Why Manchester Bought the Union-Tribune

Why Manchester Bought the Union-Tribune

File Photo by Sam Hodgson

The San Diego Union-Tribune's Mission Valley headquarters.

 

Doug Manchester, the new owner and publisher of The San Diego Union-Tribune, wants his new media outlet to be a booster.

The newspaper’s new CEO, John Lynch, made that clear in an interview with me after Manchester bought the paper Nov. 17. Lynch said he wanted the newspaper’s sports page to advocate for a new Chargers stadium and call out opponents as obstructionists. He’s since revisited those remarks, telling a Union-Tribune reporter that he was “acutely aware” of the importance of an independent newsroom.

Manchester, the downtown hotelier, hasn’t said much publicly. He did this week, though, explaining his motivation for buying the paper in a KUSI interview. In his comments, he made it clear that politics played a role.

“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.”

It’s particularly noteworthy that the only issue he identified by name was the Chargers stadium. Lynch did the same in my interview with him.

A few other takeaways from the KUSI interview:

• Lynch suggested that SignOnSanDiego.com, the newspaper’s website, may change. “There’s no reason why we can’t make SignOnSanDiego — or whatever it becomes — one of the greatest sites in the history of the world,” Lynch said.

• Manchester said the purchase wasn’t about the real estate the Union-Tribune’s headquarters sits on in Mission Valley. “There is valuable real estate. But we certainly didn’t buy it for the real estate by any means,” he said.

• Lynch outlined two roles for the newspaper: Cheerleader and watchdog. “We want to be a real player in this city in terms of being actively supporting what’s good, holding people accountable when you reach the San Diego malaise,” he said.

• Manchester addressed the cosmetic changes to the newspaper’s front page: Its new motto (The World’s Greatest Country & America’s Finest City) and a slightly larger American flag logo. “That obviously was by design,” Manchester said. “Both John and I love this country and love this city. And we want to promote both of them.”

Here’s video of the interview.

Rob Davis is a senior reporter at voiceofsandiego.org. You can contact him directly at rob.davis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0529.

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Rob Davis

Rob Davis

Rob Davis is a former senior reporter for Voice of San Diego. He is currently a freelance writer in San Diego. He can be reached at robdaviswrites@gmail.com or 619.259.0529.

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20 comments
Don Sinclair
Don Sinclair subscriber

Nothing much wrong with his reasons for buying the paper. I suppose people will see what they want to see in Manchester's purchase of the paper based on their political and social biases. Anyhow, at least he is a local business leader that has an interest in the community. I don't agree politically with him but better Manchester than a Sam Zell type.

d sinclair
d sinclair

Nothing much wrong with his reasons for buying the paper. I suppose people will see what they want to see in Manchester's purchase of the paper based on their political and social biases. Anyhow, at least he is a local business leader that has an interest in the community. I don't agree politically with him but better Manchester than a Sam Zell type.

Walter Chambers
Walter Chambers subscribermember

"...a cheerleader for what's right and good ..." Right and good according to Doug Manchester. Yikes!

WaltSDCA
WaltSDCA

"...a cheerleader for what's right and good ..." Right and good according to Doug Manchester. Yikes!

Carol Simpson
Carol Simpson subscribermember

The one bright example that San Diegans can be proud of and model is the biotech industry. And, this came about because of the vision of a truly great San Diegan, Roger Revelle. We need more Roger Revelles in this town.

TycheSD
TycheSD

The one bright example that San Diegans can be proud of and model is the biotech industry. And, this came about because of the vision of a truly great San Diegan, Roger Revelle. We need more Roger Revelles in this town.

Dianne Parham
Dianne Parham subscriber

Balance? Allowing no truth about Spanos is balance? Sorry, that's not a newspaper. That's a greeting card.

dialyn
dialyn

Balance? Allowing no truth about Spanos is balance? Sorry, that's not a newspaper. That's a greeting card.

Jennifer Reiswig
Jennifer Reiswig subscribermember

A newspaper is not supposed to be a platform. It's supposed to be a newspaper.

bmljenny
bmljenny

A newspaper is not supposed to be a platform. It's supposed to be a newspaper.

Jason Riggs
Jason Riggs subscriber

I believe a little balance will provide a clearer path to positive progress for taxpayers and sports fans alike.

sdjase
sdjase

I believe a little balance will provide a clearer path to positive progress for taxpayers and sports fans alike.

Will Dawson
Will Dawson subscriber

Now that the "INSIDERS" [CITY BOOSTERS?"]control the only newspaper in town they have the power to bend and influence any and all decisions regardless of public sentiment. As a long time resident of SD I didn't think that things could get any worse than they are but I was wrong.

Sandawg
Sandawg

Now that the "INSIDERS" [CITY BOOSTERS?"]control the only newspaper in town they have the power to bend and influence any and all decisions regardless of public sentiment. As a long time resident of SD I didn't think that things could get any worse than they are but I was wrong.

susanf
susanf subscribermember

i have a new slogan for Mr. M and his developer friends: "business as usual".

susanf
susanf

i have a new slogan for Mr. M and his developer friends: "business as usual".

Don Wood
Don Wood subscriber

Just watch the papers coverage of development issues, especially Manchesters.

Don Wood
Don Wood

Just watch the papers coverage of development issues, especially Manchesters.