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Gene Bell, president of the Union-Tribune, sent a memo Wednesday in which, typical of the newspaper, the bombshell was concealed in Little Mary Sunshine prose. Bell told certain employees November 28 that the paper is making changes that are designed to give readers more news specific to their own geographic area. "We are changing the way we zone local news and advertising to better serve readers and advertisers, and to streamline our main press run," said Bell. In the penultimate paragraph, he stated, "Removing zoned content from the main run will increase efficiency and cut pressroom costs, including the elimination of 15-20 positions." Then came a subtle warning that more is likely to come: "In challenging times such as these, it is critical that we find ways to better serve customers while reducing expense." There will be more details in coming weeks, Bell said.

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Comments

Anonymous Nov. 30, 2007 @ 3:45 p.m.

Don: This "streamlining" has cost them me as a paid subscriber. With shrinking fonts, ink darkness making anyone with less than the fighter pilot eyesight I used to have only adding to my continuing frustration with the political vendettas and oversupport and misrepresentations so as to give only favorable "news" on the shenaigans and outwright wrongdoings of Mayor Republican and company, it's sad that I will no longer have a daily newspaper to peruse but the UT leaves me - and I guess will leave others little choice but to get what we need to know from whatever alternative sources we can. AND, in this vein, YOU are a tremendous source of honest reporting and insight into what is really going on in our town.

THanks and Best Wishes

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Don Bauder Nov. 30, 2007 @ 4:47 p.m.

Response to comment #1: There is a reason for the U-T losing readers much faster than other metro dailies are losing readers. As you mentioned, one of the reasons is the ignoring of bad news about a feckless and dishonest mayor. The other reason is the endless pursuit of the vendetta against the city attorney and Councilmember Donna Frye. Unfortunately, the newspaper cannot be trusted; when it errs, it buries the confession in small print in an inconspicuous place, and in unfathomable legalese.There are demographic reasons for the rapid plunge, but the main ones are the lack of credibility of the editorial product. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Dec. 1, 2007 @ 4:26 a.m.

San Diego readers who read and think about the news desperately need an honorable newspaper to replace the “Tory” U-T that has betrayed the citizens of San Diego. Too bad we can’t meet that need by gathering up honorable journalists who have left the U-T and transplant Ben Franklin’s newspaper as a San Diego Gazette.

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Don Bauder Dec. 1, 2007 @ 11:55 a.m.

Response to post #3: It's not going to happen. Even excellent newspapers are seeing their revenues and profits drop sharply. The newspaper business has been receding for some time. Demographics and the news cycle are going against newspapers. Who would invest in such an enterprise? Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Dec. 1, 2007 @ 4:09 p.m.

Well then, I guess it’s time for Don Bauder and Matt Potter to restore the spirit of Ben Franklin and provide us with a San Diego Reader-Gazette. The Reader is already dedicated to the most important demographics in San Diego, and they most certainly need to take control of their own future just as much as Ben et al. did since the U-T establishment is just another version of Tory culture betraying citizens with impunity.

Ever since the U-T establishment elected Mayor Susan Golding 1992, followed by Murphy and Sanders, San Diego has had a kleptocracy resulting most recently in 22 deaths and incineration of one quarter of San Diego County in the 2003 and 2007 firestorms. If that doesn’t ignite and disturb San Diegans to take action nothing can, and it’s up to the San Diego Reader-Gazette to inform us in a whole new way by providing us with facts and solutions to the destruction produced by the U-T kleptocracy.

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Don Bauder Dec. 1, 2007 @ 5:20 p.m.

Response to post #5: The Reader is already trying to fulfill your desires. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Dec. 2, 2007 @ 2:39 a.m.

Thank you Don. Are you going to issue a new Declaration of Independence from the U-T kleptocracy any time soon? It’s time to vote out, if not recall, every corrupt U-T “Ballot Recommendations” controlled politician to prevent the next firestorm that now occur every four years, or less.

The U-T kleptocracy has proven that they do not care about protecting public safety and property, that they are dedicated exclusively to personal wealth and political power for their ruling U-T class and their corrupt politicians regardless of how hideous the consequences are to all San Diego citizens.

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Anonymous Dec. 2, 2007 @ 6:47 a.m.

Video killed the radio star, video killed the radio star...

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Don Bauder Dec. 2, 2007 @ 8:03 a.m.

Response to post #8: Yes, there have been multiple changes through the years. Radio is slipping today, but is long from dead. Best, Don Bauder

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DavidGUrban Dec. 2, 2007 @ 9:31 a.m.

