The disintegration of the San Antonio Express-News?

It would seem that’s what we’re seeing, before our very eyes.

First up, there’s this:

For the second time in as many days, a top editor of the San Antonio Express-News announced he is leaving the newspaper.

Brett Thacker, a longtime journalist at the Express-News who started as a sports copy editor and rose through the ranks to become the No. 2 editor at the newspaper, sent an email to the newsroom Wednesday evening bidding his colleagues farewell.

You might be thinking, No big deal, editors leave for new positions all the time, right? Well,as you see if you read the story, it was just basic public-relations stuff — nothing about why things went down like that. And come on, two top editors leaving the paper in two days, well, that is a pretty big deal. One of the commenters asked why the story didn’t go any deeper than that — and in the first instance of this that I have ever seen, Express-News reporter John Tedesco, who got the byline here, had this to say:

In today’s newsroom meeting, we were told the newspaper is profitable and there were no lay offs planned. In their emails to the newsroom, Brett and Bob did not give their reasons for leaving.

At this point no one is answering the most important question about these resignations: Why?

And in a later comment, Tedesco said this:

We’ve asked the same questions you have, but the simply (sic) truth is only a handful of people know what really happened, and they’re not giving detailed answers. If I knew more, I’d write it.

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? I’m betting it’s a lot worse than anyone’s letting on. As for the “this newspaper is profitable” bullshit…it strikes me that the head honchos always say something to that effect when the subject of layoffs and furloughs comes up.

And today, via Albatross, we have this:

In what has been a bizarre week for the San Antonio’s only major newspaper, Friday saw more shake-ups at the San Antonio Express-News.

Just days after Editor Bob Rivard and Managing Editor Brett Thacker left the newspaper, sources at the paper confirmed that two of San Antonio’s most recognized columnists are leaving.

Cary Clack has been with the newspaper for 17 years; Scott Stroud has been with the paper since 2004.

Add that to the departures of Jan Jarboe Russell and Veronica Flores-Paniagua earlier in the year, and it makes you wonder what the hell’s going on down at 301 East Third. Four metro columnists gone in the last year?! (And really, to be honest, I don’t see O. Ricardo Pimentel as a net addition.) Albatross again:

I’ve heard the Houston Chronicle has a hand in this, and that the Express-News will be reduced to a shell of itself, a Southwest Texas extension of the Houston paper. Perhaps that’s hyperbole, but these recent losses of major figures suggest that it’s not.
Yep. Not only that, but the way things have been going suggests as much also. As Sabra notes in comments, a lot of Chronicle content runs in the Express-News, and the S.A. Life and Taste sections are produced in Houston. You can even tell as much because most of the week the S.A. Life section is laid out using the same font as the Houston Chronicle. (I seem to remember reading that the new font the Chronicle uses was designed especially for it. In fact, the font is actually called Houston.) And I can’t speak for the production side of things in Beaumont (home of the Beaumont Enterprise, another Hearst paper), but I do know that they run a lot of Chronicle content as well — and that their website is updated from Houston. It’ll be interesting to see if all of that comes to pass — and how it’ll affect operations at Hearst’s other papers.
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6 Responses to “The disintegration of the San Antonio Express-News?”

  1. Who is killing the newspaper editors of Texas? « Whipped Cream Difficulties Says:

    […] leaving. And two of the paper’s top columnists also resigned. The South Texas Pistolero has a very good post up over at his site covering these developments; I commend it to your […]

  2. Les Says:

    After reading the Chronicle since the era of Post, Chronicle and Press (when it was a real newspaper), I quit in the late seventies because reading the Chronicle editorials was kind of like listening to Radio Kiev; different topics, same line.
    I’m not familiar with the editors and columnists mentioned. Were they not completely against the Second Amendment? Were they kind of objective? All of that could be reason enough for the Chronicle to run them off.

  3. kevin whited Says:

    Interim editor Kyrie O’Connor ran the Chron features section (the SAEN releases seem to downplay what she actually did at the Chron), so I suspect you’re right that she was picked to further integrate the papers.

    She’s a piece of work. We’ll have something up on our blog later this week commenting on her big move. Let’s just hope she continues her blog. It’s provided endless amusement (unintentionally) over the years!

  4. southtexaspistolero Says:

    Good deal, Kevin. I look forward to reading it; I still read blogHOUSTON regularly even though I am in San Antonio now. I do remember that Ms. O’Connor was the features editor at the Chron. Somehow I am not surprised the Express-News did not say anything about that.

  5. southtexaspistolero Says:

    I’m not familiar with the editors and columnists mentioned

    I don’t know that Cary Clack ever wrote about guns, though I can say Scott Stroud, flaming lefty that he came across as most of the time, did seem to have a bit of classical liberal in him. I had an email exchange with him in which he actually acknowledged the Second Amendment said you should be able to have any weapon you can fit in your backyard and that if people didn’t think it was a good idea they ought to amend the Constitution. I vehemently disagreed with most of what he wrote, though he does seem like the kind of guy I wouldn’t mind sitting down and having a beer with at the end of the day without the fear of being called a Nazi or whatever. Lol

  6. Michael Says:

    Somethings definately going on,as Brett Thackers former brother-in-law,I know how dedicated he was to the Express-News.28 years,you don’t just resign after 28 years.I can understand Cary Clack leaving,but not Mr. Rivard and not Mr.Thacker.There’s something not right,it’s a shame.these are among the finest men.What a great loss for San Antonio.

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