Flashes By Rick Griffin 2.12.2018

News about the recent purchase of San Diego’s largest media company is continuing to draw a variety of local reactions. Last week, Chicago-based Tronc, formerly known as the Tribune Publishing Co., agreed to sell the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Spanish-language Hoy to Nant Capital, the investment firm of biotech billionare Patrick Soon-Shiong, one of Los Angeles’ wealthiest residents and a minority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. The purchase price was $500 million in cash, plus the assumption of $90 million in pension liabilities. The acquisition is the San Diego newspaper’s fourth change in ownership since March 2009, when private investment firm Platinum Equiaty took over from the Copley family. In 2015, the U-T became part of Tribune Publishing. This year the newspaper is celebrating its 150th anniversary. In a statement, Soon-Shiong said, “We look forward to continuing the great tradition of award-winning journalism carried out by the reporters and editors of the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune and the other California News Group titles. In a statement to employees, Soon-Shiong said, “I want to assure you -- everyone from the press room to the newsroom -- that I will work to ensure that you have the tools and resources to produce the high-quality journalism that our readers need and rely upon.” Responding to the sale, Jeannie Fratoni, 2018 SDX president, said in news reports, “I’m optimistic the sale will be a positive step forward and will cultivate a culture of world-class, innovative journalism.”

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After more than 20 years in the Coachella Valley appearing on local TV hosting specials and reporting the weather (spoiler alert: it gets hot outside), Ginger Jeffries has joined KUSI-TV as a weekend morning anchor. She worked for 19 years for ABC affiliate KESQ-TV before switching to NBC affiliate KMIR-TV in 2015. She started at KUSI earlier this month. As a student at SDSU studying biology, Jeffries had planned to follow her surgeon dad into medicine. But when her sorority president who was the editor of the campus paper asked her to write a piece for the paper, “Something happened,” Jeffries said. With degrees in biology and journalism, a stint at a San Diego AM radio station and nine months in Eureka, Calif., Jeffries arrived in Palm Springs in 1996 as a general assignment reporter and weekend anchor. Over the years, she earned multiple Emmy Awards and was recognized as the town’s Best TV Personality more than a dozen times.

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KSON Radio’s morning team of Tammy Lee and John Flint will emcee the 8th annual Randy Jones Run-Walk for Independence 5k on Saturday morning, Feb. 17 at Crown Point Park, 3700 Crown Point Dr., in San Diego’s Mission Bay area. The fundraiser benefits the Home of Guiding Hands (HGH), a non-profit organization that provides services, training and advocacy to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and their families. Now in their 18th year as a radio team, Flint and Lee previously spent 10 years in Madison, Wis., before joining the country music station in July 2011. KSON recently switched frequencies from 92.1-FM to 103.7-FM following the takeover of CBS Radio Inc. by Entercom Communications Corp. (NYSE: ETM). HGH said the fundraiser’s 500 participants are expected to raise more than $50,000 in support of HGH’s programs and services. The three mile run-walk along San Diego Bay is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. The top three finishers will be eligible to attend a future “HGH Day at the Padres” at Petco Park. For more event information, visit www.randyjonesrunwalk.org

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The Valley Roadrunner, a weekly community newspaper published by Roadrunner Publications, Inc., has switched print sizes from broadsheet to tabloid. “Making this change would allow us to print locally and provide higher quality photos and advertisements,” said owner Justin Salter, who acquired the newspaper in September 2015. The Valley Roadrunner covers the North County communities of Valley Center, Pauma Valley, Pala and the Palomar Mountain communities. The company also publishes: the Escondido Times-Advocate, a community newspaper that circulates in Escondido; the Hidden Meadows Newspaper, circulating in North Escondido’s Hidden Meadows community; the quarterly Valley Center Magazine. The company also produces a weekly Internet newscast called “Valley Center TV,” and has plans to begin publishing a monthly publication called Boulevard Magazine.

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