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The Union-Tribune whacked 34 to 40 heads of editorial or editorial support employees today. That was almost double what was expected, if my reports are correct. I have taken this list from a variety of sources, including the web site of Dave Kusumoto, and those on or close to the bloody scene. I can't swear that all the spellings are correct. Also, I don't know the departure circumstances of individuals -- for example, what kind of severance they received, or whether they departed voluntarily. Some senior employees were offered choices of jobs at much lower pay or severance packages.

Here are some U-Ters who will be gone, according to my sources: I hope I have not been misinformed. Columnist Ruben Navarette; arts reporter Robert Pincus, who has a PhD; Leonel Sanchez; Nicole Varga; Leana DeKock; Basim Shamiyeh, computer expert;Marcia Manna;Steve Adamek; March Bahansky; Leslie Berestein; Mike Burge; Derrik Chin; Jeff Dillon; Anne Krueger; Tovin Lapan; Bruce Lieberman; Ozzie Roberts, former columnist; Jeff Ristine, and Martin Zimmerman.

The company announced that Tom Blair is returning as a columnist, as reported. The company said it will have a seven-person watchdog team and a restaurant critic.(Don Bauder)

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 June 17, 2010 @ 7:57 p.m.

Some senior employees were offered choices of jobs at much lower pay or severance packages.

Government should try this.

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Burwell June 17, 2010 @ 8:25 p.m.

Every industry values individual businesses like the U-T based on an earnings multiple, for example, annual earnings times 10. If the U-T axes 30 reporters who each earn $60,000 per year and replaces them with 30 reporters each earning $30,000 per year, the U-T will save $900,000 annually. If investors value the U-T using a ratio of 10 times earnings, $900,000 in annual savings will increase the resale value of the U-T by $9 million. This is the game Platinum is playing, firing older reporters and replacing them with younger reporters who earn less in order to increase the value of the company. These younger reporters will never earn more than $40,000 per year at the U-T and will never establish themselves in the middle class or own houses: they are little more than serfs. I'm not convinced this latest round of layoffs was caused by financial losses at the paper. It was likely driven by greed.

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Burwell June 17, 2010 @ 8:31 p.m.

The company announced that Tom Blair is returning as a columnist, as reported. The company said it will have a seven-person watchdog team and a restaurant critic.(Don Bauder)

===========

If Blair's coming back is Bell leaving? Both write the same style of column and I can't see both of them writing for the paper.

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Don Bauder June 17, 2010 @ 9:17 p.m.

NOTE: Our satellite has been down today and I have not been able to respond to posts or even open and answer emails. I hope to be back up and running tomorrow (Friday). Please continue to post messages and I will get back in some way. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 June 17, 2010 @ 9:28 p.m.

Every industry values individual businesses like the U-T based on an earnings multiple, for example, annual earnings times 10. If the U-T axes 30 reporters who each earn $60,000 per year and replaces them with 30 reporters each earning $30,000 per year, the U-T will save $900,000 annually. If investors value the U-T using a ratio of 10 times earnings, $900,000 in annual savings will increase the resale value of the U-T by $9 million. This is the game Platinum is playing, firing older reporters and replacing them with younger reporters who earn less in order to increase the value of the company

B-the multipier is only going to matter if the UT is making a profit, and is usually a secondary source of valuation, not the primary source.

So firing veteran employees and replacing them with younger cub employees won't do jack if they are in the red.......

Most people buying a business will look at the gross multiplier as a secondary estimate of value, but a far better way to value a business is through a capitalization rate, and if you are in the red you don't have a positive CAP rate.....so firing the high paying people is not going to help if they cannot turn a profit-and may actually hurt if the new cubs don't have the experience to help get the paper into the black.

No, there is more to it than just positioning the UT for a sale down the road.....

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David Dodd June 17, 2010 @ 9:31 p.m.

I'm not sorry to see Navarette go. I believe he was writing for a Texas paper when the U-T ran his columns from there occasionally. He ran a really bad op-ed piece once concerning Mexico and I wrote him asking him to explain himself. He replied that it was nice to see his articles create such controversy, and failed to address one point I had concerns with. Too bad he didn't focus more on creating good articles.

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wishyouwerehere June 17, 2010 @ 10:22 p.m.

Six copy editors were axed. Several were the best they had, two of whom won numerous awards for their headlines. If you thought there were errors in the paper before, just wait. Over the past couple of years, the copy editors have taken on additional work and managed to get the paper out with an earlier deadline. I pity those who are left. It's sad to think that the quality of the paper will go down because Platinum is greedy.

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SurfPuppy619 June 17, 2010 @ 11:21 p.m.

It's sad to think that the quality of the paper will go down because Platinum is greedy

If the quality goes down so will profits, so if greed is the overriding factor ( nothing wrong with wanting to make $$), it may be wise to do whatever it takes to improve profits, including SPENDING money.

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Visduh June 18, 2010 @ 7:19 a.m.

Navarette's departure surprises me no end. When they brought him aboard, he was a high-profile hire, and they presumably had to pay a premium to get him to leave the Dallas Morning News. Further, it appeared as if he had been hired as the token liberal, replacing Goldsborough, but his columns were far from predictably liberal. That is, except for his take on the border, Mexico, and illegal immigration. I corresponded with him a couple times, and found that he didn't really address the issues raised, but just dismissed most criticism as part of the job. Bruce Lieberman is a good reporter and seems to take some pride in writing accurate and complete stories, at least to the degree he's permitted to do it.

The bottom of today's U-T business section has a piece by Light "explaining" this reorganization, and if one can believe it, will herald a new and better product. He mentions more breadth and depth in local coverage, stronger watchdog journalism, with a better and bigger business section. Just how, pray tell, will all this staff reduction bring a better newspaper? He brags about the newsroom and its recent professional awards as he decimates its ranks.

Sorry, Jeff, I'll have to see the results of all this before I buy in. And I'll be most surprised if anything positive comes out of all this.

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paul June 18, 2010 @ 9 a.m.

"This is the game Platinum is playing, firing older reporters and replacing them with younger reporters who earn less in order to increase the value of the company"

Platinum must have stolen that business plan from the Padres.

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Harmsway June 18, 2010 @ 10:11 a.m.

Reuben Navarette is GONE.... Now if they could only get rid of that Toad Dianne Bell....Reason to subscribe to the UT,

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Shadow June 18, 2010 @ 10:18 a.m.

Re posts 3 and 11:

Tom Blair is an excellent three dot columnist with great sources, terrific news sense and plenty of edge.

Diane Bell's idea of interesting news is when somebody's water breaks.

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 11:27 a.m.

NOTE: I have some more names of U-T employees leaving. I have the same caveats: I don't know if some left voluntarily and I don't know if some will stay in a lower-paying position. And I won't swear that the spellings are correct. Here are additional ones: Ken Stone, Doug Williams, David Gaddis-Smith, Alan Drooz, Rachel Moore, John Marelius and Angela Lau. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 11:28 a.m.

Response to post #1: Members of Congress should become pages. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 11:32 a.m.

Response to post #2: Of course it was driven by greed. Platinum is a private equity group. It buys assets to dump them. However, moves like these could backfire. When you replace the higher-paid people with rookies the product declines. You may wind up losing. Another point: the U-T has brought in a lot of management people who don't know a thing about San Diego; many do know Orange County, but that's not the same. This, too, could be a problem. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 11:34 a.m.

Response to post #3: As far as I know, Bell is still there. I have no idea why. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 11:36 a.m.

