Dave Rice 4:30 p.m., Sept. 19
Union-Tribune to Shrink Width of Paper
According to the trade publication News & Tech, "The San Diego Union-Tribune is narrowing the web width of its four Goss Metro presses from 50 inches to 44 inches -- with provision for 42-inch production." The project will be completed in September. In the last couple of years, some other dailies have undergone similar size reductions. I was not able to reach Jeff Light, new editor of the U-T, in a timely fashion, but he told KPBS last month that he anticipated "a redesign of the print product probably late summer...there'll be some changes in the look of the paper."
Employees say that they are having to attend lots of meetings, partly to deal with a new width of the paper and partly to deal with the U-T's new emphasis on the web. Light has brought in a former colleague from the Orange County Register to teach U-T employees such things as covering a beat while enhancing that coverage through tweeting. In April, Light told KPBS that his strategy "is to work across more than one platform...We have print, we have interactive, we have mobile, the iPad is coming out. We have radio and television hosted on our site." So the emphasis will shift markedly from the print product -- a phenomenon that is evident at most metro dailies.
The U-T employees also expect further staff reduction. Light told the Voice of San Diego early this month that a reorganization is slated this summer, but no mass layoff is contemplated.
The company is still trying to rent out the 4th and 5th floors. The commercial real estate industry is severely depressed, as the new U-T owners are finding out as they try to unload properties they got when they bought the company from Copley Press.