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San Diego Union-Tribune editor announces he is leaving newspaper

The San Diego Union-Tribune building in downtown San Diego, Calif. June 19, 2021.
KPBS Staff
The San Diego Union-Tribune building in downtown San Diego, Calif. June 19, 2021.

Jeff Light, the editor and publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune, has announced he is leaving the newspaper after 13 years, and the search to find his replacement is underway Friday.

Light sent a 165-word email to staff about his intentions to leave the newspaper "this week" and thanked "everyone at the U-T" for his "special experience," the Union-Tribune reported.

"My idea of the company was that we could all work together, shoulder to shoulder, directed only by our shared love of our work, our belief in one another and our ability to learn together," he said in the email and reported by the Union-Tribune. "The Union-Tribune is a special place. Those of us who are leaving will walk away with a sense of achievement that I hope is not missed in all the tweets and coverage of our story."


Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong sold the 154-year-old Union-Tribune to MediaNews Group, a Denver-based operating unit of Alden Global Capital, which owns 11 newspapers in the Southern California News Group, last week.

Light posted on his LinkedIn page that he is "at large" but with no title. The staff members of the Union-Tribune were reportedly offered buyouts after the purchase was complete. The buyout terms are two weeks' pay for the first year of employment and one week for each year after that, possibly capped at 40 weeks, according to media reports.

Union-Tribune reporter Lori Weisberg said in a story published in the newspaper it isn't known who will take over as editor and publisher of the newspaper.

"Current managing editor Lora Cicalo will remain in charge of the newsroom as a succession plan for Light's duties is formulated, the Union- Tribune staff was told in a video call with a representative of the new ownership," she wrote.

Ron Hasse, president and publisher of the Southern California News Group, told Weisberg there will be some organizational changes.


"You have an excellent managing editor in Lora Cicalo, there is leadership in place and things are going to continue as expected moving forward," Hasse said.

The 62-year-old Light told the Union-Tribune staff in his email, "People who have read the Union-Tribune for the last decade are the ones who know the value of our work. People who work here are the ones who know the experience we built together. It has been extraordinary. I believe that journalism is one society's greatest callings, one of the best things a person can do with their life. So it has been for me."