Ever struggle with your voice?
It’s not self-confidence. My skin is thick from decades in journalism. If I state the facts wrong in a story that’s bad, but if you simply don’t agree with what’s been written that’s just the way it is.
Que será, será (whatever will be, will be).
That Doris Day song pre-dates me, but I’m still an old-school journalist.
My media training involved getting both sides of a story and, most importantly, not being the story.
How both times and expectations have changed.
By grappling here in print with the “voice” of my stories on the San Diego Sun, and on SpeakEasy, I am the story.
Look, there are two self-referential words in just that previous sentence. My late journalism professors are rolling over in their graves on their style guides.
Bear with me, premium subscription subscribers.
Outside the pay firewall and within the free offerings of The Sun, I’m putting out roughly two “news features” per week. Everything focuses on downtown San Diego. Sometimes the story is homelessness. Other times, it’s ArtWalk. Or, the Padres home opener.
I’m not striving to give my opinion on the Padres home opener in that stories. Whether it’s a social-issue-related or lifestyle-event-driven story, The Sun stories are “news-forward.”
That may not be state-of-the-art industry jargon. However, somebody recently described my work as news-forward, and I liked that.
I’m defining the term as: “adhering to traditional news reporting practice while also recognizing the field is amassed with competition for reader attention by inward-gazing thought leaders and influencers.”
A story written by a thought leader with a genuine expertise has some merit. You can learn something. For the most part, though, a thought leader’s goal is to market a particular idea.
I don’t consider myself a thought leader, though I do have an expertise in downtown San Diego living.
Is that enough?
Those posts out there by selfie-snapping airheads–who have great hair and are paid to prominently displaying the latest flavored seltzer–are choking the air out of the online news biosphere.
That supermodel who fish-lips her mouth, promotes a clothing brand and accompanies her thirst-trap photo with a quote by Maya Angelou is not a thought leader or news-forward.
Hey now, but who gets the most clicks? Fish Lips.
Here in SpeakEasy, I’m dabbling in self-reference and news opinion. You’re reading some of it right now. There’s another variation of it in this newsletter’s next section, “In Other Attributed News…” (see below).
SpeakEasy subscribers: What do you think of this? I’d genuinely like to get your feedback. You can reply directly by email to this newsletter.
Fear not, I’ll never go Influencer. And believe it or not, writing a news-forward story sans opinion is not a struggle for me. Muscle memory kicks in when I start typing up the research I do for stories. Attributing quotes is reflexive.
I’d be a fool, though, to ignore the state of the industry. For some reason, large demographics of readers are drawn to opinionated news. And we’re not just talking about the folks at the opposite ends of the political echo chamber.
What’s an old newshound to do?
Seriously, write and tell me your opinion.
Everybody’s doing that these days.
* * *
In Other Attributed News…
The Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina was wrapped with a “Peacemaker” promotional ad during the 2021 Comic-Con Special Edition.
The Rap on Wraps. You know Comic-Con is nigh whenever downtown hotels like the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina suddenly have huge advertising signs “wrapped” on exterior walls. Didja know they’re illegal? However, the city’s fine for putting up the colorful promos is paltry compared to the revenue it brings in. Of course, let’s never allow this over-the-top advertising to run year-round. The wraps add to Comic-Con excitement, though, and the city should grant an exemption so that superhero’s faces can continue to enhance the mid-July vibe of this annual event. (Union-Tribune)
* * *
Give Brookfield the Boot. For Reals. The city recently recommended Brookfield Properties be dropped from consideration as a developer of of the Midway redevelopment project. Why the thumbs down? Lack of affordable housing in its plan. What happened last week? Brookfield did not get dropped. Bad move. Brookfield’s East Village apartment property Vantage Pointe is currently charging 21% rent increases (read that story here). Listen to the words of Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” The city needs to stick to its guns and drop Brookfield. (Union-Tribune)
* * *
Tale as Old as Time. A new plan–ta-da!–calls for augmenting trolley service that connects to the San Diego International Airport. Price tag: $4 billion. Improving the downtown airport is one of San Diego’s longest-skipping broken record. Save the $4 billion. We’ll be doing Star Trek teleporting before local pols agree on a way to reimaging the airport. (Union-Tribune)
* * *
Chicano Park in Barrio Logan.