Response to post #5: One of the once-large electronics retailers fired its higher-paid, veteran salespeople and let the tyros stay at low pay. Sales suffered. The company went bankrupt. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 11:37 a.m.

Response to post #6: According to scuttlebutt, he was brought in at a huge salary. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 11:39 a.m.

Response to post #7: There was a rumor that the U-T would outsource copy-editing. (Gannett has centralized copy editing for its chain of papers.) As far as I can tell, that was not done. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 11:42 a.m.

Response to post #8: At the time it let a number of people go, the U-T also brought in a lot of high-priced talent -- too many of whom had worked for the Orange County Register during the time that Jeff Light, new U-T editor, was there. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 11:45 a.m.

Response to post 9: The new managers have had a lot of graphics experience. That may help as the U-T moves more toward web influence, but remember that the web is heavy on text, too. I am afraid the text product will suffer, both online and on paper. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 11:47 a.m.

Response to post #10: Yeah, but the Padres are doing very well this season -- except at the gate. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 11:49 a.m.

Response to post #11: Everybody knew Bell stayed around because she was a friend of Winner's. If she is staying now -- why? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 11:51 a.m.

Response to post # 12: Yes, Tom Blair is very good. The rest of your observation is on the money, too. Best, Don Bauder

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paul June 18, 2010 @ 12:51 p.m.

Response to #22:

In fact, the Padres are drawing fewer fans this year at Petco than they ever did at Qualcomm. Brilliant move building them that new stadium.

Just like the Padres, the UT occasionally has a good performance, but nobody believes in the product and nobody is buying, because they can see how thin the product is and that it lacks quality and depth. What they need are some high-priced, grizzled old veterans to show the young kids the ropes. Don, are you available?

The Padres don't have nearly enough to contend into August. In fact, my bet is that the team management is upset at the early performance, because they risk losing their trading window for Gonzalez.

Of course, I'm a cynic. While I do believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman, I also believe I have never seen NBA refs work harder to keep a game close than they did last night.

Also, the Padres did draw fewer fans in their old stadium (Jack Murphy, way back in 1995, before they moved into their "new" stadium, Qualcomm). ;)

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 2:08 p.m.

Response to post #25: I had an item on Padres attendance about a month and a half ago. Average attendance was running well behind attendance over four of their last years at Qualcomm, when the team had a poor record. I haven't refigured those numbers, but I think the trend holds. Re the NBA game: I didn't see it. Did they deliberately call fouls on the Celtics to keep the Lakers in the game? If so, the Celtics have a beef. You'll never hear about it, though. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh June 18, 2010 @ 2:42 p.m.

Those NBA refs may have kept the Lakers in the game and assisted them in winning because there was a well-founded fear of riots in LA had the Lakers lost. If you think there is no potential for riots such as occurred in 1992 after the Rodney King acquittals, or in the summer of 1965, think again. It doesn't require much of an excuse to trigger something like that.

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aquarimary June 18, 2010 @ 2:47 p.m.

The attendance for Padres games was higher at Qualcom because a family of 4 could get in for 20 bucks and a coke coupon.... is there even a single seat in the new ball park at that price? Now you see why there was such a controversy over building the new place. Baseball is for rich people now, not families, and there are far fewer rich than familes here now to support it.Plus, the city is in debt from it among other poorleadership decisions.My sons happiest memories are of the 1998 season when we saw every single home game, and his ticket was practically free thanks to the Jr. Padre program.

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paul June 18, 2010 @ 3:31 p.m.

Respond #25: "Did they deliberately call fouls on the Celtics to keep the Lakers in the game?"

No, exactly the opposite. The Celtics looked old, slow and were missing their center. They were grabbing and clawing and the refs let just about everything go under the guise of "letting them play". Without that, the game would have gone the same way as the last game, which was a blowout early and not particularly good TV.

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Visduh June 18, 2010 @ 4:15 p.m.

Response to #23

Don, is is possible that Bell will become a society reporter? As much as I found those society columns nauseating over the years, they did fill a well-recognized niche for the paper. With Stiff gone, there is no such reporting any more, which probably alienated a significant part of the power elite. Bell could handle that, and Blair could find more interesting . . . material. Just an idea.

Response to #29

The game you describe and the game Canepa in the U-T describes don't sound like the same game. He laments the poor shooting of the Lakers, yet they won. I'm confused. (I didn't watch it.)

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 4:57 p.m.

Response to post #27: If that were true all the time, the Oakland Raiders would never lose a game. I still think refs fix games for the mob payoff, not from fear of a riot. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 4:59 p.m.

Response to post #28: You are absolutely right. It happens throughout the U.S. Taxpayers finance a stadium, then get priced out of the games. Only the rich (who are good at dodging taxes) can afford to go. Best, Don Bauder

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David Dodd June 18, 2010 @ 5:18 p.m.

Re #28 & #32: In defense of the Padres, the tickets are among the most affordable in MLB. $14 will buy a good seat. They also have an all-you-can-eat section for $29 per seat. When I was a kid, I remember that general admission seating at Dodger Stadium was $2.50, but obviously, those days are over.

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MsGrant June 18, 2010 @ 6:25 p.m.

Oh, no, say it isn't so! Burl Stiff is gone for good? I have been thinking that maybe they just gave him maybe a monthly, perhaps semi-monthly column, noooo!! Bell is the bishop of beige, Stiff is the pope of pomp. This is ghastly. I want to cancel, but I can't. I am curious to see how the cubs carry the torch.

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 7:40 p.m.

Response to post #33: The Padres lowered prices this year. It apparently is not working. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 18, 2010 @ 7:42 p.m.

Response to post #34: Stiff used to work for David Copley, not for the company. (That's when Helen was alive.) I thought he was out earlier. Best, Don Bauder

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Rocket_J_Squirrel June 18, 2010 @ 9:19 p.m.

Golly! Maybe they'd like to work at one of the two newspapers in Frostbite Falls!!

Frostbite Falls has a movie theater, a church, and a pet store (all in the same building). It also features at least two newspapers, the Frostbite Falls Far-Flung Flyer and the Picayune-Intelligence, the latter which ran an ill-fated contest with the grand prize being an old-fashioned car. The town's sole high school is Frostbite Falls High School. There is also a college, Wossamotta U., which Bullwinkle attended.

(Source - Wikipedia)

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Burwell June 19, 2010 @ 12:16 a.m.

Response to post #34: Stiff used to work for David Copley, not for the company. (That's when Helen was alive.) I thought he was out earlier.

Burl was one of the first to get stiffed after Platinum bought the paper.

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 7:19 a.m.

Response to post #37: You can hope for the best, but the only medium that gives you an honest interpretation of what is going on in San Diego is the Reader. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 7:22 a.m.

Response to post #38: Even Denver and Seattle couldn't support two newspapers. Chicago is barely doing so. But Frostbite Falls can. Remarkable. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 7:23 a.m.

Response to post #39: Burl was old enough to retire anyway. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 7:27 a.m.

Response to post #40: He was among the first to get stiffed but not the first to get stiff in that period. Best, Don Bauder

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Heddaheadgiver June 19, 2010 @ 7:52 a.m.

