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Inland Empire’s Newspaper War Over, and Riverside Won

May 19th, 2008 · 16 Comments · LANG, Sports Journalism, The Sun

This was the Russo-Japanese War of newspaper collisions. Little-noted beyond the immediate participants, but messy and decisive, all the same, concluding with one side crippled and the other enormously stronger and recognized as a major regional player for the first time.

The Russo-Japanese War began in 1904 and ended with Russia humiliated and on its way to collapse, and with Japan newly confident and on a path to world-power status.

The San Bernardino Sun-Riverside Press Enterprise war began in, let’s say, 1997, and ended a decade later with The Sun a wrecked newspaper clinging to existence, economically shattered, with a fraction of the penetration it enjoyed when hostilities began … and with the Press Enterprise the clear victor — a victor that now stands as the journalism colossus of the fast-growing Inland Empire.

I was witness to most of this newspaper war and, eventually, a casualty of it in what could be construed as its final skirmish. I was a manager and columnist at The Sun for the duration of the struggle, which (it turns out) was like being in St. Petersburg in 1904-05 with the Czar and his ministers, trying to figure out how we could have been so easily destroyed inside our own borders.

The Sun-PE War didn’t have the cachet of other classic newspaper wars, such as the L.A. Times vs. the Herald-Examiner or the Dallas Morning News vs. the Dallas Times-Herald. The journalistic entities were smaller, and their “backwater” Inland Empire location practically guaranteed no one important would notice.

But at the end, the dominant newspaper of one enormous California county had invaded the dominant newspaper of the adjoining enormous county. And defeated it. Taken away its readers. The Daniel Day-Lewis line from “There Will Be Blood” comes to mind. The one about “I drink your milk shake!” That is what the PE did to The Sun. It drank its milk shake.

First, some background. A look back at the long antebellum period.

The Sun and Press Enterprise, or at least the publishing enterprises attached to various mastheads of their lineal forebears, had been the dominant media in the Inland Empire for more than a century.

San Bernardino was the seat of a county of the same name. Riverside, same deal.

Each city’s hometown newspaper had little or no competition. If/when the Los Angeles Times took notice of a pair of cities some 60 and 50 miles from downtown L.A., it succeeded only in becoming the distant Second Buy in each area. The Sun and Press Enterprise were kings inside their own castles.

The regions had much in common, originally (Riverside County was, in fact, part of San Bernardino County from 1853-93), but their paths soon diverged.

San Bernardino became the blue-collar bastion, its politics strongly oriented toward the Democratic party and its economy based on communications (the Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroads), gas stations, dive bars, cheap motels and vice.

Riverside was the city with pretensions (and Republican politics), founded and shaped by gentlemen citrus growers (the navel orange was created there) with lofty visions of the future and antipathy toward a red-light district within walking distance of city hall.

San Bernardino was the gin-soaked dive where platinum-blonde actress Jean Harlow spent a Lost Weekend in the 1930s with a businessman in a seedy hotel. Riverside was where they built the ornate Mission Inn and had President Taft stay as a guest and hosted Richard Nixon’s wedding.

Riverside got a UC campus in 1959. San Bernardino got a Cal State campus, in 1965.

But those innate cultural chasms didn’t impact the newspapers much for a very long time. There was, in fact, a gentleman’s agreement, perhaps never even verbalized, that The Sun would peddle its product only on its (northern) side of the long county line, and the Press Enterprise would stay on its side.

It led to some odd circulation patterns that anti-trust lawyers might have found interesting, had they bothered to look. The Sun could sell 2,000 papers a day in Barstow, 70 miles away, but not 200 papers in Riverside, 10 miles away. The PE sold thousands of papers in Palm Springs, 60 miles distant, but it didn’t offer home delivery in San Bernardino, minutes away by car.

Both newspapers viewed the world through “county” prisms. How much rain fell, how students tested, economic growth — all viewed through that hometown lens — even when “hometown” stretched to the Nevada border, in San Bernardino’s case, and to the Arizona border, in Riverside’s. Both papers hammered home the distinctiveness of their base, even when explosive growth throughout the region rendered those distinctions less coherent or relevant.

Which was the better newspaper was open to debate over the first half of the 20th century. The Sun sold more papers for much of that time because it was based in the larger city. But it was nothing special, and neither was the Press Enterprise. Influential, yes, even when TV entered the picture — because the IE had no local TV, to speak of (and limited access to L.A. stations, before the advent of cable). But both papers were fairly small and seriously parochial.

