THE REAL DEAL
By JERRY DEAL
Big time media reductions and changes, are here.
Rumors have been floating in the area about the Valley Morning Star, its possible changes and its demise, including one false report it was closing down.
Set the record straight right here:
There is no question that the area newspaper is not what it used to be. Much of that has been due to less advertising due to the economy, also other cutbacks, But also figured in is there were corporate financial problems, and now the bankers have taken over Freedom Communications. Bankers usually have no sympathy.
Most of the VMS business office and the production already was being handled iin McAllen. My concern is that the changes being made will cause even less coverage by the Star, which already is pretty poor.
Here are the “victims” in the VMS rundown:
VMS Editor Paul Binz, who came to the newspaper after being a longtime managing editor at the Monitor, is gone.
Also gone is Managing Editor Lucio Castillo, who rose from a young reporter into sports reporter then sports editor and later named (by this writer when editor) as managing editor, with about 35 or more years with Freedom.
I was told City Editor Charline Vandini was among them, but now am informed she isstill htere. Too bad, she is one of those whoshold be gone.
This follows up the demotion of former sports editor Dave Favila, who was downgraded to senior sports editor, with Wade Baker of the Monitor named sports editor of all three papers.
If you do not think there is a downsizing, here is the word. Brownsville Editor Marci Caltibano will also be the editor for the VMS There will no longer be a VMS managing editor, I am told. At one time, the Star folks sort of looked down on the Brownsville Herald and its coverage. That has switched, I am not saying the Herald is doing a great job, just saying it is doing better than the VMS
The only good thing is there are still some VMS reporters doing their jobs well despite all these interruptions, but it would seem to me they still are working under some difficult circumstances.
Freedom would be stupid (although it has not always been smart) to make any changes in the positions of reporters Fernando del Valle, who could work at any newspaper in the U.S., and solid rreporter Allen Essex, who has more than 30 years experience, covering local news. He also has been one or the best county reporters over the years, including the courts. Also there is newcomer Danielle Altenburg, a very competient woman, who is covering the city of Harlingen.
Marci can be a bitch, but she is all newswoman. It will be interesting to see how she handles the VMS as well as the Herald.
In my 15 years with the VMS I never dreamed that the Herald would be the main paper in this end of the Valley, or at least editorially.