June 30, 2002
Missing my old paper

While flipping through the Virtual edition of the local Sunday paper, and noting once again that is is rather meager, I realize that I really miss the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The U-T has some nice features, and the editorial section is one of them. Monday-Friday, the editorial section is three full pages. The Saturday paper has two pages of opinions. The Sunday "Insight" section is eight pages, with a full page interview with a political figure, including luminaries such as Vicente Fox (president of Mexico) or Gray Davis (governor of California; in fact, he had his famous meltdown during a U-T interview).

In addition, the U-T has an eclectic assortment of columnists. The editorial policy of the paper is conservative (of a suburban sort; they support gun control, for example), but the paper's resident daily columnist, James Goldsborough, is a reliable liberal. Joseph Perkins, another of the paper's columnists, is an articulate, ardent conservative. Lionel Van Deerlin (a former congressman from the southern end of the county) adds his partisan snipes several times a week, usually gunning for the Republican majority in the local congressional delegation (he was defeated by a Republican in 1980). The last of the regular columns is from Robert Kuttner, of The American Prospect. The guest columnists are a mix, but tending towards the conservative end, due to San Diego's interests in the military and biotech fields.

The actual news coverage is good, as well. The U-T usually garners awards in regional reporting (they received 16 in the last "Best of the West" awards), and occasionally picks up national awards as well. The paper has a pair of Pulitzers, one for general reporting (1979) and one for editorial writing (1987). The national and international coverage is primarily confined to AP wire reports and those of other news services, but only the largest papers have their own Washington and International bureaus.

The U-T is definitely a second-tier paper—the first tier being the big five—New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, and Wall Street Journal—but it is a very good second tier paper. (Being a first-tier paper does not ensure that it is a good paper, as the Los Angeles Times is a terrible big paper.)

Is your local paper a second tier paper that is especially good or bad? Leave a comment! If someone knows of an notably good paper (with a good online presence), I will add a link to them on the sidebar. I am always looking for a good source of news, and appreciate inputs.

posted on June 30, 2002 10:50 AM


The Daily Oklahoman is a third-tier paper masquerading as a second-tier paper. (Circulation is hovering around 190,000, even lower than it was when it had daily competition back in the Seventies.) The politics of the paper are somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan, as they've always been; since E. K. Gaylord died, the troglodytes on the editorial page (these guys make Scaife look like a Sulzberger) have managed to extend their influence to the rest of the paper as well. (E. K. was as John Birchoid as they come, but he ran the news as it was, not as he wanted it or as he thought it should be.) I've seen too many good conservative papers - The Dallas Morning News, despite its asinine linking policies, is pretty decent - to give the Oklahoman more than a D-plus. Some days they don't even rate that high.

posted by CGHill on June 30, 2002 01:10 PM

I often miss the U-T, as well. It's a great paper, one I found considerable pleasure in reading when I lived there. But you forgot it's primary virtue: Three pages of comics, almost all of them good ones.

The contrast with Louisville's local rag, the Courier-Journal couldn't be starker. Consistently liberal, bias on every page, moronic columnists (the prize for biggest moron isn't even on the eidtotial page, he's on the Sports page) and - worst - only 1 1/2 pages of comics (half of them crap).

posted by The Dodd on June 30, 2002 01:44 PM

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