Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Indy Coverage of the News-Press Mess

This week's Angry Poodle explains why blond is always supposed to be spelled with an "e".

They also made a special page for the latest news on the mess at the News-Press....

More, I am sure, will be coming soon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The LATimes (,1,1692433.story?ctrack=1&cset=true)

The SF Chronicle: (

7/06/2006 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The inmates have now taken over the asylum.

7/06/2006 10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7/06/2006 11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...,1375,VCS_128_4826531,00.html

7/06/2006 11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is stunning news.....go to google's news site-- and put "Santa Barbara News Press" in the search window, and find news stories from all over--- Editor and Publisher, SF Chronicle, etc.
Finally, the outrageous antics of Armstrong and McCaw will be revealed so widely that there will be no place for them to go but OUT..

Encourage anyone you know who still gets the paper to cancel their least until the paper is once again in the hands of someone less autocratic

7/06/2006 11:18 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

AP (that's Associated Press, kids, the biggest news text network in the nation) wrote up this deep and surprisingly fast story, with SFChron running it first, and many others no doubt to pick up the story within a couple of days. As the pros say like ZZ Top: this story, She's got legs!

Also here is an original story in Ventura County Star, as well as one from Editor & Publisher, besides the Los Angeles Times article this afternoon and the Indy this morning. This one also is amusing:

If AP and these others go with a story at their web sites within 12 hours after what is now dubbed The Santa Barbara Media Massacre, those legs are going to be long. The sickeningly amusing part is the counterspin in the official NP response statements. The saccharine piece by Acting Publisher fails the LOL test.

Here are the 3 other original articles:
Top editors resign at Santa Barbara News-Press
- By GREG RISLING, Associated Press Writer
Thursday, July 6, 2006

(07-06) 17:09 PDT Los Angeles (AP) --

Santa Barbara News-Press Editor Jerry Roberts, four other top editors and a columnist quit to protest moves by the owner that they say undermine the paper's credibility.

The editors, who resigned Wednesday and Thursday, said owner Wendy McCaw and her closest associates have become increasingly meddlesome. They also pointed to the appointment of Travis Armstong to acting publisher while he serves as editorial page editor.

"What we have as a paper to sell to people is our credibility," said Don Murphy, who was the paper's deputy managing editor. "On one hand you have someone writing editorials and on the other hand editing news stories. There is an inherent conflict."

Sam Singer, a spokesman for McCaw, said the resignations were due to differences of opinion about the paper's direction.

"She wants stronger and more local news coverage," Singer said. "They had different interests and chose to resign."

Roberts is a former managing editor and political editor of The Chronicle. In addition to Roberts and Murphy, managing editor George Foulsham, metro editor Jane Hulse, business editor Michael Todd and columnist Barney Brantingham resigned.

"I loved the job, I loved the paper and had no intention of leaving," said Murphy, who spent 19 years at the News-Press. "I just felt I had to leave."

The News-Press, founded 1855, publishes seven days a week and has a daily circulation of around 41,000.

McCaw, a local philanthropist active on environmental and animal rights issues, bought the paper from The New York Times Co. in October 2000. Joe Cole, the newspaper's president and publisher, retired in April and McCaw appointed herself and her fiance, Arthur von Weisenberger, as acting co-publishers.

In addition to Armstrong's appointment on Monday, the editors who quit cited two stories that they believe compromised the paper's ethics.

The first dealt with Armstrong's drunken driving arrest. The newspaper ran a story about his arrest in May over the objections of ownership, Murphy said. A follow-up story was scrapped, he said.

Armstrong was sentenced last month to four days in jail and fined $1,600.

The second story dealt with actor Rob Lowe, who last month won approval from planners for a massive home despite a complaint from a neighbor that the mansion would spoil his panoramic ocean view.

The newspaper ran Lowe's address in the newspaper, which drew letters of reprimand from McCaw. However, the paper had no policy about using addresses in stories, Todd said. Soon after, employees were told not to publish people's addresses in the paper.

"It's been a lot of little things that have cast long shadows," Todd said. "The newsroom sanctity has been breached. We don't think it is or can be an ethical newsroom in the future."

Todd said he was suspended last week for making an inappropriate joke to another employee. He added, however, that the suspension came soon after he wrote a letter to management criticizing the letters of reprimand.

