Perils of the Press

San Diego Reader, July 3, 1996
  • San Diego Reader, July 3, 1996

Thirty-Five Years Ago
Being the first on the scene will get a newsman his story, but getting a “scoop” is not without its perils. Last Wednesday, the second F-14 fighter in three days went down at Miramar Naval Air Station, and news teams from San Diego’s three television stations beat everyone to the crash site. In this case, their competition for the best film footage ended with their removal from the site and their confinement for several hours at the Miramar security office.
“CITY LIGHTS: “PERILS OF THE PRESS,” Paul Krueger, July 1, 1976

Thirty Years Ago
In a moment of impishness, my oldest son suggested that I have a white business card printed with just a freeform squiggle of red in the middle — to indicate blood. After I finish my meal, my son suggested, I would place the card under my plate. The waiter or waitress would discover it after I’d left. This was his idea of fun.
“THIS MAKES SEVEN,” Eleanor Widmer, July 2, 1981

Twenty-Five Years Ago
For eight months and nearly 200 games (including preseason), the baseball writers for the major daily newspapers are almost constantly in contact with the 24 members of the Padres.... They stay in the same luxury hotels, eat at the same restaurants, drink in the same bars. Unlike football writers, who have no time before games and as little as half an hour after games to interview players, baseball writers are accorded nearly unlimited access.... “That’s the problem between writers and baseball players,” says San Diego Tribune sports writer Barry Bloom. “Writers become part of the fabric of the team, like part of the family. The players see you as part of the team, but you’re not. And then when you write something bad about players, they feel alienated.”
“FOUL TERRITORY,” Stephen Meyer, July 3, 1986

Twenty Years Ago
“When you’re swimming to the deep end of a pool, there’s that point where you reach the dropoff. The bottom of the pool descends beneath you very suddenly. You’re like an aviator. I think it’s the closest to flying I will ever get.” Photographer Suda House swims an hour a day now.

House’s swimming has always been closely connected with her photographic work. The change she notes in the former is paralleled in the latter.
“TINY BUBBLES,” Mary Lang, July 3, 1991

Fifteen Years Ago
I want a lunch-counter cheeseburger, good meat with fried onions, weighty, cooked flat, solid to the grip, with a dense, unaerated bun, sweet as a kiss and solid as a high school girl’s femur. It should be dripping moist, undoctored by garlic powder, cream, or Worcestershire sauce, and crowned for graduation with a mortarboard of yellow American cheese.
“QUICK TO BUY, EASY TO HOLD, CHEAP AND DELICIOUS,” Alexander Theroux, July 3, 1996

Ten Years Ago
On the morning of June 7, at least 25 police officers, social workers, and prosecutors, accompanied by a horde of television and print reporters, rolled out of a police substation in one of the poorest parts of San Diego. Fanning out across the neighborhoods of Paradise Hills, Grant Hill, City Heights, and elsewhere, the carefully orchestrated raid targeted 20 hapless parents who had failed to show up in court to answer for their children’s truancy. This raid was staged by the office of Casey Gwinn, San Diego’s politically ambitious city attorney, with the cooperation of the San Diego Unified School District. Hours later, six mothers were behind bars at county jail.
“HOOKY RAIDS,” Matt Potter, June 28, 2001

Five Years Ago
San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders solemnly promises that he will run an open government, featuring what he calls “transparent decision-making.” But some of his people apparently haven’t gotten the message.

Sanders press aide Fred Sainz circulated an email to some city staffers, making the mayor’s position clear. “To all copied here,” wrote Sainz, “Do not speak with any reporters from the Reader. Tell them that you do not speak with reporters from the Reader. No additional information or follow up necessary. Thanks.”
CITY LIGHTS: “EARTH TO SANDERS,” Matt Potter, June 29, 2006

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