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Roundtable: Manchester Buys North Co. Times, Orchestra Nova’s Labor Dispute, Vets And Martial Arts

Rob Davis joins KPBS Evening Edition to discuss Doug Manchester's purchase of North County Times for $12 Million.

GUESTS

Rob Davis, Reporter, Voice of San Diego

Angela Carone, Arts Reporter KPBS News

Tony Perry, San Diego Bureau Chief, Los Angeles Times

Transcript

Manchester Buys North County Times: Rumored for weeks, the sale of the daily North County Times to U-T San Diego publisher and hotelier Doug Manchester has made him the most powerful media figure in San Diego.

Since buying the U-T last year, Manchester has changed the paper’s look and focus, using the editorial pages and, at times, the news pages to trumpet issues dear to his heart -- re-making the downtown waterfront, conservative causes and politicians, the military. The paper fiercely and frequently attacks causes and politicians Manchester doesn’t like, particularly President Barack Obama.

Manchester and his partner, U-T CEO John Lynch, have not announced plans for the North County paper, but have begun “employment interviews” with the staff. The North County Times underwent a series of layoffs under its former owner, Lee Enterprises, a troubled media company based in Davenport, Iowa, and the paper's 70 newsroom employees are expecting more layoffs.

The North County times has made a modest profit in recent years with its emphasis on coverage of the North County inland and coastal areas.

Many observers believe that with this purchase, the North County Times, and its sister paper, The Californian, are likely to become as hyper-partisan and unusually provocative as the U-T.

Salary negotiations stalemate causes hiring freeze for the 2012-2013 season of Orchestra Nova, Angela Carone joins Amita Sharma to discuss.

Orchestra Nova Demands Unusual Labor Concession: San Diego’s Orchestra Nova has not hired any musicians for the 2012-13 season, which begins on October 20.

The impasse with its musicians, who are members of the American Federation of Musicians, is caused by serious salary disagreements, but primarily by a fight over the basic contract: the orchestra wants to hire musicians on a concert-by-concert basis, instead of for the entire season as it does now.

Artistic Director Jung-Ho Pak says he needs musicians who can play with emotion and passion matched to a specific program, and to achieve this, he must hire musicians who suit each piece. This change is necessary, he says, because the orchestra must compete with all sorts of music and events, including stars like Mick Jagger and Lady Gaga, both of whom are electric on stage.

The musicians have not been trained in any of that in conservatory. The union so far has not approved a deal where its musicians are chosen because of how they look on stage, rather than how they play.

Veterans Find Peace In Mixed Martial Arts: In the Undisputed Gym in North Park, veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan go through the rigorous and fierce maneuvers of mixed martial arts. In the process, many are finding lost self-confidence, renewed “warrior spirit,” and even some peace of mind.

The class, taught by combat veteran Todd Vance, has drawn support not only from the vets and their families, but from psychologists who work with veterans. There is more than one path to recovering mental health, many say.

The controlled sparring classes are free and for veterans only. The sweat-based, 90-minute regimen supplies the discipline and exertion the vets experienced in the military. Many of the vets also receive counseling, and some are on medication for depression. Vance sees his classes as an addition to therapy, not a substitute.

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