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Karin Winner, editor of the Union-Tribune, has announced to the staff that on Feb. 13, the U-T's president, Gene Bell, will unveil plans for a new company structure. The following day, Winner will tell the newsroom staff about its new plan. Lorie Hearn, metro editor for nine years and a close friend of Winner's, has been named editor of purported watchdog reporting. Hearn will oversee a so-called computer-assisted reporting team. Assistant Business Editor Cathy Snapp, who came to the paper in December of 2005, will replace Hearn as one of two metro editors. The other is Laura Wingard.

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Comments

paul Feb. 10, 2008 @ 10:21 p.m.

Don,

I let my subscription to the UT lapse over the summer (although they still sent the paper for another month). I wasn't planning on resubscribing because the paper has become so ridiculously thin, bu t then they sent me a please-come-back offer of $1.15 a week for thurs-sun for 6 months. It's hard to believe they can print and deliver it for that much. I keep hoping for a decent paper, but for that price it is worth it just for the occasional coupon.

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Anonymous Feb. 8, 2008 @ 6:52 p.m.

I just read KOGO is ending its NEWS presence in San Diego... Soon there won't anyone to watch the crooked politician in San Diego.....

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Don Bauder Feb. 8, 2008 @ 7:36 p.m.

Response to post #1: Several points: 1. The U-T will be moving more toward its online edition and putting less emphasis on the ink and paper edition, which is going downhill fast. 2. This will be reflected in the announcement by Bell on Feb. 13, and the new emphasis will be clear in the rearrangement of the newsroom Feb. 14. 3. So-called watchdog reporting will specialize in NOT watching how the developers run City Hall, and concentrate on smearing those that are trying to put the spotlight on the establishment manipulation of pols. The newspaper will continue to ignore what is really going on at city hall. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 8, 2008 @ 7:38 p.m.

Response to post #2: News coverage by radio and TV has gone downhill over a couple of decades. The number of news employees in San Diego 25-30 years ago was far higher than it is today. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 8, 2008 @ 8:49 p.m.

Add on responses: Gene Bell's memo of Feb. 7 talks about moving "from a company that is organized and focused on producing a daily newspaper to one that can aggregate audiences across multiple media formats." He goes on to say, "We will integrate our online content production and sales with their print counterparts and organize into market-focused business channels." Meaning: online and print will be merged. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 9, 2008 @ 10:56 a.m.

Maybe it's just too easy and obvious for you, Mr. Bauder...but, couldn't you have called this post:

Valentines Day Massacre at the UT?

Best,

(yet another san diego blogger)

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Don Bauder Feb. 9, 2008 @ 11:14 a.m.

Response to post #6: There is controversy among my sources on whether these new plans will mandate more head-chopping. Yes, when the U-T announced Dec. 3 it would send a bunch of employees to the guillotine, it mentioned that this was just one step in a larger process. This suggested to many that there will be a bunch more layoffs down the road. If the company is combining its online and print operations, it would seem there will be some redundancies. My guess is that the company will try out the new system, and when it finds redundancies, will start chopping again. This may be several months off. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 9, 2008 @ 6:33 p.m.

MR. Bauder: so 'show me the money" - what do you perceive the UT's strategy is - go largely with online operations (no idea if this is a way they can make enough $$$$ to keep going) since one needs be largely crazy to pay for a printed edition of what one can get free online. Don't understand the economic goals of the UT is it to stop a printed edition - or is all this too much for the "great minds" at the UT to pursue with some semblance of sanity. All I see in the printed version that will remain is an opportunity for the right wing crazies to slant whatever they publish even more to protect the corporate Republican establishment powers as long as possible without one whit of concern regarding the printed jourlonistic integrity some of us in San Diego will require before we subscribe or pay anything for ANY version of the UT. Thanks

Best

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Don Bauder Feb. 9, 2008 @ 9:07 p.m.

Response to post #8: No, the U-T does not intend to kill the ink and paper edition quickly. Online editions of metro dailies are not very profitable. Profits of ink and paper editions are down, but are still high by comparison with other industries. (I do not know the U-T's profitability. It is possible it is losing money now, but more likely that it is narrowly profitable.) Still, it has to look to the future. So it will effectively merge the online and ink and paper editions. You are correct: both the online and ink and paper editions will continue to slant the news for the establishment, and smear those who are trying to clean up the city. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Feb. 10, 2008 @ 3:22 a.m.

