What the hell is going on now at the Courier?
And, by the way, this is a media-business post, not a “sports” story.
But there’s just too dang much going on in the Courier-Journal sports department for us to ignore it all.
Multiple sources are telling us Jody Demling is leaving after at least 20 years as a CJ sports writer.
We’re trying to get an interview, but his CJ phone has been shut off.
But it’s the guy the CJ just hired who is the real news (buried neatly here eight sentences in to this post).
In the CJ’s own story announcing his hiring, Sports Editor Creig Ewing quoted new CJ sports columnist Tim Sullivan as saying his exit from the San Diego Union-Tribune was “involuntary.”
Gosh, was that an understatement.
Sullivan was fired at the end of the day on Friday, June 1 (always the sign of strong management skills) after 10 years at the UT.
About 30 seconds later, every sports and journalism blog was weighing in, along with Sullivan’s fans.
Sullivan had dared to take editorial positions running counter to UT CEO John Lynch.
Specifically, (and you’ll love this) Sullivan questioned the wisdom of building a new stadium.
Lynch, on the other hand, had given interviews stating he wanted his newspaper to “support” the professional sports teams in town including the San Diego Chargers.
San Diego sports blogger Ed Sherman reported how Sullivan pushed back on the ethics of a newspaper being nothing but a booster:
I told (editor Jeff Light) then that I was not in a position to quit on principle but that I was worried that Lynch’s interview had inflicted serious damage to the paper’s credibility and that his leadership would result in compromised standards. (It has, and on several fronts.)
Boom, Sullivan gets the boot.
His firing generated dozens of posts on the San Diego Reader website such as this:
As I have said, I believe he got fired because he was not a toady to the big money, jockstrap-worshipping establishment — including the new U-T owner — in San Diego. As long as he had the column, he wrote skeptically about the ballpark and stadium swindles, although he did not oppose them. Then when he wrote a couple of columns suggesting how concussion-related brain injuries could seriously harm football, his time was up, since Manchester/Lynch consider a new football stadium the most important project on the San Diego horizon. Another possible factor: Sullivan was said to have a high salary — rumored to be $140,000. But I don’t think that was it. He was just too independent-minded for the U-T brass, who put a new Chargers stadium ahead of education, infrastructure, maintenance, City financial stability, etc. Best, Don Bauder
Now, here’s why Sullivan’s firing matters.
Copley Press was forced to sell the dying Union-Tribune in 2009 to private equity group. That group in turn sold the newspaper to Doug Manchester, who’s well-known for his conservative views.
Wow, we think we’re going to like this guy Sullivan.