Mike Madriaga 11:30 a.m., Aug. 19
Across the great divide: Conservative U-T San Diego partners with San Diego CityBeat
In today's paper, the U-T San Diego reported on the controversial decision by San Diego Superior Court to continue awarding monthly car allowances to Superior Court judges. The monthly stipends will cost the court nearly $1 million this year; quite the expense considering that the court is $33 million shy of a balanced budget.
The story was written by San Diego CityBeat staff writer, Dave Maass and is a condensed version of an article in this week's edition of CityBeat.
It's the collaboration between the two publications that is a story on its own. The partnership may be a sign of a new spirit of bipartisanship, a liberal alt-weekly working with a conservative daily. Or, the U-T might be looking to fill the void left after several journalists departed for new reporting gigs.
Regardless of the reason, CityBeat editor Dave Rolland says it came down to a clear choice.
"Our extreme distaste for the U-T's ownership had to take a back seat to our desire to get a great story out to a wider audience and increase traffic to our site," writes Rolland in a September 26 email. "It was a judgment call, and I did what I thought was best for CityBeat and good journalism."
Rolland says U-T Watchdog editor Ricky Young approached him with the idea after a discussion with Maass.
"Dave Maass and Ricky Young were talking and [Maass] mentioned the car-allowance story. [Young] proposed an arrangement whereby [Maass] would write a condensed version that would credit us for the scoop and link to our website for the longer version. CityBeat would also be paid."
And this may not be the last time you see a CityBeat writer's name in the U-T.
"If the U-T makes similar proposals in the future, we'll consider them on a case-by-case basis.
In an email, John Lynch, the paper's CEO, says that there is "no partnership" between the U-T San Diego and CityBeat. Maass' article was "just a good item they have coming out that we wanted to share in."