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The past month has been a crazy month for San Diego media outlets. First, hotel magnate and developer Doug Manchester purchases the city's sole daily paper, and now online news org, Voice of San Diego, announced it was cutting down its workforce, laying off education reporter Emily Alpert, community reporter Adrian Florido, and photographer Sam Hodgson.

"Today was a difficult day of change for voiceofsandiego.org," reads a message from Voice's editors Scott Lewis and Andrew Donahue. "Last year, we raised more than $1.1 million and drew up a budget for 2011 at $1.2 million. We're projecting lower revenue for the coming year and set the budget at $1 million."

Donahue and Lewis said part of the reason for the layoffs was uncertainty in securing grants from national foundations.

"We're in the process of building a thriving membership program to reduce our reliance on foundations, but we need time to fully establish a diverse donor base. Quite simply, like many of the agencies we cover and many families across San Diego, we have to be realistic about our prospects for the New Year."

There's little doubt many of you will be sad to see them go and you may disagree with our decisions. We recognize and understand that."

The editors don't expect any additional layoffs, but did make sure to include information regarding their current fundraising efforts.

"It may seem awkward to be running our year-end fundraising campaign -- an ambitious one at that -- in the midst of these changes. But actually, it's quite appropriate. As a nonprofit, this is our challenge: Our service depends on your support. If you value our investigative reporting, analysis, our daily Morning Report, partnerships with local media and events, please support this effort."

Read the entire message here.

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Comments

dwbat Dec. 9, 2011 @ 3:48 p.m.

I've watched Adrian Florido's reports on NBC 7, and he's very good. A local TV station should snap him up if they are smart.

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 9, 2011 @ 4:08 p.m.

The City should lay off just 1 ff (or cop) and then VofSD could hire those two..... and two more.

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nostalgic Dec. 10, 2011 @ 11:14 a.m.

The VOSD laid off the ones that write articles for the Internet Version. Days will go by with no new content. How odd. As the Internet news was supposed to replace the paper versions, I suppose Twitter has replaced the Internet Version. Too many words and you're out!

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BlueSouthPark Dec. 10, 2011 @ 12:11 p.m.

Yes, VoSD, even fully staffed, is not a daily thrill. Articles stay on the front page, placed in several locations on the page to make the page look loaded, for days on end, growing stale, with no real news appearing. This is contrary to what I expect from online information from even the simplest blog.

Sorry for anyone losing a job, BUT...I'm sure the three promptly submitted applications to the City's public relations office. Sanders' and Goldstone's offices are already home to several writer layoff refugees who regularly and loyally promoted the City and its point of view while at the U-T.

For example, Rachel Laing, Alex Roth, and Jonathan Heller, currently master tweeters and constant Twitter companions of all VoSD employees, are all busy promoting Sanders and Goldstone from the inside, after doing it so well at the U-T.

Oh yes, also Gerry Braun, sold-my-soul-to-the-Devil-in-Chief former U-T columnist, now promoting in all ways for Gentleman Jerry, mostly busy now tweeting and promoting Jerry's desired successor, Nathan Fletcher.

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Ponzi Dec. 12, 2011 @ 7:05 p.m.

I heard Sanders was endorsing Bonnie Dumanis?

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 12, 2011 @ 11:58 p.m.

Dumbass has no chance at Mayor whatsoever.

If she gets even 10% of the vote I will eat a dead squirrel.

I predeict DeMaio willl win by a decent margin, and the reason is not that he is some great politician, but the fact that he has taken on public pension reform.

The people are fed up with the pension scams and DeMaio has tapped that anger. And believe me it is anger. Serious anger.

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BradleyFikes Dec. 10, 2011 @ 7:14 p.m.

The VOSD layoffs saddened me, because we need a diverse media. I was moved to shell out $35 to support VOSD, in part because contributions are being matched: http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/members/year-end-2011/

BlueSouthPark, I think you were a little unfair to VOSD. Its role stresses investigative and accountability journalism, not up-to-the-minute tweets. And correction: Sanders has endorsed Dumanis, not Fletcher.

