Friday, March 30, 2007

Health care in SLO County: Problems abound

Make sure to read your Tribune or this coming weekend. Health beat writer Sarah Arnquist has more in-depth coverage of the ongoing health-care crisis facing us.
In one story, she has found that every psychiatrist in the county has stopped taking Medicare, largely because the federal insurance for seniors does such a poor job of reimbursing doctors. Second, and perhaps to no great surprise to some readers of this blog, Sarah finds how the county's middle-class is steadily losing its ability to have health insurance.
Clearly, health care is one of the biggest issues for us to cover right now, given the problems we face as a community, and the fact our population is getting older. If you have a story idea or tip you want to pass on to Sarah, you can do so by e-mailing her at
I always welcome your comments as well.
_ Tad Weber

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Threat of identity theft makes us change our obits

A sign of the times: One of the popular features in our paper is the daily publication of obituaries on Page B2. But we have had to make a big change in what we publish with respect to one key fact: date of birth of the deceased.
As News Editor Andy Castagnola shared with me yesterday: "You may have noticed how the Obituaries are omitting the deceased's date of birth in favor of just the month and year of birth. It's not a mistake. Sharon, the new obituary clerk, said it's to thwart identity theft."
A sad fact of life in these times.

Good reading: I commend our Ticket entertainment section to your reading today. Reporter Sarah Linn has an interesting cover story on the rise of local bands who come to their music from a Christian perspective. We also profile a Mexican restaurant in Pismo Beach. And, as we do every week, there is lots and lots of other useful information in the guide, from our big weekly calendar of events to film reviews. Justin Hoeger is our Ticket editor, and he can be reached at if you ever want to offer a tip or constructive criticism.

_ Tad Weber

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

UCLA etc: Do we need more sports coverage?

A member of the Nipomo Newcomers Club asked me earlier this week why we don’t offer more coverage of California’s key college teams. My answer: We focus on local sports because that’s our franchise and beyond that, we try to offer a mix of national pro sports and college sports. Balancing everyone’s interests is a tough task. That said, however, I’ve shared his thoughts with our Sports Editor Melissa Giesler, who is reviewing all of our coverage . If you have any thoughts on this, please let me know!
-- Sandy Duerr

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

We'll add readers' stock picks soon!

We’ve received a few requests to restore the daily commodities report to our Business section. As a result, we’re working to add them back – along with regular reports of mortgage rates. We’ll make the changes when we incorporate the 100 stock requests of readers. Stay tuned.
-- Sandy Duerr

Monday, March 26, 2007

One Trib reader says, I want more cycling news!

Dear Tribune,
As a cyclist , the world's largest sport with more cyclists in the United States than soccer, golfer, and tennis players combined, and as a Tribune subscriber, I was so excited to enjoy your coverage of the Tour of California. After the excellent coverage I was equally as excited to see more articles related to the UCI Pro tour as the Tribune seemed very cycling savvy. But my hopes were diminished as some of the largest world events in cycling like the Paris-Nice Milano-Sanremo, and Tirreno-Adriatico passed without a mention, even in the sports briefs section ... It would be great to see at least a mention of a sport that is becoming bigger and bigger in the U.S. (cycling) in the sports page other than those related to dopping ....
_ Nate Erickson

Nate: Thanks for such a thoughtful message and the compliments about our Tour of California coverage. Let me offer a few responses to your broader point about our cycling coverage overall:
We recognize that many people in our county participate in more than the "ball" sports. Cycling, running, swimming, surfing and kayaking are among the outdoor sports locals enjoy. So we do try to include articles on those topics and other outdoor and "extreme" sports to provide readers with more. We probably cover those sports more than most daily papers.
Yet, the majority of our Sports section readers remain die-hard fans of the big three -- football, basketball and baseball. And nary a day goes by, it seems, without some fan of one of those sports calling to complain that we don't do enough on their favored pastime, whether it be in stories, photos or stats.
In short: It is nearly impossible to provide all readers with everything they want. There are so many sports today, and so much of it televised, that the readers always want more than we can accommodate with our limited space.
For cycling, we will continue our July tradition of strong coverage of Tour de France, for obvious reasons. And I will work with our sports editor on wire service coverage of the Giro de Italia and the Vuelta as well, since they represent the other legs of the Grand Tours.
_ Tad Weber

Friday, March 23, 2007

Edwards' commentary: timing was unfortunate

I was asked this morning how we could have published Kathleen Parker’s syndicated column criticizing presidential candidate John Edwards for primping his hair, given news reports that his wife’s cancer has spread and can’t be cured. Parker pegs her comments to a video posted on YouTube and circulating on the Internet, saying that it is disastrous for his political career.
I too thought the column’s timing was unfortunate. We published it today because we typically run Parker’s column on Fridays, and the editorial page editors didn’t know about the latest news of Edwards’ wife Elizabeth. Our editorial pages are laid out a few hours before our news pages.
-- Sandy Duerr

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Don't miss our HOME section tomorrow!

Don’t forget to check out our weekly Home section tomorrow. Our cover story is about Buena Vista Bed & Breakfast in Paso Robles. Patti and Charlie Youngclaus moved from the Central Valley a few years ago and built their dream house in Tuscan style. Three of their bedrooms are reserved for guests. Every week we feature a different home and garden around our county – not only are they interesting features, but they also offer readers tips on how to decorate their own homes and plant their own gardens.
-- Sandy Duerr

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Are we right to make lawman's alleged theft front-page news?

I expect to have some e-mails today from readers angry that we made Chief Deputy David Albrecht's misdemeanor petty theft case our lead story on the front page. The reasoning usually goes like this: "Police put themselves on the line for each of us every day, so The Tribune needs to cut them some slack ... you are sensationalizing a minor crime only because a law officer is involved ... you have a bias against all police and want them to look bad."
I can dismiss the first and last points quickly: We value our police and sheriff's departments and the hard work they do. We have no bias against them.
As to whether it is sensationalizing to make Albrecht's alleged crime front-page news, here is why we think it warranted that treatment:
First, officers take a sworn oath to uphold the laws of the land. Whenever they break a law, that is newsworthy. Second, Albrecht is more than a line officer -- he is one of the top lawmen in the county. So when he allegedly commits a crime, it will be big news.
In the latest twist, his story became even more newsworthy because of information in the Atascadero police report. It showed Albrecht initially denied he had been in the grocery store -- and therefore by extension of the logic, he had not tried to leave the store without paying. According to the report, he later told an Atascadero officer that he had in fact made a mistake. We quoted his attorney making that point as well.
The court system will ultimately render its judgment. We will strive to be as fair, accurate and balanced as we can as we continue our coverage.
Do you have a view about how we played the story today? Let us know.
_ Tad Weber

