Tribune publisher Ray seeks new pastures

February 16, 2015
Bruce Ray

Bruce Ray


Tribune president and publisher Bruce G. Ray has resigned effective Feb. 27, Executive Editor Sandy Duerr announced Saturday in a front-page story.

The resignation comes as stocks in the Tribune’s parent corporation, the McClatchy Company, have plummeted to $2.63 a share this week, from $74 a share in 2005. The stock’s low point was $2.12, in 2011.

Ray, 44, has held his position for six years. He is departing just two months after the McClatchy Company announced a new program of what company officials termed “corporate reorganization.”

Ray said he is leaving to pursue “two intriguing local opportunities.” Fresno Bee president and publisher Tom Cullinan will “oversee the Tribune in the interim,” Duerr wrote.

Ray led the Tribune “during the newspaper industry’s unprecedented turbulent times,” Duerr added.

During the last part of 2012, the Tribune announced it planned to start charging readers for online access. McClatchy had by that time already test run firewalls in five markets, to block unpaid visitors. The company then started charging for online access at all of the company’s 24 remaining papers.

As a result of the firewall installation maneuver, stock prices soared to a high of $6.59 in April 2014. Since then, however, McClatchy’s stock prices have been steadily falling to its current price.

At the same time, online readership for the Tribune is about a third less than it was in 2010, while mobile visits by click-through, one-time visitors has risen and now accounts for nearly 50 percent of the Tribune’s total readership.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The T-T has no content because everything worth reading is either spiked or censored.

Wadded up pages of the T-T make great fire starters.

“The T-T”—– When I grew up in SLO, the Tribune was the newspaper in Chicago. The T-T is what we called the “Telegram-Tribune”.

Did anyone else think at first glance the picture of Ray had a resemblance to BHO?

While I would love to see papers and news outlets have a pay wall and stay in business, it’s just not feasible. Too many sources online are without pay walls, the rule of thumb is: you must have content worth paying for.

Instead, they throw it out there as something new in a few test markets, it “sort of” works, and BAM they roll it out everywhere. It fails. Why? No content worth paying for. They should have figured that out with their severe decline in subscriptions and lack of any real new subs… no content worth paying for via delivery (which is a whole ‘nudder can o’ worms), why would people pay to read it online?

I hope they can right their ship, but I have my doubts. Too many people who have been in that industry too long seem to know no other way. They’ll just replace captains and continue on their course, I’d imagine. I hope I am wrong.

Some say you can get all the print content on line but that’s not the case, comics being one example, along with certain op-ed pieces by national journalists. But I think I noticed the Trib FINALLY putting the Saturday & Sunday LTEs on line just this past weekend. Never understood why that wasn’t a regular practice. I do fear print editions are circling the drain, however. There are just so many on line sources for every sort of news that provide up to the minute info (to say nothing of video clips) with which print just cannot compete.

More like rats being thrown overboard in an attempt to stop the ship from sinking so that repairs can be initiated.

You make a good point. I don’t think Ray had any clue about what’s important to a typical local resident. He wanted to be a local celeb himself, a player. I don’t think he ever made the effort to really know San Luis Obispo County.

Ray’s resignation underscores the fact that newspapers suffer when bean-counters are at the helm. Did Ray have any news/journalism experience at all before coming to the Tribune?

Their suffering is greatly exacerbated when the person at the tiller casts a pall of political bias over the entire organization. It would appear that Ray wanted to be a local player and felt the best way to achieve his goal was for the Tribune to pander to local politicians. In other words to slide into bed with the Democratic Central Committee. Shameful.

It would be interesting to know if Ray was hyper-liberal before coming to the Tribune or if his ambitions triggered a conversion? Either way, good luck to you Mr. Ray. I hope your replacement is someone with real news experience. Someone who can actually build something from the shell you leave behind.

As critical as I am of the Tribune, I really don’t want to see it fail. I would much rather it once again become a newspaper that I would read on a daily basis.

Do any of them have any journalistic experience anymore? I mean, they go to the indoctrination courses and all, but how much of the Tribune (or most any print paper) is journalism?

Most just regurgitate press releases and national wire service stuff. This is why CCN is so popular: people are craving for actual journalism (even if it sometimes hurts “their guy” or ideology).

Do your best to seek the truth, and stop with the agendas. This is much harder where potential advertisers are concerned, I get that, but maybe a happy medium can be found for that.