U-T Names Online Specialist as Editor

Don, From a bottom line perspective, I believe that the U-T is being saved -- as a business entity. As a newspaper? The U-T is dying a slow death and rapidly becoming a shopper -- not that there is anything wrong with that; I love to look at pages filled with ads and with little information about what matters to me and the local community. Okay, I'm joking. I miss real newspapers -- in touch with their readers and serving their news needs. I also miss the newspaper columnists that felt the pulse of the readers and the town and wrote about the stuff that mattered to them -- in a creative and brilliant way. I miss the Jim Murrays and the Mike Roykos and all the other guys who kept the pressure on city hall and the folks that run sport franchises. I also miss the original newspaper publishers and editors who launched their publications to hold others accountable for their actions and who sold advertising to pay for the costs required to keeping us informed. Unfortunately, the information part of today's business model is not to publish a newspaper, but to sell advertising first and then plug the holes with fillers. It is sad commentary. I still subscribe to the U-T because I am still hoping that one morning I will get up and unfold a paper that is worth reading. The one I get, by the way, has a long way to go before filling that need. It takes me less time to go through it than what it takes me to do my morning business in the toilet. Not much stuff to read there. Saludos. Pedro
— February 14, 2010 8:44 p.m.

Union-Tribune Axe Falls Again. Kittle Reportedly Out

Don, It is not easy to see the newspaper business go down the drain -- just like it is not easy to watch a close friend or family member fight back the claws of death. It's not easy. Death is tough and terminal. Yet, it's certain. And everything that once lived will eventually come to an end. That is the cycle of life. In the case of human beings, death often comes without notice, and that makes it even tougher to withstand for us, the ones still living. In the case of business models, like newspapers, that were started by courageous voices and tough lunatics that risked their lives to provide information and a forum for the people, their passing is a difficult thing to admit, especially for us, the folks that still have the wayward smell of newsprint and ink stuck inside our noses. There is no doubt, it is tough to admit that the newspaper business is rapidly becoming extinct. Then, again, the industry did it to itself. The one-man shows of courage and ideology soon became a bedlam of power grabbers and political animals. As the industry progressed, the actors began to invent the news and unashamedly cast their support for the things they liked or wanted. In many ways, the publishers not only owned the presses, but also the minds of those that read their products. Not long thereafter, in the short history of this industry, the newspaper business became just that, a business. You know, the regular kind, the one with bottom lines and wantings of being part of a big chain and of killing the competition and of being the only game in town. And as the visionless actors took their places in their ivy towers, settling in their comfort zones, unaware of the changing technology that was beginning to challenge their places in the information business, the final stage in the life of the newspaper industry started to unravel. The new competition swiftly began to take away the low lying clients from newsprint business. You know those poor folks: The ones that had pay ransom to place their help wanted and auto ads in old fashioned classified pages. True, the industry did it to itself. But, it is tough to see it die. I just hope that those of us getting used to delivering opinion and the news via websites, blogs, tweets, finger-tiring texting, and other hi-tech means, can still abide by the old principles of telling the truth, so our world may continue thrive and our people may continue to enjoy the freedoms that newspapers once delivered.
— August 12, 2009 10:53 p.m.

U-T "Deeply Mediocre," Says Columnist Discussing Globe

Don, Again, there's more evidence that newspaper folks just don't get it. That's why the ax is falling hard on the business. And it's sad, because newsprint runs in my veins. I love and respect the trade and the value that good journalism provides towards keeping us free. It it weren't for all those wayward, hard-nosed writing folks that pay no attention to bullets or threats or nothing else, but to their mission to report on what's going on, I wouldn't be here today writing on this blog. My point? How can newspapers survive if the Marie Antoinettes at the U-T and other major dailies continue to feed us pie -- sorry, crap -- instead of the relevant news that we need? Sunday's U-T had a lead story on the tough times that high-end time share holders are having. No truffles, no foie gras for the poor folks sharing their sorrows at some north county lux de delux summer place. Oh, I feel soooo bad for them! But wait, gotta tell you about today's page one lead story -- in case you haven't read it. More sad news: "High-end homeowners now feeling the pinch." Some can't unload the mansions that they bought a few years ago, while betting on the come and hoping to benefit from the upswinging market. One of these poor folks has a home on the market for $4.5 million, but feels he's only going to get $3.8 mil for it. Of course, he only paid $2 mil for his La Jolla jewel back in 2000. But, you know, times are tough for the well-to-do folks, too. That's why the U-T gotta report on 'em. Ughhhhhhhhh!!!!!!
— June 15, 2009 10:48 p.m.

Newspapers Suffer Worst Quarter in Modern History

Newspapers had a good thing going for a long time. A monopoly? Yes, in more ways than one. From the advertising side, the rates grew every year; highway robbery was the common practice for those selling ad space. Pay or stay out! If you're this, you pay this rate; if you're that, you pay this other rate. Do we discriminate? Yes, in a sense, we do. But we charge you more because we know you can afford it. Besides, you have to advertise your help wanted ads in a local daily, don't you? It's the law. So? You ain't got a choice. Pay up and shut up! Why do we charge more for national ads? Because everyone else is doing it. That's it. If others can get away with it, so can we. We're a monopoly, you know. Selling ad space in major dailies, by the way, was mostly order taking in all dailies. No selling involved... For a while, there were few alternatives for advertisers who wanted to reach the masses via print. So they paid the piper. Today, there are a lot more choices, so the piper ain't getting paid as much. Too bad, but that's how it is in America. If you ain't got what I need, I ain't gonna go to you. I don't need you. From the news side, the picture doesn't look too much different. Folks calling themselves journalists were and still are too far away from the real news affecting real, everyday people, but too close to themselves. And others like themselves. They wrote -- and still write today -- for themselves. They care -- I believe -- little about the stuff that affects most of us. True, there have always been around the hard nosed folks that truly understand their duties. You know? The writing folks that bag a congressman or a dirty politician here and there. You know? The hard core journalist that keeps alive a world where we, even today, may still be able to breathe free. Thank you, by the way, for doing what you do. But, to you, the rest of America's print news room folks that forgot about what was relevant to us on the receiving side of the news business, I have this to say: Too bad. You forgot how to write to me. And that's why I no longer care abou you. So, stop your bitchin' and moanin' and get out of town. And, fortunately for me and others like me, real journalists are still around. Online.
— June 3, 2009 11:08 p.m.

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