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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.”

Coincidentally, KPBS senior news director Mark Sauer gave a speech yesterday at the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club about what he feels is the diminished political influence of the paper under Manchester. He knows whereof he speaks; before joining the public TV station, Sauer spent 27 years with the Union-Tribune as a reporter and editor.

In the article, David Rolland, editor of San Diego alt-weekly CityBeat, notes that the editorial pages of U-T San Diego is where the impact of the new ownership is most noticeable. “It’s fringe Tea Party stuff, far right almost like a caricature. It comes off to me as an extension of the Republican Party,” he bemoaned. Read the full MMFA piece here.

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