Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, August 04, 2006

Schultz and Molina Quit SBNP

I hesitate to post anything tonight as Fiesta will have everyone drinking and blogging :)

We've had an unconfirmed report that SBNP reporters Chuck Schulz and Josh Molina quit today. Two very good reporters with a great deal of experience....we wish them luck in the future.

Also, Hap Fruend, Executive Director of Santa Barbara Channels (Public Access TV) had this to say about a comment that suggested Armstrong tried to intimidate Channel 17 from airing the News-Press Forum:

He called and left me a voice mail message with some questions. I replied via e-mail. He asked some more questions (via e-mail) and indicated his intention to look into some old issues. I replied via e-mail. At no time did he link his inquiries to the two hour forum we were airing, but the timing is certainly coincidental or curious.

This morning he devoted one paragraph in his column to our organization.

Draw your own conclusions

Hap Freund
Executive Director, The Santa Barbara Channels.

Thanks for going on the record and being yourself here Hap....

Viva la Fiasco,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Luck to Josh and now we're up to 13 resignations in one month? spin that, Travis.

Thanks, Hap. Sounds like good ol' fashion bullying and intimidation by our friend Travis....oh yea maybe a coincidence..he stars getting curious about Channels TV about the same time it's airing the Forum.........Travis will just have to talk Wendy into starting a "NEWSPRESS TV" station and that will fix everything....

8/04/2006 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not Schultz and Molina! The NPmess gets sicker and sicker by the day...When I moved here I was so surprised at the high quality of reporters and editors attracted by the NP...and I admired each and every one I had the pleasure to know. NOT ONE of them deserved this catastrophic ending. It is like watching a plane fall out of the sky--a slow motion disaster in progress. I was told several months ago that after attending a publishers' conference, McCaw came away believing she was paying her reporters too much and was hoping to do some pruning, so this may play nicely into her long term business plans and added bonus--all the NYTimes leftover pensions go out the door as well with these fine reporters. Read it and weep Santa Barbara!

8/04/2006 6:05 PM  
Anonymous Philosophe said...

Come on Sara, Jessica Mitford is said to have written her best stuff after a few whiskeys. Thanks to Hap for his courage. He is bound to be on Travis' naughty list now. Regarding the resignations of Chuck Schultz and Josh Molina, when do we reach the tipping point at which the loss of experienced journalists turns the News-Press into an expensive high school newspaper? We are witnessing great acts of courage, people risking financial ruin in order to stand up for moral principle. My after work scotch may have made me a bit maudlin, but such courageousness puts lump in my throat. Where will this all end?

8/04/2006 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Travis' psychotic spewing was released onto the "business wire" for all the world to see....

8/04/2006 6:57 PM  
Blogger passing-by said...

If true, I've got a mix sadness and admiration for the latest reporters to resign. The community continues to suffer with the loss of more and more credibility at the NP, and the reporters pay for the sins of the morons at the top of the masthead. I haven't dealt with Mr. Schultz, but I have a long relationship with Mr. Molina through his coverage of neighborhood mansionization wars here on the mesa. He has been professional, even-handed, well-informed and accurate. He is too valuable to lose but too ethical to stay at the NP.

8/04/2006 9:01 PM  
Anonymous Nipped & Tucked said...

From today’s article in Editor and Publisher, "Von Wiesenberger said he believes the paper had rid itself of much of the alleged bias, but declined to note specific instances of it in the past. "We are getting honest, non-biased writing, which is what the news should be," he said."

How could a food critic and professional boyfriend know the difference?

From editing his high school paper?

8/04/2006 9:44 PM  
Anonymous War Memorial said...

Any volunteers to staff a memorial graveyard on the east side of the wharf? Update it each Sunday with the new weekly crosses. Place signs with quotes from the co-publishers at intervals in the sand. Staff with veterans to chat and hand out literature. Nipper would man the hotdog stand on the corner.

There are so many gone I want to make sure I have all of the names right:


Who's next? Can we start a pool?

8/04/2006 10:19 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

I hope 10:19pm is not serious. Any parody of "Arlington West" would be in very bad say the least.

