Phone Poll Proves Popular p. 35

By: Editorial Staff THE $78 MILLION expansion of Jack Murphy Stadium is the hottest issue in town and the San Diego Union-Tribune has the telephone calls to prove it.
The paper's phone line to let readers vent their opinions on the controversial project drew a gigantic outpouring, indicating that newspapers, after all, remain a community's principal sounding board.
On the first day of the poll, voice mail on the stadium hot line, which can handle more than 100 calls, filled up by 7:30 a.m.
Calls came in faster than staffers could collect them, the Union-Tribune reported.
A second phone line was set up and that also reached capacity and then some.
People unable to leave messages on voice mail dialed the paper's switchboard, and perhaps hundreds more could not get through at all.
Proponents of the project, which already is under way, warn that failure to expand the stadium could result in the city losing the San Diego Chargers, the Padres and the 1998 Super Bowl scheduled for the site.
An opposition group has filed court papers attempting to stop construction, claiming wrongful procedures in the city's construction contract with the Chargers. The city already has installed a new video board in the stadium and has started a $11.6 million off-site practice facility.
A Union-Tribune story on the phone barrage noted: "No matter what side people came down on, they were royally mad. And no player in the stadium issue emerged unscathed by the fever pitch of emotion in the electronic avalanche."
Union-Tribune editor Karin Winner said the newspaper, in establishing the poll, "provoked debate and sampled opinions, thereby providing readers with a context in which to understand the issue. Newspapers are the only medium that can do this and I believe it is dialogue ? engaging our readers ? that will keep newspapers alive."


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here