Lack of biz coverage on California’s South Coast
Ray Estrada, former managing editor of the Pacific Coast Business Journal, writes for the Santa Barbara Independent about the slim business coverage in the market.
Estrada writes, “During my reporting over the past five years, South Coast business owners have often complained to me that they suffer from lack of financial coverage because no publication even attempts to track most local commerce on a daily or weekly basis in a specific section. The News-Press hasn’t had a business editor in three years, for instance, and the Business Times also covers Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties, which means that Santa Barbara news isn’t always a top priority.
“Complicating matters more, in my opinion, is that the vast majority of South Coast business coverage is conducted by writers with little or no previous financial experience, in large part because younger writers tend to be cheaper than more experienced reporters such as myself. As such, there is a lack of institutional knowledge about the South Coast’s commercial community. No matter how talented a young journalist may be, it’s hard to write about what is happening today with little understanding of how things got to be that way.
“And the situation may not change any time soon, as many of the correspondents relied upon in Santa Barbara for business coverage aren’t actually paid staff members. Instead, many are part-time, often underpaid freelance writers who usually have another job to make ends meet. For instance, the full-time writing staff at today’s News-Press is a fraction of what it was in 1990 or even 2005. It has one designated business writer, while in 1990 it had three.”
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