"Blabby" Burl Stiff was axed last year by the UT but brought back as a freelance "writer" for special events such as opening day at the Del Mar races and the fabulous Jewel Ball -- things that rich people do. He recently complained Platinum Equity had not yet paid him (at $250 a pop) after he submitted five separate invoices for his comeback work. Full time staffers who have submitted monthly reports for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses and vehicle mileage also have complained, saying UT/PE takes six to eight weeks to reimburse employees. In the old glory days, one could go to the Accounting Department and walk through an expenses claim in a matter of hours, or at the most wait about a week or two. If the UT really wants to change things editorially, it needs to end society scene stories and stop pandering to the La Jolla 500. It's 2010, PE, not 1910.

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Visduh June 19, 2010 @ 8:18 a.m.

Odd, if Navarette is gone, why is his name still listed as a member of the editorial board as of today's edition of the U-T? (Today meaning the edition of Saturday, June 19.) I'd think if he were really out of there, his name would have been dropped. Or was it that the editor who should have taken care of that little detail was also eliminated, and nobody else remembered to do it?

wishyouwerehere in Post #7 hit it on the head in stating that if you think there were errors in the rag before, just wait.

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Grasca June 19, 2010 @ 9:37 a.m.

Mr. Stiff wrote a fascinating piece about his travels with David Copley which detailed a fancy meal in Paris.

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 11:16 a.m.

Response to post #45: It is disturbing that the U-T is taking so long to make payments. That may have overtones. I agree with you: all this coverage of the beautiful people is out of date by 50 years. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 11:19 a.m.

Response to post #46: I don't know the explanation. It could be an oversight. He could be around for awhile. Or he may never have been cut and I was misinformed. I doubt if it's the last of the three options. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 11:20 a.m.

Response to post #47: I wrote about that Monaco trip. I thought it was fascinating in probably a different way than you did. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 11:33 a.m.

Response to post #48: Maybe the last, maybe not. Best, Don Bauder

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MsGrant June 19, 2010 @ 11:38 a.m.

Response to #51: How so? Would you care to elaborate? I found this story fascinating as well....;)

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Grasca June 19, 2010 @ 1:27 p.m.

The comments written about the Monaco trip of Mr. Stiff were funny. In my opinion coverage of the old dinosaurs of San Diego society will be no great loss with the departure of Mr. Stiff. For some reason the San Diego scene reminds me of a poor man's version of the Black and White Ball done by Truman Capote long ago in NYC.

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Burwell June 19, 2010 @ 1:46 p.m.

Ruben confirmed his layoff to the columnist linked below, but says he will continue to write for CNN.com Ruben's column apparently is carried by 111 other media outlets. It's not clear whether his column will still appear in the U-T even though he is no longer employed by the U-T.

http://mije.org/richardprince/columnist-ruben-navarrette-laid-san-diego

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David Dodd June 19, 2010 @ 2:05 p.m.

Re: Navarette, I confirmed his departure through another source yesterday. Per Burwell's link: "He [Navarrette] remains at Union-Tribune for about a month." So, there's the explanation as to why he's still listed as a member of the editorial board. I will not miss him, I stopped reading his stuff a long time ago. He is an unlikely candidate to represent the Latino community as a voice in editorial, his views consistently do not reflect that percentage of San Diego's population.

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Grasca June 19, 2010 @ 2:08 p.m.

Whose voice reflects the Latino community in print ?

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 2:31 p.m.

Response to post #53: I was fascinated with all the expensive entertaining that David Copley was doing on that Monaco trip, as well as some of the San Diego beautiful people he took along. The Union-Tribune was already in trouble. One of David's guests was Charles Brandes, whose money management firm was sinking. But they all had a great time, Burl reported/ Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard June 19, 2010 @ 2:32 p.m.

UT quality can't deteriorate, boring dogma can't be ruined, even by typos, which are often the funniest copy in the whole paper.

The David Copley-Burl Stiff connection is news to me. I thought Burl Stiff was amazingly untalented for a gay writer, I guess Copley liked him not for his prose, but just because he was Stiff. Grasca's link suggests he has some talent as a poet, if you like pink.

Now all this makes me wonder again about Rob Kittle. That bow tie, that whine! I now know why he seemed normal to David Copley, even as he was fingernails on the blackboard to many of us.

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 2:33 p.m.

Response to post #54: If it's true that Diane Bell has been retained, maybe she will cover the BPs. Actually, she already does. (BP stands for Beautiful People, not British Petroleum.) Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 2:36 p.m.

Response to post #55: I almost never have read Navarette's column, so I am no judge. Some friends of mine who have read it did not have a high opinion of it. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 2:42 p.m.

Response to post #59: Kittle got where he did because both Karin Winner and David Copley were terrified of public speaking. So Kittle became the spokesman for the company's views by default. It's amazing how many thought he was high on the totem pole. Actually, he didn't even run the editorial department. He was chief editorial writer. Bill Osborne ran the department and as far as I know still does. I never could figure out what Osborne did, but I hear that he is now forced to write some editorials and theoretically earn his keep. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 2:45 p.m.

Response to post #56: I have heard that, too -- that Navarette's views were not in harmony with those of the Hispanic community, and he was not well read therein. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 2:46 p.m.

Response to post #57: Darned if I know. Best, Don Bauder

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David Dodd June 19, 2010 @ 3:02 p.m.

Re #61: I first read Navarrette in the U-T when they picked up his column from the Dallas paper for which he worked. He often claimed to represent the Latino community in his Op-Ed pieces, but it was quickly obvious that this was not the case. Latino pundits have been quick to criticize his columns over the years. For example, during the last U.S. Presidential election, he claimed that Latinos would not vote for Obama (they most certainly did vote for Obama), and that McCain has continually reached out to the Latino community (apparently Navarrette has a strange idea about what reaching out means).

It has been my experience for the last 18 years down here that Latinos do not like to be told how to think, especially when what is being written is not in their best interest. If I took a job at a Mexican newspaper writing Op-Ed from a gringo's point of view, then I would think it would be important to understand what the gringo point of view is. That would make the most important part of my job listening to the gringo community and understanding it. Navarrette has no such understanding of the Latino community. He will continue to try and build his syndication empire, regardless.

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Visduh June 19, 2010 @ 5:55 p.m.

Response to #59:

Burl Stiff actually could write well. A couple times when he was freed from his usual format, and undertook a description of things he'd seen or experienced, he could really entertain. But he seldom got the chance to do anything creative. Those columns of his, with that "fill in the blanks" flavor were really the pits. Let's see, first describe the name of the event, the day and time of day and the location. Then mention the sponsoring organization and the chair(s), the theme of the party (if not mentioned already),and the usual philanthropic purpose. Describe the decor of the room, then mention the menu offerings and where applicable, the celebrity chef who prepared the cuisine. Mention the really big shots in attendance, especially if they are prior chairs of the event and/or leaders of the organization. Then print a "laundry list" of attendees. Oh, if there were any really fancy/expensive gowns worn, those deserve mention toward the beginning of the piece. Thaaat's all folks! How many thousand such columns did he write in his lifetime? The poor old guy deserves to retire.

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BradleyFikes June 19, 2010 @ 6:34 p.m.

Don, thank you for your comprehensive and skeptical coverage of local media. I have to give Jeff Light credit for conversing with his critics in the comments on his posting. But the "junior staff writer" idea looks to me very ill-conceived. For the U-T's sake, I hope Light is open-minded enough to reconsider - although I might be expected to say otherwise, as I work for the North County Times. (This is purely my own opinion, btw, I do not speak for the newspaper. My concern is for the good of all journalism in San Diego County).

