Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Not the Way the News-Press Planned

I was watching an old-school Miami Vice movie tonight and ran across an amusing, cheesey commercial for the News-Press made from stock video.

A prospective employee is talking about how he was trying to land a new job and sipping coffee from an oversized yellow cup. It goes on to show the boss, who looks like Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, doing a "garage sale" on his mountain bike. The employee had read about a race the prospective boss was in from the News-Press sports section and tried to use the information to get one up on a new job. After the biff, yellow cup man says: "It didn't go the way I planned, but I sure made an impression". Concurrently, you see the fallen biker get up and keep going in the race. It ends with yellow cup exclaiming "Thanks News-Press!".

Oooooh, such subtle use of visual metaphor -- I almost didn't catch it. Is this their message? That it "didn't go the way they planned but they sure made an impression"....are we supposed to be left with being proud of them for getting up and keeping on with the race? We are supposed to thank them?

The commercial itself begs the question why it is needed if subscriptions are up 1,000 with only 406 cancellations according to the Huff and Puff Report posted yesterday. With an average of 16 new subscriptions a day for a now very small paper, we have to ask who isn't telling the whole story? Given their history -- we have to assume the Huff and Puff Report is just that....the SBNP will say or do anything to get elected.


Anonymous Craig said...

The latest batch of News-Press commercials predate their current difficulties by a couple of months, unfortunately. They're all poorly made, and oddly enough highlight portions of the paper (Upcoming events, vacation coverage, wine coverage and local sports) pretty far removed from actually, you know, reporting news.

7/23/2006 2:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Seattle Weekly

Battling Wendy
Posted July 20 at 9:19 am by Rick Anderson
It's a memorable moment in journalism, an assault by a publisher on her own free press. But Wendy McCaw's heavy-handed managerial and legal maneuvers down in Santa Barbara likely come as no surprise to some lawyers in Seattle.

The former wife of Eastside telecom billionaire Craig McCaw and now publisher of the embattled News-Press in Santa Barbara, McCaw (pictured) squelched a potential story about the sentencing of one of her editors for drunken driving. That and other editorial conflicts ignited a staff revolt: Seven of the paper's top eight editors and a columnist walked out (a ninth quit later). When the dispute became national news, McCaw ran a front-page editorial accusing the ex-employees of distorting the news. She also instructed her own reporters and others to not comment when asked about the dispute and sent notices to three of the former employees threatening to take them to court if they exercised their right to speak freely.

While 500 people demonstrated against McCaw outside her newspaper this week, she expanded her attempts to muzzle even the press she doesn't own, ordering lawyers to issue a cease-and-desist order to the local alternative paper. (The paper caved—on the advice of its own lawyers.)

If nothing else, McCaw knows how to use the law and courts. It's how she became wealthy enough to turn novice publisher in 1997, buying the Santa Barbara paper for $100 million after receiving a divorce settlement from Craig McCaw which, the Washington Post reports today, was worth at least $460 million. That's about half right.

Wendy's attorneys outlawyered Craig's attorneys in a King County Superior Court evidence-discovery battle royal that led to the state's biggest-ever divorce settlement. As we reported in 1998, "housewife" Wendy outdueled cell-phone magnate Craig in pursuit of an estimated $2 billion in family holdings. Craig had enlisted 33 forensic financial experts and turned over 147,000 pages of paperwork to Wendy's attorneys in an attempt to prove what was his and what was hers. She countered with 30 experts of her own and 58,000 pages of paperwork, plus sought volumes of confidential records from other McCaw family members. She also served papers on Craig's business partners, Bill Gates and Boeing, who cried foul.

The pressure was on Craig and, within a few months, the McCaws settled. Including several boats and planes and four homes in California, Wendy walked away with somewhere around $1 billion in cash and assets, attorneys estimated.

At the Santa Barbara protest Tuesday, one placard read: "Wendy: Money Does Not Buy Everything." Maybe, but it buys a lot of attorneys.

Topics: Business, Media, and Newspapers

7/24/2006 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the first things Wendy and Arthur did after Joe left was fire the marketing department that made those spots.

7/24/2006 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anybody post the note McCaw wrote in the Op-Ed section today?

7/25/2006 12:45 PM  

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