It’s official: The U-T is buying the North County Times, meaning there will be only owner of the county’s major daily newspapers and potentially just one major daily newspaper.

Our Rob Davis offers perspective and a rundown on the details of the $12 million purchase: It consolidates publisher Doug Manchester’s power and came at a financial premium (although the price is just a fraction of what it could have been a few years ago). His story also notes what seem to be differing views about a newspaper’s mission from Manchester and the Times’ longtime editor, Kent Davy.

And a trivia question: Did the Times sell for more or less than Manchester’s former oceanfront La Jolla home? Check Davis’ story for the answer.

How are things at the Times? Check out the lead photo on its story: Manchester and CEO John Lynch look chipper. The staffers at the right, not so much.

In the U-T, columnist Logan Jenkins, a longtime veteran of the North County newspaper world, takes a look back at the days when reporters from six — that’s right, six — daily newspapers covered the region in one form or another.

Via Twitter, Times reporter Brandon Lowrey reported out of that staff meeting with the U-T brass, Manchester and Lynch. According to Lynch, who wants to keep the “winners” on the payroll (so long, losers!), Times staffers will begin interviewing for their jobs on Monday.

Manchester told the staff that, as Lowrey put it, he would leave the news department alone. Mostly. Lowrey wrote: “Except he wants us to be ‘positive’ in writing news, and to write nice stories about business owners, Manchester said.”

Our Scott Lewis notes that Manchester is a walking contradiction: He repeatedly declares his interest in positive news. But at the same time, Lewis writes, his paper has created a “vicious” editorial perspective — “it’s true hysteria laced with negativity.”

“He wants to toast people, yes. But you’re not a person if you cross him,” Lewis writes.

(Disclosure: I’m a freelance contributor to the NCT.)

Arts Report: Orchestra’s Labor Relations Out of Tune

Orchestra Nova, a local classical music outfit, has reached an impasse in talks with its musicians. That’s one of the lead stories in this week’s Arts Report, which offers a veritable symphony of links to articles about arts and culture stories.  

They include links to, among other things, stories about a group of young theater artists, a Ramona native’s starring role in a PBS series, a photography contest for lovers of Balboa Park and a Flaming Lips-centric musical.

On TV: The Weekly Facts via VOSD

The Weekly Facts, our new video feature in conjunction with NBC San Diego, examines not-quite-on-target predictions about the airport, public subsidies for NFL teams and the U-T’s bizarre reversal on its much-derided list of the top presidents of all time.

Quick News Hits

• You may not know it, but the money you pay SDG&E for the power bill doesn’t just go to sending power your way. A whopping $3 billion has been set aside from some Southern California ratepayers to take the San Onofre nuclear power plant out of service, and it’ll cost even more to actually do it.

As KPBS reports, there’s talk about changing the way the big pot of money is invested by getting rid of certain restrictions.

• Readers are remembering presidential campaign visits to San Digeo during the home stretch in response to my query. One recalls seeing Michael Dukakis in 1988: “On the way home I got into a fender bender at the 5/805 merge but the other driver and I bonded when we both saw Dukakis yard signs in our back seats that we’d gotten at the rally.”

Mark J. Davis remembers seeing Ronald Reagan campaign in 1984. “I think he came to a parking lot in Mission Valley, but I’m not positive,” Davis writes. “When the inevitable delay came, Wayne Newton kept the crowd at bay. He was incredible! And yes, I’m as shocked to find myself writing that as you are reading it.”

Maybe the “incredible” performance was a presidential phenomenon known as an October surprise.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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