Does Maas miss good journalism or is ‘Sinko DeMaio’ his real end game?

Tony Manolatos Tony Manolatos 5 Comments


Your weekend news aggregator leads off with the most interesting local stories of the week and includes links to stories about statewide politics, presidential politics and social media.

A DeMaio Documentary might surface if there is any decent dirt to dig up on San Diego mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio, said Republican developer Fred Maas.

The project is in the infant stages and stems from a dearth of investigative journalism, Maas said. He insists this is not about him and Carl. The two have sparred publicly and you’re never going to see a “DeMaio For Mayor” sign in Maas’ yard, which is why some people aren’t buying Maas’ spin.

Not surprisingly, DeMaio sees this as a smear campaign and told the U-T’s Tom Blair he plans to use it to galvanize support.

Maas, who has been involved in presidential politics for years, most recently as a senior advisor on the Rick Perry campaign, said: “When is the last time a reporter has asked Carl a tough question?”

Maas said he wanted to create a news web site to showcase and produce top-shelf investigations from big cities around the country that have seen their local newspaper steadily decline over recent years. Think “Spotlight San Diego” and “Spotlight Seattle” and “Spotlight Dallas.”

“The end game is selling the site to an established media company,” Maas said.

In other local news, CityBeat editor Dave Rolland discussed the recent layoffs at the Voice of San Diego in a thoughtful editorial. Nearly a third of Voice’s editorial staff was let go, including education reporter Emily Alpert, photographer Sam Hodgson and neighborhoods reporter Adrian Florido.

Some people criticized Rolland’s piece as too harsh and others said it was too soft, he said. I think he struck just the right balance.

In it, CityBeat writer Dave Maass said the online news site “essentially cut its heart out. Adrian, Emily and Sam were Voice’s strongest journalists in terms of compassion, understanding and character.” What remains, Maass remarked, is “double-barrel reporting,” “cold data work” and “wry wonkage.”

Local political consultant Tom Shepard shared the editorial on his Facebook page and also quoted from it: “One of the reporters laid off was Emily Alpert, who’s easily the best education reporter in San Diego, if not beyond.”

Voice routinely markets its work and its staff. That generally works in Voice’s favor, but it backfired in this case. A lot of insiders were stunned and quick to pass judgment because the people who were let go were not faceless individuals.

Other factors driving the fallout: These were the first noteworthy cuts Voice has had to make, the layoffs represented 30 percent of Voice’s editorial staff and a handful of media experts and others have held up the organization as the non-profit model, the future of journalism.

Moving on…Two interesting stories about the upcoming San Diego City Council election have people talking. The first, in Voice, takes a look at why labor has not endorsed incumbent Sherri Lightner, who is being challenged by Ray Ellis.

The story led to a flurry of tweets between labor leaders, GOP Chair Tony Krvaric and the reporter. Click here for an abbreviated recap.

A story in CityBeat focused on the race to replace to Marti Emerald, who is running in a new district, and did a nice job of introducing the candidates.

Also, San Diego Magazine released its annual 50 People to Watch list. Lucas O’Connor, at Two Cathedrals, tweeted the list is heavy on entertainment and light on community activism.

Here are the week’s other top local stories:

State Stories

Here are some of the top stories from around the state:

Other Stories

Here are some of the most interesting stories about national politics and social media:


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Tony Manolatos is a communications strategist. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn Click here to view his business profile.

Comments 5

  1. It seems everybody wants to be a “communications strategist” like you, Tony. Maas has a big enough ego to fancy that he can be a big “communications” tycoon. So do they all: Sanders, Lynch, Pappa Doug, they are all planning their next empire. Sanders will probably be Lynch’s DJ for the Mighty 1090. Ah for the days of free conflict of interest at City Hall and law enforecement of the rich, by the rich, for the rich.

    But the world has had a revolution since the days of Jim and Helen Copley. Buying the UT was like buying Napoleonic shares after the Battle of Waterloo.

    The person of the year was The Protester not Rupert Murdock. Rupie can now retire to his sheep farm in the Aussie outback and drink Fosters with Crocodile Dundee and his dusty mates like “Donk”. The reading-public sheep-farm he ran for decades would drown him in a tank of his own sheep dip journalism if they got their hands on him. But he’s not worth good dip water.

    Now Maas wants to be John the Baptist of “communications”! Well, look what happened to The Baptist. He got his head handed to him.

    Maas’s dripping disdain for the rest of us mere mortals will make him wish he had caught the rocket ship to Hale Bopp with DeMaio. Oh wait a minute, who said DeMaio went to Hale Bopp? Oh yes, it was Maas. Getting a little delusional there Fred? A secret wish?

    Maybe Maas can start his documentary with: “coming to you live from Hale Bopp where my Fred Flintstone camera crew and I are hot on the trail of Carl DeMaio”. Good luck with your daffy doco Fred.

  2. Why don’t reporters ask DeMaio tough questions?
    Because if if he thinks they might, DeMaio cuts them off. I mean really cuts them off–unfriends them on Facebook and blocks them from seeing his pages, refuses to comment on anything–directly or through spokespeople, etc,etc,etc.
    DeMaio also refuses to appear in any venues where his critics might also be. That’s why he refused IMHO all the debates earlier this fall.
    DeMaio’s notoriety for cutting people off is so well known that I got over a dozen responses when I jokingly suggested on Twitter that we should have a party for everybody on Carl’s “List”.

  3. Post

    Not a big fan of Fred’s plans, Pat? 😉 Thanks for writing.

    Thank you too, Doug.

    Cutting off reporters is obviously one way to send a message, but it’s usually done as a last resort and not as a knee-jerk reaction.

    Reporters need access and information to do their jobs. Most of them need politicians as much as politicians need them.

    At least a couple local reporters, Dave Maass and Kelly Davis at CityBeat, weren’t pleased to hear Fred question their courage. Those two are not afraid to ask Carl tough questions.

  4. (M)ass thinks donors won’t be disclosed for his little project?

    What he doesn’t get is all it takes is one person… say a person we all know who works for a major corp. I think we’d all recognize, to blather on at an xmas party. Just one, Fred.

  5. IF I was smart, I wouldn’t even post anything, but my ego won’t let me. As a Carl supporter, I have to dare FMaas to run with such an effort. Make it as professional as your money bags will afford you and pay to have it on tv shows and promote it on every blog you can.

    At best, it will get circulated among anti-DeMaio folk who are already committed to being against him. But for every independent voter who hasn’t made their mind up, they’ll see right through your effort and recognize that Carl is disliked by all the right special interests. “Not personal? Not protecting special interests?” LOL! How dumb does he think people are?

    Make the video!

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