Thursday, March 15, 2007

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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