We all know that reporters start out green and work their way up in skill. But now the U-T will have a class of reporters branded by definition as inferior, limited to work lacking in complexity. The job description appears designed to discourage anyone with any experience, talent, pride or aspiration. The JournalismJobs.com ad failed to make any mention of possible promotion. So the job looks like a dead end, much like the LA Times did with its community news reporters, whom the paper treated with condescension.

Any city council or planning commission covered by such an inferior class of reporters might well feel insulted. This is false efficiency, diluting the U-T's brand with reporting that's inferior by design.

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David Dodd June 19, 2010 @ 6:55 p.m.

@ #67: Much of what I presume in reading interviews of Light from various sources is that he's handcuffed. It's difficult to believe that he THINKS this is a good move, and easier to believe that it's a concession made in order to bring in people he once worked with. In other words, ownership says, in effect, "You want to bring those people in at that salary level, you had better figure out a way to balance it out with existing staff levels." I agree, it's an inferior design. But then, I don't feel that the U-T has done itself any favors over the last decade, regardless. I don't think it's going to be any worse than it has been recently, because it can't. It's more a question of how much money they will lose before someone pulls the plug on this experiment.

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 9:15 p.m.

Response to post #65: Yes, I am sure he will continue to develop his syndication audience. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 9:20 p.m.

Response to post #66: Here's one for you: did Burl ever mention that two different ladies were wearing the same dress from the same designer? And another one: in recent years, some BPs began to wear their dresses twice. Did Burl ever slip up and mention that XXX was wearing a dress by XXX at the Jewel Ball, and then mention that she was wearing the same dress four months later at another function? I'll bet he had to keep track of that to avoid making such a grievous error. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 9:24 p.m.

Response to post #67: Absolutely. That ad is an insult, even to green reporters. And it is certainly an insult to any higher-paid U-T employee who for some reason takes one of the lowly jobs instead of severance. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 19, 2010 @ 9:31 p.m.

Response to post #68: The U-T has made several mistakes with this reorganization. 1. The new managers are heavily on the graphics side. Management has forgotten, apparently, that online is text-intensive, too. 2. The copy desk has been slaughtered. Light has made the statement that the reporters will have to write it correctly the first time. Then he has sacked the more experienced reporters and writers. The writing and grammar can't help but decline; typos will abound. 3. Light brought in people with whom he had worked at the Orange County Register. So they will become FOLs (Friends of Light). This will be even worse for morale. 4. The paper jettisoned people who know San Diego and brought in managers who don't. This is a ticket to disaster. I will be very surprised if this reorganization works. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell June 19, 2010 @ 11:09 p.m.

How many thousand such columns did he write in his lifetime? The poor old guy deserves to retire.

Stiff is 82 years old.

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Burwell June 19, 2010 @ 11:48 p.m.

And it is certainly an insult to any higher-paid U-T employee who for some reason takes one of the lowly jobs instead of severance.

The U-T has to allow one or two of the older reporters to downgrade to the new lower paying jobs, but not all of them. The paper will hire a few of the existing older reporters in order to provide a defense in the event the paper is hit with a federal class action age discrimination lawsuit by the fired reporters who are over age 40. If I were a reporter at the U-T facing a layoff, I would file a class action age discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) without delay. Yes, the U-T can fire older workers because they are paid too much, but the U-T faces legal risks if it doesn't offer the older workers the lower paying jobs first before it hires youngsters off the street. The help wanted ad the U-T placed for entry level reporters is laden with age-biased statements that appear to be intended to discourage older workers from applying, in violation of federal law.

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David Dodd June 20, 2010 @ 1:31 a.m.

"The help wanted ad the U-T placed for entry level reporters is laden with age-biased statements that appear to be intended to discourage older workers from applying, in violation of federal law."

Yeah, but you know, proving that is always a chore. The older I get, the more sensitive I am to it because it affects me. But it seems such an uphill battle to actually get it into court. It isn't just the U-T that does this, it's really everywhere.

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Don Bauder June 20, 2010 @ 9:31 a.m.

Response to post #73: He's only eight years older than I am. He should have a lot of fuel left in his tank. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 20, 2010 @ 9:38 a.m.

Response to post #74: You have a point. I hadn't thought of the legal angle. The question is whether it would be worth the time and money to file such a complaint. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 20, 2010 @ 9:41 a.m.

Response to post #75: I would guess that U-T lawyers went over that ad pretty carefully. Best, Don Bauder

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MsGrant June 20, 2010 @ 9:46 a.m.

I find myself taking umbrage to the reference "beautiful people", as I find the frozen, plumped-up faces of San Diego's glitterati not only not beautiful, but quite frightening in some instances. DYG comes to mind. San Diego's wealthy are astonishingly unattrative.

Frivolous, shallow observations aside, today's paper was again full of editorial errors, and one story in particular struck me as being dumbed down. The layout looked a little better.

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Visduh June 20, 2010 @ 12:05 p.m.

Back to society coverage; it is too much fun to drop the thread now. Often Stiff's columns were accompanied with photos of the women in their mega-bucks name-designer gowns. And just about as often, the photos were dreadfully unflattering, as though just any old camera slinger had been sent out to snap a few shots in as little time as possible. Some of those women should have screeched bloody murder at their images as they showed up in the rag. When the photos began to appear in color, instead of getting better, looked even worse. Strapless gowns on younger, lithe figures can be very flattering, and might I even say glamorous. But on those older women, they usually just don't cut it. Yet, a gown for a soiree nowadays requires, it seems, that it be strapless, regardless of the shape or age of the wearer.

Stiff's job was not an easy one.

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a2zresource June 20, 2010 @ 12:10 p.m.

There is a full-pager in today's paper describing the top-down view of changes to the U-T... see "TO OUR READERS: We are building the newsroom of the future" (which I can't seem to find on a search of signonsandiego.com)

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Psycholizard June 20, 2010 @ 1:24 p.m.

To 62 Mr. Bauder,

With leadership and fatherhood, some tasks can't be delegated without confusion. The leader stands up and tells the crowd what to do, and even if shrinking violets had rank on the pansy, Rob Kittle was a real leader in this town. Because he is a father, I intend to stop skirting the fun non issue of his persona, and leave it alone entirely, after this one time. I am quitting smoking also.

Lets hear it for leaders, and fathers, who tell us what we don't want to hear.

Happy Father's Day.

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SurfPuppy619 June 20, 2010 @ 1:45 p.m.

Strapless gowns on younger, lithe figures can be very flattering, and might I even say glamorous. But on those older women, they usually just don't cut it.

LOL.......Father Time catches up to everyone, and when older folks don't know when to hang it, that is when you have problems....

I agree with the comment, no one wants to see a middle aged flabby woman (or flabby man). I wish people who are vain would understand that-no on eescapes Father Time.

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gekko June 20, 2010 @ 2:36 p.m.

Let's look on the bright side. We don't have to read Ruben Navarette and Burl Stiff anymore. Also, no more photos of David Copley. This is known as addition by subtraction.

gekko

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Grasca June 20, 2010 @ 3:18 p.m.

Most of the Senior Social Beings whom Mr. Stiff faithfully covered during his tenure did not age well whether they were men or women. The women especially affected hair styles of their Golden Youth and frequently looked as if they were standing in a wind tunnel due to their botox treatments and face lifts. The men became porcine and red faced. I think there is a point in one's life where it is much better not to be photographed no matter how important you are in society. I did relish in a sick way the hat day at the opening of the Del Mar racing season because the photos and commentary were priceless.

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Don Bauder June 20, 2010 @ 7:45 p.m.