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

For breaking news, check out

If you aren’t checking for breaking news during the day, I encourage you to do so. Late Sunday night, for example, Assistant City Editor Tony Prado heard on the police scanners that a man was hit by a train in eastern San Luis Obispo. After getting authorities to confirm the incident, Prado immediately posted a news story on our Web site at 10:45 p.m. This morning, we’ve already reported online that Sheriff’s deputies are searching for someone who shot at an occupied home in Nipomo last night and that the city of SLO has hired a new transit manager. In addition, we’ve posted the full incident report from SLO’s police department.
-- Sandy Duerr

Monday, March 19, 2007

New fish study hailed by SLO County fishermen

My wife was startled by that big fish eyeball staring at her from our front page on Sunday, but the photo grabbed her attention to an important story. Our environmental reporter, David Sneed, wrote about new study done by marine biologists, including several at Cal Poly. They compared the populations of rockfish species off our coast now to what they were some 20 years ago. In a bit of surprise, they found that the populations were pretty stable. Commercial fishermen lauded the study as proof that their enterprise is not depleting the fish stocks, as critics have claimed.
Environmental news is one of the most important subjects we cover, and I am thankful we have David on our staff. He brings our readers scoops on key environmental news all the time, whether it is fisheries, Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant or habitat preservation.
_ Tad Weber

Friday, March 16, 2007

Facts about the Iraqi war: We do publish them

One blog reader asked yesterday why we don't publish the facts about the Iraqi war, such as its toll in lives and dollars. Actually, we do. For more than three years we have published daily a war tally, prominently featured inside our A section. It currently appears on our World news page. It includes the total U.S. military deaths and the total number of other coalition deaths, as well as the total number of American soldiers wounded. We also give a range of the Iraqi civilian deaths in the four-year-old war. We took this approach years ago to keep readers abreast daily of this news. It often appears with the latest story on the Iraq war.
-- Sandy Duerr

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Good news on Iraq war

Readers periodically accuse us of not printing any "good" news about the war in Iraq. I don't agree with that assertion -- we have carried wire news stories about advances made in that country, such as the rebuilding of schools and other infrastructure by U.S. forces.

Today we tell of more positive developments related to the war.Our front page has a news summary and chart based on a new report from Iraq. They show that since a new security effort began in Baghdad several weeks ago, the number of sectarian killings has dropped. A story on Page A3 details that further.Next, our front-page centerpiece shows how one Atascadero woman has rallied her fellow employees to adopt a platoon serving in Iraq. Her action was inspired by the death of a U.S. Army sergeant who had roots in San Luis Obispo. When we reported the news of his death several weeks back, she was touched and wanted to do something positive to commemorate his service. We also tell readers how to make donation's to this woman's effort.

To be sure, much of the war news focuses on bombings and other tragic events. But that is not the only information about the war that we print.I welcome your comments.

-Tad Weber

Paso Robles wine industry: Special story this Sunday

Originally posted March 14, 2007

If you are interested in the Paso Robles wine industry, you will want to pick up a copy of Sunday's Tribune. We are taking an in-depth look at the rapid growth of the industry in the Paso region. In just 10 years the Paso area has gone from several dozen wineries to nearly 150. Now some are asking whether that growth is overtaxing the water supply and roads.If you have an opinion on that question, leave a post for others to see. Otherwise, tell us what you think after you read Sunday's story.

_ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 10:54 AM 0 comments Links to this post

What do you think of our weather report?

Originally posted Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Even though we live on the Central Coast where the weather doesn’t have wild swings, I find that people are still fascinated by it. Why is that? It’s especially puzzling to me, since I grew up in Kentucky where the heat and humidity can reach 100 degrees in the summer and single-digits during the winter. Not counting the major thunderstorms and tornadoes.I ask this question now as we re-evaluate our daily weather report. Would you like to see a change? If so, in what way? What additional information would be useful to have?Let me know by commenting here or e-mailing me at
Thanks!-- Sandy Duerr
Posted by Sandy Duerr at 8:59 AM 0 comments Links to this post

In Meth's Grip: Our readers speak out

Originally posted March 12
We are into our second day of our series, "In Meth's Grip," and readers are sharing their thoughts. Here are a few we received this morning:Great articles all, on meth. THIS is good reporting._ Jim Perry, AtascaderoThank God you are getting the message out. I pray that those who haven't used, won't. . . and that those who have will seek help._ A Recovering AddictI've watched this stuff change the personalities of the kids of friends. Its effect is more profound than you can imagine, if you haven't seen it personally. It changes personalities. This stuff is good for mortuaries._ A Trib readerIn case you've not yet read the first two days, you can go to the special section on our home page to catch up. All the stories can be accessed through the link, as well as special features, such as photo slideshows by senior photographer David Middlecamp.Editor Sandy Duerr and I would value more feedback and comments, so reply to this blog or send us an e-mail: or Tad Weber
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Mar 4 - 11 (4)

