After 19 years with the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Executive Editor Sandra Duerr is retiring.
Following in the steps of a handful of journalist who have left the Tribune, Duerr plans to work at Cal Poly. Specifically, Duerr will teach classes for the journalism department.
Under Duerr’s leadership, Tribune reporters have failed to credit other journalist when they rewrite their product. For example, for more than two years, CalCoastNews investigated and exclusively reported on allegations of abuse and neglect at the county jail.
In February, CalCoastNews exclusively reported that information provided by the sheriff’s department in a press release about a man who died at the county jail was incorrect. While the sheriff’s department alleged Andrew Holland died of respiratory arrest after banging his head against a cell wall, CalCoastNews reporters discovered Holland had likely died from a blood clot after being strapped naked in a restraint chair for more than 46 hours.
Several months later, the Tribune parroted the CalCoastNews article while failing to credit the CalCoastNews investigation.
For more than eight years, the Tribune has trailed storied by CalCoastNews reporters. After reporters conducts in-depth investigations and report stories, Tribune reporters regularly lodge requests for the same document, call sources named in articles and then publish similar articles. The Tribune regularly claims the work as their original investigative reporting, and then enters the articles in journalism awards competitions.
In Feb. 2009, CalCoastNews published an article about Dancing Star, a sanctuary that had become a killing field for protected animals. The Tribune later produced a similar article using the same sources and information.
Following CalCoastNews’s article, the killing of animals at Dancing Star was curtailed, at least temporarily.
The Tribune then entered a California Newspaper Publishers Association press competition for original investigative reporting, which the paper won.
After CalCoastNews began writing about hard money lending fraud by now-convicted and imprisoned developer Kelly Gearhart, the Tribune condemned CalCoastNews reporters noting they could be sued. Later, after multiple criminal investigation were disclosed, the Tribune began reporting on the same fraud. And again, the Tribune entered its original investigative reporting in journalism competitions.
In 2012, a Tribune columnist called CalCoastNews swamp gas for reporting on allegations that then- Paso Robles Chief of Police Lisa Solomon-Chitty had sexually assaulted her officers and violated laws banning ticket quotas. The Tribune followed on CalCoastNews’s stories and again entered its work as original investigative reporting, and again won an award.