8/04/2006 11:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From today's Washington Post,

Question Celebrity
Explore The World Of Fame

With Hank Stuever
Sunday, August 6, 2006; Page W03

Rob Lowe has a right to privacy, but does it exceed yours and mine? In Santa Barbara, Calif., the answer, for now, is yes. Last month, a large chunk of the staff of the daily newspaper, the News-Press, resigned in a huff, fed up with the apparently iron-fisted rule of owner/publisher, Wendy McCaw. Since she bought the paper six years ago (she came into her fortune via her ex-husband, who got rich from the cellphone industry), McCaw has, according to former staffers, issued edicts to the newsroom about covering her friends, especially the really rich ones. She made her fiance the restaurant critic, and she insisted his reviews get better play. She wrote a column advocating that the poor and needy be given rice and beans in lieu of turkey via Thanksgiving food drives -- because meat is cruel. McCaw, a bottle blonde, also always wants all uses of the word "blond" spelled with an "e."

But what really sent her over the edge was her paper's coverage of actor Lowe's petition to the Montecito planning commission to build a massive dream mansion. In the course of reporting this rather routine story (Hollywood star desires private castle; zoning laws sometimes get in the way), the News-Press published the address of the land where Lowe has been given approval to build. Lowe reportedly complained to McCaw, and a further edict was issued: no more addresses "without the resident's consent" in news stories. This, of course, goes against a journalist's first love -- public records. Soon enough, most of the top editors, some reporters and a columnist at the News-Press had resigned. (No matter; McCaw put one of her other friends in charge of the paper.) A week later, staff members held a protest in front of the building, wearing duct tape over their mouths. The mayor is now involved, and a group of local investors are even thinking of starting another daily paper -- how 19th century!

Missing from this lovely mess is Rob Lowe -- or any statement from his camp, of course. It almost never occurs to celebrities that there are kinds of privacies they are not entitled to, no matter how famous. Their defense is always some variation on stalker or paparazzi fears. Information such as their addresses, party registration, what candidates they've donated to, any civil or criminal records, what taxes they paid on their properties -- it's all in there in the public record, with the rest of America, in plain sight, where it should be.


8/05/2006 6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about the rest of you, but giving up my daily SBNP was tough at first. As much as I despised the editorial page, I loved reading the paper while sipping my coffee every morning.

As time goes by, I am getting more accustomed to reading only the LA Times. (I have to admit occasionally searching through the pile of old papers at Starbucks to find the NP.)

I wonder if the NP will survive. It is getting easier every day to not read it! I hope it does continue on, hopefully WITH union representation and WITHOUT Mr. Armstrong. In my mind, he brings nothing but viciousness and anger to our community. Please be gone, sir!!

8/05/2006 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Hilarious said...

*Nipper, Get Me My Firing Dress!*

I went to Fiesta last night to do a little Flamenco dancing (you all know how I'm really into telling the story of world culture through dance, right?) and got a little idea:

I have a fancy dress for Flamenco dancing...why shouldn't I have one for hirings and firings?

Read more at (since the lawyers you speak about, Barney, cease-and-desisted my myspace page away, totally by mistake of course):

Wendy McFlaw, whoops, I mean Spendy McCaw, I mean--

Posted by Spendy McFlaw | August 5, 2006 01:22 PM

8/05/2006 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with 6:54 AM

Rob Lowe. He is at the center of this and he get off free. And he is at the center because he put himself there. His big NIMBY neighborhood group - building a big home and fence - then showing at the hearing and dis his neighbors homes - giving his address.

This is such the Montecito Association double standard example as they take his money and support his NIMBY except when it is one of them.

Go for Lowe - time to examine what he is doing.

8/05/2006 2:19 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

When will this all stop :-( Is Dawn Hobbs the only one left and when will she decide to go? :-( This really is getting bad for Wendy & Travis and they deserve every bit they get! dd

8/05/2006 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Pinto says...

Who cares the NP is full of crap even before these people quit. I am more interested in starting the buzz for Al Gore's his deserved Oscar for the most important movie of all time.

8/05/2006 3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting how Heather Lea Hulse's address is pretty much given away by the NP today. I suppose if she was a Hollywood star, her address would be embargoed.

8/05/2006 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who cares!! Travis is toast now.. I wanna know what happened to Kate the KEYT weathergirl...

