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North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

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Times of San Diego joins Arizona State University news initiative

The+Times+of+San+Diego+news+site+is+pictured+June+10.+%28Screen+capture%29
The Times of San Diego news site is pictured June 10. (Screen capture)

Times of San Diego, among the news sites that emerged from the ashes of dramatic changes in local print journalism a decade ago, was acquired last week by a nonprofit venture based out of Arizona State University, the Times announced.

The venture, called NEWSWELL, is part of the ASU Media Enterprise program. The university is also home to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The Media Enterprise Program describes its mission as a “a collection of broadcast, digital, podcast, and project formats that focus on science, technology, innovation, the arts, and social change.”

Chris Jennewein founded Times of San Diego in 2014, bringing his past experience as leader of The San Diego Union-Tribune’s former SignOnSanDiego.com, an early online news effort in the industry in the 1990s. Jennewein ran SignOnSanDiego.com from 2001 to 2008.

Jennewein will continue as editor and general manager of Times of San Diego under NEWSWELL, according to the site’s story.

The university initiative’s primary role will be related to Times of San Diego’s business management, according to the news site’s June 6 story announcing the transfer.

“While Times of San Diego concentrates on delivering quality, community-focused news and resources in San Diego, NEWSWELL will focus on delivering and improving business services to media organizations,” the story stated. “The pioneering nonprofit will utilize its deep expertise, extensive media network and resources to develop innovative, sustainable solutions to the publishing and operations of small- and mid-sized news organizations.”

Public information about NEWSWELL itself appears to be elusive at this point, based on online searches for the initiative.

Nonprofit online news outlet Voice of San Diego, which referred to the purchase as “The Zonies Are Coming (For News)” in the headline of a recent podcast, reported last week that NEWSWELL executive Nicole Carroll would have more information about the future of the Times in the weeks ahead.

A 2023 trademark application found online by the North Coast Current offers more insight into NEWSWELL’s goals. The initiative’s mission includes, according to its goods-and-services statements:

✔ “Business research and data analysis services in the field of journalism and broadcasting.”

✔ “Consulting services in the fields of business management, human resources, and business organizational design.”

✔ “Market research services in the field of newsroom operations.”

✔ “Serving as a human resources department for others.”

✔ “Charitable fundraising services for promoting research, education and other activities relating to journalism and broadcasting.”

✔ “Financial consulting services, namely, expert analysis in finance.”

✔ “Training services in the field of journalism and broadcasting.”

✔ “Computer services, namely, remote management of the information technology (IT) systems of others.”

The NEWSWELL trademark owner is listed as the “Arizona Board of Regents, for and on behalf of Arizona State University.”

A NEWSWELL presentation slideshow obtained by the North Coast Current also highlighted the initiative’s goals:

✔ “Collaborate with newsrooms and partners that have ideas and business plans but no R&D. We provide design, development, prototyping and testing, services traditionally available only to large for-profit media companies.”

✔ “Build tools that can be shared at no or low cost with the industry. Use NEWSWELL properties as a live lab. Share research findings with the nonprofit journalism industry.”

✔ “Take on journalism’s biggest problems with the greatest minds at the university and the industry. Brainstorm, create, test, produce, launch and share solutions through ASU’s Luminosity Lab and journalism, engineering and business partners.”

The change of management for Times of San Diego further reduces the number of fully locally owned news outlets.

Last summer, The San Diego Union-Tribune was sold to New York-based hedge fund Alden Global Capital, which runs nearly every major daily newspaper in Southern California through its Southern California News Group.

As of now, in North San Diego County, locally owned nondaily news outlets include the North Coast Current and OsideNews, The Coast News and its Inland Edition, The Paper in San Marcos, Escondido Times-Advocate and Valley Roadrunner, the Village News in Fallbrook, and the Ramona Home Journal.

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