In Meth's Grip: How it's ruining our lives
Beginning Sunday, we’re launching a four-part series that investigates methamphetamine’s deep impact locally. Three reporters and a photographer spent six months researching and reporting the issue.Their findings are alarming.An epidemic of meth use in San Luis Obispo County is destroying families and costing taxpayers millions of dollars. It attacks across class lines, is powerfully addictive and cheaper than crack cocaine or heroin.For just $70 – enough to buy one-sixteenth of an ounce – a person can get high for up to three days. That’s enough to get some people hooked for life.I encourage you to read this powerful series that clearly describes the extent of the problem and the impact it’s having on our children, our families and our society.As Sheriff Pat Hedges told us, “it not only affects the user, but it affects part of our health system, and it affects our environment, and it affects the innocent people in proximity of those who use this particular drug.’’Don't miss "In Meth's Grip'' -- Sunday through Wednesday in The Tribune.-- Sandy Duerr
Posted by Sandy Duerr at 9:03 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Why The Ten Commandments flyer appeared in The Tribune
Yesterday we received about three dozen calls from readers who objected to a paid advertisement that appeared as a flyer in Tuesday’s Tribune. The flyer in question – a reprint of the Ten Commandments – was paid for by a person who describes himself as “a concerned Christian.” I've enclosed two of the complaints, below, then our response:Q. Apparently some "concerned Christian" out there is too lazy to knock on peoples’ doors and bother them. Instead, they decide to submit a copy of the Ten Commandments in the newspaper! Commandment number 11: Thou shall not include religious rhetoric in my newspaper. If you want to get your word out, do it the old-fashioned way and come to my door. Then I can politely say "no thank you".-- Jon Wells, Paso RoblesQ. This morning I opened the paper to find an insert entitled "The Ten Commandments" "Paid Advertisement by a concerned Christian.” While this is probably legal, it is entirely inappropriate and offensive. I subscribe to The Tribune for local news only. As of today we will cancel and get our information online.-- Ellen BalcombOur policy at The Tribune is to accept advertising so long as it is not libelous and is otherwise accurate and in good taste, according to Publisher Chip Visci.Understandably, The Tribune is a staunch believer in the First Amendment. “We believe its guarantee of free speech means the newspaper necessarily must be a forum for different viewpoints, including viewpoints that compete with each other and viewpoints that might upset some people,” Visci said. “I firmly believe The Tribune has a duty to provide a wide range of commentary, whether in the form of news stories, editorials, letters to the editors, and yes, even as paid advertising.”We hate to lose even a single reader for any reason. But one certainty is that canceling subscriptions reduces the money we have to provide deep, broad coverage of local events and issues. This Sunday, for instance, we are launching “In Meth’s Grip,’’ a four-part series that shows how one drug is ruining lives across SLO County. It’s the result of a six-month investigation by our news staff.-- Sandy Duerr
Posted by Sandy Duerr at 8:38 AM 0 comments Links to this post

Tuesday, March 06, 2007
The Ten Commandments and your paper
Like other readers of today's Tribune, I opened the paper and found a flyer, in a calligraphy script, that contained the Bible's Ten Commandments. At the bottom was a small-print line that said, "Paid Advertisement by a concerned Christian."The ad caused some readers to react. Here are two e-mails I received:"This morning I opened the paper to find an insert entitled "The Ten Commandments" "Paid Advertisement by a concerned Christian". While this is probably legal it is entirely inappropriate and offensive. ..."_ EB"I was displeased to find the ten commandments fall out of my newspaper this morning as an advertisement. I think it is great that your paper has a religion section, but monies to advertize the ten commandments. That is going too far."_ RLReligion and politics always engender strong reactions. We get responses during an election season whenever a particular candidate might put a special ad into the paper. Those opposing the candidate or platform will fire back, upset that the views had been expressed.Mar 3 - 11
What did you think about today's ad? Post a comment to let me and the viewers of the blog know._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 9:47 AM 4 comments Links to this post
Monday, March 05, 2007
Can you add Rex Morgan to Sunday comics?
Tribune subscriber John Hutchison e-mailed this query to me last week:"I enjoy reading your paper daily. One of my most favoret parts is the comics. Rex Morgan is a serial that runs seven days a week. Can you add it to your Sunday Paper? ... Thank you very much for your time."I appreciate your query, Mr. Hutchison. As to adding "Rex Morgan" to the Sunday comics, we do not feel we can do that. Here's why:To most effectively purchase the Sunday comics, newspapers group together and buy them from a publishing house. We do not actually print the Sunday comics here at The Tribune. Because we have about six other partners involved with our Sunday package, we would have to convince the editors at those papers that adding "Rex Morgan" would be worthwhile. And, frankly, we don't think we could do that. "Rex Morgan" is one of the older strips, and we rarely get a call for it. Should we make any comic purchases this year, it will be for newer strips. There are quite a few new options being offered by syndicates, and we believe that is the direction we need to take.If any other readers have comics they like, especially ones you don't find in our paper now, please let me know._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 10:17 AM 1 comments Links to this post
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Feb 25 - Mar 4 (6)

Gotta gripe? Gotta compliment? Bring it on!
I'm the on-call editor this weekend, and when I opened my e-mail I had a posting to read from David Ciaffardini of Oceano. In it he said he's offered some critical comments of The Tribune in recent posts, but wanted to us to know, too, that the paper has strengths that he appreciates, like the design and photography.He also added this:"Particularly impressive to me is the willingness of two top level managers at The Tribune to put forth this blog, foster dialogue, and leave themselves open to fielding harsh criticism under the public spot light. Having to grit your teeth and allow pointed criticism aimed at you to remain on your web site for weeks has been a test of character that you have passed admirably."I appreciate that, David, and hope others will join Executive Editor Sandy Duerr and me in the online discussion of what we do. This blog is meant to be that forum. It is not yet well known because we have not done much to market it. I expect that to change in coming weeks. Keep writing and sharing your views._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 3:57 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Friday, March 02, 2007

SLO crime: Read all about it
This message greeted me today:"Hi and a good morning. I want to thank you and the people who are responsible for getting the log posted on the Internet on a daily basis. While on vacation last week I was able to check the log by going to the Library in Incline Village and retrieve the information I needed. Keep up the good work."_ Frank KassakNice way to start the day. What Mr. Kassak is referring to is our Daily Police Reports-San Luis Obispo feature on With the support of Police Chief Deb Linden, we have arranged for the department's daily log of calls to be directly posted to our Web site. So now residents of SLO can read where officers are being dispatched and for what reason.We are hoping to involve other police departments in the county in a similar way, but we have been stymied up to this point because of technical issues. We are trying to sort those out.In the meantime, SLO residents can keep an eye on crime in their neighborhoods, thanks to the Police Department's daily report on our Web site._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 10:42 AM 1 comments Links to this post
Thursday, March 01, 2007

