Joe Guerin
Joe Guerin in Mendocino County.

Joe Guerin spent his 40-year career as a newsman before retiring last year. He worked as a reporter, managing editor and editor. Throughout his career, Guerin felt that journalism was a respected profession. But, not today, he laments.

“At one time, journalists were held in high regard by the public, but today many reporters are held in contempt. The job is no longer seen as respectable,” Guerin told Times of San Diego. “I hope the current public opinion will change in the future.”

Guerin concedes that partisan reporting is among the reasons for the decline in respectability. He agrees that some journalists have become advocates for various personal causes, framing stories according to a particular political slant or interjecting their opinion into news content.

“It’s good to be passionate about your job, but it’s also critically important to be fair and balanced and give both sides of an issue a fair shake,” said Guerin, 67. “It’s sad to me that people don’t trust the national mainstream media as they once did.”

Guerin believes bringing diverse voices into newsrooms will help restore trust. Also, aggressive reporting by online media of stories ignored by the national press would help, he said.

“I’m in favor of more paid news media outlets, where people are supporting great journalism with their wallet,” Guerin said. “There are many outstanding nonprofit organizations that are doing some valuable, newsworthy reporting and they need our support.”

Guerin graduated in 1979 from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He was a reporter for five years (1982-1988) for the San Diego Log, a bi-weekly publication covering recreational boating. Then, he joined the staff of a Union-Tribune-owned weekly community newspaper called Neighbors, covering the South Bay (1988-1994). When Neighbors shut down, he served as editor of The Star-News (1994-2000), a Chula Vista-based community newspaper.

Starting in 2000, he spent six years (2000-2006) as managing editor of the San Diego Transcript, a weekday business newspaper, before his promotion as editor (2006-2014). He ended his career serving as news editor at KPBS (2014-2022).

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to wrap-up my career in a public media newsroom,” Guerin said. “It was a great place to work. I had to learn new things, going from print journalism to a radio-TV environment. But, the basics of news reporting were the same.

“I was part of some great reporting at KPBS. And, during my career, I hired some reporters who are now working for national outlets, including Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. It makes me feel like a proud papa.”

Also during his career, Guerin served on the board of directors of the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists chapter, including two years as board president.

Guerin and wife Margaret King, a former U-T editor, have spent part of the past year traveling on road trips throughout the U.S., including sightseeing on the East and West coasts, in the Southwest and at national parks.

In 2014, his final year at the Transcript, Guerin was honored by the San Diego Press Club with the Jim Reiman Award for excellence in news media management. The Reiman award is named after a longtime KGTV-TV assistant news director who worked in the 1980s and 1990s. It was established in 1997, following Reiman’s retirement. Recipients of the award have been the unsung heroes of the news profession who may not have a byline or appear on camera but have had a profound influence on news gathering and production.

“I’m very proud of that recognition for running a good newsroom,” said Guerin. “Overall, I had a great career with very few regrets. I’m hoping more journalists will support each other whenever possible. It’s a tough world out there for reporters and the job isn’t getting any easier.”

Sandy Young (left) and Jean Walcher with the award.

J. Walcher Communications Named ‘Employer of the Year’

San Diego public relations and marketing agency J. Walcher Communications reports it recently received the Employer of the Year award from Business for Good San Diego, a nonprofit association of values-driven, local business owners.

The award is given to a business owner who consistently works to find every possible way to put people over profits and demonstrates an unwavering commitment to all their employees.

“One of my goals in business is to make sure that I have a staff that doesn’t dread coming to work,” Jean Walcher, agency president, told Times of San Diego. “It doesn’t mean they have to be jumping for joy every day, but that they feel supported, challenged, satisfied with the clients and work, and are constantly learning.”

“Jean understands what it is to be an intentional business owner, evidenced by the fact that most of her team has remained with the company for years,” said Danea Ramons, managing director, Business for Good. “Because of her dedication to her employees, she has been able to create an impactful and successful business.” 

Additional San Diego winners included: Erika Rodriguez, Nadi Marketing, Environmental Hero; Mitchelle Woodson, Think Dignity, Housing & Homelessness Hero; Invest in San Diego Families Coalition, Immigration Advocate; Jason Roberts, Frontline Careers, Business Resource Champion; City Heights Community Development Corp., Community Partner of the Year.

J. Walcher represents a range of local and national clients, including consumer products, associations, professional services, real estate development, sports and entertainment, hospitality and nonprofit. Current clients include Jewish Family Service of San Diego, Bazaar del Mundo Restaurant Group and Shops, Discover Coronado, Greystar and Lions Tigers & Bears. 

SOCi Platform Selected By RE/MAX Mortgage Subsidiary

SOCi a San Diego-based developer of social media and marketing platforms for multi-location brands, has been named by Motto Franchising as its preferred localized reputation management partner for its franchisees.

Motto Franchising is the nationwide mortgage subsidiary for the RE/MAX real estate brokerage chain. SOCi said it will provide Motto Mortgage brand’s national mortgage brokerage network with an all-in-one platform to manage brand presence through reviews, listings, social media content and advertising.

According to SOCI, Motto Mortgage needed a tool to empower franchisees to capitalize on digital connections that are made through social media and reviews across multiple locations. As a result, SOCi developed MottoRep, a platform that streamlines digital marketing efforts for franchisees to increase customer engagement in local markets.

Kelly Gill, VP of marketing and advertising for Motto Franchising, said in a statement, “In addition to providing another tool to make our franchisees more efficient, our corporate team wanted a transparent look at the brand reputation as we pride ourselves on the connections within local markets. We have already seen that SOCi will provide this insight within our decentralized model of business. Having a finger on the pulse of reviews, survey results, and social media engagements allows us to see both the positives and negatives happening in the communities our offices serve.”

“We built SOCi with scalability in mind so businesses like Motto Franchising can empower their franchisees to take charge of their own localized marketing efforts, in turn strengthening relationships with customers in local communities,” said Afif Khoury, CEO of SOCi. “Brand reputation has a direct impact on consumer buying decisions, so I’m thrilled our platform can provide the Motto network with the actionable insights they need to be successful.”

Other multi-location brands using SOCi’s marketing platform include Ace Hardware, Ford Motor Company, Jersey’s Mike’s, Rent-A-Center, Smashburger and Taco John’s. SOCi’s latest Series D round raised $80 million. Overall, the company has raised roughly $115 million from investors since its founding in 2012.

IABC Discussing Trends in Corporate Communications

The International Association of Business Communicators San Diego chapter will host an online presentation over Zoom on 2023 trends in corporate communications from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Topics will include trends shaping internal and external communications, how internal and external communications are becoming more aligned, ongoing impact of the pandemic and tools for more effective and efficient communications.

Presenters will be: Jack Chirrick, director of corporate communications, American Specialty Health; Melissa Eckmann, senior VP, corporate communications, Wells Fargo; La Monica Everett-Hayes, associate VP and chief communications officer for strategic communications and public affairs, San Diego State University; Julie Wright, president and founder, (W)right on Communications. Everett-Haynes was IABC’s 2022 Communicator of the Year.

Cost to attend the presentation is free for members, $10 for nonmembers. For more information, visit sandiego.iabc.com/.

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.


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Ellen Bullock