Don,

Regarding comment number 2: Did the paper ever print an apology to the attorneys under Aquirre who were accused of trading campaign contributions for pay raises?

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Don Bauder Dec. 2, 2007 @ 1:04 p.m.

Response to post #10: Buried deep in the paper Oct. 31 was this "correction," which was not a correction at all. Here it is: "An Oct. 10 editorial referenced a 1931 San Diego charter provision that prohibits city employees from soliciting or accepting campaign donations from subordinates or other city employees. The editorial noted that state law and the municipal code allows for the acceptance of unsolicited campaign contributions. Pursuant to the California Government Code, state law supersedes the charter on this matter. The headline incorrectly stated that [Mike Aguirre] violated the law on contributions from staff. The editorial also noted that Deputy City Attorneys Kathryn Burton, Don McGrath, Karen Heumann, John Serrano and Walter Chung contributed to City Attorney Aguirre's campaign and all received pay increases shortly thereafter. As clarification the editorial did not state that any of these individuals violated the law by making these contributions." So the simple answer is no: disingenuously, the paper did not apologize to the attorneys. Further, the so-called correction, crafted in fuzzy legalese and concealed from readers' view, was also disingenuous. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Dec. 3, 2007 @ 2:18 a.m.

One thing the U-T has failed to do, that The Reader has a perfect opportunity to do, is to provide credible advice to your readers on solutions to problems that are having the greatest impact on our lives.
San Diego government is a worst case in point because citizens were never informed about how they could have prevented the moral and financial bankruptcies of our civic leaders that all of us are having to suffer the totally unacceptable consequences of today.
As your columns document continuously, corruption is a root cause of the decline and fall of San Diego, but how could we have prevented the overwhelming amount of corruption that is destroying quality of life in San Diego?
There have to be better ways to do things, but no one is providing any credible advice that citizens can use to prevent so many problems from getting even further out of control.
The U-T has not only failed to carry out their responsibility to the people of San Diego, and they are paying the price for their failures, but their failures are taking San Diego down with it, leaving The Reader literally as our last line of defense.
Right now you are doing an excellent job in documenting the problems, but what do you advise for solutions?

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Don Bauder Dec. 3, 2007 @ 7:40 a.m.

Response to post #12: You make good points. The U-T is constitutionally incapable of pointing out San Diego's basic problem: that infrastructure and services are sadly inadequate, and further development subsidies should stop until those problems are addressed, but it will never happen as long as real estate developers manipulate most of the politicians. Since the U-T can't address that problem, it is left to publications such as the Reader. But you are correct: we should be doing more to suggest solutions rather than outline problems. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Dec. 3, 2007 @ 12:18 p.m.

People can be very loyal and supportive. The newspaper advertising department over and over severed ties to the community by dealing only as a big business. They could not differentiate people who had no intention from paying for their ads, from people who had dealt with them for many years and would continue to deal with them for many years. This is just a start of the deterioration of the client base and frequency of advertising, but equals a noticeable difference money wise - week after week, month after month, year after year. Everyone prepay. How does that help when people who intentionally do not pay bounce checks, use various DBAs, and refuse to pay. You have to appreciate your business clients and treat them with respect. Everyone knows that it takes much time and money to earn a NEW client rather than keep a current client. They don’t understand that the small businesses ARE the backbone of our economy.

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Don Bauder Dec. 3, 2007 @ 4:12 p.m.

Response to post #14: For many decades, the money just rolled in at the U-T. At one time, it was as profitable as Dow Jones (whose profits have also come down). Top management has not had to fight for business -- or for survival. The present situation is one for which the Copley organization is not prepared. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was clear that young people were not reading newspapers. But Copley bought the Illinois and Ohio papers (sold this year) in 1995 and 2000, when the handwriting was already on the wall. There was no effort to diversify, other than through SignonSanDiego and Copley's own internet radio. There have been bad decisions and non-decisions plaguing this company. Mistreatment of customers has been one of them. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Dec. 30, 2007 @ 8:16 p.m.

Don, you were a sourpuss at the paper and it's sad to see how you've deteriorated even more. What in the world made you such a mean-spirited person? The U-T gave you a platform for your voice and lined your pockets for decades (and have your pension checks bounced?). The joke when I was working there was that you predicted the last nine of two recessions.

What will you write about the Reader and its publisher the next time you retire?

In my humble opinion you're a journalistic prostitute.

And please, no need to respond.

Another retired U-T employee

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