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Monday, Jan 30, 2023
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San Diego’s Newest Voice Reaches Its First Birthday

Noted San Diego newspaperman Neil Morgan’s venture into nonprofit online journalism is celebrating its first anniversary this month, and the 80something-year-old columnist is giving much of the credit to his up-and-coming young staff.

Since launching Feb. 8, 2005, Voice of San Diego has logged more than 2.7 million page views to www.voiceofsandiego.org, and growth has been steady and consistent, according to Denise Scatena, marketing and community development manager. The site also swept the San Diego Press Club’s annual breaking news award category for daily newspapers and was named best overall news Web site in 2005.

“I’m utterly amazed,” Morgan said. “I think it’s exceeded my expectations. I had no idea just how good the management team we put in place was when this thing started.”

Morgan believes that the city’s recent troubles with convicted councilmen, election squabbles and pension discrepancies have a lot to do with the Web site’s success, because Voice readers are more trusting of a news source that has no advertising connections.

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“I think there is a real need in the city for people to ask, ‘How did we get in this fix?’ ” Morgan said. “And I think probably one of the reasons why is because we in the media didn’t look hard enough into what’s been going on in City Hall all these years, and I put myself in that category too.”

Voice started with only four full-time staffers and now has nine. It is funded via public sponsorships similar to those maintained by KPBS and National Public Radio. Morgan said local contributions to Voice have been significant. To date, $243,579 has been raised through individual memberships, corporate sponsorships and foundation grants. Roughly $66,000 of that total stems from individual memberships; the remaining amount is split between corporate and foundation gifts.

Looking forward, Voice writers Andrew Donohue and Scott Lewis have been named executive editors in recognition of the work on the site this past year, while Morgan, who writes a regular column in addition to sitting on the site’s board of directors, has begun writing a blog.

Morgan founded Voice after being abruptly dismissed by the San Diego Union-Tribune in April 2004. Morgan says he was fired; the paper claimed his position was being eliminated. He was a senior columnist and associate editor at the time. Before that, and before the 1992 merger of the Tribune and San Diego Union, Morgan led the Tribune to win a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 1987.

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Sponsors Wanted:

A new locally produced TV show is coming to Fox 6 and UPN 13 if San Marcos-based MediaSun, Inc. can find the funding.

“San Diego Experience,” an original lifestyle and entertainment show designed specifically to highlight the region, needs sponsors to fund all or parts of the show, which executive producer Sunny Jenkins hopes to begin airing Saturday afternoons in April.

Jenkins said the amount of sponsorship money she can secure will determine whether the show is 30 or 60 minutes long. The show’s format consists of two lead hosts who introduce various genre segments led by other hosts, who focus their attention on specific genres, including night life, fashion, cuisine and extreme sports. A pilot episode on a shoestring budget has already aired this month and can be seen at www.sdexperience.com. Jenkins said she hopes having that tape to show potential sponsors will encourage more businesses to participate. She also hopes once the show is up and running, it will receive more support from the government and civic organizations with a vested interest in the county’s economy.

The idea of the show, Jenkins said, is to highlight everything there is to do and see in San Diego County in a fun, family-friendly way.

“This is a family-oriented show that parents don’t have to worry about showing their kids; I’m very passionate about that,” Jenkins said. “That said, you can’t be everything to everyone all the time, so we do have to say we’re focused for now on men and women 18 to 42, but that’s not to say anyone will be excluded from it.”

Jenkins declined to put a value on just how much sponsorship money is needed to produce the inaugural 13-week season, citing that it’s too difficult to quote a number without first deciding the show’s length, which will not be determined until she knows how much sponsorship money she’s landed.

In addition to seeking sponsors, Jenkins said she is speaking with local hotel owners to possibly air the show in rooms and lobby areas for the benefit of tourists.


Send media news to Jessica Long at jlong@sdbj.com. She can also be reached at (858) 277-6359, Ext. 3114.

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