8/05/2006 3:52 PM  
Blogger passing-by said...

Irony Department: I got my refund check for my cancelled subscription from the NP today (it took 2 weeks instead of the 4 days they said it would take... probably too busy signing up all their new subscibers, I guess.) Anyway, there are two machine signatures on it - Randy Alcorn and JERRY ROBERTS!

8/05/2006 3:55 PM  
Anonymous cheri rae said...

The loss of talent began when Wendy took control of the N-P--so many fine editors, designers and reporters have left since then...

Josh Molina's departure is another terrible blow, not only to the newspaper, but to those of us who live in neighborhoods targeted by developers. (Who doesn't these days?) His fair, often proactive coverage of a story before it was framed by the events during a hearing brought greater awareness about individual neighborhood issues to the entire community. And his determination to stay until the very end of a hearing often brought forth significant details and insightful quotes.

As a "neighborhood advocate" I will deeply miss his contribution and professionalism. As a fellow journalist, my heart goes out to him, the rest of the principled professionals who have had to leave and those who are still managing to bring themselves to work for yet another day. As for those who have stepped into the ever-enlarging void, a word of caution: what may seem to be a quick career advancement may haunt you the rest of your professional lives.

8/05/2006 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is disturbing is that Lowe had actually won his case—but he couldn’t leave well enough alone. He wanted to flex more star-power. With Montecito Association un-characteristically declining to lobby against Lowe’s oversized mansion because, as Association president Robert Collector told the Montecito Journal, it would be "impolite,” Lowe had it made, even on appeal. However, Lowe, who helped found HDF with Collector, became heady with the success of his planning commission win, felt empowered with his celebrity privilege, and could not resist another stroll onto the “I’m special”-stage. He leaned on Wendy to fuss about the address of his vacant lot being published. To make his point he canceled his NP subscription and the rest is history—now we’ve all canceled our NP subscriptions! Where is our NIMBY movie star now? He should be publicly and privately is begging Wendy to stop this nonsense created because of him! But, believing any publicity is good publicity, I hear, instead, Lowe’s rented his house here and ducked out of town “on location.” While he diddles elsewhere, he asked "Mr. Manners" himself, Robert Collector, to watch the hen house and mediate a settlement with Lowe’s offended neighbors. Rob now wants to eliminate any little neighborhood unpleasantries, like blocked views, so he won't have to face a very public Board of Supervisors appeal. It’s all so richly civilized—the wealthy neighbors get their view, the now more-famous-than-ever bad boy Lowe gets his oversized mansion, screen-writer-turned-mediator Collector gets a new and very indebted Hollywood pal, the Wendy gets a non-union paper and gets to rid herself of some costly old pension responsibilities along with a bunch of too-expensive employees –and all these splendid benefits coming at the mere cost of 32 hard-working, but apparently dispensable, journalists. As they say in Hollywood “What a deal!” Watch for Collector’s made-for-TV-movie, starring Lowe, produced by Ampersand, titled “Let Them Eat Cake and Drink Water!” but in the mean time I'm looking for real entertainment. When does Travis do his four days of jail time? How about demanding he serve the sentence in public stockades in the center of De la Guerra Plaza? Now, that’s entertainment!

8/05/2006 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

New posting by the Indy on its media blog about Travis Armstrong's column last week:

Are Co-Publishers Wendy McCaw and Arthur von Wiesenberger completely out of touch to think it benefits the Santa Barbara News-Press to put the column out over a national business wire?

8/05/2006 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Montecito Association before "Bob and the Nimbys" where respected.

After how they have treated Ty Warner and Westmont - and finally gave Lowe a pass - the party is over.

8/05/2006 6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyone with info if wendy is asking charities getting $ from her foundation to call vanity fair to tilt story to her?

8/05/2006 8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is sad. Chuck is a great journalist. He did right. Josh was growing but in many ways was part of the problem - creating a mess in city hall with alarming stories about nothing and missing the real stories.

8/05/2006 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re Vanity Fair Spin: My guess is there may have been those who wouldn't go on the record with Vanity Fair about McCaw because they feared future economic, social or philanthropic reprisals. However, dozens and dozens of SB people did "talk" and from what I've heard there won't be much tilt in McCaw's direction.