Response to post #79: Get used to it. Because they brought in so many graphics editors, that aspect will improve and take more space. But because they whacked the copy desk and are hiring young writers while jettisoning the pros, you will see more typos, worse grammar, more disorganized stories, more single-source reporting, more holes in stories. They are now stressing the online product -- a good idea -- but they have forgotten that online is text-intensive. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 20, 2010 @ 7:47 p.m.

Response to post #80: Stiff's job was hard? How about the photographers who had to make beauty queens out of old hags. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 20, 2010 @ 7:49 p.m.

Response to post #81: I've heard of that. It may only be in the print edition. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 20, 2010 @ 7:51 p.m.

Response to post #82: You know I don't even know whether the Kittles had children. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 20, 2010 @ 7:52 p.m.

Response to post #83: Tell me about it. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 20, 2010 @ 7:54 p.m.

Response to post #84: You didn't HAVE to read Stiff or Navarette or look at David's picture. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 20, 2010 @ 7:56 p.m.

Response to post #85: Seeing the hat day pictures was like going to a dog show: you got a kick out of seeing the people, not the dogs. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh June 20, 2010 @ 8:21 p.m.

Won't somebody give old Burl Stiff a break? After all, he is a very senior citizen and should get some respect.

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Psycholizard June 21, 2010 @ 2:36 a.m.

I assumed that those featured in the society column purchased five figures in advertising or more, and were vain enough to think the coverage was flattering.

Perhaps the UT should send an artist with pen and paper. Women artists sketch with clothes on are perhaps not beautiful models, but artists know how to find beauty in the generous.

High school students now pay ten dollars an issue for collections of drawings, thousands flock to the Comic-Con. The UT and the Reader should consider more and better drawing to attract younger readers, give style to advertising, and flatter the advertiser with something they can save and hang on the wall.

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Grasca June 21, 2010 @ 6:51 a.m.

Some will miss San Diego's answer to Truman Capote. Mr. Stiff's social commentary seemed so outdated to me and a relic of other times when a certain class of women did good works by volunteering like "ladies" at various top drawer charities. Their husbands or partners could be counted upon to show up and be photographed in tuxedoes. The detailing of designer wear by Mr. Stiff and the exact reports of menus and venues did grow old after a time. For what the Stiff column was, it did not disappoint. But in my mind it reflected a bygone era of finishing school morality. Going into the good night at age 82 after many years as the social guru is not a bad thing. Stiff had staying power which must have been based in part by his association with David Copley ?

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Don Bauder June 21, 2010 @ 7:15 a.m.

Response to post #93: I think people are ridiculing the subjects of Burl's columns -- the San Diego Beautiful People -- rather than Burl. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 21, 2010 @ 7:19 a.m.

Response to post #94: I don't know that there was a direct quid pro quo -- the BPs buying ads in return for Stiff coverage. However, companies run or owned by BPs may have boosted advertising, believing that this would influence coverage in Stiff columns. However, this would be done surreptitiously; that's something nobody talks about openly. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 21, 2010 @ 7:24 a.m.

Response to post #95: Society coverage by Copley newspapers went back decades and decades. There was a lady named Jackson who dominated society through her Union column for many years. Stiff's column simply continued the practice. I agree: this kind of obsequious society coverage is atavistic. Best, Don Bauder

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Grasca June 21, 2010 @ 7:51 a.m.

Yes, I do recall Eileen Jackson of yore. Some of the changes in society are reflected in women's roles. They are no longer the partners of the CEO's but the CEO and probably have no need to bask in the reflection of their successful spouses. The Ranch and Coast Magazine carries on the Stiff/Jackson traditions with detailed reports and glossy photos of the socially self important. I am from the era where women wore gloves and went to teas. Gasp.

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Don Bauder June 21, 2010 @ 9:23 a.m.

Response to post #99: It's my understanding that Eileen Jackson created the social news, as well as reported it. I have this faint recollection that at the tail end of her career, she left the Union (or was pushed out) and went to the Tribune for a spell. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 21, 2010 @ 9:31 a.m.

NOTE: MORE LAYOFFS, PLUS MY OWN OBSERVATIONS: Here are three additional copy editors that were either laid off or departed voluntarily: George Hutti, Jamie Laurin, and Heather Urquhart. There are a lot of things wrong with the U-T reorganization, but the one that will show up most quickly and clearly is the two-pronged move to slash copy editor jobs while bringing in young, untrained reporters who are expected to turn in "clean" copy that doesn't need re-tooling. This will be a calamity. Fixing it will require more money, and Platinum will be loath to supply that. After all, Platinum, a private equity group, bought the U-T to sell it. Best, Don Bauder

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HellcatCopley June 21, 2010 @ 9:54 a.m.

Blair’s a great guy. I like him ... BUT does the UT leadership really think that he is the shot in the arm to boost circulation? The UT needs a fangs-bared, no-holds-barred gossip columnist, someone you love to hate. It’s a staggering image: the new high minds at the UT sitting around trying to decide how to revitalize the paper and coming up with (ta da!) ¡¡Tom Blair!!

Another bit of irony, with reference to the paeans to the super-talented journalists who got tossed. Can we buy it that the former management of the UT was terribly incompetent and inept … EXCEPT when it came to spotting and recruiting talented journos? Huh?

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Psycholizard June 21, 2010 @ 10:28 a.m.

I would recommend the Party Crasher feature in the Reader as a fun parody/continuation of the social column.

I wouldn't stop the roasting on Mr. Stiff's account. At any age, alive or dead, we prefer ridicule to neglect. I only read him when the doctor was very busy, but he seemed harmless and good natured.

If the rest of the UT was harmless, I would still read.

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Don Bauder June 21, 2010 @ 12:21 p.m.

Response to post #102: You make two good points. You can tell one columnist from another by the ratio of kicking ass to kissing ass. If it's 5% kicking and 95% kissing, the columnist probably works for a paper like the U-T. Your second point is a good one. People lament all the talent that got booted, but heap scorn on the management that hired them. Not logical. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 21, 2010 @ 12:23 p.m.

Response to post #103: If he looks at the Reader, Burl is probably enjoying the roasting he is getting. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 21, 2010 @ 12:27 p.m.

NOTE: REED'S U-T BLOG DISAPPEARING. Conservative blogger Chris Reed's blog is being eliminated, but Reed remains on the payroll as an editorial writer. One source says Pat Flynn will leave the U-T's editorial department to be a writer on the third floor. That is not confirmed. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard June 21, 2010 @ 5:31 p.m.

Now all this screams for parody.

LA JOLLA DEBUTANTS BALL 2010

Cell phone bells all over La Jolla announced the departure of Mrs. S and Mr. B for their Las Vegas vacation, and the beginning of the Debutants Ball. Miss Kimberly S., resplendent in a gown provided by Mother Nature, commenced the dancing with Mr. Juan S., CEO of Windansea Gardening....

I suspect that in the old days, underneath the crinoline, all was exactly the same as today.

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Don Bauder June 21, 2010 @ 6:02 p.m.

Response to post #107: It would be interesting to go back and read society columns of the 1930s and 1940s and compare them with the Stiff columns. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi June 21, 2010 @ 7:44 p.m.

The reader blog gang reunion.

dbauder was there (he’s a writer for the San Diego Reader) and so were Refried Gringo, Psycholizard, HellcatCopley and Grasca. Ponzi was there wearing a fabulous Armani suit, SurfPuppy619 was in Versace. Burwell was there, as was BradleyFikes. Some of the others that turned out for the event were MsGrant, Visduh and paul. Shadow and Harmsway were on the scene as were wishyouwerehere.