Searching for the truth in Lucia Mar controversy
We try to avoid what we call "he said, she said" reporting. A story that simply outlines charges made by two quarreling parties rarely enlightens and doesn't always inform.But sometimes we are left with no other alternative. A big local news story this week is a case in point.Rumors began flying last Friday that four South County school principals were being fired or reassigned. Staff Writer AnnMarie Cornejo, who covers the Lucia Mar school district, began making calls, but district officials would not say a thing, citing confidentiality protections in the laws governing personnel decisions. Neither would the principals say a word.But over the weekend the rumor momentum built, with upset parents calling one another and organizing a rally at Tuesday's school board meeting.As soon as we were able to verify with staff (teachers) that the principals had met and discussed the issue with them, we ran a story, which led Tuesday's front page.That night, the turnout was huge at the board meeting, and in the end, the board apologized. It did not make clear what it was apologizing for -- see AnnMarie's story published today. A few of the board members had expressed the desire to make public their closed-door deliberations involving the principals' futures. But the board majority did not want to take that step.Clearly, there is much to this story that has not been put on the record. Rumors can be truthful, or have elements of truth. But if they are not verifiable, they do not meet the test of getting published in our paper. We needed the district superintendent or board member to outline what had happened, or a principal to come forward, or the like. Absent that, we cannot just publish rumors as fact. That is what distinguishes journalism from blogs and other forms of new media._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 9:57 AM 1 comments Links to this post
Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More news -- or less -- on our front page?
On Monday we had a post from Hiker that said this in reference to our new front-page feature, the Two Minute Trib:"I'm trying to understand The Tribune. First you cut the size of the page, then you increase the size of the headlines, and now, you take a quarter of Page One to do what was done in less space before. Is it a deliberate move to reduce the space you devote to news coverage?"Thanks for the query, Hiker. Let me offer this answer:First, in no way are we trying to reduce space for news coverage. Quite the contrary, our intent is to bring more news to the front page in the form of quicker-reading summaries of key stories in the Two-Minute Trib.Let's take today's front page as an example. We have four stories in the main display. But through the use of the Two-Minute Trib, we give story summaries of nine more news items. And if you add in the teasers at the top of the page, which are really strong today, we have another three news items. That makes a total of 16.In the olden days, meaning about 10 years ago, when newspapers just ran stories and few or no summaries or teasers, the mix would have been about five stories and no more.Now Hiker could reply that summaries and teasers are not stories, and that would be correct, but only to a point. The summaries do boil down the main news into a quick read. If you have time for the full story, we have it inside the paper. In today's time-pressed world, editors everywhere are searching for ways to deliver printed news faster to readers. We are trying to recognize the demands on your time.As for headline size, we have not purposely jumped up heads just to fill more space. There has been no change in philosophy on headlines.As for the width of the page, we have reduced it, but we are not unusual in that regard. Newspapers everywhere have done so -- some more radically than us -- because of the high cost of newsprint.I welcome more comments._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 9:36 AM 1 comments Links to this post
Tuesday, February 27, 2007

SLO Goings ... a blog to entertain you
If you enjoy reading blogs, our staff has launched yet another one. Called SLO Goings, it's a place for our features staff (which brings you the daily Central Coast Living section and our weekly Ticket section) to talk about the latest in arts and entertainment news. Already, they’ve offered their opinions on Oscar night and the rising price of local movie tickets, popcorn and soda. But don’t believe me, check in yourself: Better yet, voice your own opinion! Beyond this latest addition to our blog scene, sports writers Brian Milne and Josh Scroggin are weighing in regularly on local prep and college sports. Are there other blogs you'd like to see on our Web site? Let me know!-- Sandy Duerr
Posted by Sandy Duerr at 9:00 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Monday, February 26, 2007

Did we bury the news?
Jim Vint of Nipomo suggested last week that The Tribune should hang its head in shame because, he says, on Feb. 17 we buried “one of the first potential success stories coming out of Iraq in many months on Page A9.’’ That story quoted an Iraq leader calling the new security effort a ‘dazzling success.’While I appreciate his opinion, I respectfully disagree. Putting a news story at the top right-hand corner of an odd-numbered page (the right-hand page) and accompanying it with a color photo is not burying the news. Besides Mr. Vint, we know of at least one other critic who readily found the story.What do you think?-- Sandy Duerr
Posted by Sandy Duerr at 12:20 PM 2 comments Links to this post
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Feb 18-25 (5)

Iraq war vets: Right or wrong?
If you have opinions about the Iraq war, you will want to read the story on our home page at, "Iraq conflict veterans speak at Paso High against the war." Two former military men who served in Iraq visited the high school yesterday to speak against our nation's involvement there. They were invited by a student group, and their local stop is being coordinated by the Paso Robles Democratic Club.We created a link for readers to post their comments, and it is a lively discussion this morning.Among the comments:"I believe we have two weak soldiers! I wouldn't want them by my side in combat!"_ Former Vietnam vet"It is not a pleasant thought albeit a truthful one, sometimes we must walk through war to get to peace ... If you can't support our country keep your mouths shut."_ Rachel TamagniDo you have a view? Please share it!_ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 10:19 AM 3 comments Links to this post
Thursday, February 22, 2007

We heard you: More stocks are in The Tribune!
If you track your investments through The Tribune, you’ve undoubtedly noticed changes in our stocks report. Two months ago, we trimmed daily stock listings to 38 stocks of local interest and launched a new package from the Associated Press that offered financial data, news and analysis. We took this approach because in past surveys many readers told us that they no longer rely on our stocks page; instead they track their personal investments online. As Business Editor Julie Lynem reports, however, many readers still do rely on us to track their own stocks.So on Wednesday we changed course again, restoring daily listings in one consolidated report, up to 500 stocks. We also are offering a quick recap of the stock market, currencies and commodities. Our mutual funds listing on Saturday will not change.By the end of the day Wednesday, we had received e-mails and phone calls from 33 people – all delighted with the new report. “They feel that we listened to their complaints, and they are excited about requesting their favorite stocks. Comments have been very brief, nothing like the long-winded angry responses that we received before,’’ Lynem says.I share this with you now to let you know that our conversations with you are indeed important to us. Our goal is to be your local, useful, relevant information source – both in print and online.-- Sandy Duerr
Posted by Sandy Duerr at 8:41 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Coming Friday: Big local coverage of Tour of California
Get ready for the Tour! Tribune reporters and photographers will be out in force tomorrow, rain or shine, to cover the second annual Tour of California, the major pro cycling race working its way down the coast. I know many of you are bike riders or triathletes, so make sure to see our Friday edition for extensive coverage of the race. We will also have several updates posted on as the racers enter the county north of Cambria and continue to downtown SLO.We have a neat feature in the paper today on the GO page, which is the back of Sports. A dozen locals last week rode the same course that the pros will be taking just to see what it was like. They survived, some 130 miles later, with no crashes and only three flat tires. You can read about it in today's Tribune.As always, let me know what you think about our coverage._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 9:38 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Tuesday, February 20, 2007

2-Minute Tribune: Thumbs up, thumbs down?
If you read The Tribune, you probably noticed the 2-Minute Tribune, which is designed to give you a quick summary of top local features in the paper today – in our Local, Business and Sports sections -- as well as top news around the nation. The 2-Minute Tribune also highlights work that we’ve prepared exclusively for online readers.Does this approach work for you? Would you call it a different name?Tell me what you think!-- Sandy Duerr
Posted by Sandy Duerr at 11:03 AM 1 comments Links to this post
Monday, February 19, 2007