The person writing the story is a longtime REPORTER, so he has a better than casual understanding of journalism ethics and his sympathies might naturally align with the pros from the Fourth Estate.

Furthermore, money doesn't usually talk too loud at Vanity Fair--they are used to stars trying to pull rank, buy them off or have unsolicited spinmiesters try to change their slant. It rarely works. If the writer wanted to interview to you, he did, and, if not, good luck getting to him at this point. This piece is being published very soon in New York where, unlike Santa Barbara, they still have a non-owner manipulated and editorial savvy free press--that said, I suppose McCaw could hastily buy Vanity Fair and put a lid on the story that way--one just never knows!

8/05/2006 11:51 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

So what "real stories" did Josh Molina miss, and what "mess" in City Hall did he create?

Put up or shut up. Don't just throw out unsubstantiated anonymous libel.

Is this more of the middle D in DDT?

8/06/2006 12:00 AM  
Blogger Craig Smith's Blog said...

For those of you wondering what happened to KEYT's Kate Wentzel, here's the story.

8/06/2006 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey..thanks for the Kate news! What KEYT doesn't get is DEBBY DAVISON IS THE PROBLEM!! I watch her and bad vibes ooze out of the screen..most of the time she's a sourpuss and the occasional smile is phony.. and the new weather guy is just goofy!

8/06/2006 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Debby Davidson can be somewhat tiresome, but Rosemary Orozco just grates on my nerves every morning. I heard she's taking classes to be a certified meteorologist. Let's just hope she doesn't become the "chief" weather guru. I already miss Kate and her rather unusual attire, at times. Let's hope that this doesn't turn into another SB News Press fiasco.

8/06/2006 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kate Wentzel was the only thing worth watching on KEYT! Now what are they going to do?

8/06/2006 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since you're in the rumor business, I thought you might like to know rumor has it Wendy McCaw is meeting with the Daily Sound over the purchase of that paper.

8/06/2006 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Wildlife Care Network would be one to come to Wendy's rescue. Does anyone know if they were interviewed?

8/06/2006 7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Josh missed that Marty is a looney. He missed that Iya and Barnwell have the real deal. He missed that Das is smart and agressive yet oh so immature. He missed that Armstrong is a power hungry frat boy. He missed that it is all about money and he does not understand the budget. He does not get it that Das while the smartest has only a vote or two on occasion. He forgot that the staff runs the city and they did not trust him.

Josh mad the complex simple and the simple complex. He like Das is young and got played day by day.

First District I too love Das but like Josh he was not there yet.

City Hall misses Harriet. City Hall misses Secord. They were on opposite sides yet were mature.

8/06/2006 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Philosophe said...

Ah anonymous 9:23, how glib and wry it is to pass judgment on people with whom you have obviously never had a conversation. By any measure, Marty is not "looney" and Das is more deliberate than his apparent lack of success would indicate. Jim Armstrong is a skilled professional manager whose primary motivation is not power but rather moving the City apparatus forward as smoothly as possible into deep waters despite the attempts of many to run the ship up on the rocks. I would imagine that anonymous 9:23 never tried her or his hand at making a city function, or he/she would not have been so glib.

8/06/2006 10:46 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Oh, thanks for those clear facts on why Molina is supposedly a bad reporter.

If only everyone Saw The Light and understood how Falcone, Secord, and Miller were so good for the City.

That is sooooo helpful simply to revisit the cult of personalities.

8/06/2006 11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea, FDS, things are running real smooth over at DLG Plaza with Marty in charge. Ribbons are being cut at a breathtaking pace.

8/07/2006 8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The current council reminds me of "mock trial" in high school; few grown ups, and throw in a City Administrator who thrives on hoarding information, and what we have is a poorly served city. It's pathetic and I can't wait till next year for an opportunity to inject some sanity into the mix.

8/07/2006 9:17 AM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Thanks, anonymous commenter, those details really help everyone understand about "looney" "real deal" "real smooth" "mock trial" "hoarding information" "pathetic" and "sanity".

One more time: so why was/is Molina a bad reporter?