That began to change. The PE was the first to wake up to the outside world. It won a Pulitzer in 1968 for meritorious service on an expose of conditions at an American-Indian reservation near Palm Springs. Meanwhile, The Sun was the first to take the money and run.

The Guthrie family, which had operated the newspaper for decades (while throwing nickels around like manhole covers), sold to corporate outsiders. The first buyer was the L.A. Times, but the feds forced Times Mirror to divest itself of The Sun because it was an anti-competitive sale. (Imagine that happening in modern times.)

Instead, The Sun went to (then) New York-based Gannett Co. Inc. Thus, The Sun was in corporate hands by 1970, almost three full decades before the PE was. In Riverside, the Hays family continued to run the PE until 1997, when it sold to the Dallas-based Belo chain.

Early on, Gannett’s purchase of The Sun probably helped the newspaper. Gannett wanted its 25 percent profit (and up), but it imposed basic standards of competence (and salary) the Guthries seemed slow to embrace. But on a practical level, the bonds between The Sun (and its distant owners) and its readership were weakened. Ownership’s commitment to the market was now practical and impersonal, not gut-level and personal.

Those distinctions were to prove important when crunch time came.

Crunch time came in 1997, when the Hays family ended its long run as Riverside publishing kings by selling the PE to Dallas-based Belo. This turned out to be very bad news for The Sun because the Hays people had clung to the old gentleman’s agreement/non-aggression pact — even when those weren’t gentlemen in San Bernardino, since 1970, they were Gannett operatives.

Belo surveyed the scene, decided The Sun was vulnerable, and went over to the attack.

It was a war The Sun was ill-prepared to fight because chains hate competition. It costs money. It cuts into profits. Gannett prefers non-competitive markets, and San Bernardino had been one.

An era of free money from San Bernardino was about to end, and Gannett was to demonstrate little stomach for a war with Belo. (And Dean Singleton was to show even less.)

The first PE targets were communities just across the county-line frontier — Colton, Redlands, Rialto, Yucaipa, Bloomington and, yes, San Bernardino — the heart of Sun country.Joe Happ, a managing editor at the Press Enterprise at the time, said the intent wasn’t to destroy The Sun. Wrote Happ, in an e-mail. “The P-E’s foray into Berdoo was based on nothing more sophisticated than the old newspaper truism ‘Grow or die.’ We needed to build circulation to offset losses elsewhere and Berdoo was the logical target. Nobody had any illusions about taking down The Sun because we all knew such things weren’t really possible.”

The War was on.

The PE made several hostile gestures that proved to be inspired.

1. It inaugurated a San Bernardino County edition and planted a significant news bureau just miles from San Bernardino city hall. The journalists there almost immediately were churning out as much San Bernardino news as were their competitors at The Sun. As time went on, they produced more news and The Sun less.

2. The PE pillaged The Sun newsroom, hiring away many of The Sun’s top reporters and editors. A significant number of the IE’s veteran journalists took their San Bernardino county and city contacts (and institutional memory) and shifted them to the PE side of the ledger. The names Cassie MacDuff, Rich Brooks, Jan Sears and Maria DeVarenne, later to becomes editor of the PE, come to mind.

3. The PE drastically discounted home delivery prices for neighborhoods in Sun-dominated areas. A reader could get a year of the PE, home-delivered, for $20. Basically, free. But the PE/Belo was in this for the long run, and it was willing to pay to buy circulation. The sort of foresight and commitment uncommon in modern print journalism.

4. The PE reoriented its news coverage. From “Riverside County” to the two-county concept of “Inland Empire.” The word “Riverside” disappeared off its mast. It became, ingeniously, geographically nebulous. Apparently not tied to any single IE community, but seemingly interested in them all.

Some subscribers in Riverside were annoyed by the PE’s constant references to this greater geographical area (“what is Redlands news doing in my Riverside newspaper!?”), but it eventually created in the minds of readers the idea that they were part of this larger entity the PE served, and not just the San Bernardino County entity that The Sun continued to stress.

But the PE invasion wasn’t simply a matter of a brilliant business plan. It was aided by demographics, the sale of The Sun to MediaNews, unstable Sun leadership, inconsistent Sun resistance and economic trends. And demographics. Did I mention that?

