Trials and Tribunalations
How’d it come to this. The noble San Diego Union Tribune, renowned for generations as being the fairest, straight shooting paper in all the land, on the auction block along with the rest of its Copley siblings? Is this the end of Rico?
Could it be because the UT is the country’s 21st largest metropolitan newspaper but San Diego is the 17th largest metropolitan area? Could it be because circulation has been dropping steadily since Reaganism was a pup? Could it be because, in a county increasingly non-white and non-Republican, the UT’s editorial page (and, indeed, general news and features coverage) seem to be pitched to a San Diego that disappeared 30 years ago? Could it be that, since you know exactly which position the UT editorial page will take on any issue (pro-business, pro-development, pro-Republican, pro-Downtown uber-alles) reading it is usually as surprising as figuring out what the weather will be in June? (As in gloom, which ends up being an unintended pun, now, doesn’t it?)
Okay, whoever wants to pony up the money to buy Copley Press and its Dino-like UT, five little suggestions from the friendly competition:
1. Given that 25% (and probably over 30% by the 2010 census) of San Diegans are Hispanic and another 15% are African American or other non-whites, how about dedicating some news print to this demographic block. How about a Spanish-language edition? How about more outreach and interaction with the African-American and Asian-American media & community groups. Pitching your paper to the aging white population north of I-8 (and, increasingly, north of Miramar road) ain’t going to put hay in front of the horse much longer. (And old Nellie has been looking gaunt for years as it is.)
2. Fire the editorial board. The whole kit and kaboodle. (There’s another pun in there if you dig for it.) The Reagan revolution is over, circa the election of 2008. If the UT wants to stay relevant it has to embrace more of the views held by moderates (and, even, gasp, Democrats, who happen to be in the majority in the city) and quit acting like its still 1969, Nixon is in power and the UT’s in his pocket.
3. The future belongs to the young. How about a truncated UT edition aimed at the areas’ college campuses where future readers will spring from.
4.And, if the UT wants to reach the modern techno-culture, it will need to completely revamp (or start from scratch) with the SignOnSanDiego website. The UT has never put the money or innovative brain power . The UT needs more on-line synergy, more partnerships with other media (local & national TV/Radio) and more creative partnerships with on-line consumer websites. You can’t fight it, it’s a Craig’s List and E-Bay world. So join it.
5. Fire the editorial board. The whole kit and kaboodle. (There’s another pun in there if you dig for it.) The Reagan revolution is over, circa the election of 2008. If the UT wants to stay relevant it has to embrace more of the views held by moderates (and, even, gasp, Democrats, who happen to be in the majority in the city) and quit acting like its still 1969, Nixon is in power and the UT’s in his pocket. (And yes, it’s a repeat but it’s that good an idea….)
Just a few thoughts. But start off with numeros uno y dos. Y cinco.