At least Josh knows that Harriet Miller no longer is Mayor and never can be again.

8/07/2006 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the worse city council in three decades and Josh made it worse but driving wedges in the personalities of very thiin skinned politicans.

8/07/2006 9:51 AM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

"driving wedges in the personalities of very thiin skinned politicans"

Oh, I get it now. That makes so much sense. Maybe if I ate more junk candy from Easter Egg Hunts I really would understand.

Maybe one person's "driving wedges" is another's TOUGH INTERVIEW?!?

8/07/2006 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like the faux Wendy page on MySpace was taken down. No doubt there was pressure from Her Craziness, but it was clearly labeled as a parody, which the Supreme Court has ruled is largely immune from libel charges.

Speaking of unhinged personalities, maybe we should start a pool on when Travis gets the boot. It's inevitable, right? The Wendynator turns on everybody eventually.

8/07/2006 12:02 PM  
Anonymous anonymous too said...

I agree with 9:51am. This city council is messed up. They like to call themselves environmentalists, but HELLO!!!!! Just drive through downtown and look at all the tall buildings that have gone up and are going up. Up up up. Bye bye small town Santa B. Marty & Company may not be all bad, but they have allowed this beautiful town to speed up its journey into becoming a busy, congested, paved paradise. It is Marty & Company's responsibility to protect Santa Barbara. I say we send them all to Venice Beach for six months. Call it an educational field trip.

8/07/2006 1:51 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Let's get back on track people! Stick to the sybject of the post please!

8/07/2006 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

These resignations are a natural part of the corrective course the News-Press has embarked on. All organizations experience change, and the News-Press was overdue for a rebuilding. Too many staffers had lapsed into complacency and mediocrity, and over time developed biases and agendas that crept into their reporting and editing. McCaw recognized this and had a courage to take corrective action, and the News-Press will be stronger for that.

8/07/2006 7:51 PM  
Blogger passing-by said...

So what are we to make of Starshine's (or is it Sunshine or Moonshine, I always forget...) column Sunday gushing over how profoundly her previous and now departed editors and colleagues had influenced her and how they were all pillars of journalism and professional role-models? Is she the next out the door or is she the token free-speech designee for the week? I've got to think the latter or else how would the item get by Armstrong and into the paper?

8/07/2006 8:22 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Rumor has it that the other Barney (McManigal) is on the verge of joining his compadres on the unemployment line.

I agree with Nelville Flynn, however, that these seemingly endless changes may be part of an overall and long term improvement for the News-Press.

8/07/2006 9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope all you people in the plaza who put the reporters up on pedestals during Pritchettfest have some work to offer them as they slowly quit or get pressured off the job. It always easier to have somebody else take your bold stand for you. All of us continue to draw our paychecks as this crisis inevitably moves to the back-burner but the reporters are going to take the real blow, not all the self-righteous windbags getting back at Travis and Wendy while the reporters were being served up as the Judas goats.

8/07/2006 10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Bill Carson & Neiville: What kind of improvement would it be to lose Oxford Master Barney McManigal? I just really have to believe this community has NO idea what a great asset they had in the News Press reporters and editors. All I can say is if you didn't like the Roberts' team, await developments as new, young, inexperienced reporters try to learn the ropes with little experienced guidance. The News Press certainly will not be improved -- it will be forever marred.

8/07/2006 11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nelville Flynn,

These resignations will change the course of the paper. But they follow no apparent recognitions or acceptable "action" from the ownership -- unless you consider spiking legitimate news, issuing reprimands for supposed violations of policies that don't exist and banning the use of addresses in land use coverage forward thinking and welcome. These decisions contain no courage, and herald chaos.

8/08/2006 1:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of us see these changes as improvements to the NP.

8/08/2006 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:43 "these decisions... herald chaos" --- and I would add misspellings and ignorance. I refer to the story in today's paper on the city council hearing tonight and the reference to the "Agricultural Board of Review" --- which those more knowledgeable than reporter Kogan might identify as the Architectural Board of Review.

Given how he reported on the Victoria Hall forum, listing only Roberts and Burns as panelists, ignoring national journalists Cannon, Bardach, and the others there, but instead quoted a UCSB professor who was not on the panel, a reader should not believe what that reporter, at least, writes as anything but opinion and not news.