1. The PE arrived in force in Sun country at the very moment when The Sun’s core-market demographics were collapsing. Income, education, native English-speakers in the house … all fell dramatically beginning in the mid-1990s, especially after the closure of Norton Air Force Base, a backbone of the San Bernardino economy.

The Sun had fewer economic resources at hand. The PE could discount to, essentially, nothing its home delivery because it was charging full freight in its original core market. The Sun could not respond because its core market was under attack; it couldn’t match $20 annual subscriptions and still make the 25 percent profit Gannett expected from its “operating units.”

2. The Dean Singleton/MediaNews takeover, in 1999, brought in ownership significantly less interested in journalistic competence than was Gannett. And even less willing to put up a fight. If Gannett shied from the full-contact of a newspaper war, MediaNews ran from it.

(Interestingly, when the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Donrey’s suburban daily west of San Bernardino, was for sale a year or two earlier, Gannett attempted to buy it, but Singleton’s MediaNews won out. Had Gannett purchased the Bulletin, creating a San Bernardino County powerhouse with a combined circulation of some 160,000, Gannett might still be in San Bernardino and almost certainly would have offered more resistance to the PE than Singleton put up. Instead, not getting Ontario meant Gannett bailing out on San Bernardino became a matter of “when” not “if.”)

The MediaNews purchase also had the effect of stripping The Sun of another key cadre of talented newsroom employees, scared stiff by the prospect of working for Dean Singleton. Many of those who fled went to the PE, further reinforcing the invader. And The Sun responded by hiring kids, on the cheap, who were hard-pressed to compete with the PE’s San Bernardino-trained, Berdoo-savvy hands.

3. Unstable Sun leadership played a part. The newspaper was still Gannett-owned when the PE incursion went hot. I recall editor Ricardo Pimentel boasting that The Sun would “throw them back into Riverside County, where they belong.” But Pimentel was a lame duck by the spring of 1999, when MediaNews bought The Sun from Gannett. In September of that year, he was forced out as part of a purge of all things Gannett.

A parade of editors ensued, at a critical moment in the war. Gerald Garcia and Joe Happ (yes, the same man who had played a big part in the PE’s invasion plan) and then Steve Lambert, in 2002. Four editors in four years. New faces the community didn’t know, sent out to Sun communities to insist they were the “hometown” guys. Even though they had just arrived.

The Sun went through a batch of publishers then, too. I don’t even remember their names. (If someone wants to help me with the publisher line of succession, feel free, and I’ll insert.) At least five publishers between 1998, when Brooks Johnson lost favor inside Gannett and was ousted, until 2004, when Bob Balzer took over.

One publisher was The Guy Choppered Off the Roof by Gannett the day MediaNews took over, in September, 1999. One of only three employees Gannett pulled out of Berdoo before the handover. (He went to Hawaii and was Gannett’s point man for its attempted closure of one of the two Honolulu dailies.) Then came the little guy I recall as “Mr. Low-Hanging Fruit.” He was convinced The Sun could grow quickly by showering attention on the High Desert, north of Cajon Pass, the Promised Land of the “low-hanging fruit” he often talked about. It was a ridiculous concept (and we all knew it) because, by then, the High Desert had its own local economy and local newspaper and little interest for a newspaper from “down the hill.” Plus, the “low-hanging fruit” initiative had the unfortunate side-effect of directing editorial resources away from the very really threat in The Sun’s home market. Then came (or was it before?) the perpetually tanned guy who loved to golf and had been a PE executive. Might even have been someone else in there, before Balzer.

The point being, Sun leadership was constantly churning while the paper was under attack. That led to shifting and inconsistent strategies, constant reorganizations, upheaval throughout other sinecures of upper management (including the editor’s chair) and, ultimately, ineffectual and effete resistance to the PE.

3. Economic trends all seemed to go in Riverside’s direction, too. It had enormous growth, and much of it was inside its historic core market. San Bernardino County also saw a population boom, but most of it was outside The Sun’s historic core, to the west toward Ontario or to the north, toward Hesperia and Victorville. And those tens of thousands of potential readers remained largely out of reach, oriented anywhere but toward the county seat, in San Bernardino.

