester’

Former LA Times Staffer Would Welcome Koch Brothers Ownership

There’s the contrarian local view; and then, there’s the really contrarian local view. No other way really to frame former LA Times reporter Joe MathewsZócalo Public Square column arguing in favor of Koch brothers ownership. Mathews’ mother also worked for many years at the LA Times, at one point as an Asia correspondent.

The California editor’s jumping-off point is undeniable – his former employer has become “unthreatening and predictable.” And yes, the arrival of Charles and David Koch, for better or not-worse-than-closure, would change that:

If you doubt that that a polarizing owner can be good for California, let me urge you to visit a certain coastal castle in San Simeon. William Randolph Hearst, who I’m quite sure would endorse the idea of a Koch-owned LA Times, once wisely said, “Whatever begins to be tranquil is gobbled up by something not tranquil…”

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Investigative Report Questions U-T San Diego Political Ad Policies

According to a report by Amita Sharma and Ryann Grochowski for KPBS/inewsource Investigations Desk, it appears that U-T San Diego may have played favorites during last fall’s campaign for city mayor.

Some frustration and general befuddlement from the side of Democratic candidate Tom Filner over the sheer number of attack ads that appeared in print during the campaign has now given way to some apparent public-records confirmation. And that, in turn and if further corroborated, could really get the newspaper in trouble:

“It’s clearly not appropriate for a news organization to make that kind of contribution without reporting it,” said Dan Schnur, former chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, now director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the USC.

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San Diego Columnist Chuckles at Koch-Manchester-Tribune Rumors

We’ve moved from a dollop of salt to a giant pepper grinder. At least that’s the view of Doug Porter, who offers a hilarious quick-take reaction in the San Diego Free Press to the wave of coverage sparked by Hillel Aron’s barn-busting LA Weekly item:

The rumor mills continue unabated, like a distracted waiter with an oversized pepper grinder ruining a Caesar salad at a faux fine dining restaurant. My favorite take of the day on the latest LA Times speculation was in Forbes:

LA Weekly pegs the price of the Tribune newspaper group at about $600 million. By my calculations, that’s a little more than Charles and David pull in dividends from Koch Industries each year — after reinvesting 90% of the profits back in the business. So no question they can swing it. But after a career of successfully investing in businesses that make money, I am not sure Charles Koch wants into this one.”

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Report: Koch Brothers Circling Tribune Co. Assets

Ha ha. Hillel Aron, ably working the LA Times transition-phase beat for LA Weekly, warns that today’s reported rumblings should probably be taken not so much with a grain of salt but rather a dollop of it. Nonetheless, with Tribune Co. reps having recently hinted they would prefer to find a single buyer for the company’s entire daisy chain of newspaper assets, this makes a lot of on-newsprint sense:

Multiple sources tell LA Weekly that Charles and David Koch — the infamous right-wing billionaire brothers — are considering an offer on either the Tribune Co. newspaper group, which includes the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Baltimore Sun or the entire Tribune Co., which includes more than 20 stations like WGN and KTLA Channel 5.

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This Guy Owns a Ferrari, a Bentley and Now… A Local Newspaper

Alan Smolinisky‘s 15-month old son Charlie was named in honor of billionaire investor Charles Munger. In his home, there is also a framed, flattering hand-written note from another three-comma titan, Warren Buffett.

So why would Smolinisky have paid seven figures for the money-losing Pacific Palisades weekly newspaper the Palisadian-Post? Because, like Aaron Kushner with the Orange County Register, Doug Manchester down in San Diego and the LA Times‘ imminent new owner, this savvy investor believes in the future of a well-targeted and storied print publication. Per Martha GrovesLA Times write-up:

Bill Bruns, managing editor since 1993, likes to joke that, if a resident of Brentwood won a Nobel Prize, the paper would not cover the story. But if the person lived in the Palisades the news would land on the front page.

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The Awl Takes the Temperature of Doug Manchester’s U-T TV

First-time Awl contributor Thomas Larson has a solid feature about the history of the San Diego Union-Tribune and recent changes under the controversial new ownership of Doug Manchester.

