Dec. 9 2011 12:00 AM

New owners give turkeys and tidbits on strategy to newspaper employees

u-t

The new owners and management of The San Diego Union-Tribune held an all-staff breakfast this morning outlining the company's new media strategy, including a robust 90-day plan. Employees were also given free Christmas turkeys. 

Mike Hodges, the U-T's new president and COO, told the staff that the newspaper, which was purchased this month by a company owned by developer Doug Manchester and radio executive John Lynch, will move "extremely fast" to re-brand itself. According to a leaked recording of the meeting, within the next 90 days, the U-T will: 

• Unify its online and print brands. Hodges noted that advertisers and readers are receiving mixed messages because the newspaper is markedly different in design than its Signonsandiego.com website. A redesign that unites the company's print, online and mobile products is in the works

• The entire sales staff will receive training in selling digital advertising by mid-January. 

• They will develop a "world-class loyalty program," in which customers who participate in the company's Daily Deals program will receive free subscriptions. 

Hodges also indicated that the paper will provide additional training for current staff and will consider hiring new reporters. There was repeated emphasis on cross-platform integration (print, audio, digital) and 24-hour coverage. 

"What we need to do is create an environment and a space to allow the creativity and the passion that is in all of us to come out, OK?" Hodges said. "Doing that means a culture change, but in a positive way.... We want to create a culture where people come to work here and it feels like they work at Facebook or Google. It's progressive in nature. We want everyone to be fired up to come in here."

During his address, Lynch revealed that the purchase has been in the works for about a year, when Lynch had expressed interest in only purchasing the U-T's Daily Deals program. 

Manchester also reiterated some of the verbiage regarding content that has worried media watchdogs and members of the U-T's newsroom: 

"I feel so strongly that our news organization can be the cheerleader for what is good in our city versus possibly what's negative," Manchester said. "It can support the Chargers [and] the greater business community without sacrificing the environment.... I know the news can't always be positive, but certainly it can be more positive than it has been in past if we can point out what's good and what's right and be the cheerleader for San Diego."

The meeting was held at Union-Tribune offices and reportedly had a killer breakfast buffet.  


Correction: We erroneously initially reported that the event was at the Grand Del Mar. 

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28