Riverside also benefited by its close, 91 freeway connection to Orange County. I’m going to make a generalization and say that most of its newcomers in this decade came from the OC, and showed up with above-state-average money and education. Many of San Bernardino’s newcomers were refugees from south and east Los Angeles, driven out by high rents during the housing boom, people who arrived in San Bernardino County (via Interstate 10) with little more than the possessions they could load in a U-Haul — at a time when San Bernardino’s urban core was rotting out and businesses were fleeing.

4. Demographics. Again. Riverside’s core included far more people with above-average incomes, and the PE used them to leverage its push into San Bernardino. San Bernardino, meanwhile, was taking in poor people who not only didn’t benefit The Sun or make it more appealing to advertisers, they stultified growth, then helped reverse it.

By the middle of this decade, The Sun was in full retreat, hemorrhaging circulation (from a peak of 80,000-plus daily, 100,000 on Sunday), losing advertisers, fading in relevance. The PE may never have thought it would destroy The Sun, but it was getting close. And The Sun’s long contention, from management, that “the PE can’t give away its paper forever” had been shown to be a faulty premise. The PE could give it away long enough to make it the paper of record for BOTH sides of the county line. And did.

A reader of this blog sent along a recent publicity release trumpeting the PE’s circulation gains of the past year — at a time when everyone else is losing readers by the thousands.

Check out the PE’s circulation statistics here.

It continues to grow, and is now among the 60 biggest dailies in the country. The Sun, meanwhile, is under 60,000 daily, if what I’ve been told privately is correct, and still bleeding. Meaning the PE now outsells The Sun by a margin of 3-1, and pushing 4-1; it was less than 2-1 even a decade ago.

The PE’s daily product is now far heftier, devotes far more column inches to news and has many more ads. The Sun continues to shrink in size. First it gave up a stand-alone business section. Then, within the past year, it collapsed its “local” B section and shifted that news into the A section — which now is pathetically thin in its national and international coverage.

To the average IE newspaper reader, deciding which “local” newspaper to buy can’t be a hard decision. The big, fat, local-yet-wide-ranging Press Enterprise? Or the thin, resource-starved, error-riddled Sun?

The Sun vs. the PE … In my mind, it was a great journalism news story, for this reason:

It is rare to see an outside newspaper boldly enter the century-old home territory of another newspaper (of at least similar size and scope), crossing a governmental border (a county line) in the process … and take away its readership. But the Press Enterprise did, at the expense of The Sun.

Eventually, The Sun couldn’t afford luxuries like a veteran sports columnist, such as me. And fired him. Leaving readers to buy the PE and read its sports columnist, Gregg Patton, one of those former Sun staffers who jumped to the PE for a significant raise and a bigger audience.

The day I was fired, March 6, was when The War ended, for me. Sun management eagerly got rid of someone who had been there for 31-plus years and thought of little else but resisting the PE. Who had never once considered jumping to the competition because it would constitute (in my mind) an act of treason. But The Sun was now so weak, the only aggression it had become capable of showing was slashing its own budget.

Though organized resistance has ceased, a few stubborn Sun reporters continue to resist Riverside hegemony, carrying out guerrilla-style journalism inside the smokings ruins of their core market. They beat the PE on this or that story every day. John Murphy, in sports, not only routinely is ahead of the PE on San Bernardino-area high school coverage, he sometimes beats the PE on its own (Riverside) stories. (Why the PE hasn’t just hired him yet is a puzzlement.)

But this is another way we know the war is over, or at least well into the mop-up phase: The PE doesn’t really care anymore when it gets beaten on a San Bernardino story. I heard this from current PE staffers who say that whatever emphasis once was given to “beating” The Sun no longer is detectable. (They have turned their attention to fighting off the L.A. Times and Orange County Register, and shoring up their southern flank against the North County Times and its Temecula-based outlier, The Californian.)

The PE doesn’t have to be first, in San Bernardino. It is now the L.A. Times to The Sun’s fin de siecle Herald Examiner. In the Inland Empire, a story isn’t really news until the Press Enterprise reports it.

This is a bitter acknowledgment to make for someone whose entire professional career was given over to The Sun. But it is a matter of fact.

The IE newspaper war is over. San Bernardino lost. Riverside drank its milk shake.


16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mike Rappaport // May 19, 2008 at 12:22 PM

    Fascinating, in-depth study, Paul.

    To add a little to it from an Ontario perspective, from the mid-’90s on, almost every talented Ontario news-side reporter wound up getting recruited by the P-E.

    We became little more than a farm team for Riverside, especially since Media News didn’t seem interested in paying to keep people.

