BREAKING: Sources say Tom Blair out at U-T

Tony Manolatos Tony Manolatos 4 Comments

[captionpix imgsrc=”” captiontext=”Tom Blair”]

Tom Blair, a veteran Metro columnist at U-T San Diego, is no longer with the paper, sources said today.

Two people who wish to remain anonymous because the U-T has not announced the move confirmed Blair and the paper parted ways.

They said Blair was asked to scale his column back to a day or two a week from three days. He balked. I’m told this happened late last week. I’m also told Blair and U-T executive editor Jeff Light have started talking again and there is a chance he could return. We’ve asked Light about all of this and will update this post if he responds.

Emails to Blair bounce back. If you click on “News” on the paper’s website you no longer find Blair listed under columnists. His last column was April 22. His second from last column included this zinger:

The critics: City Councilman Carl DeMaio’s labor union stalkers were out again on Tuesday, protesting during the would-be mayor’s annual “Tax Day BBQ” at downtown’s Kansas City Barbecue. Also on the scene: three British Airways pilots who asked the protesters why they oppose DeMaio. “He wants to get rid of government pensions,” said one. “Sounds like a great idea,” a captain shot back. “Maybe then you can fix your damn roads here.”

The U-T has undergone a series of changes under new owner Papa Doug Manchester, who recently announced the organization is close to launching U-T TV.

Blair’s bio says he “grew up in San Diego and is a journalism graduate of San Diego State University, wrote his city columns for the San Diego Union-Tribune for two decades before being named editor of San Diego Magazine. After leaving the magazine, he returned (two years ago) to his U-T city column.”

A 2010 San Diego CityBeat story on Blair’s return to the U-T asked: “Can the three-dot columnist revive the Union-Tribune’s fortunes?”


Comments 4

  1. Tom Blair has always been a class act and one of the few links to the Union-Tribune’s better days. Marketing considerations should take a front seat to budget in this one.

    And, oh…by the way…”Papa Doug”? Really? Why? Because “The Doug” might have sounded too derivative? Why must everyone humor this guy?

  2. Post

    I think it’s goofy that he goes by Papa Doug. Hilarious, really. It says a lot about who he is and how he wants to be seen. He doesn’t get – or care – that it sounds ridiculous. I’m not humoring him. I’m having fun, spreading the absurdity.

  3. Too bad Tom is gone. Always enjoyed his column.

    As for the “Papa” thing, I had heard he was backing away from having people call him that, but then I saw the video of Annie Heilbrunn interviewing him (who is her boss) and she called him “Papa!” It is really weird.

  4. Dammit! I’ve religiously read this rag since 1955 thru all the ups, downs, and sideways turns; followed Tom since he started following the old pro Frank Rhoades. Most pleased when he came back after his stint at SD Mag. I understand the problems w/print journalism, but this truly stings! Get him back! Five days a week would be better. His short features on locals out and about San Diego keep us smiling, entertained, and informed. Important these days when so much of the news is a downer.

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