Corn dogs and chicken nuggets were served on a table covered with butcher paper. It was a fun time for all and raised absolutely no money!

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David Dodd June 21, 2010 @ 8:52 p.m.

Actually, I'd be happy to bring my bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapeños. If I can find big enough peppers, I even stuff a small shrimp in there with the three cheeses.

It's funny, I never could get into the society page (as in reading it, although certainly not appearing in it). All of the years that Stiff write for the U-T (okay, at least since I started reading the paper in the '90's), I might have only read a couple of his columns. It must be a tough job, though. I can imagine that it isn't easy to placate the media attention demanded by the upper-crust. In other words, you're bound to piss someone off even trying.

In Mexico, the papers devote a ton of print to society, an entire section. In Spanish, it's often referred to as "Sociales". Today's Sociales section of Tijuana's edition of El Mexicano contained eight full pages, with mostly color photographs. Maybe Burl Stiff would like to become comfortable writing in Spanish ;)

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Grasca June 21, 2010 @ 9:48 p.m.

I categorically deny being in attendance. I was vacationing in one of my several homes whose location is known only to Mr. Stiff. Hint - Wine Train, No Cal. As a amateur vintner with a small boutique winery I have to perform supervising duties on occasion. Of course, I wear designer overalls and a bejeweled baseball cap along with deerskin boots given to me by my pal, Sarah P, who could not visit as she was at a Tea Party event somewhere in South Carolina. George, Laura, and Dick did join me. We considered some bird hunting activities but Dick forgot his shotgun. So we feasted on a special meal prepared by my private chef and featuring my wines. Eat your hearts out, Dear Readers, who must languish in the bars and dives of PB and TJ or (horror or horrors) party at local parks where drinking is permitted. I like being rich.

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Burwell June 21, 2010 @ 9:52 p.m.

Can we buy it that the former management of the UT was terribly incompetent and inept … EXCEPT when it came to spotting and recruiting talented journos? Huh?

In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king.

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David Dodd June 21, 2010 @ 10:19 p.m.

"In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king."

I totally agree. There have been a few excellent journalists come and go here, but I wouldn't offer that it had any more to do with the U-T's management's ability to spot talent so much as some good journalists recognizing a beautiful city and wanting to live in it. As I've admitted previously, while I was born in San Diego, I grew up in Los Angeles. There were some amazing journalists there during that time, they made me want to write. And L.A. is a hell-hole. But apparently, they paid well. No idea where they all went, except for the Sports writers who have either passed on, retired, or enjoy being the main talent elsewhere.

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SurfPuppy619 June 21, 2010 @ 11:08 p.m.

The reader blog gang reunion.

dbauder was there (he’s a writer for the San Diego Reader) and so were Refried Gringo, Psycholizard, HellcatCopley and Grasca. Ponzi was there wearing a fabulous Armani suit, SurfPuppy619 was in Versace. Burwell was there, as was BradleyFikes.

Some of the others that turned out for the event were MsGrant, Visduh and paul. Shadow and Harmsway were on the scene as were wishyouwerehere.

Corn dogs and chicken nuggets were served on a table covered with butcher paper. It was a fun time for all and raised absolutely no money!

OMG was that funny!....and that is EXACTYLY how it would be written in the society page column!

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Ponzi June 21, 2010 @ 11:12 p.m.

Please pardon me for the weak humor. I have read Burl Stiff's coverage over the years and the thing that always stood out was how he tried to fit so many names in the story without sounding like a broken record.

I often wondered how those who were not mentioned felt. Did they make a special effort to get his attention the next time? Is it really important to be mentioned in the society page? It that an accomplishment?

I feel the world can do without Burl Stiffs, we can do without the mutual admiration society. They usually suck.

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David Dodd June 22, 2010 @ 1:13 a.m.

"Is it really important to be mentioned in the society page? It that an accomplishment?"

That baffles me, Ponzi. I never wanted to be mentioned in a story, I'd have rather had the byline. But apparently, many do. Otherwise, it wouldn't be such an integral sidecar to most newspapers.

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SFGuy June 22, 2010 @ 4:54 a.m.

I've known a lot of people who worked at the UT over the years, but I don't think any of them work there anymore. I have a subscription, but since the equity group has taken over the paper seems to be smaller and smaller all the time. I can go through it and read everything I find interesting in ten minutes these days. I heard on the news they will be raising the price of a subsctiption and so this will be the last year I bother to purchase one. I had hoped the electronic edition they have proposed for e-book readers might be cheap enough to subscribe to, but based on their quest for profit I doubt there will be a distinction between the two editions. I doubt seriously there will be any improvement using green reporters. And there definitely won't be much investigation when the paper seems to be the mouth organ for the establishment in San Diego; i.e. pimping for a new Charger stadium and an expansion of the convention facility.

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Grasca June 22, 2010 @ 7:10 a.m.

Being a Society Editor (the title Eileen Jackson held for many years) did get you into the Right Parties with the Right People (maybe not the beautiful ones but that is in the eye of the beholder - one eyed or not). I guess if a staff reporter (not a stringer) wanted the gig it would have been a good one in the heyday of San Diego society. I am sure that the Junior League and various hospital charity groups and garden clubs still meet and will be noted somewhere in print. With the economy on the downturn I do wonder if the balls and special events are as lavish. From my limited experience I have found rich people generally to be cheap. I don't see these types paying the higher market rate for meals and the chance to be in the society pages. Perhaps the days of Eileen Jackson and Burl Stiff are gone and best forgotten ?

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Visduh June 22, 2010 @ 9:13 a.m.

Eileen Jackson was from a different era of gentility. She was the long-time society writer for the Union, and when she went into retirement from that paper (perhaps due to reaching 65 and being pushed into "mandatory" retirement--something illegal now) she was picked up by Neil Morgan when he was editor of The Evening Tribune. She wrote for several more years at that paper on a reduced basis.

Eileen, whose husband was an artist and SDSU professor, had some scruples, one of which was that she never said an unkind thing about anyone. "If I cannot write something nice, I will write nothing." She appealed to an older age cohort that some of her successors, and was on a first name basis with many of the folks who were prominent socially--those whom Don calls "dinosaurs." I'm sure that many socially prominent households kept a subscription to the Tribune in addition to getting the Union just so they could have her column and read of themselves and their friends. There were, I'm sure, many "wannabees" who also followed the social goings-on in town in hopes of someday being a part of it all. Sounds rather quaint, doesn't it?

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WhatGoesAround June 22, 2010 @ 9:19 a.m.

Regarding greenhorn journalists and online copy editing standards, here is what I am seeing: apparently, it doesn't matter any more.

Check out the home pages of many of the leading media outlets, ABCNEWS.COM, CBSNEWS.COM, BOSTON.COM (the Boston Globe), even UNIONLEADER.COM, the newspaper of record for the state of New Hampshire, to name a few. You will see numerous typos, spelling and grammatical errors, missing words and phrases, sentences that mysteriously trail off to nowhere, and stories that lack continuity and/or coherence.

I recently submitted a copy editing correction via the Comments section of the UNIONLEADER.COM website. My comment never appeared, although the correction was made. As I was re-reading the story, I found another error that I hadn't noticed before and submitted another correction. Again, the comment did not appear but the change was made. As I read the story for the third time -- sure enough -- a new typo appeared out of the blue.