  • 2 DPope // May 19, 2008 at 1:37 PM

    The P-E’s new building is also much, much nicer.

  • 3 Gina T. // May 19, 2008 at 1:50 PM

    I can speak with some authority when I say that it’s true that the P.E. is no longer interested in competing with the Sun. When my hubby first left the Sun and went to work for the P.E., the editors would walk up to him when we *The Sun) beat them on things and say, “You’re wifes team struck again!”

    It was all in good spirit. The competition was healthy. But for at least a year before I was let go, that conversation had stopped. My hubby never asked me because they never asked him again. They had long ago begun to feel that the competition was over.

    And this I have to say. And my apologies to anyone. I don’t want to offend. But it should be noted that what is said in the newsrooms – whether in self-defense or in the spirit of competition – get around to others.

    As a member of SPJ, I always had working relationships with PE staffers. Some time ago, during our large coverage of the Mynisha Crenshaw incident, one of the P.E.’s staffers (a respected editor) came up me and asked if it was true that Steve Lambert had made negative remarks about a columnist at the P.E. As a Sun staffer and SPJ board member, I tried to give a vague answer as I did not want to be part of some kind of back and forth.

    The editor’s response to whatever clumsy explanation I gave him was, “Does Steve know we don’t care? Does he know we’re not interested in what he’s doing and that we’re not competing with him anymore?”

    The comment struck me. And I never said anything to anyone outside of the board, who had already heard the comment anyway.

    So here we are, possibly at the end of the competition as we knew it. And the P.E. is gloating a bit. I guess they deserve to be.

  • 4 Chuck Hickey // May 19, 2008 at 4:00 PM

    The first publisher you are thinking of, who got the helicopter ride out on the last day of Gannett ownership, was Mark Adkins. After that, it’s all a blur, though I remember the meeting in the big conference room rah-rahing the “expansion plans” into the High Desert .

    I also remember the day the P-E started the invasion north. And there was the battle cry that they will be beat back. But the day Gannett sold out, it really was only going to be a matter of time.

    There was a list kept in the newsroom of people who left. Just the newsroom. Two months after MediaNews came in, 36 people left, with at least 20 going to the P-E. Who knows how many eventually fled. And a lot of them are still there.

    As for circulation, yeah, it’s bad. In the latest reporting to ABC, the Sun is down to to 54,000 daily and 57,000 Sunday. The Bulletin is 54,000 daily, 59,000 Sunday.

    With no end in sight.

  • 5 darleene // May 20, 2008 at 1:54 AM

    That was a helluva analysis. But, ahem, I take umbrage to the reputations of Cal States being lesser than UCs. I went to a Cal State, but in Orange County.

  • 6 John from Rancho Cucamonga (back then) // May 20, 2008 at 7:40 AM

    I read the Sun from 1955 to 1994 before I relocated to Northern California. I’ve been back numerous times each year. The Sun was starting to fade before I left but I still had some hope for it. On the west side we had the Daily Report and Progress Bulletin that seemed to be okay for awhile after they merged. Then the Daily Bulletin jumped in the same boat with the Sun a few years back and it’s been an accelerating downhill ride since then for both of them. All the local flavor has been leeched out of these newspapers. It really has been a long time since the Inland Empire has had a columnist who added a enduring distinctive flavor and presence to a paper as did the Sun’s Earl Buie. Mr Buie’s columns did so much to make the Sun appear as the paper “of record” for the IE.

  • 7 The Silver Streak // May 20, 2008 at 3:45 PM

    I might have written the headline as such: Inland Empire Newspaper War is Over, and the Sun Lost.

    I think you give the PE too much credit. The circulation is boosted by those $20 subscriptions. And we know about Belo’s circulation problems. Belo has separated their newspaper from other divisions – that should give you an idea that their committment to newspapers isn’t that deep – I think they will take the first reasonable offer to buy the Press-Enterprise and the Providence Journal.

    I have heard about the “raids” but I really question if it was the PE recruiting people so much as it was people leaving/outgrowing the Sun.

    I spoke to someone at the PE during the 90s and he thought the Sun’s biggest mistake was failing to really develop their circulation on the west end of San Bernardino county. He felt the Sun didn’t pay enough attention to places like Rancho Cucamonga and Ontario, and that gave the Daily Bulletin an opening. He noted that in 1987, the circulation figures for the PE and Sun were pretty similar.

