Death of an ex-U-T journalist
A former Union-Tribune reporter linked to investigative websites funded by the Koch brothers and allied conservative donors has died of unannounced causes in Houston, Texas at the age of 47. During a year in San Diego while the U-T was owned by Republican kingpin Douglas Manchester, Trent Seibert dug into the foibles of ex-GOP Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, Democratic city councilman David Alvarez, and fallen mayor Bob Filner, along with a bevy of other left-leaning targets.
Post-mortem Seibert testimonials here included those of ex-city council aide and lobbyist Diana Puetz, wife of Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer’s ex-chief of staff Stephen Puetz. “He was a great journalist and person,” tweeted Puetz. An equally appreciative Faulconer spokesman Matt Awbrey, wrote, “Take the Hollywood archetype of a hard-charging reporter, bring it to life and give him a wicked sense of humor. That was @trentseibert. His reporting was at the heart of some of the most memorable moments of my career. What a pro. Miss him already.”
Seibert’s arrival in San Diego from Texas Watchdog, a Koch-funded Texas online news operation he had founded in 2008, came in March 2013, on the heels of the November 2012 mayoral victory by Democrat Filner over Manchester’s pick, Republican city councilman Carl DeMaio. The reporter returned to the Lone Star State in February 2014 after a tumultuous year that saw Filner fall in a sexual harassment scandal and Faulconer safely elected mayor over Democratic challengers Alvarez and Fletcher. Manchester sold the paper to Tribune Publishing in early 2015. In January of this year, following a nearly three-year stint with ABC affiliate KTRK in Houston, Seibert left to start Texas Monitor, a Watchdog successor, where he was editor in chief.
Blue money goes red
San Diego Democrats are heading to a deep red state in the South for a bit of post-election recreation. “After our successful 2017 DemCruise to the Mexican Riviera we have decided to take the cruise to the beautiful and enchanting city of New Orleans,” says an online ad for the February 9 through 16 excursion. With stops along the way including “Cozumel, Costa Maya and Banana Coast,” cruisers will get “exclusive DEM Programs and workshops featuring prominent speakers in private settings.” Featured speakers are set to include David Cay Johnston, author of It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America, and pollster Celinda Lake. Another presenter is California Democratic party chair Eric C. Bauman, most noted for the embarrassing reversal of his call for a boycott of In-N-Out Burgers because the fast food chain is a major donor to Republican causes. “I’m sure that you will find the DEM Cruise to be a delightful and relaxing vacation where you will be in good company, meet amazing speakers and enjoy being pampered too,” emailed ex-Democratic party chair Francine Busby.
The newly-reconstituted Los Angeles Times has picked up another veteran of little San Diego sister, the Union-Tribune. Yuri Victor, who was the U-T’s digital content and design manager from July 2010 to September 2011 during the paper’s largely rudderless ownership by Beverly Hills vulture capitalist Tom Gores, is now the senior director for innovation at the Times. “Through a journalist’s lens, lead R & D efforts by identifying emerging technologies with future value for improving our reporting and products,” said an online August 17 solicitation for candidates. “Coach our newsroom to better understand technology to improve the way we work.” In a post-literacy world, the position also will require “deep experience working with all forms of visual journalism,” the advertisement noted. Victor, who comes to the Times from a year-long gig at the New York Times as creative technologist, follows his old U-T boss Kris Viesselman, once the paper’s managing editor and chief creative officer under both Gores and successor owner Doug Manchester. Meanwhile, locals continue to fret over hiring disparities in comparison to the L.A. Times, where billionaire owner Patrick Soon-Shiong has listed 25 job openings, including those for sports, technology, and business coverage and revived bureaus in Beijing, Seoul, Southeast Asia, Western Europe, and Seattle. So far, new editorial openings have not surfaced here.