SD Rostra

Fletcher Woos Vet and Big Changes at U-T and Voice

Politics & Media Mashup

My veterinarian asked me yesterday who I like in the mayor’s race. I turned the question around and asked her who she and her husband like.

They are registered Democrats. They’re not extremists but they are among the people who feel disillusioned by President Obama and his moderate positions, compromises and move to the middle.

“Filner can’t excite anyone,” she told me. “He doesn’t have any energy, any new ideas.”

I nodded in agreement and used a similar line yesterday afternoon on the radio with KOGO’s LaDona Harvey.

My vet then said she and her husband like Nathan Fletcher, and I can’t say I was surprised. It made me think yet again that his decision to drop the Republican Party and become independent is paying dividends. He’s tapped into something.

I don’t feel like fending off accusations that I work for Fletcher’s campaign, so I will state again that I have not picked a horse in this race.

By the way, Rostra’s new editorial guidelines make it very clear – if a blogger is working for someone or something he/she is writting about that relationship has to be disclosed in the post.

Speaking of Rostra, we are close to launching our redesigned web site. Jason Farran of JF Web Design is doing the work and we really like what we’ve seen. The new site will include space for advertisers. So if you’re interested in marketing yourself, your campaign, your initiative, your business or your non-profit please email info@sdrostra.com for rates.

Two of the places we like for local political news announced big changes this week.

The Voice of San Diego, which is constantly marketing itself, sent readers a series of emails this week explaining the changes. CEO Scott Lewis wrote about it at Voice, too.

It’s my understanding Voice wants you to become a member and if you do you will receive exclusive content.

The U-T San Diego released a goofy 5-minute video this week announcing some of its plans to break into television. It’s building a studio in the newsroom for U-T TV, a news and talk channel coming to the airwaves soon.

The video lays out some of the plans and introduces Scott, BR and Amber Mesker as morning show hosts. The more I thought about the paper’s promotional piece the better I felt about the videos I help produce for one of my clients.

The U-T’s new owners, Papa Doug Manchester and John Lynch, clearly envision the organization as more of a news service than a newspaper. The non-profit Voice has a similar vision.

“We’re dropping the “.org” from our name and reverting back to Voice of San Diego, just like when we launched in 2005,” Lewis wrote in his post. “This may seem like a subtle move but it symbolizes how much we’ve grown and evolved. We’ve become so much more than a website.”

Not mentioned in any of this is KPBS, which already uses the web, TV and radio to deliver news, and that organization has stepped up its game recently. Last week, it featured a great interview with Filner and this week it hosted the first televised mayoral debate.

So which news organization emerges as a success story? Which one flops? Is there room for all of them to prosper while established TV stations like NBC San Diego move more content to the web?

There are also sources – businesses, non-profits, politicians – for these organizations to contend with. Most no longer rely exclusively on news outlets to reach the masses, and tools like Twitter and Facebook have forever changed the way we share news.

It’s certainly an interesting time. I would like to see all of the news outlets succeed. It’s not just good for the local economy. News is an important part of politics. The more the better. That isn’t likely to happen, however, especially in this economic climate.

My advice to news organizations? Figure out what it is you do well and then go and do it better than anyone else. Focus on that and let the rest go.

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Tony Manolatos is a communications strategist. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedInYou can hear Tony talk politics and media with KOGO’s LaDona Harvey every Friday at 2:35 p.m. on AM 600 and FM 95.7.
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