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U-T San Diego Lays Off Workers, Will Maintain Southwest Riverside Presence

UPDATE: The U-T has released an official statement on Tuesday's layoffs and restructuring:

"The U-T is finalizing its transition following the North County Times acquisition. The U-T has replaced the U-T Californian section of the newspaper in Southwest Riverside with the North County section of the U-T San Diego. The U-T intends to continue serving its Southwest Riverside subscribers with the high-quality, award-winning journalism associated with the U-T San Diego brand."

The U-T will maintain an office in Temecula, said George Bonaros, marketing director for U-T San Diego.


The U-T San Diego laid off several journalists and members of its sales team Tuesday as part of the "process of finalizing its transition following the North County Times acquisition," according to an internal memo shared with inewsource.

The U-T San Diego building.

The memo also notes that "the U-T will continue to attempt to expand its business model through the acquisition of major metro newspapers across the country."

Sources at the paper said the Temecula office, which housed The Californian, has been gutted entirely, leaving nearly 10 — at least five journalists and three sales team members — from that office without jobs. Twitter buzzed for most of the day Tuesday about additional layoffs of former North County Times journalists and some page designers who made the transition to the U-T's flagship paper when the two merged last year.

In a memo to staff members, U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch, noted that "significant decline" of the North County Times and The Californian prompted the paper's ownership to re-haul the brands of both.

"As a result, you will notice some changes in tomorrow's newspaper that reflect our ongoing evolution to best meet the needs of our readers and advertisers," the memo says. "While these decisions are difficult, they are necessary to ensure we operate our business with an optimum allocation of resources and maintain the long-term health of our company."

A former sales person who was laid off two weeks ago and wishes to remain anonymous, said she was told the changes at the paper were mostly budget-related.

Until Tuesday, the North County Times and The Californian were still being published as their own brands. The North County Times was rolled into the main U-T paper but kept its name.

U-T San Diego publisher and owner Doug Manchester has been considered by media experts as one of a few noteworthy figures looking to buy the Tribune Company, which recently emerged from bankruptcy. The company publishes the L.A. Times, the Chicago Tribune and several other papers.

Manchester made a bid for the Orange County Register last year but was outbid by Aaron Kushner, who is also on the short-list of possible buyers for the Tribune Company. Both men have recently declined to make definitive statements about a possible purchase of the company. The Koch brothers are also rumored to be considering a bid for Tribune Company.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 28, 2013 at 7:36 p.m. ― 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Wasn't the UT just bragging about their readership and how fast they are growing?

My guess is Old Man Manchester keeps the sham up until the next mayoral race.

If his hand-picked lapdog loses again to a democrat, he will shut it down, bulldoze the site, build a vanity tower with country-club on the site, and forget he was ever involved in the newspaper biz.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 28, 2013 at 7:42 p.m. ― 10 months, 3 weeks ago

"..high-quality, award-winning journalism associated with the U-T San Diego brand."

LOL!!

Doug, my dear, let me explain something to you:

Running a politically motivated journalistic inept piece of doo-doo that, over decades, does a couple great pieces that are award-material does not a "high quality" paper make.

I will admit that (pre-Manchester, of course) the UT ran the occasional great piece and won some prestigious awards for them.

But a "quality paper" is one that produces quality on a DAILY BASIS, which the UT doesn't do.

All one has to do is a simple google search to see the reputation of the UT.

It's not good, by any measure.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | May 29, 2013 at 8:10 a.m. ― 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Duck, we seem to agree on this one. Is there any really good local news anywhere in this area? Let me know. Before the U-T merge, there was some reasonable news out there that that included local crime by city. Now-almost nothing. I find that unless I listen to a police scanner, the only local news is about an upcoming social event.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 29, 2013 at 8:39 a.m. ― 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Will that include the Moderator? (lol, jk)

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 29, 2013 at 9:26 a.m. ― 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Maybe they can come work for KPBS!

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 29, 2013 at 11:37 a.m. ― 10 months, 3 weeks ago

We only have news outlets from the far left and right. I know many San Diegans would appreciate a little more balance.

It would be nice if KPBS moved towards the center with a moderate tone.

Perhaps hiring a few journalists from the UT would help or would it be like oil and water?

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Avatar for user 'pwyguy'

pwyguy | May 29, 2013 at 12:50 p.m. ― 10 months, 3 weeks ago

So, Manchester buys the NCTimes and adopts an editorial policy that makes it a clone of the UT, which NCT readers like me had chosen for decades as an alternative to the UT. Now, faced with "budget" issues caused by declining subscriptions, the NCT must be gutted and closed. Can anyone spell "cause and effect"? What's scary is that the moneyed non-journalists like Manchester and the Koch brothers are chasing the readable newspapers like the LA Times with, presumably, the intent of killing them, too.

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Avatar for user 'Suzanne Marmion'

Suzanne Marmion, KPBS Staff | May 29, 2013 at 1 p.m. ― 10 months, 3 weeks ago

CaliforniaDefender, our editorial mission is to be a non-partisan, independent news outlet that is fair, with no political agenda. We sometimes hear from folks on the left that we are too right, and folks on the right that we are too left. But most say we are their most trusted source of information.

We are proud to have several former U-T journalists in our newsroom, including our Senior News Editor.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 29, 2013 at 4:45 p.m. ― 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Suzanne,

Former UT journalists at KPBS sounds odd, but then CNN had Lou Dobbs and Fox had Alan Colmes.

While KPBS is my most trusted news source, I still regard it as left-leaning and have never heard anyone describe it as being "too right". My opinion is based on years of observation of KPBS (and PBS in general) and supported by recent polling data (see page 8):

http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2011/PPP_Release_National_206.pdf

As a moderate, I hold KPBS in much higher regard (and to a much higher standard) than any other news source, so my observation is intended to be constructive not antagonistic.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 29, 2013 at 10:57 p.m. ― 10 months, 3 weeks ago

KPBS is slanted to the left in their choice of coverage, as well as the reporting on each story. It is completely absurd to say they have no political agenda. Most of the time it is like a worship service dedicated to Obama. Any time there is a story contrasting the left and right, the right is painted in an extremely negative light.

Issues that are important to the left are given an amazing amount of air time. Almost every time I turn on KPBS I hear a story about the homosexual community, for example.

I think if UT reporters worked at KPBS there would be fistfights!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 30, 2013 at 11:26 a.m. ― 10 months, 3 weeks ago

CA Offender, KPBS is "far left"? lol On what issue? Setting up a vanguard workers' party???

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 30, 2013 at 1:43 p.m. ― 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Missionfailed,

I bet David Copperfield would be impressed by the things you conjure out of thin air.

Exactly where did I say far left?

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