The Slimmest San Diego Union-Tribune Ever Seen

by on November 13, 2023 · 3 comments

in Media, San Diego

I could be imaging things, but today’s — Monday, Nov. 13 — San Diego Union-Tribune was the slimmest I have ever seen it. (Actually, I view the U-T online, so it was “short”.) 32 pages online.

Now, it’s true that the Monday edition is slimmer than most days as it follows the blockbuster Sunday edition. But still … it’s a sign that it’s getting bad.

Other San Diego media outlets have raised recent concerns about the future and direction of the U-T after its purchase last July by the New York-based hedge fund Alden Global Capital from biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong.

KPBS did a 2-part series this month and raised the questions “How the Union-Tribune’s new owners could impact democracy in San Diego County,” and “How the Union-Tribune’s new owner downsizes its businesses.”

Voice of San Diego also did an extensive piece at the end of October declaring, “This Is the Beginning of the End for the Union-Tribune” with the subhead “Under Alden, there’s no plan for the future. There’s just revenue extraction for as long as a generation of older newspaper subscribers live to keep paying their bills.”

So, I did a quick and informal page count of today’s (online) Union-Tribune and here is what I found (of course these are all approximate):

The A section (not counting large ads)

  • 2 and 1/3 pages international news
  • 2 and 1/4 pages national news
  • 1 page of county and state news
  • 2/3 page of prominent local news

Then the A section was taken over by the “Business” Section; this has been occurring of late in the U-T.

  • 2 pages business section
  • 1 page weather

The B Section

  • less than 1 and 1/2 pages of real local news; the rest was fluff
  • 1 page editorial
  • still no in-house editorial cartoonist
  • no letters to the editor (this is one of my favorite sections of the paper)
  • 2 pages of comics
  • 1 page of TV shows
  • 1 page of legal notices
  • 1 page of puzzles and advice

Sports Section C

  • 6 pages & 1 special page

Full Page Ads (I lost track)

  • 6-9 pages

Well, there you have it. Concerns about this big city’s daily are valid. More to come but think about how the lack of mainstream media affects what’s left of our democracy.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Krueger November 13, 2023 at 2:37 pm

Thanks very much, Frank, for quantifying the lack of coverage in our “slimmed” down Union-Tribune. The “slimming down” of editorial staff, and the lack of coverage of decisions made by our elected an appointed city officials is a shame. Hopefully, we’ll see the emergence of a forceful nonpartisan, non-profit, on-line news outlet of “general circulation” — “inewsource” is my model — that can generate important daily content and amplify the excellent reporting done by the O.B. Rag, La Prensa, Times of San Diego, Voice of San Diego and of local network affiliates.


Frank Gormlie November 14, 2023 at 9:30 am

You’re definitely an idealist, Paul, but your idea of a “non-partisan, non-profit” news outlet of general circulation is a great one. I’m not convinced, ironically, that the online-only model is the best one. But the online version has reportedly succeeded in other major cities and is a model for ol’poor San Diego.


Chris November 13, 2023 at 3:19 pm

I think it’s fair to say, the traditional city newspaper is dead and buried and in reality has been for awhile now. This is the final nail in the coffin. At this point it’s simply a non starter regardless of the negative impact it will have on our communities. This is nothing unique to San Diego.


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