(yes, I continue to subscribe; how else will I be able to follow through on the pledge and cancel if the requests/demands are not met!)

8/08/2006 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What do you expect when the editorial page editor functions as the defacto news editor and gets to suggest angles, kill stories that don't have your favored slant, and change your words without your permission?

You have a seperate news operation so that the person editing the news does not have a bias known to the community. This creates a perception that you can "trust" what is being read.

As long as Travis gets to control the news we will lose reporters and not be able to trust what we read.

And we will have to suffer as junior staff writers attempt to cover important events such as the NPO knowing nothing about the subject other than what their predecesors have written.

8/08/2006 9:12 AM  
Blogger The Observer said...

Another website, the Goleta Valley Observer, has begun profiling the 2nd District race. Todays feature is Dan Secord.

8/08/2006 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kate Wentzel... do you know where?

Please let us know

8/08/2006 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as I know, Barney McManigal is in this for the long haul and has no intentions of resigning...

8/08/2006 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

Turnover is a natural and often healthy process for any organization. Under previous editorial management, news coverage in the News-Press was infested with bias and the standards of reporting were often degraded. With Wendy McCaw's commitment to quality and investment in same, the editorial department's performance was simply disappointing.

Having said that, the current transition is likely to be rocky. Beats will go uncovered for a few days, while remaining staffers will have to work harder. New reporters will take time to develop institutional knowledge. Mistakes will appear in the newspaper. However, from this process a stronger newspaper will ultimately emerge -- one that fulfills McCaw's pledge of journalistic evenhandedness and professionalism, and of quality. Our community will be richer for having endured this, and for continuing to support the newspaper during this time.

8/08/2006 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you expect when the editorial page editor functions as the defacto news editor and gets to suggest angles, kill stories that don't have your favored slant, and change your words without your permission?

You have a seperate news operation so that the person editing the news does not have a bias known to the community. This creates a perception that you can "trust" what is being read.

As long as Travis gets to control the news we will lose reporters and not be able to trust what we read.

And we will have to suffer as junior staff writers attempt to cover important events such as the NPO knowing nothing about the subject other than what their predecesors have written.

Conjecture, opinion, blahdity blah.

8/08/2006 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Sonny said...

"natural part of the corrective course the News-Press has embarked on" can't be serious!

thanks, newspress!
I was hiking thru the foothills of Hope Ranch when I came upon a little doe. This little doe had a gold chain around her neck and was wearing designer earrings. She asked me if I was going to kill her..I said "no" ...She asked "why"? I said I've been reading in the paper that animals have feelings and lobsters like to laugh and play! The doe smiled, I smiled and continued on my hike..I even made a friend...thanks, newspress!

8/08/2006 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nelville Flynn is incorrect in his assessment of the News-Press' standards of reporting. I've worked as a newsroom editor here for many years. At no time has the coverage been "infested with bias" and the standards of reporting "often degraded," as Mr. Flynn claims. There were problems under the New York Times' ownership, mostly because NYT execs were using the paper as a training academy. Some people were given jobs for which they were not qualified and the resulting problems became evident in our coverage. Jerry Roberts and Linda Strean, after hearing concerns presented by various newsroom staffers, addressed those issues and the problems ended. Roberts and Strean raised the quality of reporting to levels never before even attempted here in recent years.

8/08/2006 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Flynn: Even if you are only 20, and you live to be 80, I would doubt that you would EVER see the NP return to what it was on July 1, 2006. I can only assume you are a PR plant or the most uninformed person on the planet about the business of journalism. I certainly ditto the comments of A:9:32...Linda and Jerry worked to assemble an amazing team! Bon Chance to those who left and kudos to those who remain--in both cases I have nothing but admiration.

8/08/2006 11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



8/09/2006 1:50 AM  
Anonymous sept.fifth.if said...

Nelville Flynn,

What flavor Kool-Aid are you drinking, buddy?

To Blogabarbara readers,

I urge you to disregard future comments from this contributor unless he/she can answer this question to your satisfaction: How, Nelville Flynn, do you reconcile Wendy McCaw's "pledge of journalistic evenhandedness and professionalism," as you put it, with her demonstrated willingness to spike legitimate news, issue reprimands for supposed violations of policies that don't exist and ban the use of addresses in land use coverage?

