Monday, June 11, 2012

The Day Journalism (in San Diego) Died: Reporter Fired for Writing Critical Stories About Stadium Deal, New Owner Says Newspaper Should Be "Cheerleader"

Former Union Tribune Columnist Tim Sullivan
Last week the blog "Fields of Schemes" reported that San Diego Union Tribune CEO John Lynch had dismissed writer Tim Sullivan.  Sullivan had penned a number of stories about how bad sports stadium deals are for local government and criticized the new stadium planned for San Diego.  Before one story he wrote, Sullivan had contacted me about Indianapolis' sweetheart deals for the Colts and Pacers.

Lynch had been hired by new owner, Doug Manchester.  During an interview with a San Diego radio station, Manchester openly admitted the news should be slanted to favor such projects:
"Local newspapers need to be a cheerleader for what's right and good for the country, such as promoting the new stadium or whatever," Manchester told KUSI anchors. "I felt that there's been a lack of that here in San Diego. And so that's one of the motivations."
In a local alternative newspaper, the Voice of San Diego, Lynch expanded on the new U-T agenda:
New Union Tribune CEO John Lynch
...Lynch said he wants the paper to be pro-business. The sports page to be pro-Chargers stadium. And reporters to become stars.
"It's news information, but it's also show biz," Lynch said. "You get people to tune in and read your site or the paper when there's an 'Oh wow' in the paper."
He wants that sports page to be an advocate for a new football stadium "and call out those who don't as obstructionists." 
"To my way of thinking," Lynch said, "that's a shovel-ready job for thousands."
We'd like to be a cheerleader for all that's good about San Diego," Lynch said. "Our motivation, both of us, was to do something good for San Diego."


Downtown Indy said... if thorough investigative reporting wouldn't be doing something good for the city?

Paul K. Ogden said...

DI, Amen. I was thinking the same thing.

guy77money said...

Tim Sullivan used to write sports for the Cincinnati Enquirer and has been writing sports columns for over 35 years, 25 years for the Enquirer. Talk about the end of good newspaper reporting as we know it. It looks like local news on television may be the last line of defense against bad government. Good luck to do good reporting when your lucky to get a story more then 5 minutes long.

Ellen said...

Sounds like the Indianapolis Star (under Gannett) to me!

Cato said...

This is the current state of the newspaper trade.

The Star has this nitwit sports "reporter" Phil B. who used to run a game-day blog. He deleted any negative comment from the blog and banned any poster critical of the Colts, openly boasting that the Colts were the national face of Indianapolis and that it was the job of the Star to help locals feel good about their city and to create a good national image of Indianapolis.

Newspapers are more advertising circulars and Chamber of Commerce boosterism than they are news.

The other day, I saw a Star box when I needed to set my Coke down on something. I did a double-take when I saw that they want a dollar, $1.00, for a daily copy. I openly laughed.

Unigov said...

Ryerson supports anything that benefits the troika of big business, big labor, and big government.

Light rail
Sports facilities
Parking meter "deal"
Water company "deal"

Ryerson never supported things that could be done quickly and easily:

More buses inside 465
State Police presence in IPS high schools