What I finally figured out was that the online editor was having a little fun at the expense of me, the reader.

I considered sending a letter to Publisher Joe McQuaid to bring it to his attention, but then I decided that he probably wouldn't care. Exploiting the public is a venerable tradition at his newspaper.

The NY Times and Wall Street Journal still make an effort. Other than that, copy editing standards have been abandoned. In a world of instant and text messaging where shortcuts and shorthand communications abound, standards that once were the hallmark of journalistic credibility have lost their market value.

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Grasca June 22, 2010 @ 9:22 a.m.

"A different era of gentility" - so well put.

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Grasca June 22, 2010 @ 9:29 a.m.

Pincus article about Everett Jackson, the professor and artist. Interesting. The daughter has written a book about her mother.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20071202/news_lz102art.html

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 10:37 a.m.

Response to post #109: And the reunion didn't make Burl Stiff's column. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 10:44 a.m.

Response to post #110: I remember one time that my name got in Stiff's column. I was the emcee when a friend from San Diego Opera was being feted for a position she had attained. I don't remember the position. It's possible I was in Stiff's column on one or two other occasions. My wife and I were active in San Diego Opera and some of those events were covered by Stiff. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 10:46 a.m.

Response to post #111: Your friend Sarah P enjoys being rich, too. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 10:49 a.m.

Response to post #112: That may be a good analogy. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 10:52 a.m.

Response to poste #113: San Diego does attract talented people -- not just journalists -- because of the climate. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 10:54 a.m.

Response to post #114: No money was raised -- but lots was stolen. The victims were too embarrassed to call the cops. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 10:56 a.m.

Response to post #115: Burl knows how he selected which guests were named and which were not, and my guess is that he is not talking. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 10:59 a.m.

Response to post #116: Among BPs, it's important to get one's name in the paper. However, this is also true in poverty-plagued rural communities. Weekly papers cram as many names in every edition as they can. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 11:04 a.m.

Response to post #117: It definitely appears that the restructured U-T will be boosting the establishment as much if not more than ever, particularly promoting the corporate welfare thefts. I have heard that Tom Blair and Diane Bell will split the columns on B-1. Both are establishment hornblowers. It appears that no one at the U-T will be looking into corporate welfare larceny. The so-called "watchdogs" will not look in the establishment's direction. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 11:07 a.m.

Response to post #118: Rich people are not cheap when spending other people's money. They are niggardly with their own money, particularly when it comes to paying their help. How do you think people get rich? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 11:12 a.m.

Response to post #119: That's my philosophy, too: if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all. When I tell people that, they howl in laughter. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 12:03 p.m.

Response to post #120: Those are amusing tales. I find that the NY Times and Wall Street Journal, which I read every day, both make more mistakes than they once did. Almost every newspaper is cutting back on staff. We're going to have to live with it. I am no one to brag. I write thousands of items for this blog, and I'm 74 years old with unsteady fingers. I try to catch my typos, but often don't. If the error is in a headline, I get it changed. If it's in the copy -- unless the error changes the meaning -- I let it go. I also write these responses quickly, and they are not as smooth as, say, my columns, which I spend more time on, and are also edited by two different people. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 12:08 p.m.

Response to post #121: "Gentility" can be a euphemistic term for looking the other way at turpitude. Southern slave owners were often praised for their gentility. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 12:09 p.m.

Response to post #122: Pincus is a very good writer and excellent critic. The U-T will miss him. Best, Don Bauder

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paul June 22, 2010 @ 5:01 p.m.

Response to #123:

I can't believe that nobody thought to invite Stiff to the corn dog soiree. I think we will have to pretend to get together again anyway so I can virtually sample some bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos (everything is better with bacon). This time somebody has got to call Burl Stiff.

http://travel.signonsandiego.com/about/ut/submit_news.html

Burl Stiff: Invite Burl Stiff to attend your organization's next fundraiser. Send a letter at least a month before the event date with the basic background information: date, time and location of event, plus information on the host organization and how the funds will be used. Fax: (619) 260-5093.

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Visduh June 22, 2010 @ 7:17 p.m.

As to Eileen Jackson's gentility, I'm sure that she saw plenty of things, and knew of things, that she could not report. Maybe the word I was looking for was "graciousness". But she came from an era when newspapers separated roles. Hers was to make people feel good about their lives and chronicle their social events and attempts at self-ennoblement. In the process of her doing that, she helped sell newspapers.

Don, as you've pointed out, even impoverished places have newspapers that print names of as many attendees at social events as possible. We all love to see our names in print, if they're not there for the wrong reasons.

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 8:06 p.m.

Response to post #137: Nobody told me this was a fundraiser. If I had known that, I wouldn't have attended. No wonder my pocket was picked. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 22, 2010 @ 8:08 p.m.

Response to post #138: Nobody wants to see himself listed on the DUI log, for example. But everybody reads it. Best, Don Bauder

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gekko June 22, 2010 @ 9:44 p.m.

Don: While everyone is bashing Burl Stiff let's not forget the worst columnist of all time - John Sinor of the old Evening Tribune.

Honorable mention for worst columnist: Michael Grant.

You wrote earlier that you weren't that familiar with Ruben Navarette. Consider your self fortunate. Navarette reminds me of the great line from the movie Inherit The Wind - "You never pushed a noun against a verb except to blow up something." That was Naverette.

gekko

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Burwell June 22, 2010 @ 9:52 p.m.

Don: While everyone is bashing Burl Stiff let's not forget the worst columnist of all time - John Sinor of the old Evening Tribune.

=========

John Sinor was a good writer and his column was very popular.

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Psycholizard June 22, 2010 @ 11:23 p.m.

to 140

My Rock Band could use that DUI publicity. it could only improve my street cred.

This publicity stunt seems too pricey though. The price of the liquor necessary to get my dinosaur body over the legal limit alone would blow my promotion budget, and when drunk I might forget the scheme and drive home safely.

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David Dodd June 23, 2010 @ 12:08 a.m.

I never got to read Sinor's columns, he began at the Tribune right after I left the San Diego area and retired months before I returned. He was widely syndinated, but to no newspapers I read at the time. I do know that he wrote a few books, one of which was a marginally successful children's book (I understand that he sold out his first printing of 10,000). I think he passed in 1996.

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BradleyFikes June 23, 2010 @ 4:53 a.m.

Ponzi, I liked being included in the Reader blog reunion. I brought a virtual Melchizedek of Temecula Syrah.

Scam Diego is certainly a lively place. Don, you have attracted a good group of followers. What's your secret?

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Grasca June 23, 2010 @ 8:10 a.m.

Don's secret seems to be that he is a gentleman and a scholar. He should offer lessons to some contributors.

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Don Bauder June 23, 2010 @ 12:10 p.m.

Response to post #141: I seldom read Sinor's column so can't comment. The times I read it I thought it was pretty pedestrian, but I understand it was popular. I liked Mike Grant's column. He is a good writer. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 23, 2010 @ 12:12 p.m.

Response to post #142: If memory serves me right, he always wrote about his cozy family life. Then it blew up and he quickly remarried and picked up a new family to coo over. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 23, 2010 @ 12:14 p.m.

Response to post #143: And when drunk you might forget the words to the song you are singing on stage. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 23, 2010 @ 12:17 p.m.

Response to post #144: Yes, he did write a children's book. I believe the setting was the Wild Animal Park. We bought it and took our then-young sons to get his autograph. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 23, 2010 @ 12:20 p.m.

