San Luis Obispo editor retiring

Executive Editor Sandra Duerr is retiring after 19 years at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo.
Executive Editor Sandra Duerr is retiring after 19 years at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo.

After 42 years in journalism and 19 years at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, Executive Editor Sandra Duerr is retiring, effective Nov. 10.

“Sandy has been a great editor at The Tribune and is recognized nationally as a leader in our industry,” said Tribune Publisher Tom Cullinan, who’s also the publisher of The Fresno Bee. “Her legacy will be her open, collaborative style that encourages reporters and editors to share their ideas, all toward the goal of making The Tribune the best it can be.”

Under Duerr’s leadership, The Tribune was recognized for its public service journalism, including its in-depth reporting on the declining Paso Robles groundwater basin; the sharp rise in housing prices; the effects of the drought; and PG&E’s decision to close the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

During Duerr’s tenure, The Tribune won more than 300 state, regional and national awards, including three McClatchy President’s Awards, the company’s top honor.

As print has given way to digital, The Tribune’s website,, has grown steadily in readership. This year The Tribune has ranked among the best in McClatchy for pageview growth and won an online general excellence award from the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

Duerr, who was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University in 1989-90, was president of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 1991-92, where she established the Gary L. Klott Journalism Ethics Fund in 2003 in memory of her late husband. She has been a Pulitzer Prize juror three times and was given the Knight Ridder General Excellence Award in 2000 for her accomplishments at The Tribune.

She is a member of the Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and the Cal Poly Journalism Advisory Board. Before moving here in 1998, Duerr was a reporter and editor at newspapers in Wisconsin, New Jersey and Kentucky.

“I’ve been blessed to have a long career in journalism, pursuing stories that shed light on issues and that have made a difference in our communities,” Duerr said. “I’ve also been honored and privileged to work with extremely talented, dedicated, ethical and passionate individuals — all terrific journalists who strive every day to make a difference in this county.”

Looking ahead, Duerr said she will stay involved with journalism by teaching journalism classes at Cal Poly.

A national search for Duerr’s replacement is underway.