Response to post #9:

And there are also their U-T's Voice of San Diego sycophants who repeat deranged U-T editorial rants like attacking Aguirre to add to the U-T's power of the press. Interesting that former U-T columnists like Morgan and Goldsborough have crashed and burned at VOSD, but then things have changed radically since the good old first days when Barbara Bry was the Editor in Chief of VOSD and they still had integrity.

So it's The Reader against the U-T establishment, San Diego’s last line of defense against corruption and destruction of what is left of “America’s Finest City” which the U-T turned into a most hideous Shakespearian, or Wagnerian style tragedy.

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Don Bauder Feb. 10, 2008 @ 7:43 a.m.

Response to post #10: It's a shame that the Voice of San Diego has become just another establishment tub-thumper. It had promise at the beginning, but I was always suspicious of its primary backer, a venture capitalist, and the composition of its board. It does have strengths, such as excellent real estate coverage. I'm not sure Morgan and Goldsborough have crashed and burned. Neil is in his 80s; I saw a Goldsborough column just the other day. I look at the Voice every day but don't read many of the articles. It must have some readership: a so-called press critic had a scathing review of the Reader about a month ago, and although its major premise was faulty and it was full of inaccuracies, it attracted more than 100 comments. As to the financial collapse of San Diego, I'll go with Wagner: how about Gotterdammerung? I would volunteer to sing Siegfried, but he gets killed in that opera. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 10, 2008 @ 10:23 a.m.

I Hate to lose having a quality print daily, but I guess all I can do in protest is keep "unsuscribing" - refuse to give any of my $$$$$ directly to the UT and pray .... My cancellation of my UT Subscription a year ago in protest of their evildoing sure hasn't changed one thing - the evil goes on, but hey there are limits to what one can productively do.

Best.

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Don Bauder Feb. 10, 2008 @ 4:42 p.m.

Response to post #12: Consider yourself lucky. I have heard from people who dropped their subscriptions but the company continues to deliver papers, even though they complain about it. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 11, 2008 @ 6:04 a.m.

The amalgamation of print and online is kind of funny. In 1999 the UT strenuously kept the two separate. Why? The Guild had been decertified and the management was worried that the union might target SignOn. If that happened, the Guild would then gobble up the newsroom and advertising, claiming commonality of interest. Also, SignOn was set up by an outside vendor, who hired young and beautiful 20-somethings with little or no experience, either in sales or journalism. This vendor was the one who came up with now incredibly dated SignOnSanDiego moniker (remember when to "sign on" was something new?), hoping to distance it from the aged and staid UT altogether. At one point the SignOn people were asked whether the site should become the New Tribune, with the SD Union splitting off again. Speaking of the Tribune, Neil Morgan ran out of gas years, no, decades, ago. The circulation and marketing departments had regular surveys that showed, essesntially, that no one cared one way or another about Morgan (and Don Freeman). When I-Dream-of-Genie Bell launched his unsuccessful 400/500 campaign to boost circulation, there was a lot said about the columnists. I was in a meeting where someone mentioned that the UT should recruit a columnist with some bite, such as the Gay & Lesbian Times' Nicole Murray-Ramirez. Karin Winner looked like she had a heart attack.

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Don Bauder Feb. 11, 2008 @ 7:12 a.m.

Response to post #14: Some newspapers, such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, are read in the main for their editorial content. Others, like the U-T, are read mainly for their advertising content, including coupons. But as you point out, the U-T is so thin that there isn't much enticing ad content any more. The company is trying to get more advertising on its online SignOnSanDiego, but that is a slow process. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 11, 2008 @ 7:28 a.m.

Response to post #15: If what you say is true -- and I would not be surprised if it is -- it's one more example of union hatred dominating decision-making, and putting the company deep in the hole. There is no doubt the U-T got a slow start online. Your explanation is as plausible as any. As to Neil Morgan and Don Freeman: they are both in their 80s. This hits close to home, because I turn 72 in a couple of months. Toward the end of their careers, younger people said both Morgan and Freeman were writing in a time warp, but I can personally attest that they had readers, which was more than could be said for some other columnists at the time. (Full disclosure: I am a friend of both of them, and no doubt biased in their favor.) The 400/500 campaign of a decade ago failed miserably, of course. The company did exactly the wrong things regarding the columnists: Jim Goldsborough, who was writing prescient columns on the Iraq war, walked out after catching flak; Morgan was fired. I wasn't fired, but the paper was delighted to see me go. The paper didn't want any controversy from columnists, particularly anti-establishment controversy. That is no way to build readership. The U-T will never learn that lesson. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 11, 2008 @ 8:37 a.m.

