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A news bureau closes, an exchange begins

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Posted: Friday, November 7, 2008 12:00 am

I’m sorry to see The Record Lodi bureau closing.

As announced recently in Daniel Thigpen’s blog, the bureau is being shut to cut expenses and prevent layoffs.

Preserving jobs over office space makes sense, but it doesn’t stop the nostalgic pangs for me.

You see, before joining the News-Sentinel as editor, I was Lodi bureau chief for The Record, working out of that office space at School and Locust.

I loved the job. I worked with wonderful people in the bureau, including reporters Sarah Lopez Williams, Kimi Yoshino, Cindy Sui and Ucilia Wang. It was definitely micro-scale, and I liked that.

We had our own coffee pot, our own little refrigerator.

I sat in the corner, had a pretty big window, and could look out Locust over downtown Lodi, the community I covered and for which I developed affection.

I was a player-coach, reporting on city hall but also editing copy produced in the bureau.

It was a good balance.

Beyond nostalgia, I am sorry to see the bureau reporters shifting to Stockton. It will mean a drop-off, though perhaps incremental, in news coverage of Lodi.

Daniel Thigpen and Keith Reid, the current bureau staffers, keep us on our toes here. Yes, sometimes it is distressing to see those guys scoop us. But it is better for the community.

Though I left The Record in 1998, I’ve continued to stay in touch with many of the good people there, including Mike Klocke, the editor.

That connection has now led to an experment: The Sentinel and The Record are sharing selected sports content.

There was a time when sharing content with The Record would have been unthinkable. They were the enemy, after all, out to take our readers and our ad dollars. But things have changed.

In this era, we need to think not just competitively, but cooperatively.

Mike and I both preside over newsrooms with dwindling resources, but our readers, quite justifiably, are as hungry as ever for local sports coverage.

In this environment, does it makes sense for both us to cover some events, while others are ignored?

We’re trying to cut the duplicaton and expand our collective coverage. In recent weeks, we’ve provided coverage of Delta College and St. Mary’s high school that would not have been possible without this agreement, which remains informal.

From my view, this agreement has worked pretty well, and for that I thank our sports editor, Scott Howell, and The Record’s sports editor, Bob Highfill.

Could there be other areas where we swap stories or photos?

Time will tell. I’d welcome any comments you have.