Former Daily Pilot publisher & editor trying to launch a new online newspaper

Geoff West, who blogs over at the Bubbling Cauldron blog, covers Costa Mesa and Newport politics and news.  His blog was selected as the best blog in Orange County this year by the O.C. Weekly.  West recently wrote about a meeting he attended where a former publisher and a former editor of the Daily Pilot newspaper spoke to the community about their plan to start up an online newspaper to cover news in that area, with perhaps a once a week printed newspaper.

Tom Johnson and Bill Lobdell are the former Daily Pilot honchos, and their meeting was very well attended, according to West.  He wrote that “In addition to Johnson and Lobdell, there were a few other former Daily Pilot staffers – Tony Dodero, who recently departed after a long and illustrious career; Lana Johnson, who has joined Lobdell and Tom Johnson in their endeavor, and former (twice) Daily Pilot columnist and public relations consultant Byron de Arakal.”

West added that, “Among the others in attendance were Realtor and Newport Mesa Unified School Board President Dana Black and Newport Beach City Manager Homer Bludau were in the group, as was former California Secretary of Education Marian Bergeson. Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Richard Luehrs, business leaders Brent Hemphill, Paula Wilhelm and Kirk McIntosh – who heads up the Daily Pilot Cup youth soccer tournament – were also there to provide comments and guidance. As you can see, there were many “heavy hitters” in the group.”

The new venture headed by Johnson and Lobdell is called “Operation Local News.”  They state on their website that, “Operation Local News has set a tentative deadline of March 1 to decide whether giving Newport-Mesa a quality daily local news operation–similar to the Daily Pilot in its heyday–is something residents and businesses would support with readership, advertising and voluntary donations. So far, it looks more promising than Tom or Bill had imagined, but the goal line is still a ways down the field.”

I hope that Johnson and Lobdell succeed!  I love newspapers and it breaks my heart to see them going down the drain.  The Daily Pilot today is a shell of what it used to be, as its owner, the Tribune Company, is in dire financial straits.

Things used to be so simple back in the day.  Our newest blogger, John Seiler, wondered recently on his blog whether or not we should just go back to print newspapers.  Alas, Pandora’s Box has been opened and there is no going back…

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.