Longtime UT readers looked at the Morgan and Freeman columns. But no one picked up the paper TO read them, and that is all the difference in the world. Diane Bell was in the same boat. During 400/500, people (albeit gently) pushed la Winner to find a columnist who people would get excited about: not necessarily love but get excited about. When Murray-Ramirez' name was floated, there were murmurs around the table of "Good idea, but it would embarrass David." I wonder if David is as embarrassed by the execrable quality and declining patronage of his paper (which happens to be San Diego's largest gay-owned business. No one ever mentions that.) Your column, incidentally, was viewed quite favorably in comparison.

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Don Bauder Feb. 11, 2008 @ 10:31 a.m.

Response to post #18: My column was viewed favorably by U-T brass? That certainly wasn't reflected in my performance reviews or pay increases! Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 11, 2008 @ 11:15 a.m.

Don,

I can honestly say that you were one of the few reasons I bought or read the UT.

You're now the primary reason I now go to the Reader and comment on your blogs.

You deserve a raise. Tell your boss I said so.

(yet another sdblogger)

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Anonymous Feb. 11, 2008 @ 11:38 a.m.

Further,

I welcomed the Voice eagerly, but have grown steadily disappointed.

Yes, they are covering real estate better than anyone.

Sometimes, their Cafe San Diego is illuminating, like when the mouthpiece for Blackwater got spanked by San Diegans.

Also, in the comments to the letters to the editor, you'll see the written admission that Gary Moore, the UT ad division head from 96-99, sat in on news meetings. Illuminating, hmmm? Nice to have it in writing, Gary. Thanks!

So the Voice, by being online and hosting blogs (even if often edited) allows motivated citizens, until now blocked from effectively participating in our political arena, some limited access.

SLOP's author...I'm still out. He started like a greyhound, but got distracted by the pretty baubles of being the celebrated new San Diego wonder boy. He's for sure too enamored by the Chargers' Fabiani, but seems to be coming around to reality.

The longer he stays in San Diego, the more we'll see how he develops. Either as another toady, or as a real information seeker. His future will be much better served by the latter strategy, even if it requires a few bruised feelings in the short run. I have hope for Scott.

So don't totally dismiss Voice, but I sure agree they aren't living up to my expectations.

(yet another SDBlogger)

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Don Bauder Feb. 11, 2008 @ 1:09 p.m.

Response to post #20: I'm only read by those who actually want to know what's going on in San Diego. Those who prefer not to know -- and there are many of them -- read the U-T and, unfortunately, the Voice. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 11, 2008 @ 1:21 p.m.

Response to post # 21: I was at the U-T 1996-1999 and had no idea an advertising person sat in on news meetings. That is a scandal, and should have been then. I was technically on the management payroll but was a total outcast, so was not told about things that went on at the managerial level. As to the author of SLOP on the Voice, I hope you are right. When he started going soft, I stopped reading him, unless some headline catches my eye. Don't be surprised by the pro-Chargers garbage. A fellow who gives $15,000 to the Voice (through Donovan's) is the main cheerleader for the Chargers getting a new subsidized stadium. I think the Voice has repositioned itself as an establishment mouthpiece so that it can continue getting donations from such people. I think it will hurt the publication seriously. The Voice should observe how Steve Francis has repositioned himself. He now sees that the City is manipulated by the development and hotel industries. He is aware of the corruption. Francis has access to pollsters. He is reflecting public opinion, I hope. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 11, 2008 @ 1:40 p.m.

Don, the fact that you were on management payroll was ALWAYS in the HR spotlight. You had no direct reports and did not manage a functional area ... in essence you were cheated of overtime because you were entitled to it under the law. There are countless others who are similarly misclassified there. You ought to look into the advertising department, where people who sell on for the national and majors categories are also denied overtime. There is no exemption for them (and they are not "outside" sales people).

