King Harris, managing editor of the San Luis Obispo weekly, was a television news anchor until two years ago. His April 13 cover story details the careers of seven anchors who have chosen to stay in the area despite opportunities elsewhere; the last profile is of Harris himself. He reveals that he "got into the business to tell stories about people" and was dismissed by a local station for being too "folksy."

Continue ReadingSLO New Times Editor Profiles TV Anchors, Including Himself

Jim Mullin (pictured) drew criticism for a Feb. 2 cover story containing a recipe for methamphetamine, but New Times General Manager Bob Rucker told the San Luis Obispo Tribune that the meth story didn't precipitate his resignation. "There was a problem knowing the audience," Rucker said. Until his resignation Friday, Mullin was working for the California weekly from his home in Miami Beach. He was previously the editor of Miami New Times, but resigned in 2005 shortly after the suicide of former city official Arthur Teele, whose alleged involvement with a transvestite prostitute was exposed in a Miami New Times cover story. (Unlike the Miami paper, SLO New Times is not part of the New Times/Village Voice Media chain.)

Continue ReadingSan Luis Obispo New Times Editor Resigns

The public reaction to the alt-weekly's Feb. 2 issue, which contained a recipe for methamphetamine, dominates this week's issue. In the cover story, Jim Mullin, the paper's new editor, apologizes for provoking community outrage and laments lost readers, distribution points and advertising. Mullin, who was editor of the Miami New Times for 18 years before joining the San Luis Obispo paper, says the meth story "strained to the breaking point a trust that had steadily developed over two decades." He says the paper chose not to use a "scolding" tone in order to avoid alienating young readers, but the "use of sarcasm, designed to hold reader interest, alienated some who believed the subject was too serious to be treated flippantly." This week's issue also includes dozens of angry letters, including those sent by the city's mayor and chief of police.

Continue ReadingSLO New Times Apologizes for Meth Story

According to NBC-affiliate KSBY, some area residents were upset by the paper's Feb. 2 cover package on methamphetamine, which included a recipe for manufacturing the drug. After the paper hit the streets, one former meth user suggested that citizens should take matters into their own hands: "Everybody should just get [copies of the paper] and burn them. It's just ridiculous." The next day, KSBY reported that "angry readers, recovering addicts, police, and drug counselors" were removing papers from the streets and pressuring store managers to do the same. Andrew Carter of Cellular One, which spends $52,000 annually advertising on the back cover of the New Times, said, "As the lead advertiser in the publication, they've not only, in my mind, embarrassed themselves, but they've embarrassed us." SLO New Times Managing Editor King Harris noted that "instructions for making meth are readily available on the Internet" and said the paper's intention was to inform people, "especially worried parents, about what to look for and what to consider suspicious."

Continue ReadingSLO New Times Meth Story Sparks Controversy

The publisher and co-founder of San Luis Obispo New Times was found dead at his home on Sunday morning, perhaps a victim of his ongoing battle with epilepsy. This week's issue features remembrances from colleagues and friends. Former managing editor Marla J. Pugh says, "The essence of New Times was -- and I hope always will be -- Steve Moss. His extreme personality lives on in the paper he created." Glen Starkey, a New Times writer, offers: "Steve was a maverick. He was a leader. He was a friend. He was the best of us, and we'll miss him."

Continue ReadingA Tribute to Steve Moss