To suggest that, over time, the calamities born from these decisions will somehow lead to a better product, and to suggest that we should nurture this evolution, is preposterous. The trickle-down results of McCaw ownership of the SBNP can never fully be trusted. Perception, public perception = credibility.

Lastly, Nelville Flynn, I simply wish to express gratitude that your pheonix-from-the-ashes theory is equally applied to a scenario in which McCaw no longer owns the Santa Barbara News-Press.

8/09/2006 1:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can any news be trusted? Now they're using Photoshop to alter world news (Reuters)...

The NP has been just one step above a tabloid rag for years. So, they are no better than the rest.

8/09/2006 8:18 AM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

Re: sept.fifth.if's challenge: What "legitimate news" did Wendy McCaw spike? If you're referring to the follow-up story on Travis K. Armstrong's drunk-driving case, I'm sorry: That's not legitimate news. The standard for reporting DUI cases at most newspapers is that the perpetrator be a public figure. This is widely understood to include elected officials and the heads of the area's largest corporations. An editorial page editor fits neither of those criteria. The San Diego Union-Tribune did not report the drunk-driving arrest of its publisher, David Copley, and it is not considered journalistically suspect. So let's move on ...

The "spiked" profile of outgoing Carpinteria Councilwoman Donna Jordan: It was not spiked, but held to flesh out certain details and build a more complete picture. This is neither nefarious nor unethical. It happens at newspapers all the time. This is quality control in action, folks, not censorship.

Scott Hadly's piece on the News-Press resignations: The story was not published because of any newspaper's inherent conflict of interest in reporting on itself. Hadly was hardly a neutral observer but someone who had a deep interest in the events he was chronicling. Rather than publish a journalistically untenable story, the News-Press wisely decided to run a signed column, so that the biases of the author were properly disclosed. The column incorporated the same facts found in the Hadly story and those from other media, so charges of censorship don't stick.

As for withholding addresses for privacy reasons, that's a judgment call within the publisher's prerogative. You won't find a newspaper naming rape victims, in order to shield their privacy. Many newspapers agree to withhold certain biographical details that would compromise the privacy of sources and people in sensitive circumstances. Given that Santa Barbara is a relatively small town, and Rob Lowe a high-profile personality, withholding the address -- but still publishing the story about the controversy -- seems to balance the need for privacy and discretion with the public right to know. As for McCaw reprimanding those involved with the Lowe story, whether or not there was a formal policy, the editors clearly displayed a lapse in judgment in deciding to include the address. A sanction, short of firing, seems to me appropriate.

I hope this answers the questions posed by sept.fifth.if.

8/09/2006 8:23 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Should responses be sent directly to:

Travis A. obviously is writing this continual spin, sober for a change, and without the vitriolic shrillness (Nipper is not that articulate with words). The next step is to make the same arguments without hiding behind the shield of a pseudonym, and in a setting with other people actually present.

Then an actual discussion and dialog will ensue in a civil manner. Travis complained that the forum on August 24 at Victoria Hall did not invite him. Well, now is the chance actually to communicate with the rest of the community.

Just as a single example, a response, in real time with real people there, to why the address of a project application at Montecito Planning Commission (the Rob Lowe address) should be a secret and "lapse of judgment" would be a start for a calm and serious discussion.

Then, we all can talk about what was left out of the profile of Donna Jordan, and why. Did Jordan criticize Joe Armendariz or not, and can that be confirmed? This all can be figured out civilly, perhaps around a table with just five local reporters from other media, such as John Palminteri, Matt Cota, Nick Welsh, Lance Orozco, and Kay Saillant.

This can be done. Just one step at a time. The truth shall set you free, Travis A. The public and your purported colleagues really will not bite. Call a meeting and explain yourself about all this stuff by "Neville" instead of hiding behind an anonymous blog entry.

8/09/2006 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nelville: Two points:

Point One: Travis Armstrong is enough of a public figure to be invited to community events as the "Face of the News Press" (i.e. the event at Bacara); to have his own radio show, and to serve as an MC of a public forum on politics where I believe he was introduced as a "A Man Who Needs No Introduction..." The editors made the right to cover.

