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Comments By Union-Tribune’s New Ownership Prompt Criticism

Comments published today attributed to the new owners of the San Diego Union-Tribune are sending chills down the spines of veteran journalists and long-time readers of the paper.

From the moment news broke that San Diego developer Doug Manchester bought the U-T, reporters and community leaders worried aloud whether he would use it as his mouthpiece. John Lynch, who will be the paper’s new president and CEO, told KPBS yesterday he wants the U-T to be a cheerleader for all things good in San Diego.

“If we have a major polluter in the bay, that’s not very good for San Diego," said Dean Nelson who directs the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene University. "Are we going to talk about that? Or, if we have a politician like Duke Cunningham, are we not going to cover that because that’s not very good for San Diego? I am actually stunned to hear a person say this at the outset of his ownership.”

Lynch went a step further with voiceofsandiego.org. He told the online publication he wants the sports page to champion a new Chargers stadium, and that the paper should be pro-business. Nelson said if that policy is actually carried out, the paper will see its readership drop.

“The reason we have a newspaper is to tell us what’s going on, provide us some sort of accountability and inform the public not cheerleading," Nelson said. "Oh my gosh, cheerleading is the first thing we try to drill out of students.”

Nelson says, however, it won’t be hard finding young, hungry reporters to be cheerleaders for relatively little pay in this economy.

Manchester reportedly bought the paper for $110 million.

In the last several years, layoffs have forced many journalists to leave the U-T to work in public relations. If comments by the paper’s new ownership are to be believed, reporters may be doing PR as part of their job.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | November 19, 2011 at 12:09 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

It's a lost cause.

Anyone who is not already doing so should boycott the UT (both paper subscriptions and online readings), and boycott their advertisers.

I appreciate the worries of real journalists, but let's be frank - Manchester is not one to bend in the face of criticism.

The bull is out of the pen, the UT is on course for becoming an even bigger journalistic abortion than it already is.

Any citizen who values our community and our local media should write this rag off and completely boycott it until it goes under.

Let Manchester build a highrise on the property with his ugly mug sculptured in gold on top of it - that would still be way better than having him use our only local daily newspaper of record for his personal agenda.

And as for Mr. Lynch - you, sir, are a parasite. So far up Manchester's hiney that you can't see the light of day. How much is Papa lining your pockets with to be his punching bag, Mr. Lynch? I hope destroying the journalistic reputation and integrity of San Diego is worth the nice car and house Papa Doug is buying for you.

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Avatar for user 'it_is_always_something'

it_is_always_something | November 20, 2011 at 9:23 p.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

I listen to KPBS everyday and enjoy the programming. I don't think this is a very well written article because there isn't a lot of information here. I suppose one must have to be an insider to know what is going on.

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