"When I was suspended it was going to be a cautionary tale for everyone that dissent wasn't going to be tolerated," Todd said.
5 editors at Santa Barbara newspaper walk out

Dispute with owner over ethics and management cited

By Jim McLain,
July 6, 2006

Five key editors at the Santa Barbara News-Press resigned abruptly this week, culminating a long-running controversy over issues involving newsroom integrity and ethics at the newspaper.

"It became very clear that there were irreconcilable differences on journalism, ethics and management," former Editor Jerry Roberts said.

Roberts, Metro Editor Jane Hulse and Business Editor Michael Todd resigned Thursday and were escorted from the building as some staff members watched in tears. Deputy Managing Editor Don Murphy resigned and George Foulsham, the managing editor, gave notice Wednesday. Columnist Barney Brantingham also reportedly resigned Thursday.

Sources said the resignations followed a series of incidents over the past few months in which Wendy McCaw, the News-Press' owner since 2000, increased day-to-day control over the paper's news coverage.

The latest incident centered around written reprimands to editors for a story printed last week covering a planning hearing for a vacant Montecito property owned by actor Rob Lowe. The actor has apparently expressed concern to editorial page editor Travis Armstrong about the address being mentioned in the story, although it was mentioned frequently during the televised hearing and in public documents.

Armstrong, who was named acting publisher June 30, has required that the newsroom get permission to print addresses in the future.

Sam Singer, McCaw's San Francisco-based spokesman, declined to discuss details of the reprimands over the Lowe story, but said McCaw, a former cellular telephone tycoon, considers privacy an important issue because stalkers can obtain celebrities' addresses easily over the Internet.

"It is the desire of the Santa Barbara News-Press to be respectful when it comes to disclosing personal information about any individual," he said.

Singer said McCaw has been working for months to increase the paper's local news coverage.

"She has had a number of conversations with the paper's senior management over the last several months to express her viewpoint as publisher," Singer said. "For whatever reason ... these individuals disagreed with that direction at the paper and chose to depart."

Others at the newspaper said the furor over the Lowe story was only the latest in a series of incidents in which some believe that McCaw compromised the News-Press' coverage. Todd, who resigned as business editor, said that when Armstrong was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in May, top management wanted the story squelched.

A story was finally published, but it lacked details such as his blood-alcohol content and disposition of the case. That angered many in the newsroom because the News-Press published a detailed story on the drunken-driving arrest of a Carpinteria city councilman only a few weeks earlier.

Todd and others said it was a series of similar incidents that triggered the resignations.

"It's been kind of like a glacier where it goes downhill but at a quarter-inch a year," Todd said. "And then all of a sudden when it's unsupported and it hits the open water, a big piece of ice the size of Rhode Island breaks off."

Todd submitted his resignation Thursday, but said he was suspended last week after writing a memo criticizing management, but was told the suspension was because of a remark he made several weeks ago to another News-Press employee.

Late Thursday, the News-Press was preparing to publish as usual today despite the loss of the five editors, Singer said. He said management is actively looking for replacements.

"All newsrooms many times feel the winds of change, and certain individuals want to be part of that change and other ones don't," Singer said. "That's just the way it goes."

Henry Dubroff, majority owner, chairman and editor of the Pacific Coast Business Times in Santa Barbara, said he was not surprised that there had been more turnover at the News-Press. The paper has been in search of an identity ever since it was sold by the New York Times Co., Dubroff said.

The situation raises the question of whether private ownership or ownership by a big chain is better for a newspaper. Often that depends on the owner.

The privately owned News-Press and publicly owned Los Angeles Times have both had their share of trouble, Dubroff said. "The answer isn't one or the other. The answer is a steady hand at the tiller," he said.

Foulsham, a former deputy managing editor at The Star, was named the News-Press' managing editor last fall. He is a resident of Oxnard.

Hulse, who lives in Ventura, has been with the News-Press for about 10 years. Roberts was editor of the San Francisco Chronicle before taking the Santa Barbara post.

McCaw bought the News-Press in 2000 from the New York Times Co. She has since purchased a Santa Barbara radio station. The News-Press was founded in 1855 and has a daily circulation of more than 40,000.

— Business reporter Allison Bruce contributed to this report.
Mass Exit at Santa Barbara Paper Causes Wild Scene

By E&P Staff

Published: July 06, 2006 8:45 PM ET

NEW YORK In a wild finish to a simmering "church-state" conflict, five top editors and a columnist have resigned from the Santa Barbara (Calif.) News-Press.

