A big change just happened in San Diego. You might not know it to read the paper, though.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, the region’s largest newspaper, is now officially owned by local hotelier Doug Manchester, a controversial developer who has shaped the city’s downtown waterfront.
When Manchester struck a deal to buy the paper Nov. 17, the newspaper blur the line between independent news gathering and advocacy work.
The paper’s new vice president has said he wants its sports pages to advocate for a new Chargers stadium and call out opponents as obstructionists.
Doctor said how a newspaper reports a change in ownership is the first test for its new owners. He told me:
If Manchester says, ‘Let’s just do the story tomorrow,’ you want an editor who says: ‘We could do it tomorrow, but someone will say something about it. We should do it today.’ It doesn’t bode well — the fact that they can’t even get it together to do the basics to say we bought the paper and be interviewed about it. It’s amazing. That’s just weird. They have a public trust there, whether they realize it or not.
I called Union-Tribune Editor Jeff Light for an explanation. I’ll update this if he responds.
Rob Davis is a senior reporter at voiceofsandiego.org. You can contact him directly at VOSD on Facebook.