‘San Diego Union-Tribune’ Newsroom Seeks Reinvention

By: E&P Staff

The San Diego Union-Tribune laid off more than 30 staffers on Thursday in what Editor Jeff Light called in an editor’s note an effort to build “a lean, creative, multi-platform team that can lead the industry.”

The layoffs mark the U-T’s seventh round of job cuts since 2006.

Among those who lost their jobs were nationally syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette and veteran reporters Anne Krueger, Jeff Ristine, Leslie Berestein, Michael Burge and John Marelius, according to the Voice of San Diego. Navarrette’s column is distributed by the Washington Post Writers Group.

“We are making changes, beginning today, to build a different kind of newsroom at the Union-Tribune, one that can thrive in an environment of efficiency, fast change and multimedia demand,” Light wrote in his editor’s note, and detailed some of the changes in store for his newsroom and the U-T’s coverage.

The U-T plans to add a seven-person watchdog team, business beats covering the defense industry, commercial real estate, small business and clean technology, and will increase its Chargers and Padres coverage, among other improvements.

Kris Viesselman, who previously served as National Geographic’s director of interactive publishing and digital product development, has been named managing editor and creative director. 

Other newsroom additions: Yuri Victor, former product design and development manager for Gannett Digital, who will serve in that capacity for the U-T; San Diego Magazine editor Tom Blair, who is returning to the newspaper as a columnist after a 15-year hiatus; Larry Nista, who previously served as graphics director at The Washington Post, is the new A-Section and In-Depth editor; and Diana McCabe, who helped launch Entrepreneur magazine’s SecondAct.com, joins the newsroom as business content leader.

At the same time the layoffs are happening, the Union-Tribune is offering entry-level “junior staff writer” reporting jobs in the $35K/year range. Those reporters “will research and write news and straightforward short stories with low level of complexity, analysis and narrative,” according to an ad on journalismjobs.com.


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