Editor Jerry Roberts, an industry veteran, was escorted from the building before noon, "as several staff members cried and others hurled epithets" at Travis K. Armstrong, the interim publisher who helps run the News-Press for billionaire owner Wendy McCaw, the Los Angeles Times reported.

On Wednesday, Managing Editor George Foulsham resigned, joined on Thursday by Roberts and three other editors, as well as longtime columnist Barney Brantingham.

"Journalists at the paper had greeted McCaw's purchase six years ago with relief, saying they welcomed the ascension of a local owner -- one known as an environmentalist and philanthropist," the Times' James Rainey related.

"But reporters, editors and some of Santa Barbara's most prominent citizens said Thursday that McCaw's tenure should give pause to many journalists around the country who have been pining for private owners to save them from publicly owned chains, which have been beset by budget reductions, layoffs and other woes."

Rainey quoted Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum: "When the newspaper was up for sale, we were wishing for a local owner. Now we have one, and all I can say is: 'Be careful what you wish for."'

McCaw, a strong environmentalist and animal rights backer, bought the 150-year-old paper from The New York Times Co. in 2000.

Editors who resigned this week accused her of improper meddling in editorial. "What we have as a paper to sell to people is our credibility," Don Murphy, who was the paper's deputy managing editor, told the Associated Press. "On one hand you have someone writing editorials and on the other hand editing news stories. There is an inherent conflict."

McCaw or her associates, the L.A. Times explained, "killed a story about a top editor's sentencing for drunken driving; reprimanded a reporter and three editors for publishing the address of actor Rob Lowe as part of a story about the star's attempt to build his 'dream house'; and issued a memo ordering journalists not to talk to outsiders about the newspaper's internal business.

"The ascension of a McCaw loyalist into the publisher's office late last week was the final straw for the journalists, they said in interviews Thursday."

Sam Singer, a spokesman for McCaw, said the resignations were due to differences of opinion about the paper's direction, the AP reported. "She wants stronger and more local news coverage," Singer said. "They had different interests and chose to resign."

Roberts is a former managing editor and political editor of The Chronicle. In addition to Roberts and Murphy, managing editor George Foulsham, metro editor Jane Hulse, business editor Michael Todd and columnist Barney Brantingham resigned.

"I loved the job, I loved the paper and had no intention of leaving," said Murphy, who spent 19 years at the News-Press. "I just felt I had to leave."

Other takes:
The LAObserved blog:

7/07/2006 12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BREAKING NEWS...NEWSPRESS IMPLODING!! At this very moment, editors and writers are bailing out of the Newpress, citing management's journalistic incompetence! Newspress spokesperson says Santa Barbara is lucky to have Wendy as owner of local newspaper but Wendy was unavailable for comment..she was dining with boyfriend Nipper, and heard to be shouting "to hell with the peon workers! I'll have Travis make up all the news!" "Waiter!! where's my endive salad??" Nipper was cowering under his napkin polishing Wendy's tootsies....stay tuned! it's allll gooood! Wendy, you're a helluva leader!

7/07/2006 6:39 AM  
Blogger Craig Smith's Blog said...

Mutiny at the News-Press?

7/07/2006 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can read The Santa Barbara Daily Sound online here.

They have a story on it as well...

7/07/2006 11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7/07/2006 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a horrible clip job of a story. And what a horrible way to read it online.

Note to Daily Sound copy editors: People don't return calls from newspapers, not to them:

I returned the Daily Sound to the rack with a sigh, and I decided not to return calls from its reporters.

7/07/2006 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Pinto says...

Travis is a enemy of the people. Those who seek 1st Admendment rights need not come to Santa Barbara. The NP has fallen into the camp of the corporate power brokers. Travis is the puppet masters new popinjay. Hey Travis, invite me to publish a weekly column on behalf of the progressives in our county. I will represent their voice. You will never allow it for they would take to the streets demanding a peoples take over of the NP.

7/07/2006 2:04 PM  
Anonymous turd ferguson said...

...that's funny.

7/07/2006 9:35 PM  
Anonymous big fat fan of travis said...

Keep on rockin' in the free world!

7/07/2006 9:37 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Per "Mike Pinto" above (2:04 PM), I hardly think his writings in any column would represent much of anything "on behalf of the progressives IN OUR COUNTY"

But thanks for helping with our vocabulary lesson of the day with

As for "a peoples take over of the NP," an employee-owned co-op would be nice, but lately I would be happy with an old-fashioned corporate takeover by Lee Enterprises, Sripps Company, or back by NY Times Company.

7/08/2006 12:00 PM  

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