Lindsay Lohoan, downtown shooting, Take 2
Joan O’Keefe reports that she was disappointed with Sunday’s Opinion and Voices page. “It took me less then 45 seconds - a new record - to decide there was nothing newsworthy or informative on either page.” For anyone who missed Sunday’s editorial, we recommended that a cross-section of the business community be included in the planning process before any promises are given to movie production companies to shoot films here. And we urged those involved to let both businesses and residents know what they’re likely to encounter from the production – whether it’s a couple of streets closed or traffic re-routed. We wrote this editorial because some downtown merchants say they lost business when the Lindsay Lohan film was shot on Valentine’s Day last week, and we clearly think that could have been avoided.Anyone else have any thoughts about this?Please let me know!-- Sandy Duerr
Posted by Sandy Duerr at 11:48 AM 0 comments Links to this post
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Feb 11 - 18 (5)

Big Iraq vote in the House today: Is it important?
The House of Representatives is on the cusp this morning of passing the nonbinding resolution on the Iraq war and the troop surge sought by President Bush to carry out his new policies for the war. Since this news will be widely reported once it occurs -- look on for the latest -- we will come back in Saturday's edition with coverage that analyzes the vote and what it means for the president and his policies.We're also going to gather some local reactions. A question we plan to ask is: Was this vote important? If yes, why? So we'd love to get your thoughts, which you can leave here._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 9:49 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Thursday, February 15, 2007

What will Mardi Gras 2007 bring to SLO?
I won't forget the Mardi Gras weekend of 2004. I was the on-call senior editor that weekend, meaning I would help our news team with any major developments that might occur. I had worked a really busy week leading up to that fateful Saturday night, so I went to bed around 10 p.m., hoping for a good sleep. Around 10:30 then-Assistant City Editor Matt Lazier calls me to say trouble was brewing. "Tad, it's going down," he said. " You better come in." Reporter Cynthia Neff was telling him that students were gathering en masse near California and Foothill. Groggily, I dressed and hustled down to The Tribune. Then City Editor Rick Jackoway had just arrived, too, and was helping Matt direct our reporters to hot spots whenever we heard police on the radio scanner call for help. What followed were three hours of constant action, as riots broke out and officers swarmed to control the streets near Cal Poly.Matt became a rewrite editor, taking feeds from the reporters in the field (three other reporters were called in to help Cynthia) and photographers Jayson Mellom and Laura Dickinson captured the chaos in news photos.By 1:30 a.m., we had remade our front page for the Sunday edition three times, updating the story with ever higher arrest totals and more details from the streets. In the end, more than 200 people were arrested and the enforcement cost the city $500,000.The city clamped down hard on subsequent years of Mardi Gras, and things have gotten much quieter. In today's Tribune and on we have a story looking at Mardi Gras 2007, which occurs this weekend. Police Chief Deb Linden is hopeful that it will remain quiet and be free of the rock-and bottle-throwing crowds of three years ago.What are you expecting to happen this year?_ Tad Weber
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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Behind the scenes of Lindsay Lohan's Hollywood film
You’d think a movie production company would like publicity, especially when it has a chance to show the oft-troubled Hollywood star Lindsay Lohan in a good light.But it turns out it’s just like a fair-weather friend.Last December we arranged through Cameo Casting, a local casting company, to have reporter Sona Patel work as an extra on the movie set for the SLO filming of “I Know Who Killed Me.’’ Patel planned to write a first-person account of her experience, and our photographer would be on hand to shoot memories as well.But after our Opinion Page Editor Bill Morem criticized Lohan’s “party girl, self-absorbed behavior’’ for delaying the movie shoot and upsetting local extras’ plans, we were suddenly shut out.Except for one local TV station, the set was declared off-limits to us.Ultimately, of course, we got a story by talking to extras and observing the scene from afar. We also shot a great photo of Lohan arriving on the set, cigarette in hand. And that first-person story? We got that too, thanks to copy editor Chrissy Janocko’s off-duty work as an extra.
Posted by Sandy Duerr at 9:52 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Here's our call on taking photo of Lindsay Lohan (or her double)
It’s rare that a top celebrity appears in our county, so when Lindsay Lohan arrived Monday to begin filming “I Know Who Killed Me” at SLO High School, we were there to capture the scene. Photographer Jayson Mellom caught what appears to be Lohan, surrounded by bodyguards. When we called the publicist for confirmation, however, she denied it (without seeing the photo). So how should we handle this situation ethically? We decided to publish the photo along with a cutline below it, asking: Is this the Hollywood star or a body double? Then we asked online readers to tell us what they think. Would you have made the same decision? Let me know.-- Sandy Duerr
Posted by Tad Weber at 9:45 AM 1 comments Links to this post
Monday, February 12, 2007

More troubles for Atascadero State Hospital
In case you missed Stephen Curran's front-page story in The Tribune Sunday on ASH, you can search for it on our Web site. More psychiatrists are leaving the hospital for higher-paying jobs in the state prison system. Now ASH has a vacancy rate of 80 percent for psychiatrists, which is astounding. Those remaining are left with incredibly difficult jobs trying to manage big caseloads.If you work at ASH and want to share your story with Stephen, you can e-mail him at Or you can simply post a comment here.Stephen will continue to break important stories off the ASH beat in coming weeks, so make sure to read it first in The Tribune and Tad Weber
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Feb 4 - 11 (4)

Anna Nicole Smith and editors
How do you play news of Anna Nicole Smith’s death? That was the question facing editors across the nation Thursday. On the one hand, there is no shortage of serious news to report, such as the war in Iraq. On the other hand, anytime a celebrity dies in mysterious circumstances, it is news, even big news. We chose a middle-ground approach. We had strong local coverage to put on our front-page today, so that got first priority. But we used a photo of Smith in our first teaser spot across the top of the page, and it was unusual for us to do that for a national story – usually we tease to more local news inside the paper. In this case, the Smith teaser directed readers to a story inside that analyzed why she was such a media phenomenon.Let me know your reaction to how we handled Smith’s death._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 9:39 AM 1 comments Links to this post
Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Hey South County: This one is for you
Every Wednesday we give South County residents a special treat: A column just for them. Today our Local section front, and our home page, feature South County Beat, a neat collection of news tidbits gleaned by our South County reporters AnnMarie Cornejo, Larissa Van Beurden-Doust and Nick Wilson.The column today answers the question, Who is that man spelling out the word "Peace" in the sand near Pismo Pier? He is Phil Dawson, a rainbird resident of Pismo who lives the other half of the year in Washington.Dawson calls living in the South County an experience "like heaven." For those who live there, you already know that!Catch the column every week to find out more about your friends and neighbors in the South County. And if you have a tip you'd like to pass on, post it here._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 10:17 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Where is Pet Tales?
Paula O’Farrell wonders what has happened to Pet Tales, a column written by Linda Goldston that we published every Friday in Central Coast Living, our features section. “It was one of my very favorite columns in your newspaper, O’Farrell wrote. “Her heart-warming and often humorous stories of people and their pets was a welcome break from all the bad news that seems to dominate the newspaper.” We too hope she returns soon. Goldston has not written lately because she has been ill.Any other questions about our coverage?Sandy Duerr
Posted by Sandy Duerr at 1:25 PM 1 comments Links to this post
Monday, February 05, 2007