I do share your discomfort about the hiring of so many former reporters who have journalistic friends. It's good PR strategy for the politicians, but makes impartial reporting more difficult.

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Twister Dec. 11, 2011 @ 12:18 p.m.

The link produces this:

406 - Not Acceptable

The requested document, http%3A%2F%2Fwww.voiceofsandiego.org%2Fmembers%2Fyear-end-2011%2F%253C%2Fp%2F, is not acceptable. Please try your operation again , or contact the webmaster at webmaster@voiceofsandiego.org.

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BlueSouthPark Dec. 11, 2011 @ 11:37 a.m.

Sorry if I was unclear about the compulsive tweeting by VoSD management: I meant to suggest that, if all of that social gossip time spent by the two upper-level managers had instead been spent doing journalism, perhaps the entire outfit would be more readable and successful. I'm sorry to say that I do not think the "community" issues (excepting the SDUSD issues) reporting was all that terrific. Much of it was poorly written, incomplete, and wrong on the facts. I have good reason to believe that this was sometimes by design of the management, in supporting the goals of Sanders and the City, but also because of the writer's inexperience and disinterest in doing investigative journalism with the courage of conviction. For the most part, as with the U-T, it is what was NOT reported by VoSD that was slanted to favor the City and local power brokers.

As for endorsing Dumanis v. Fletcher, it's like those votes that occur in City Council: one Councilmember, assured that there are enough votes to pass or reject an issue as preferred or as politically expedient, will vote the other way to curry favor with certain groups.

As with all magic acts, keep your eye on the hand doing the subtle activity, not on the hand doing the flagrant endorsement.

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InOmbra Dec. 11, 2011 @ 2:40 p.m.

In the Columbia Journalism Review (Feb 18 2011), Josh Kalven wrote that "If you’re mission-based and have a very clear idea of what you’re going to build, the infrastructure-intensive process of starting a nonprofit often makes sense."

VoSD doesn't have an online banner link titled "Mission." However, in "the organization" dropdown menu there is an "about us," which generally describes what VoSD wants to try to do, i.e., their mission (without ever using that term). In my opinion, not much of the "about us" rings true. I've been reading VoSD since they first launched and have formed my own opinion about their mission, based on what they've written (or not written, as BSP said). I don't agree that they've "invest[ed their] time in tracking down the most meaningful San Diego stories and the stories that aren't being done."

The Knight Digital Media Center reported in February 2011 that VoSD "sees its projected $1.2 million budget coming from a mix of foundations (27 percent), community partnerships and advertising (9 percent), syndication (4 percent) and individual giving, which includes memberships and foundation grants (59 percent),..."

The $324,000 annual goal from foundations overlaps with the $708,000 annual goal from memberships and foundations. That type of budget depends far too much on not offending the wealthiest and most powerful locals. It is a budget designed to fail if your goal is to "bring you the stories that our leaders and powerful don't want to announce." And so, I wonder why VoSD is faltering? Because they haven't really done any hard coverage of our leaders and powerful.

One of their online Twitter friends has suggested that CCDC or the City should kick in the money to save them....isn't that an amazing idea? So much for understanding independence, and walls between government and the Fourth Estate!

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BradleyFikes Dec. 12, 2011 @ 6:59 a.m.

SurfPuppy, Thanks for giving the correct URL. For some reason, when I try to give URLs here they are corrupted.

While I like VOSD, it's got a real problem with its fact checks. Sometimes they are not factual, but the writer's opinion. That's misleading.

A recent alleged fact-check on Nathan Fletcher's statement that it could take up to 9 different permits to get married in a city park is one of them. The fact check called it misleading, although it admitted that it can take up to 9 permits, depending on what features are requested. (And taking city hall bureaucracy at its word when its practices are being challenged is just naive).

VoSD should either get rid of its fact checks entirely or strictly confine them to facts.

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Ponzi Dec. 12, 2011 @ 7:07 p.m.

If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.

Mark Twain

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