One thing that I’ve always spent way too much time thinking about is the house editorial custom at major newspapers.
Virtually every paper does it. They’re the editorials without bylines in the opinion section. Because they have no bylines, they’re meant to communicate that they’re the view of the newspaper as a whole.
But they’re not. The most important part of any newspaper – the news team – actively and regularly distances itself from its opinion and editorial teams. Over the years, U-T San Diego has vacillated between referring to its opinions on these pages as something the editorial board believes, something the paper’s owners believe or even something the newspaper itself wants.
This week, U-T San Diego Editor Jeff Light agreed to come on the podcast, and I pressed him to help me understand this relationship.
No, he said, the editorials do not speak for the paper. Yes, he said, they should probably clarify better on the page who they do speak for.
I asked Light who his boss is. (Hint: You’ve probably never heard of him.) I asked how often he talks to Doug Manchester, the publisher. And I asked if he thought the paper was still covering North County as well as it once did. (Hint: No.)
Give it a listen. His take will help you understand the paper’s inner workings.
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