    I once asked somebody why the PE bothered with sending papers to Blythe – it made no sense to me. He said that was an area where there was a pretty good penetration – people in Blythe really liked reading the PE. It still seemed like a losing business proposition to me.

  • 8 Ian Cahir // May 22, 2008 at 8:39 AM

    Don’t know if anyone cares or remembers, but Jill was news editor the day the gannett/singleton deal hit, but we had already given notice of going to sacramento. We gave 6 weeks because we liked and respected Bray and Ricardo. The day of the deal, we went into Bray’s office and said we wanted to cut the notice by 3 weeks. he not only agreed, he encouraged it. Ricardo looked like he died that day. He’s an SB guy. He told us we were right to get out quick.

  • 9 Ralph Montano // May 23, 2008 at 8:47 AM

    I was part of the early wave of exodus from the Sun. The invasion was just a skirmish between scouts (cop reporters) back then. It was obvious that the powers that be at the Sun didn’t take the fight seriously. The Sun was still looking at half-hearted expansion into the Ontario area and was pushing for more coverage in the growing Rancho Cucamunga.
    I could tell at the time that the PE was gearing up for a real fight, because the reporters I was running into were hungry and pressured for a scoop. But I had no idea the fight could end like this.
    What can the Sun do now? Turn itself into a spunky alternative weekly?
    Nice blog, Paul. Its good to hear from Chuck and Ian again as well.

  • 10 Emily // May 23, 2008 at 7:36 PM

    “Low-hanging fruit.” Nicely done. I laughed out loud.
    I, too, was in the rah-rah High Desert roll-out. What an absurd idea to market a “down the hill” paper to people who live in the inhospitable desert for the simple fact that they want *nothing* to do with anything “down the hill.”
    It was one of many, many plans and schemes that went nowhere.

    Also, I suspect Gregg could go down as the last-ever Sun writer to get a direct bid to to the P-E. It seems to be physically impossible now for a reporter at The Sun to take that “next step” and “move on up.” Plus, no one knows The (fading) Sun outside SoCal, so applications to other papers hardly a glance. The result is that many have no choice but to leave the business. Another sad fall-out from the LANG/Lambert regime.

  • 11 Joe Strummer // May 25, 2008 at 7:22 AM

    Very early in my tenure a big staff meeting was held and some editor whose name I’ve forgotten got up there and said how they were going to pick the Daily Press’s pocket and how the DP “didn’t have very good reporters.” What the moron forgot was that they had just hired like 6-7 reporters from the DP. It was all I could do to contain myself. I wanted to punch him in the mouth. A week later, he was gone. All these papers look down their nose at their smaller counterparts and it’s all kind of amusing. Often there’s no difference between the reporters at the various newspapers. Sometimes the writers at the smaller papers are more talented and more aggressive.

  • 12 Bryon Richey // May 29, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    Incredibly great article. Truely.

  • 13 Sabrina Rattley // Jan 17, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    Joe Pepe, was the idiot with the dumb idea to market up the hill. Yes, you are right, we all knew this was a dumb and ridicalous idea.

  • 14 Dick Diamond // May 16, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    Interesting and fascinating. Only correction of fact I might endeavor to present is that Riverside County is 1/2 San Bernardino and 1/2 San Diego. Draw a line just North of Hemet and San Jacinto. The line is the demarcation point of the two counties.

  • 15 Dick Diamond // May 16, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    Of course Happ went to work for the Sun. Belo fired him. I had a talk with Joe and his wife Kathleen Newton in 2005 in Tillamook Oregon at the Blue Moon Cafe (great lunch food) when they owned the Tillamook Headlight Herald.
    They sold that under pressure when Happ decided to introduce investigative journalism to a farm/dairy town and you could see the pitchforks and torch lights on Main Street. Advertising dried up and they sold. Now a businessman owning newspapers runs it. God awful horrible.

  • 16 Belo Joe // Nov 25, 2019 at 3:26 PM

    This article seemed on-point at the time, but history works in funny ways. Years after this post was written, Belo shed its unprofitable Riverside asset, setting off a chain of events that saw The Press-Enterprise dragged kicking and screaming into the same MediaNews/Digital First blob it thought it had defeated in San Bernardino. Today’s Press-Enterprise is little more than a rump edition of the San Bernardino Sun mixed with the Orange County Register, with little local reporting. Who’s laughing now?

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