By Cheri Rae
I’m sorry to hear the Sound go silent. Young Jeramy Gordon came to town with a good idea and almost no idea what he was getting into. And for a while, he did a fine job with his upstart publication; just about the only person who benefited from the News-Press mess of 2006.
The time was ripe for a change—but, sadly, it died on the vine.
But it wasn’t for lack of talent.
He had lots of help from local professionals who offered their expertise, their community contacts and their mature points of view to this young publisher who was getting on-the-job experience in the volatile publishing world. Many of us worked at far less than our going rate—yes, and sometimes for free—just to help him get his project off the ground.
For a couple of years, Loretta Redd and I were featured columnists—she on Tuesday, me on Thursday; both of us met every Monday afternoon with our young publisher-editor, schooling him weekly in Santa Barbara issues and individuals, politics and priorities.
He gave us an open forum to express our views—and for that I am grateful. And, in return, I won a couple of statewide awards for his publication. I wrote about a number of local issues: the candidacies of JMike (remember him?) and Steve Cushman; the proposals to eliminate the Y at De La Vina and State and institute height limits; well-researched history and preservation pieces. And there were national issues: very personally revealing columns about race, adoption and gun violence. I eventually learned that a member of our community actually nominated that body of work for a Pulitzer Prize—not bad for a new, little local paper.
A decent alternative to the longtime daily, it sounded and looked good for a long time. We longtime professionals who worked for our young boss did everything we could to help make it a financial and journalistic success.
But there was a time when the whole production simply soured—and the paper went into a downward spiral from which it never recovered. Loretta left. The always-controversial Gina Perry wrote a horrific column that never should have seen the light of day. After a series of unfortunate events, I, too, resigned.
Afterward, I still hoped for its success, but having been around in publishing for more years than I care to count, knew too well that the paper was no longer on a positive path. The reasons had nothing to do with the print vs. electronic realities that drive debate in publishing these days. He gave it a good run, and his head just got turned in the wrong direction. It happens. It’s too bad. Life goes on.
Give props to Jeramy Gordon for having the vision and taking a chance. I hope he learned a lot from the experience of making a Daily Sound.