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Don Bauder Feb. 11, 2008 @ 4:40 p.m.

Response to post #24: Yes, once I got on the management payroll (and that happened almost as soon as I got to the Union in 1973) I no longer got overtime, although I put plenty of it in. The people who were entitled to overtime had a tough time getting it. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 13, 2008 @ 1:42 p.m.

Don, I think Diane Bell is gone. Her name has quietly vanished from the web site list of columnists.

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Don Bauder Feb. 13, 2008 @ 10:12 p.m.

Response to post #26. Last I heard she was staying at home until late February. But you could be right. I'll try to get info. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 14, 2008 @ 1:07 p.m.

Don: This guy Braun best not plan on receiving a gold retirement watch from Fat Boy if he keeps poking at Mayor Republican and doesn't bash Aguirre - seems like a decent journalist, so for sure he won't survive at the UT. Best

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2008 @ 10:15 p.m.

Second response to post #30: I agree that it has been inappropriate for Winner and Hearn to vacation together. Winner has surrounded herself with too many friends and weak managers who won't stand up for change. I know nothing about the Whitley situation -- even if it's true. In fact, I think I have only spoken to Whitley once, although he was there for several years while I was there. Before Whitley, there were some extremely close encounters of the eyebrow-arching kind in advertising. They played a role in at least one major promotion, and did not contribute to morale. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2008 @ 3:12 p.m.

29: Braun is a first-rate journalist -- writes well, reports well, knows where the bodies are buried and isn't afraid to report same. You're right: these qualities do not endear him to management -- are hardly a ticket to the gravy train there. He was so good that the paper stuck him in the corner as writing coach where he couldn't rattle any local cages. But circulation plunged so severely that somebody realized the U-T needed at least one honest columnist to offset the daily propaganda served up by the editorial page and the purported news section. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 14, 2008 @ 4:17 p.m.

Don, Did you ever get one of those hideous coins Fat David had made for the 25 Years Plus workers? The ones with his Fat Face on it? Or one of his Mother, the Old Beast? When Helen was still ambulatory she would attend those luncheons and have an HR person whisper the name of the approaching minion in the recieving line so she could pretend to greet them. And I can't tell you how many employees questioned the relationship between newsdoll Karin Winner and her direct subordinate Lorie Hearn. Inappropriate at best, as bosses should not vacation with their employees! And what about the Advertsing Prez, Scott Whitley, who ditched his wife so he could marry Ramona from Marketing?! Yikes!

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2008 @ 10:07 p.m.

Response to post #30: Yes, I got one of those coins after 25 years. I may have gotten more after that. I got another supposedly more expensive coin when I retired after 30 years. Yes, those luncheons were reflective of the newspaper's self-destructive culture. The brass from Mission Valley and La Jolla would all dine together at the same table. I always used to say that if they had any brains, each of the brass would have sat at a table with us peons. But the culture wouldn't permit that. They barely mingled. I will say this for Helen Copley: she saved my hide many times. I had a number of people gunning for me. She understood that the paper needed tough coverage, even of the establishment. She knew I was interested in the future of the paper, and my attempts to tweak management on such matters as the lousy market share were offered in a helpful spirit. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Feb. 14, 2008 @ 10:58 p.m.

You two (Don and SDBlogger) have some good UT tales to tell it sounds like......you have to love these blogs and the interaction they create- that was just not possible even 5 years ago.

The computer has changed the world. For the better.

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2008 @ 7:11 a.m.

Response to post #33: Karin Winner, editor of the U-T, postponed her staff meetings to explain the new paradigm until today (Friday). I have done some interviews based on staff understanding of what Gene Bell, president, told managers Wednesday. I intend to have an update on all this in the afternoon (Friday). Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Feb. 15, 2008 @ 9:37 a.m.

The Scott Whitley and Winner/Hearn issues are illustrative of the type of HR bullying that goes on. Were these people low-level managers they would have been marched out the door for violating the company's anti-fraternization policy. In Whitley's case, the "other woman" was not a direct report (she worked in marketing)... but try convincing anyone that the vice-president of advertising did not have the ability to influence (or end) her career.

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2008 @ 2:54 p.m.

Response to post #35: There is a double standard -- no doubt about it. Best, Don Bauder

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