We seek your views -- it's a good thing to do
Late Friday I got a response to my blog from David Ciaffardini. He questioned why I was asking what you thought about how we played the news of a sheriff’s deputy getting caught for allegedly taking groceries out of the Atascadero Albertson’s without paying.Here is a highlight of what David wrote:“With all due respect, I think a newspaper is in trouble when its staff, presumably made up of professional newspaper men and women of some experience in the business, need to ask the readers basic questions about news judgment. I don't want a newspaper where news decisions are based on a poll of people on the street, most of whom have little professional or practical experience or knowledge, let alone a sophisticated understanding of what goes into creating a great newspaper. Leaders at a professional newspaper should lead. They should have knowledge, experience and, perhaps most important, keen instinct about what should go into a newspaper and how to play it. If they have to ask the man or woman on the street about it, maybe they need to get some better leaders in the newsroom.”Well put, David. I agree with your key points, but I do feel there is room to seek reader feedback. Let me explain.Every day, Executive Editor Sandy Duerr and I (combined, we have nearly 60 years of experience in daily newspapers) make countless news decisions with The Tribune’s group of assigning editors (local, features, sports and business). In determining where to play a news story, we ask three basic questions: what is its impact (how many people does it touch?); what is its importance (how significant is the news?); and how dramatic is it? Beyond this, if we know the subject matter itself is of great interest to many of our readers (home prices or the environment, for example), we will play those stories higher. We also make sure that our stories and photographs meet our ethical standards to ensure our coverage is accurate, truthful and fair.That said, however, getting readers feedback on our decisions is useful. Years ago, when Rex Krebs was being tried for the murder of two college students, for example, readers vehemently objected to daily publication of his photo. So we published it only when we deemed necessary, at critical junctures during his trial. In addition, engaging in a dialogue with readers can help us do our jobs better; we have often received story ideas or tips from them in pursuing breaking news coverage.We will continue to ask for your thoughts, opinions and ideas because we believe it is a practice of good journalism._ Tad Weber
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Jan 28 – Feb 4 (5)

Friday, February 02, 2007
Deputy accused of $100 theft: Front page news?
We had a lively discussion in our newsroom the past two days over the story about a chief deputy at the Sheriff’s Department being cited for allegedly walking out of a grocery store in Atascadero with more than $100 worth of groceries he did not pay for. Here is how the debate was framed: On the one hand, it was a story that would likely draw a lot of readers. Anytime a law officer may have done something wrong, it’s of interest to the public. On the other hand, the alleged crime was a misdemeanor (not a felony). The deputy himself called it an embarrassing mistake in our story published today.So, in the final analysis, we decided to play the news on our Local section front, not the front page of the paper.Do you think we made the right call? Let us know._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 10:43 AM 4 comments Links to this post
Thursday, February 01, 2007

Is global warming harming polar bears?
One person wrote today thanking us for Wednesday’s commentary discussion on polar bars that asked whether global warming is driving them to extinction. The pieces were excellent, she raved. “You clearly illustrated that there are two ways to look an issue and despite the fact the writers are polar (couldn't resist saying that) to one another, they demonstrate how issues can be clouded. One is clearly opinion based on partial evidence serving a political punch. The other has academic attribution with scientific studies and statistics that apply. …”Another person called to criticize the pro-con. “Get two sides with people who are credible! It appears you missed that target big time!”We offered both commentaries to shed light on this important issue. While ideally both writers would have supported their conclusions with scientific studies, those weren’t available through our wire service. And we lack the time to put our own staff on this debate because they’re focusing on local issues. Let me know what you think!-- Sandy Duerr
Posted by Tad Weber at 11:06 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Our reporter in Washington, D.C.
One of the big benefits to being part of the McClatchy Co. is its Washington, D.C. bureau. Case in point: Today's story on and on the front page of The Tribune about global warming. We now have a reporter in the Washington office working part-time for us _ David Whitney. We've shared with him how important environmental news is to our residents. As a result, we now get firsthand coverage of events like the opening hearing of the Senate environment committee on the topic of global warming. It helps that it is chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, too. Having David report for us from the nation's capital extends our reach and benefits our readers.While on the issue of global warming, be sure to see our Opinion section today. It offers to opposing views on the issue, framed around how polar bears are struggling to survive. We'd love to know what you think, so reply to this posting or send us a letter to the editor. That's easy to do -- simply e-mail your letter to Keep them to 200 words or less, please!_ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 9:16 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Why won't you run Amy Goodman?
Mark Phillips has written us asking why we don’t publish Amy Goodman in our lineup of syndicated columnists in The Tribune. In case others are wondering about Goodman (or someone else), here’s why:It boils down to a question of how we spend limited resources. We have a lot of competing interests, and we have a sufficient variety of viewpoints without spending more money on non-local columnists. As I’ve noted in the past, we’ll continue to review our lineup of syndicated columnists in the months ahead. But since we just made some changes, we don’t envision making any others right now.-- Sandy Duerr
Posted by Sandy Duerr at 9:02 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Monday, January 29, 2007

Know your local history?
One of the best things a local newspaper can do is connect its readers with area history. Features writer Sarah Linn did that very nicely in Sunday's edition with her story on landmarks that we all encounter every day, and yet may not know much about, such as the Odd Fellows building in the Village of Arroyo Grande. If you have not yet read the story, you can find it on our home page at under Central Coast Living. There is even a slide show of photos to see.I welcome your ideas of other hidden landmarks we should write about. Reply to this blog to let us know, or e-mail Sarah at Tad Weber
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Jan 21 - 28 (5)