His piece really finds its stride when he zeroes in on U-T TV, a broadcast channel spinoff that he believes is cut from the Fox News Channel cloth:

Come 6 a.m., it’s time for “Scott, B.R. + Amber,” a “live five-hour personality driven show with topical news, entertainment and captivating guests.” [FishbowlLA editor's note: The show is actually called FrontPage with Scott & Amber.] Scott is veteran shock jock, Scott Kaplan. B.R. is an ex-Chargers player, Billy Ray Smith. Amber Mesker, who is in her late 20s, is the only one with a degree in broadcast journalism.

Kaplan, not unlike the dimwits who surround Ron Burgundy in Anchorman (also set in “classy” San Diego), worked for Lynch on a morning radio show that was canceled a year ago because of sexist comments Kaplan made. (The reason for the firing, unexpectedly enough, gets a full airing on the U-T site.) Not surprisingly, in so far as any of them understands politics, the trio’s right-wing bias mirrors the owners.

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U-T San Diego Unveils Redesigned Website

On Tuesday, after four months of work, U-T San Diego flipped the switch on a new website design. The revised color scheme and navigation work well, offering something akin to USA TODAY ’s original print edition.

The paper has had an official presence on the Internet since the earliest days of daily newspaper websites – 1994 – and was previously parked at the URL signonsandiego.com. Wisely and cleverly, the paper’s new owner Doug Manchester and his CEO John Lynch partnered with a local firm for the online revamp:

The redesign was executed by Mindgruve, a San Diego-based digital marketing and technology consulting firm. In keeping with readership trends, its designers paid particular attention to the article, or story, page.

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In San Diego, Tis’ the Season for Daily Newspaper Melancholy

Media Matters for America blogger Joe Strupp offers a thorough, depressing review of the first year of Doug Manchester’s tempestuous tenure as a San Diego newspaper baron. Among those chiming in are New York Times media columnist David Carr, KPBS director of news and editorial strategy Suzanne Marmion, fired U-T sports reporter Tim Sullivan and an anonymous current employee:

“Saying you are going to be a cheerleader for business… goes against everything we have been taught and trained as journalists,” said one current U-T San Diego staffer who requested anonymity. “A lot of people have rolled their eyes at the front page editorials that have run… The quality of the paper is less because there’s more fluff in the paper, an emphasis on running more society photos and celebrity photos. That space could be better used on actual news and information.”

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OC Register Reviews Prospective LA Times Buyers

Orange County Register reporter Mary Ann Milbourn didn’t have to go very far to talk to the potential LA Times suitor who has been most explicitly vocal about their interest in the property. That’s because it’s her bossAaron Kushner (pictured):

“We do think of the Los Angeles Times as an incredibly important institution,” Kushner said. “We would be honored to acquire the Los Angeles Times if they successfully are able to come out of bankruptcy.”

He said the other Tribune newspapers play a similarly important role in their communities and are the kinds of media properties that interest his investment group. Kushner has hired Morgan Stanley as a financial adviser to help with his acquisition plans. The publisher, however, declined to say where funding would come from for a Tribune purchase.

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Laid Off (Again), SoCal Daily Newspaper Vet Has Had Enough

David Ogul (pictured) is not entirely quitting the newspaper business. But as he explains in his inaugural monthly column for San Diego’s Mission Times Courier, he’s no longer going to try and make a go of it in a newsroom full-time.

Ogul was laid off from the San Diego Union-Tribune in June 2011, and then again from the North County Times just a few weeks ago after the acquisition of that regional paper by U-T San Diego. In other words, he’s essentially been sent packing twice in two years by the same company. A far cry from the center where his beloved industry once resided:

I’ve seen a lot in my 32 years as a writer and editor working for numerous daily newspapers in Southern California, including an 11-year stint as an editor for The San Diego Union-Tribune. But it’s time to call it quits. Time to move on. Time to come to grips with the fact I don’t like what is happening to journalism today.

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