Response to post #145: I revealed my secret the other day: if you can't say something nasty about somebody, don't say anything at all. Or did I say "nice?" Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 23, 2010 @ 12:23 p.m.

Response to post #146: "Gentleman?" When I come upon a men's room with the sign "Gentlemen," I think I am being discriminated against and barred from entering. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell June 23, 2010 @ 9:36 p.m.

Response to post #141: I seldom read Sinor's column so can't comment. The times I read it I thought it was pretty pedestrian, but I understand it was popular.

Many years ago the Reader published a story about a supposed rivalry between Sinor and Neil Morgan. The author of the story concluded that Sinor had more writing talent than Morgan.

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Psycholizard June 23, 2010 @ 10:13 p.m.

to 149

We call that improvising new lyrics.

I fear sometimes, during my performances, that people will realize I haven't been drinking.

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Don Bauder June 24, 2010 @ 6:12 a.m.

Response to post #153: That would have been well before my time at the Reader, although it would have been printed during my time at Copley. Such a rivalry certainly sounds plausible. In his day, Neil Morgan wrote well. As I said, I cannot evaluate Sinor, because I seldom read him. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 24, 2010 @ 6:14 a.m.

Response to post #154: Well, if you don't want to drink while you are singing, you can always bite a bat in half. Remember that? Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh June 24, 2010 @ 11:52 a.m.

John Sinor was a very popular guy with Tribune readers. He wrote pedestrian columns about pedestrian things, very often involving his ditsy wife. But it was like an ordinary guy talking to you, never condescending. He and a few others kept subscribers taking the Tribune long after they might have given up on the error-ridden stories. A few years before the Trib folded, Sinor's column disappeared for a few weeks, and when he restarted it, admitted to his alcoholism. But shortly after that he was taken very ill with something I don't recall, and his column ended before the Tribune went away, as I recall. I think Sinor took the buyout when Helen and help finally decided the Tribune had to go.

Michael Grant was another story. He would write some really good columns, and some that were truly awful, with strange subject matter. I heard him on the radio a few times, can't remember whose show, and he had the densest old-boy east Texas accent imaginable. He claimed to be a Stanford grad, and probably was, and said that while there nobody could understand him, and vice-versa. He also took the buy out, and was around town for a while trying some alternative form of writing and journalism, but I don't remember what that was. I don't think I've heard of him for years.

But don't forget that both of those guys had a following, and that a paper can benefit from such a draw. On the whole I think the Tribune had more columnists who were more popular than those in the Union. Note that I said "popular", not intelligent or good writers or spellbinding. The readership of the Tribune wanted columns that amused more than anything else.

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nan shartel June 24, 2010 @ 3:43 p.m.

I categorically deny being in attendance. I was vacationing in one of my several homes whose location is known only to Mr. Stiff. Hint - Wine Train, No Cal. As a amateur vintner with a small boutique winery I have to perform supervising duties on occasion. Of course, I wear designer overalls and a bejeweled baseball cap along with deerskin boots given to me by my pal, Sarah P, who could not visit as she was at a Tea Party event somewhere in South Carolina. George, Laura, and Dick did join me. We considered some bird hunting activities but Dick forgot his shotgun. So we feasted on a special meal prepared by my private chef and featuring my wines. Eat your hearts out, Dear Readers, who must languish in the bars and dives of PB and TJ or (horror or horrors) party at local parks where drinking is permitted. I like being rich.

~~i'm liken ur funny side Grasca~~

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CuddleFish June 24, 2010 @ 4:33 p.m.

The ladies on this site have beautiful funny bones! :)

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Don Bauder June 24, 2010 @ 5:09 p.m.

Response to post #157: Michael Grant heads the journalism program at one of the community colleges. He is doing well. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 24, 2010 @ 5:17 p.m.

Response to post #158: I believe every word of what you say. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard June 24, 2010 @ 5:52 p.m.

to 156

I will prefer to believe that the bat biting was stage magic until someone auctions the dead bat as memorabilia,

Music often reverses the normal topic of your columns, instead of criminals posing as businessmen, businessmen pose as gangsters.

It would break the heart of many young people to learn that their heroes successfully borrow and lend at interest, and no longer shoot at each other, mostly.

I thought Roy Rogers shot bad guys and roped beef, only to learn that my cowboy heroes were fraud. Today's youngsters face similar disapointment when they realize so many of their pimp and ho heroes live in big happy families, and rely on lawyers to enforce their contracts.

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SurfPuppy619 June 24, 2010 @ 5:58 p.m.

when they realize so many of their pimp and ho heroes live in big happy families, and rely on lawyers to enforce their contracts.

That won't enhance their street cred!

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Don Bauder June 24, 2010 @ 7:05 p.m.

Response to post #159: Agreed. Best, Don Bauder

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BradleyFikes June 24, 2010 @ 8:26 p.m.

The Union-Tribune has posted another entry-level reporter ad on Journalismjobs.com: http://j.mp/utawr

It is either for a second entry-level position, or a rewritten version of the infamous "low level of complexity" ad, sans the demeaning language.. Here is what it says:

"The watchdog journalism team at The San Diego Union-Tribune has immediate openings for associate staff writers to support a robust investigative operation. These writers will fill in doing basic beat work throughout the newsroom, to free up reporters to do deeper investigative stories. Subjects will range from the environment to military affairs to San Diego City Hall. Assignments as a beat fill-in could last two days, two months, or longer. Between assignments, there may be opportunities for associate reporters to assist in investigative work. Applicants should be versatile and flexible, with a demonstrated ability to get up to speed quickly on a range of subjects. This is an entry-level job and pays $35,000 a year, with no moving expenses provided, so if you are out of state, please take that into account before applying.

To apply, please send a resume and links or pdfs of your best work to ricky.young@uniontrib.com. Put "Utility player" in the subject line or your e-mail won't get routed correctly."

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David Dodd June 24, 2010 @ 10:09 p.m.

Those of you who were interested in this, I discovered this in the on-line U-T:

"Starting Saturday, San Diego will have not one but two columnists serving up news about our celebrities, our movers and shakers, and our neighbors.

Diane Bell will continue her column on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. That’s something she’s done reliably since taking over the column 15 years ago.

Her predecessor, Tom Blair, is returning to The San Diego Union-Tribune after serving as editor of San Diego Magazine. His column will appear on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays."

Apparently, this will be their idea of a society column.

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Grasca June 24, 2010 @ 11:03 p.m.

2 for the price of one to report drivel ?

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Don Bauder June 25, 2010 @ 7:10 a.m.

Response to post #165: That definitely appears to be a rewrite of the original "low level of complexity" ad that stirred up so much controversy. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 25, 2010 @ 7:15 a.m.

Response to post #166: Yes, I previously mentioned that Bell and Blair will alternate. Blair is a facile and entertaining writer. But neither Blair nor Bell will ever challenge the establishment. The downtown real estate larceny, political humbuggery, and other scams will continue without a peep from either columnist. In fact, the scams will be encouraged. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 25, 2010 @ 7:58 a.m.

Response to post #167: That's one way of looking at it, I suppose. As I have said before, three-dot columnists should kick some ass, instead of constantly kissing it. Don't expect much kicking. Best, Don Bauder

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Duhbya June 25, 2010 @ 12:20 p.m.

Re #169: More foddering from the doddering?

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Don Bauder June 25, 2010 @ 2:27 p.m.

Response to post #171: Mollycoddling of the muggers. Best, Don Bauder

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