Friday, January 26, 2007
Did your plants die in the big freeze?
If you have a yard like mine, chances are you had some, or perhaps many, plants that got burned in the past few weeks with the bone-chilling cold temperatures. So I was delighted to read our useful advice in today's Home supplement. It addresses whether home gardeners should trim out the dead stuff. Here's a tease: The answer might surprise you.Bringing you useful information is what we try to do on a daily basis. Let us know whether you find information regularly in The Tribune or our Web site that helps you with real-world problems. If we are falling short, we'd be really interested to know how so and how we can do better._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 9:33 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Thursday, January 25, 2007

What do we do well and what can we improve?
From time to time we receive praise from readers, which, you might imagine, we are delighted to get!Here are two that arrived this morning:Llyn Hunter from Atascadero wrote to thank us for reporter Stephen Curran’s coverage of the Del Rio road property in Atascadero – and what that might mean for Wal-Mart. “For the most part, the article was non- partial, informative, and a very good piece of journalism. As a citizen of Atascadero I appreciated the concise way it was written.”Another individual left a voice mail, congratulating us on our efforts the past year to include more thought-provoking information in The Tribune. “Now you have enough columnists, world news, business news, where I can spend almost an hour reading your paper’’ every day. “And I really appreciate that. It is changing for the better.”My response to both? Thanks for contacting us. And yes, we will continue to break news and offer valuable perspective on the Del Rio road property in Atascadero, along with other issues. And yes, our intent is to continue giving readers relevant, informative information on both local and key national and world news.Does anyone else want to weigh in? Tell us what we do well, and what we could improve.Thanks, Sandy
Posted by Jeff Ballinger at 12:59 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of the Union
One of the more challenging news events for us to cover each year in the president's State of the Union speech. That's because if you care about it, chances are you watched it live. So simply rehashing what the president said in next morning's paper offers no new insights to readers. To give you deeper background and analysis, we chose to lead our coverage today with a New York Times story that provides what the president said, but puts into context the political realities he must now confront, given that Congress is controlled by the Democrats. We'd value knowing whether you think this story was helpful to you. Participate in this blog to let us know.Also, don't miss the local reactions to the speech that we rounded up. We have our two congressional representatives, as well as several other residents, who answered the question, what one thing should President Bush and Congress accomplish in the coming year. The responses are interesting._ Tad Weber
Posted by Tad Weber at 9:52 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Why pay for a seminar in English when it’s free in Spanish?
We received about three letters Monday from readers wanting to make sure we were correct in noting that a Feb. 10 seminar conducted in Spanish on the life of elephant seals would be free while the same seminar conducted in English would cost participants $5. And if we were correct, they said they found it offensive that they’d have to pay to hear a lecture in their own language.For the record, our reporting was accurate. Reporter Kathe Tanner believes the distinction is to encourage Latinos to attend the event. Note what was said in an e-mail sent her by Chris Cameron, director of Camp Ocean Pines, which is sponsoring the lecture:“The real story is the outreach effort to the Latino community by flying up a leading Mexican researcher from La Paz! Dr. David Aurioles has studied under Dr. Burney Le Boeuf from UC Santa Cruz, and has become an expert in his own right! … The elephant seals were saved from extinction on Guadalupe Island in Mexico. My hope is that we can encourage the Latino audience by presenting the elephant seal story totally in Spanish from a leading Mexican professor!”--Sandra Duerr
Posted by Jeff Ballinger at 10:10 AM 1 comments Links to this post
Monday, January 22, 2007

Is our new stocks page working for you?
Corinne Patrick of Atascadero wrote over the weekend that she’d like us to publish an article daily that summarizes the previous day’s stock market – much like we used to do on our old stocks page in the upper right-hand corner. Our new markets page actually does include yesterday’s Stocks in Review in the same spot on the page. It’s more condensed, however, and highlights six companies that were in the news that day. While I’m on the subject of our stocks page, let me ask everyone a question: Is anyone reading our new Money & Markets page that replaced the old stocks page Tuesday through Friday? Please let me know either way … and tell me what information you like or don’t like.Thanks,Sandy!
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Jan 14 - 21 (5)

Friday, January 19, 2007
Response to caller who said "I hope you sink into the abyss''
It's not unusual to receive a few anonymous calls each week chastizing us for a story or an editorial. Today's was from a gentleman who dislikes the addition of syndicated columnist Cal Thomas on our Opinion Page, saying that he's not informed and it skews our balance of political commentary to the far right. This caller also complained that we've removed syndicated columnist Paul Krugman from our regular weekly lineup. "Keep up the bad work. I hope you sink into an abyss and that your paper goes out of business.''To others who are wondering the same thing (but more politely!) ... we are continuing to publish Paul Krugman weekly -- on our Voices page, which is opposite of the Opinion Page. Krugman's column this week appeared Monday, for example.Thomas has been running regularly on our Voices page for the past six months, as has Leonard Pitts -- and both have received praise from readers. That's partly why we moved both of them to a regular slot on the Opinion Page.Our intent is to regularly feature other columnists on Voices page. But because space on that page fluctuates we are reluctant to commit to a regular schedule.Overall, our balance of political commentary remains the same.
Posted by Sandy Duerr at 9:12 AM 1 comments Links to this post
Thursday, January 18, 2007

Do we have the right mix of sports coverage?
If you like college basketball, make sure to see staff writer Brian Milne’s story today about Derrick Jasper, the Paso Robles High star who is now starting for the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Brian did a great job of catching up with Derrick earlier this week and finding out how he is adjusting his game to the bigger, stronger athletes playing at the highest levels of college basketball.Which brings me to a question: If you love sports, do you like our mix of local, college and pro, or do you want to see more of one category? Finding the right mix is an ongoing challenge for a community paper like ours. Sports fans, we’d love to know what you think.--Tad Weber
Posted by Jeff Ballinger at 9:59 AM 4 comments Links to this post
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Today's paper
My compliments to senior staff writer Bob Cuddy for today’s fine overview of a new plan to bring housing, and much more, to Santa Margarita. You can find the story atop our home page and leading the front page of the print edition. Bob explains what some developers are proposing to construct in Santa Margarita – proposals so big they would dramatically remake the town. Growth and development, as well as the environment, are our top focus for coverage – we call them our master narrative. We base that on consistent feedback we get from readers about what matters most to them. Are there any development issues you think we need to cover better, or are not covering at all? Let us know with your posting.I also want to commend Web producer Jeff Ballinger for this morning’s super updates on about the icy, cold weather. By 9 a.m. Jeff had posted five updates, including the important news that classes are cancelled today for schoolchildren in Atascadero, Creston, Carissa Plains, Santa Margarita and Shandon. Because of the power of the Internet, we are now able to bring you news immediately. So make your home page to keep up with the latest!-- Tad Weber
Posted by Jeff Ballinger at 9:41 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Want a local columnist?
David Ciaffardini wrote to say that the switch in our syndicated lineups doesn’t mean much to him, that he cares far more about local commentary. I’m glad that you raised this point, David. We selected these particular syndicated columnists because many of our readers do want to read them in print. But we recognize the need for more local commentary as well. We are always on the lookout for individuals from our county who have expertise on a specific subject and an ability to write clearly and concisely. And we’re also evaluating the idea of creating a local columnist – or two – on our staff. If anyone has specific topics you’d like such a columnist to tackle, please let us know.--Sandra Duerr
Posted by Jeff Ballinger at 9:01 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Monday, January 15, 2007

