Artists unite! You have nothing to lose but the Union-Tribune!

by on November 8, 2010 · 14 comments

in Culture, Economy, Labor, Media, San Diego

union-tribune-front-5-5-091Editor: The following was taken from a comment to an article by Don Bauder of the Reader, written by Katherine Sweetman – formerly of the San Diego Union-Tribune – and reposted here without permission:

My First and Last Article for the Union Tribune

by Katherine Sweetman / It was in the U-T until pulled / Nov. 8, 2010

An Introduction/ Resignation (A Small Gesture)

In an effort to step up the appearance of supporting the visual arts, The Union Tribune has graciously offered a handful of artists, scholars, and arts professionals the opportunity to write for them– requiring only one blog post per week (52 per year). And the pay? Oh… no pay.

Arts are very important to the Union Tribune but… so is money.

I accepted one of these positions. It was exciting. There were no rules, no journalistic constraints, no editors, no… tech support. We knew right away we were special.

We were a small army of of advanced-degree carrying practicing artists, college professors, and arts writers ready to take up the challenge of solving the lack of arts coverage in San Diego and fixing the mess the Union Tribune created when it laid off its only Art Critic, Robert Pincus, last June.

Robert Pincus

Robert Pincus, former art critic for the U-T, canned last June.

We were assured that we were not taking Pincus’ place. He had, in fact, been replaced by James Chute, formerly the Music Critic and Special Sections Editor. Chute had never written anything on art before, but he did have a Music degree so… he was clearly qualified to handle visual arts too. But we decided to help him anyway.

And then it hit us.

We hate the Union Tribune.

We hate the way they abruptly ended the tenure of the most important arts critic in San Diego’s history. We hate James Chute’s pathetic coverage of artists– which just makes us look bad (seriously, read his stuff).

We hate editor Jeff Light and the private equity corporation pulling his strings.

AND we also hate their conservative politics of the Union Tribune (endorsements of John McCain for president 2008, Whitman 2010, Fiorina 2010, etc.)

It seems, to me, visual artists should be boycotting the Union Tribune not writing for them– for free!

When I say “we” in the text above, I may only mean me, but you may want to include yourself in the statement “We hate the Union Tribune” if you value paid and knowledgeable arts writers, like having an arts critic, think the people of San Diego are smart enough to want art criticism, or even if you hate their political values.

Yes, it’s true it’s hard to find a writing gig that pays well. It’s hard to find a writing gig that pays at all. But I personally will be taking my all free writing elsewhere.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar nunya November 8, 2010 at 10:24 pm

roflmao, I love this :)

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avatar Katherine Sweetman November 8, 2010 at 11:10 pm

They left it up for 13 hours.

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avatar Patty Jones November 9, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Welcome Ms. Sweetman! We’d be happy to give you a voice here at the OB Rag!

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avatar dave rice November 10, 2010 at 12:01 am

Ditto Patty – welcome, and we’d love to hear more from you! Heck, around here they even think enough of my drivel to post my infrequent diatribes! Voice of the people…

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avatar ss November 9, 2010 at 2:27 am

I don’t know much about the arts but I do know the UT is trash. Dead fish don’t even like it. A typical right wing fish wrap not far from fox

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avatar annagrace November 9, 2010 at 7:43 am

Sweet, Ms.Sweetman, sweet!

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avatar BillRayDrums November 9, 2010 at 10:05 am

U-T trolling for talent LMAO.
“You’ll get plenty of exposure” REBUTTAL: “People die from exposure.”

If they taught their “interns” how to spell, some of their stories wouldn’t be half bad.

Then again they banned me from their forums for “being real”. They’d rather have people who ship jobs overseas as their “voice”. They couldn’t handle a “court jester” with the balls to call out such people.

Years ago when I listened to Rush Limbaugh because I actually liked what he said…there was an old grizzly guy that called in and was complaining about “people who go into the bathroom and pee in the toilet stalls rather than at the urinal”.

Friends, that is the picture that I see when I browse their forums and some cratchety old codger is complaining. Could our city be represented any more wrong than that? We’re a vibrant place that is just trying to shed an old skin and get with the times.

Funny how a “rag” from 1971 is more relevant than the “official scribe” of a municipality of 3 million+ people. Maybe the U-T is part of what’s wrong with our city.

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avatar BillRayDrums November 9, 2010 at 10:33 am

Meh, maybe I was a little harsh on the ol’ U-T. They are trying to run a show, like the rest of us. Just lern to frakingh spel, ko?

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avatar Frank Gormlie November 9, 2010 at 10:51 am

Pretty freakin funny, dude!!

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avatar Peyton Farquhar November 9, 2010 at 8:57 pm

I wouldn’t line my cat’s litterbox with the UT. Fox News is more informative and factual.

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avatar dave rice November 10, 2010 at 12:03 am

I line mine with my dad’s…stopped paying for the print edition 3-4 years ago.

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avatar IAN November 10, 2010 at 5:40 am

In modern day America, freedom of expression means writing for free.

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avatar BillRayDrums November 10, 2010 at 10:01 am

Wrong, Ian. My freedom of expression (playing drums) carries a price tag. If you settle for free, that’s what you’ll get.

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avatar James December 16, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Story on Katherine Sweetman from the LA TIMES

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