Feliz Aniversario. Barrio Logan’s Chicano Park turned 52 on April 22. Featuring renderings of Latino leaders (like Cesar Chavez) painted on columns below a freeway overpass, it’s one of the largest collections of of outdoor murals in the United States. Chicano Park is a National Historic Landmark. Next up: The National Park Service needs to step up and add it to its list. (The New York Times)
* * *
Know Parking. San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria may have a point about eliminating parking minimums for housing projects near transit priority areas. But it’s a slippery slope. Many downtown San Diego apartments have stopped including adequate parking in rental contracts. These days, parking spots (in the building!) are sold as extras–and at hidden prices that can cost hundreds of dollars. (Times of San Diego)
* * *
It’s not a Monopoly House. Developer Jonathan Segal is proposing a historic house in Little Italy be up and moved to Logan Heights. The move would make way for his latest plan, a 24-story apartment building at 1620 Union Street. If you want to voice your opinion, the city’s planning commission will hold a public hearing on May 19. (CBS8)
* * *
Three Voices on Homelessness:
- Getting Intense in Tents. Homelessness advocate Michael McConnell. is out on the streets taking video of city workers throwing away tents and belongings owned by people experiencing homelessness. (CBS8)
- Urban Camping Changed Everything. Unsheltered people living in tents create a sense of communal safety, but also provide cover for crime and violence. (Voice of San Diego)
- Somebody’s Son. A Long Beach mother describes what no parent should have to experience–her son’s inexplicable spiral into homelessness. How it could happen to anybody. (Washington Post)
* * *
Same Patrick’s, new ownership.
Safe for Diving. San Diego-based hospitality group Good Time Design has reopened scruffy-but-lovable dive Patrick’s Gaslamp Pub. Since it opened in 1933, Patrick’s has been a mainstay for live music, often offering up jazz, blues and rock acts seven nights a week. Regulars shouldn’t expect much to change–though a bathroom upgrade would be, um, a relief.
* * *
Fore a Good Time. A little birdie says Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina has opened the city’s first Topgolf Swing Suite in its Bayside Lounge. It opened April 27. Guests can try out a variety of interactive applications from classic golf games to Zombie dodgeball, while preview the 19th Hole food and beverage menu.
* * *
Afternoon Delight, Bridgerton Style. Yes, of course The Westgate Hotel is offering a Bridgerton package. Named after the sexy, sensual and posh period piece currently airing on Netflix, the package includes Afternoon Tea for two. Expect macaroons and Chadon in the mix. What happens in your premier room will be left to titillating gossip.
Deals & Contests
An Out of the Ordinary Group Adventures “Get Fit Walk.”
- Walk This Way. Out of the Ordinary Group Adventures has a Get Fit Walking program that’s both fun and a physical fitness boon. (Check out the story about the company’s downtown San Diego scavenger hunts.) Groups that want to participate in Out of the Ordinary’s “Hidden Gems” or “Secret Beaches” walks can go HERE for details. Use the promo code: SDSun11 and get an 11-percent discount on tickets.
- Contests Under Construction. Coming soon, we’ll be raffling off gift cards to downtown establishments for folks who subscribe to The San Diego Sun and SpeakEasy. Keep an eye open.
- Oh Say, Can You See? Have trouble seeing the online print when reading insightful, hyperlocal newsletters? Check out Readers.com for its vast and affordable supply of reading glasses. Use the Code: FRESH40 and get 40 percent off your order. (Expires May 31, 2022.) SDSun