U-T San Diego Expands ‘Real Time’ Digital Footprint, Revamps U-T TV

Award Winning Local Media Company Adds ‘Anytime, Anywhere’ News, Sports & Entertainment on Various Devices

San Diego, CA July 28, 2014.  To keep up with the rapid pace of consumer demand for 24-hour, real-time content, the U-T San Diego has significantly upgraded its digital platform, which has already experienced tremendous growth.

The media company has re-designed its U-T TV into a user-friendly, 100 percent digital platform that gives local and global audiences updated news and information at their fingertips. Instead of watching an entire show at a predetermined time, viewers will be able to access the content using any electronic device, anytime, anywhere. As part of the digital expansion, U-T TV has launched an app for the popular Roku streaming player, which has already had 2,250 downloads.

U-T TV’s revamp comes as the popularity of digital content continues to soar – for all ages. In fact, according to company stats, 26 percent of today’s Internet users are 55 and over, while 20 percent are ages 15 to 24, and 18 percent are 25 to 34. Meanwhile, online video consumption has grown over 800 percent in the last six years, with 89 million Americans watching 1.2 billion videos daily.

“As consumers shift away from traditional cable services to rich, real-time digital content, the U-T is committed to boosting its digital platform to feed the growing appetite for real time news and entertainment,” said U-T San Diego Chairman and Publisher Papa Doug Manchester.

In only two years since launching U-T TV, the station has quickly demonstrated a dynamic shift in meeting consumer demand for excellent content, switching to a news format in July 2013 and expanding the capabilities of its award-winning staff of photographers, videographers, reporters, producers, and on-air talent.

“Video is the fastest growing platform for consumers to review content, news, information, and entertainment,” said Mike Hodges, U-T San Diego’s president and COO. “U-T TV has become a top source for San Diegans who are hungry for real-time and meaningful coverage of significant and newsworthy events in their communities.”

San Diego’s cyber culture logged on to U-T TV in droves during the recent San Diego wildfires. During the week of the May 2014 wildfires, U-T TV viewership grew 175% (46,000) over the regular weekly viewing. U-T TV’s overall growth in 2014 has soared 109% (161,000) for weekly views the past month. To further demonstrate the demand for content, the U-T San Diego websites now have more than 1 million video views per month.

“The U-T’s new digital platform allows us to produce and provide rich and interactive content and featured segments on a daily basis,” said Jeff Light, Editor and President of News Content. “We have short form content to cater to viewers’ digital appetite, which includes video on demand, as well as more in-depth stories and information. This includes a variety of channels for sports, entertainment, business and more. We will continue to provide award-winning and quality content, on demand, on various platforms.”

U-T San Diego has received numerous awards for their quality and compelling journalism, including 12 Emmy’s since 2011. Earlier this month, U-T TV received several top honors at the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences 40th Annual Pacific Southwest Emmy® awards, which were presented June 14 at the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad.

U-T TV staff – including Nelvin Cepeda – recently received 11 nominations and picked up five statuettes, the fourth highest total from the San Diego market of 10 news outlets that entered the contest. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Pacific Southwest region includes San Diego, Las Vegas, Bakersfield, Palm Springs, San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, and Santa Barbara.


Society of Professional Journalists Bestows 17 First-Place Awards on U-T San Diego Journalists

Awards Showcase High Quality of Journalism from U-T San Diego  

– July 2014 U-T San Diego won 17 first-place awards in the Society of Professional Journalists San Diego chapter’s annual contest. The awards were presented July 10, 2014 at the Bali Hai on Shelter Island.

The awards covered the journalistic spectrum, from breaking news to columns and criticism; from arts and entertainment to science and technology. “I could not be more proud of our talented team of journalists,” said Papa Doug Manchester, the U-T’s Chairman and Publisher. “Our strength has always been in quality journalism and reporting the news with honesty and integrity.”

U-T San Diego’s website was honored as best news site and best entertainment site; which proved to be an especially gratifying award for U-T staff, Manchester said.“U-T Journalists have been trained to write for all platforms, all devices, and all mediums, including social media,” Manchester stated. “They are true multimedia journalists.”

This multimedia strategy greatly expands the U-T’s reach. Its goal is to distribute content locally, nationally and internationally, depending on the content and subject matter. In fact, half of all digital viewers are not from the San Diego region.

U-T columnist Fred Dickey received the Diversity Prize for his column “Hopefulness lives among the homeless.” He also won first-place awards for environmental story, sports story, feature story and column. “These awards demonstrate the enduring value of a printed newspaper,” Manchester said. “Our journalists have the capabilities and access to report in-depth stories and provide breaking news and behind-the-scene glimpses that really put the reader inside the story.”

“U-T San Diego is the leading news source in San Diego,” said Jeff Light, U-T Editor and Vice President of Content. “We pride ourselves on delivering unbiased news and information that you can’t find anywhere else.”

Other U-T first-place awards were:

  • Arts/entertainment story: George Varga, “Sinead O’Connor talks music and controversy.”

  • Breaking news story: Kristina Davis and Debbi Baker, “Biotech exec accused in La Jolla shootings.”

  • Education story: Gary Robbins, “Chemistry professor at University of California San Diego starts 50th year.”

  • Health story: Beth Wood, “Scientists make their case for clinical research using human subjects.”

  • Legal story:Greg Moran and Kristina Davis, “Fall from grace for former San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor.

  • Multicultural story: George Varga, “Women in mariachi shatter stereotypes.”

  • News or feature series (any subject): Roxana Popescu, “One street, three views on guns.”

  • Political/government story: Roxana Popescu, “Filner’s corner: Who’s left?”

  • Review/Criticism: George Varga, “Rolling Stones’ tour-opener ignites.”

  • Science/technology story: Gary Robbins, “The virus hunter: Erica Ollmann Saphire takes on deadly threats.”

  • News headline: John Keller, “Yoga suit has many bent out of shape.”

  • Photo Essay: David Maung, “Canal of homelessness.”

  • Blog: Matthew T. Hall, “Your vote for coolest Aztec ever (and your souvenir bracket!);” “Worst and best dates ever? Check, and check please!;” “New York loses ‘pizza war,’ gives Bronx cheer to San Diego.”

SPJ is the latest industry organization to recognize the quality work done by U-T San Diego journalists. In March, the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) organization ranked the U-T San Diego Sports Department among the best in the U.S. And last month, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Pacific Southwest chapter bestowed five regional Emmy awards on U-T TV.