Today's paper
I appreciated senior staff writer David Sneed’s global warming story Sunday because it was an excellent example of making a worldwide phenomenon specific to our lives. His reporting was authoritative and his writing was clear. Presentation editor Joe Tarica engaged in alternative storytelling by using iconic photos to illustrate the issues involved in the story, and that made for a quick, newsy read. Nice work all around.Global warming has been on the hottest topics in our letters to the editor in recent months, so we will see what this story brings. Post a comment on that piece here, or any other topic or question you may have.-- Tad Weber
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Jan 7 - 14 (4)

Look for Sunday story on global warming
Did you know that sea levels could be three feet higher later this century? That the snow pack in the Sierra Nevada could shrink by 80 percent – affecting our water supplies and increasing the risk of large wildfires in the state?If not, I encourage you to read David Sneed’s stories this Sunday focusing on the impact of global warming. David has been covering the environment for many years and writes with clarity on this complex issue.Also: As we usher in the new year, we’re planning to change the mix of our editorial page columnists, offering a little less reliance on those from the New York Times. But we’ll retain diverse points of view across the political spectrum.Here’s the new lineup for our Editorial Page: Leonard Pitts, Monday; David Brooks, Tuesday; Cal Thomas, Wednesday; Victor Davis Hanson, Thursday; Ellen Goodman, Friday; Daniel Weintraub, Saturday; and Dan Walters, Sunday.On the facing page, Voices, we’ll be sure to publish regularly commentary from Paul Krugman and Kathleen Parker, as well as other columnists including Nicholas Kristoff, Maureen Dowd and Tom Friedman.Please let us know what you think of these columnists.-- Sandy Duerr
Posted by Jeff Ballinger at 11:13 AM 1 comments Links to this post
Thursday, January 11, 2007

Faster news
We are trying to make it easier for you to read the key news faster in the morning. That is why on today’s front page we used headlines and news summaries to highlight the main aspects of President Bush’s new plan for the war in Iraq. I think it works well for our time-pressed readers – it is quick, direct and on point. Thanks to presentation editor Joe Tarica, news editor Andy Castagnola and designer Rex Chekal for producing it.A recent survey done by Joe of big and small papers across the country showed we are one of just a few trying such approaches to big news. Do you think we are onto something good? Or do you think we should have put a full story onto Page 1 today? Post a comment and let us know!- Tad Weber
Posted by Jeff Ballinger at 10:43 AM 1 comments Links to this post
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What do you think of our coverage?
Good Wednesday, bloggers! Let me add to Sandy’s welcome to our shared editors’ blog. Our hope is that the postings will illuminate you as to our decisions and practices, and that in turn you will provide us with good questions and ideas regarding our coverage.In today’s issue, we were planning to bring you a Local section feature about the upcoming Morro Bay Birdfest event. But the late-breaking fire at the Stenner Glen student complex last night changed all that. We had fine work by reporter AnnMarie Cornejo, senior reporter Cynthia Neff, photographer Laura Dickinson and copy editor Chrissy Janocko to completely re-make our Local section front page after 9 p.m.AnnMarie and Laura had some unexpected opposition in carrying out their jobs when they went to the apartments, as noted by Cynthia:“Students wouldn’t talk and the staffers there were trying to block Laura and AnnMarie from getting close to the scene – but AnnMarie still found a couple of students willing to talk, as well as the property manager. It was nice, quick work.”We also have a scoop today by Larissa Van Beurden-Doust on the Avila bridge project – road work that will affect many of us heading to the beach. (If you have not read that story yet, go to the home page.)Bill Morem’s editorial today followed up a strong Sunday profile by Bob Cuddy on “the queen,” former supervisor Shirley Bianchi. In both pieces, readers got a strong sense of the woman and her impact as an elected official. Both were authoritatively written – Bob’s through the use of multiple sources speaking about her, Bill’s from firsthand knowledge he has of Shirley dating to 1988, when Bill first met her.As a time-pressed reader, I appreciated our storytelling approach in Tuesday’s issue on the governor’s health-care plan. Sarah Arnquist’s highlights of the proposal made for quick reading. This is a form of information that we look to provide our readers on a daily basis.What do you think of our coverage?-- Tad Weber
Posted by Jeff Ballinger at 11:10 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Tuesday, January 09, 2007

First blog from Sandra Duerr
As many of you know, I’ve been writing a weekly Ask the Editor column for the Opinion Page for several years – trying to shed light behind-the-scenes about published stories or our decision-making process. Many of you have told me you find it valuable.Now I’ve asked managing editor Tad Weber to join me in writing a daily blog.Our hope is to answer more of your questions – and share greater insight into our operation.Please feel free to e-mail us questions or comments. We’ll try to answer them all.I want to underscore the importance of hearing from you – via this forum, phone calls or snail mail. We care a great deal about what you think and continue to reshape The Tribune based on what you need as the way you access information changes.All of the improvements we’ve made recently in The Tribune, for example, have been designed to do that. We changed the front page to give you a summary of all the top local news throughout the paper every day. We packaged all state news, as well as nation and world news, on respective pages in the A section. We created a weekly Home section to highlight local homes and gardens and a quarterly section called Haven to offer even more. We break 13 to 15 stories a day on our Web site – to keep you up-to-date with the latest news affecting your county and world.And, in response to your concerns, we do adjust course. In light of complaints about our TV Book changes, for example, over the next two weeks we will better differentiate movies and sports from the other listings in the grids and restore plot summaries in the movie listings for 3* and 4* movies. We’ve also restored our old stocks page format on Saturdays in response to those who wanted it back at least one day a week to track their investments.So, please weigh in. Tell us what you think – and what you want to know! And thanks for reading us.-- Sandy Duerr, executive editor
Posted Tuesday January 9, 2007