Walter Mencken 6:15 p.m., Feb. 28
Is Ailing Union-Tribune Crossing News/Advertising Line in the Sand?
Union-Tribune staffers who fear that their financially-staggering newspaper will one day resemble a shopper got little encouragement today (Friday). Editor Karin Winner, in meetings with staffers, confirmed what has been rumored for several days: that Chris Lavin a senior editor, will begin reporting to Gene Bell, president, instead of Winner. Lavin will be expected to create sections that generate revenue, such as the current obituary and passages sections, in which readers have to pay for content. Already, the paper puts out slick special sections with limited distribution, devoted to pets, health and other subjects. Some staffers say that news coverage will be contoured to fit advertising objectives, and fluff will increasingly supplant hard news coverage. There is concern that other parts of the paper will report to Bell and not to Winner. Bell has already said that the ink-and-paper and electronic editions will be merged. That is a move that is long overdue, but he has not given more details. Today, Winner also announced staff moves that involved changing some titles and responsibilities on the ink-and-paper side.
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