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Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Huff and Puff PR

Thanks to David for providing this press release which works really hard to say absolutely nothing at all...it deserves it's own posting area:

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 20, 2006--The management of The Santa Barbara News-Press issued the following statement this morning.

The Santa Barbara News-Press respects the right of employees to seek collective bargaining through unionization. We do not believe this is in the best interests of the employees, company, readers or the community.

The company recognizes there are statutes and procedures that have been set by the National Labor Relations Board that must be followed. This includes a secret ballot election that protects the employees from coercion by the union or the company. The company will adhere to this process in a professional manner and expects that the employees seeking representation will do likewise.

As we move through the NLRB process, the company expects everyone involved to continue doing their jobs in a professional manner.

The company remains committed to all its employees and to the business of running a newspaper. The paper continues to have an open door policy for all employees to address their concerns.

Contacts
Agnes Huff Communications

16 Comments:

Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

The posting did not include the detail that the "media statement" [via BusinessWire found in any search] was marked with the time of 12:09 pm, the exact time of the employees announcement.

Here is an additional analysis:
Wow. Employees can act under the law and seek unionization. And the sky is blue.

This is just like the Tuesday "media statement" by Huff responding to the Restore-the-News-Press rally, which noted the newspaper respects the "right of all citizens to exercise their right of free speech and assembly." [read it yourself in SB Daily Sound, July19 2006]

Such an affirmation that the First Amendment still applies (at least to citizens) also is what Bush Administration repeatedly said about the anti-war protesters pointing out the continual lack of WMD weapons in Iraq.

But the question still remains. Which is the most egregious flack: Agnes Huff or Sam Singer? Discuss.

7/20/2006 11:44 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

To help the discussion further, see this description of Huff PR:

http://www.disaster-resource.com/articles/wwhuff.shtml
(copy the web address)

Looks like the Huff firm specializes in crisis communications following airliner crashes. Quite the metaphor there.

Also notice the address at Howard Hughes Center. This News-Press mess makes me think of that Supertramp album cover: "Crisis? What Crisis?"

7/21/2006 12:10 AM  
Anonymous Journalism 101 said...

Since the subject of media flaks came up: how about today's "news" article by crack reporter Bethany concerning yesterday's press conference by N-P workers and their reps. Find the missing facts. hint:does she ever state what the 'demands' are?

from today's online NP
Newsroom workers want demands met by Sept. 5

Bethany Hopkins

July 21, 2006 7:31 AM

Newsroom employees have given the Santa Barbara News-Press until Sept. 5 to meet their demands for union representation and other issues.

At noon Thursday, 18 employees dressed in black gathered in De la Guerra Plaza for a news conference featuring union representatives.

"We're giving the company 45 days to work this out," said Marty Keegan, lead organizer for the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The group announced a card, online and telephone campaign encouraging readers to cancel subscriptions if the employees' demands are not met.

7/21/2006 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to do this totally anonymously, but I had trouble logging on to my identity of "boB" that I have used in other posts.

It has struck me well before this fiasco at the News-Press that American workers in general are becoming much worse off since unions have become less powerful. I am not a union member, and never have been, but the massive loss of pension plans and the easy termination of workers throughout American industry have become epidemic.

Unions are not perfect, and they have had bad leaders who have done disservice to their members. But it is now becoming apparent to me that the management of many companies is increasingly behaving as royalty and treating their workers as subjects rather than as coworkers in a joint enterprise for a shared and common good.

Groups wield power that individuals cannot. All I can say about the organizational attempts now in progress at the News-Press is that the owner got what she deserved.

It also is obvious that since a large number of N-P employees have stood tall together, they have, at least for now, protected each other with their combined numbers!

7/21/2006 10:07 AM  
Blogger passing-by said...

I like the closing comment about the News Press having an "open door" policy... translation: anyone who displeases Princess McCaw will be shown to an open door.

7/21/2006 11:28 AM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

If the News-Press coverage of its own meltdown is not skewed as they claim, they sure are not trying too hard to counter that growing public belief. Below is the News-Press treatment of themselves, and the EdHat.com treatment of the same news conference, by a "citizen journalist" friend of Ed. Seems like EdHat, with less than one percent of the budget and experience, now is producing a better news article. Also see Lompoc Record today (July 21) for yet another deeper analysis.

And what is the intent of this News-Press intern writing: "to meet their demands for union representation and other issues."?!?!? And "if certain demands are not met."

What are the "other issues" and "certain demands"? That sounds like Governator Ahhnarhld and how he ends a statement with "...and tingks like dat and so one."

Of course, we know that the other huge issues are that are not mentioned in this micro article by the intern. Perhaps a second huge photo of Jill Zachary, cute as she is, really was not necessary for the news layout today and the same space could have been devoted to a few of those "other issues" somehow conveniently left out of the News-Press article about its own problems?

