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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."

Comments
9

Maybe when U-T honcho John Lynch becomes more "aware" of the "collaboration" with ever-hungry CityBeat, he will fire U-T peon Ricky Young who dreamed it up.

Maybe Lynch will just arrange a Papa Doug Manchester buyout of struggling "liberal alt-weekly" CityBeat and put it out of its misery.

Maybe we'll see an exodus of the righteous from CityBeat for this foreshadowing of CB editor David Rolland's sell-out, making formal U-T takeover unnecessary.

Sept. 26, 2012

Monaghan,

CityBeat had a good story, and its partnership with the U-T increased its distribution and influence. Big whoop.

Do you really think CityBeat is going to turn into U-T Lite or become a U-T apologist? I know the folks there and think that's extremely unlikely.

It's a good thing for news organizations with fairly small readerships (Voice of SD, CityBeat) to boost their power by finding alternate ways to get their stories out. VOSD, for example, now offers many of its stories for free to other news outlets.

-Randy

Sept. 26, 2012

I know folks who know folks at CityBeat and I think anything is possible in this dog-eat-dog newspaper climate. People like to eat and pay the rent. Let's just say I doubt you'll ever see Kelly Davis' work going out under the U-T banner.

I also recognize a rationalization when I see one, applicable to both CityBeat and VoiceofSanDiego, about boosting power by finding "alternate ways" to get their stories out, the "multiple platforms" baloney.

By the way, I think it's great you're reading The Reader.

Sept. 26, 2012

You keep sliming the integrity of the local press as a whole. Contrary to your belief, we are not all whores.

I've written a column for the NCT for 14 years. This week's is the last one, as I won't work for Manchester/Lynch. This decision will cost me money. I'm hardly alone on preferring ethical journalism to more dough. Journalists at places like VOSD and CityBeat accept lower salaries (as compared to the U-T or public relations) in order to do work they're passionate about and make a difference.

As for "multiple platforms": you seem to want the local press to be immaculately conceived and funded and then devote itself to your pet causes (smearing the GOP, praising Democrats to high heaven).

Professional journalists need to get paid. That leads to the potential for corruption from publishers, CEOs, advertisers, donors, foundations and so on.

The best thing for the press to do is have multiple sources of income so it can tell any one of them that puts on pressure -- a donor, an advertiser, a foundation -- to go screw itself if necessary. Multiple platforms allow small news organizations to expand their reach AND their funding.

You have complaints but no solutions.

-Randy

Sept. 26, 2012

Monaghan,

As entertaining as your comments are, I feel the need to step in, lest someone take them seriously. I'm not sure how much money you think CityBeat got from the U-T on that story, but I can tell you it wasn't nearly enough for me to sell any of my principles. I would need at least a couple hundred bucks for that! As nice as it is to put a little extra dough toward the paper's bottom line, the point here was to get the story out to more eyeballs, and for CityBeat to get credit for it. The U-T would have followed up with its own story had we not written one for them, and we wouldn't have gotten the web traffic. Let's keep in mind that the important part of this is the story itself: the court spending nearly $1 million on car allowances while drastically reducing public services. The more people who see it, the better the chance the court will get pressured into ending the practice.

Dave Rolland

Sept. 26, 2012

Reader readers, please note that there's a LOT of defensiveness in the comments of Randy Dotinga from VoiceofSanDiego.org and CityBeat editor David Rolland and many false allegations are attributed here to Monaghan's simple observations.

No need to talk of "whores" and selling of principles "for at least a couple hundred bucks." No need for VOSD to "smear the GOP" or praise Democrats "to high heaven." No need to quit your less-than-lucrative jobs either, boyos, or justify your decisions. No need for Rolland to disclose the terms of the deal between the U-T and CityBeat for running his reporter's story.

You are right about one thing: I do have complaints. But solutions? I didn't know they were my job.

Sept. 26, 2012

Just to be clear: I'm a freelance contributor to VOSD.

I don't speak for them, and they don't speak for me. This is best for everybody.

As for solutions: you act like journalism is naturally corrupt unless, perhaps, it's supported by manna from heaven. That's not available at this time. What else do you suggest?

Sept. 26, 2012

Oh yeah, those last bits are Randy Dotinga's simple observations. A smart guy, he is.

Sept. 26, 2012

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