Reader: With all the change at The Californian, I was not surprised, but was still saddened, to see that longtime sports reporter Mike Griffith was leaving.
I grew up in the Bay Area and found that some of the best writing came out of the sports pages from the likes of Wells Twombly and Art Spander. Like those greats, Mike Griffith gave more than just the score (and the basic who, what, etc.). He was truly able to express the feel and emotion of the event.
After reading one of his stories on a Condors game, I knew who won and more importantly why they won. He never had a problem writing about the team’s shortcomings or accomplishments. Many times, though, after reading one of his stories, I would not think so much about the game as the fact that "that was well written."
— Tom Koski
Price: We are definitely down one newsroom curmudgeon, but take heart. Griffith personally assured me Friday that, once he catches his breath (and gets some yardwork accomplished) he will be back on a freelance basis. His target date is the start of the Bakersfield Condors' 2019-20 American Hockey League season in October. He also hopes to contribute to our motor sports coverage when he can.
You have defined good sportswriting pretty well here, Tom. Compelling writing of virtually all types, journalism included, conveys some aspect of the human experience: joy, fear, regret, hope. Mike got that. Gets that.
Reader: Thank you for starting the resurrection process of The Californian. Seeing real news on the front page again is a relief. It has been painful watching the paper descend to the level of my third-grade weekly reader. Whether people think the news is good or bad, newspapers are recording history and hopefully holding our politicians for account.
In my youth I was taught that following the news was part of being a good citizen. Maybe with new ownership, The Californian can bring back the high standards of good journalism and hopefully earn new readers young and old. Here's hoping for a great start and good luck.
— Mark Campbell
Price: I hadn't realized the standards had slipped. I assure you this remains one of the hardest-working group of professionals you'll find, to a person motivated by sense of mission.
I see no changes in priorities from Sound California News Media Inc., the new owner of The Californian. In fact, brace yourself for the possibility of new, innovative modes of news delivery. Eventually.
Reader: Very disappointed with the new format. Very little content. I looked forward to Eye Street daily — probably my main section of interest. I’ll give my subscription another month, but will be tempted to only buy a retail copy on occasion. I’ve been a subscriber for the past 30-plus years. I hope content and local items of interest improves soon.
— Tom Cox
Reader: OK ... so is this it? No more Eye Street? It was always my favorite part of the paper. I probably have some bias: My daughter, Colleen Briley, worked at The Californian for 11 years, starting as a copy editor and ending as the assistant editor for Eye Street. She left in 2007 to become a teacher. I still have many of the newspapers in which she compiled information or wrote some articles. At least Herb Benham, Hocus Focus and some of the other Eye Street features have been maintained, but they sure are small! And I appreciate that I can still get my newspaper delivered to my porch. Good luck to you in your new endeavor.
— Diane Briley
Price: I am scratching my head a little over this alleged missing content. Nothing went away and almost nothing changed, the most noteworthy exception being the weekday tabloid page. We were previously a broadsheet Saturday and Sunday and a tabloid Monday through Friday — the only paper in the country, to my knowledge, that had that alternating page-size arrangement. Now we're back to a seven-day broadsheet, same as during the 100 years prior to our "tabloid period."
Our Eye Street features section didn't go away. For many years now, Eye Street has appeared only Thursdays through Sundays (not including comics, advice and puzzles, which have always been seven-day features). That's still the case: Eye Street articles about music, food, theater, etc., will be in your Californian only Thursday through Sunday (and primarily on Thursdays and Sundays). You were simply fooled by the fact that our broadsheet editions have always contained Eye Street.
Reader: Thank you for returning to the broadsheet format, from a 50-year subscriber.
— Dutch Toews
Reader: I do not like the broadsheet format, but prefer the book style, like that of the New York Post.
— Beth O’Sullivan
Price: Change is hard. Someone will always be unhappy, at least until they get accustomed to that change.
We received many calls and emails about the format change. One editor shared this gem: "Caller says he does not like the new format because it does not work for him when he is 'on the throne.' Yes, that conversation just happened."
Price: I will be interviewing documentary filmmaker Ken Burns at the Fox Theater on July 26 following the screening of his latest, "Country Music." I'll host the Q&A on the Fox stage with Burns, writer Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey, who co-produced with Duncan and Burns.
The doc is a production of Florentine Films and WETA in Washington, D.C.
More details to come.
Reader: Being a Bakersfield native, born in 1949, I’ve no memory of The Californian not being part of my daily life. Your article ("And, now, the final scene of the final episode of the epic Harrell-Fritts saga," June 30) served up oh-so-deserving respect and gratitude, a wonderful accounting.
— Joy Irvin
Reader: In reference to the July 5 article, "Hundreds pack the streets in Westchester neighborhood for Fourth of July parade," didn’t Bob Price recently produce an article in this paper ("Westchester residents know it's only theirs for a generation," June 30) chastising people for referring to this Jastro Park-area neighborhood as Westchester? I’m confused.
— Donna Semar
Price: You are correct, Donna. The problem is, organizers of the "Westchester parade" are calling it the "Westchester parade," even though the route does not enter the tract of that name developed by C. Elmer Houchin starting in 1949. This is not the first time common usage has redefined a term, and it will not be the last time.