---------------
from News-Press:
Newsroom workers want demands met by Sept. 5

Bethany Hopkins, News-Press intern

July 21, 2006 8:58 AM

Newsroom employees have given the Santa Barbara News-Press until Sept. 5 to meet their demands for union representation and other issues.

At noon Thursday, 18 employees dressed in black gathered in De la Guerra Plaza for a news conference featuring union representatives.

"We're giving the company 45 days to work this out," said Marty Keegan, lead organizer for the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The group announced a card, online and telephone campaign encouraging readers to cancel subscriptions if the employees' demands are not met.

Marty Keegan, right, lead organizer for the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, stands with a group of Santa Barbara News-Press newsroom employees at a news conference on Thursday. The yellow cards are part of a campaign encouraging readers to cancel their subscriptions if certain demands are not met by Sept. 5.
------------------------
from EdHat.com:
Local News by Local People

Jul 20, 2006

By Colleen Watson

The News-Press workers’ press conference didn’t have the same attendance as the rally two days previous and was much more informal. A small crowd had formed around the employees who stood in black holding up yellow cards. In big bold letters at the top of the card read, "Save the Santa Barbara News-Press." There was then a place to sign the card that stated that the signer supports the News-Press newsroom staff to "restore journalistic integrity to the paper, obtain union recognition and negotiate a fair employment contract." The signer would cancel their subscription if the demands were not met by September 5, 2006.

One of the speaker for the employees was Marty Keegan, International Lead Organizer. The lack of a PA system had the crowd squeezing in on him to catch every word. Although he was rather vague in his answers, he did mention plans to sit down with advertisers to try and gain their support for the employee’s demands. He also mentioned plans to start a delegation of prominent citizens to sit down and meet with the owner and publishers. When asked if the workers would strike, Marty answered with "not if this works."

7/21/2006 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy has 45 days to interview personnel for new positions to replace the people that may strike. That's plenty of time.

7/21/2006 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Pinto says...

Management will only recognize a mass walk out or selective disruption or destruction of newspaper assets. Employees should be encouraged to take these steps. Only when this happens will management listen to workers.

7/21/2006 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anon 1158: and if wendy can find more ace reporters like the ones writing the news on the reporters' press conference, well---you get the message, eh?

7/21/2006 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Management" in the person of Wendy McCaw should NOT be treated as recommended by Mike Pinto.

From what I know of her (and little in person) being that disruptive/destructive will have only the effects of lawsuits against the perpetrators — and a dismissal of all. There is no job security in newspapers, if there ever was any.

What needs to be done is reasoning and communication, treating both sides of the question as having something important and valuable to say. What are the interests of the workers AND what are the interests of the management, specifically, Ms. McCaw? (And, dare we say, what are the interests of the community for which a newspaper is essential?)

If those aren't addressed, then bye-bye all. Don't forget that Wendy McCaw is not stranger to litigation....

7/21/2006 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I queried a friend of mine in LA, who is president of a very large PR firm, for the lowdown on Ms/Miss/Mrs Agnes, and why my friend's large firm, with a multitude of crisis experience, did not bid for Wendy's no-doubt lucrative and challenging job. This was LAPR guru's response:
"Yeah I saw that she was the spokeshole for Wendy. She throws her Ph.D. around. Me? Represent the publisher against the reporters? You want me to get stoned and beaten?????? No way Jose."
It may come to pass that Ms./Miss/Mrs PRPhD will have to spend her ill-gotten gains on a crisis PR doctor of her own to cure the ills and chills she'll be getting from the worldwide fraternity or reporters and journalists who are overwhelmingly incensed (and scared) by our Newpressmess.

7/21/2006 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ventura County Star will have a big article on the Sunday front page, about News-Press Mess Meltdown, rally, unionization, Huff and Puff PR, etc.

Besides the Star web site, print editions are in the racks at the Vons market in Carpinteria. Also, the print issue appearnce can be obtained via "NewsStand Reader"

7/21/2006 3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anon 1158: and if wendy can find more ace reporters like the ones writing the news on the reporters' press conference, well---you get the message, eh?

No I don't. What do you mean? And see if you can try to separate your opinion from fact.

7/21/2006 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The site is still under development. Much more to come, including expanded media coverage list (so much to log and just got started), hotline number and updates ... stay tuned (:

Save the Santa Barbara News-Press Website

Print a card

7/21/2006 10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...would be nice if these non-disgruntled (oops, sorry is sarcasm allowed by Sara the decider??)...would be nice if these employees listed their demands...I need to know if they are demanding the demolition of Hezbollah...

this is of great concern to me and my people, and please Sara, don't silence us...thank you....shalom

7/22/2006 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

demands are on the card, except for no. 2, which is invite back the editors. More features on the way. hope to build more of the site this week. bit by bit the site will grow.

7/23/2006 9:19 PM  

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