BREAKING NEWS: SDNN Fires Editor After One Week

by on March 28, 2009 · 9 comments

in Labor, Media, San Diego

Editor Gone Before It Gets Out of Beta

A Rough First Week for SDNN.com

In a press release posted to their website late on Friday afternoon, the fledgling San Diego News Network announced the departure of editor Ron James. Veteran writer Barbara Bry, who, along with husband Neil Senturia are investors in the start-up, was named as interim editor. An national search for permanent replacement is underway, according to the website. The news site launched Monday, March 24th and is still in Beta.

James served as editor for the U-T’s Sign on San Diego website for eight years, parting with the Copley organization last year. A story in the San Diego City Beat credited him with developing the concept of SDNN, saying that he recruited Bry & Senturia after shopping the idea around town. So it would appear that the departure of James was under less than pleasant circumstances.

SDNN also lost veteran political columnist Pat Flannery during their first week. Flannery left, firing a broadside at the newbie site, accusing them of lacking backbone after they refused to challenge a San Diego Police Department decision not to grant police press passes until they’d undergone a six month probationary period.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar doug porter March 28, 2009 at 3:00 pm

a distantly related piece of news…the LA CityBeat, cousin to our San Diego CityBeat is closing down.

you can read about it here: http://laist.com/2009/03/27/la_city_beat_closes_down_shop.php

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avatar Dave Gilbert March 28, 2009 at 5:49 pm

It’s a sign of things to come Doug.

Advertising revenue is down while more & more people get their information from the web.

I know the publisher of our City Beat, and he used to publish another local music paper called SLAMM. It’ll be interesting to see if our CB is next on the chopping block.

I hope not though, some of their writers are top notch!

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avatar Wireless Mike March 29, 2009 at 10:06 pm

After a little research, I found out that all press passes in San Diego are issued by the Chief of Police, William Lansdowne. To get a press pass, a person must prove to the chief’s satisfaction that 1) They belong to a media organization, and 2) They have a need to cross police lines at crime or accident scenes. Press passes are issued at the chief’s discretion.

This means that one man, a non-elected official, has total control over the news media in San Diego. He controls who can be a reporter. He controls what news organizations have access to the news. That explains a lot about the lack of quality and objectivity in San Diego news reporting. It also sounds suspiciously like a violation of Freedom of the Press in the First Amendment.

If SDNN had put a conservative Republican, pro-developer, whitewashed spin on the news, I wonder if they would have been granted press passes?

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avatar mr fresh March 30, 2009 at 7:54 am

SDNN hasn’t existed long enough for us to know whether they are Conservative, Scientologist or just plain mickey mouse. But I’m a little suspicious because they haven’t endorsed either the “build a new airport that nobody wants” or the “convention center expansion that will siphon off enough tax dollars to close a few magnet schools”. These are shiny new toys that all true conservatives adore.

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avatar doug porter March 30, 2009 at 9:09 am

UPDATE:Eric Wolff over at City Beat’s Last Blog on Earth beat us to the punch in breaking this story (I didn’t know about it when I posted on Saturday). One of the comments to his story seems to indicate that SDNN may be pulling the plug. It’s the internet, so I’m taking this with a grain of salt. Just thought you’d like to know…..
http://lastblogonearth.com/2009/03/27/ron-james-out-at-sdnn/#comment-17075

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avatar Frank Gormlie March 30, 2009 at 10:41 am

Ron James is one of the James Gang bros. Pat James printed up our T-shirts for the blog, just to complete the connection.

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avatar Quick Draw Flannery March 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm

SDNN was only officially launched for two days when Pat Flannery wrote his blog on the “police state” in SD. Just sayin’… There is something wack with the press pass being in the hands of the police, but did SDNN really tell the pigs that they would wait six months like good reporters? I doubt it.

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avatar Frank Gormlie March 30, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Kelly Davis, of City Beat, makes some very interesting observations regarding Flannery’s assertions, basically saying there’s no police conspiracy regarding the issuance of press credentials. Go here for the link.

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avatar Frank Gormlie June 1, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Now, just a little over a year later, SDNN has fired everybody. Just when I was hitting the big time, too.

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