Point Two: Rob Lowe stated his own address at the planning commission hearing. He was not forced to go to the podium nor did he need to identify himself with the property (it was listed in his wife’s name)--but he chose to do so, hoping his star-power would help his case. Because of Lowe’s loose tongue, the reporter had every right to publish the address Lowe willingly offered up in a public hearing.

Before I waste anymore time watering down NF replies, could someone who has been around this blog for a while tell me if Nelville is a regular...of did he just bubble up when the NP got in trouble--sort of the way a paid PR person might blog-on for spin-control?

8/09/2006 11:03 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

FDS -- usually I don't allow posts that try to identify previous commenters in such a way as you did but the rest of your comments are well taken. Nelville, if you are not the person in question please accept my apologies...even if you are, you have a right to remain anonymous here.

8/10/2006 5:24 AM  
Blogger Craig Smith's Blog said...

According to the latest numbers the News-Press has been furnishing its advertisers to justify the ad rates it charges, the paper's total circulation has shrunk since January of this year.

8/10/2006 6:41 AM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

It is sadly typical of critics of the News-Press, when they cannot win arguments of logic or fact, to switch to ad hominem attacks. We've already heard about the reclusive, eccentric vegetarian owner who came across her fortune illegitimately, the megalomaniacal editorial page editor who became her stooge, and the dilettante co-publisher who lucked his way into his position.

Don't believe a word of it.

Now these self-appointed press watchdogs are turning their attention on me, trying to unmask this anonymous defender of the newspaper's management. This shows that the News-Press' enemies cannot win a rational debate, so instead they turn to demonizing those who have the temerity to defend McCaw's attempts to improve the newspaper.

8/10/2006 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are the facts about the decline in actual subscriptions yet another example of Ad Hominum Attacks?

8/10/2006 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although you're plainly well-educated, Nelville (Swiss boarding school, perhaps?), it's even clearer that you are a shill and a fraud. You have absolutely on idea what you're talking about. Those of us in the newsroom are there because we're professionals who care about journalism. You, sir, are a dandy who couldn't carry the notebook of any of those who chose unemployment over the house of horrors your patron has created. Please crawl back in your well-appointed hole and leave us alone.

8/10/2006 9:35 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Anon 9:35 pm -- I hesitated in publishing this and only have out of respect for what sounds like your experience in the newsroom. I'd rather not publish accusations of being a shill, dandy, etc. -- I share your assumptions but let's let him and others show us who they really are right here -- it's so transparent.

8/10/2006 10:12 PM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

To all the anonymous and pseudonymous posters on this forum: Perhaps YOU would like to reveal your identities to the world, since you're so keen on vituperative personal attacks rather than debating the issues at hand. From the beginning, it was plain that this was never a debate about journalistic ethics, but one about growth and development politics in Santa Barbara County. The newspaper, by being a vigorous advocate for Santa Barbara, has placed itself in the middle of a well-funded smear campaign bankrolled by out-of-town development interests.

So who are you, anonymous?

Susan Rose? Marty Blum? Or a p.r. plant of developers or the labor union now attempting to hijack the News-Press newsroom?

8/11/2006 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Point taken, Sara. It's just awfully difficult to keep a civil tongue when you see (expletive) like him spew nonsense. I'll keep my comments more ... circumspect in the future.

Thanks much for everything.

Oh, and it should've read "no idea" in that post. I am abashed.

8/11/2006 10:21 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Thanks 10:21 -- see the comment above yours -- I'm allowing the identity naming only because it is so preposterous! I can't see how what has happened at the News-Press is about out-of-town development interests when most of us here want limits to growth. It's all about the ethics....

8/11/2006 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really have come unglued, haven't you, Nelville? I'm beginning to think you really believe there is some sort of conspiracy. If so, I advise professional help. You've apparently slipped into some sort of alternate reality in which your "enemies" are everywhere -- and everyone.

But now that I think about it, keep it up. Every time you repeat your ramblings you simply reinforce the perception, now common, that you've completely lost it. Trust me: Nobody takes you seriously.

As for who I am -- let's just say that if I identified myself I'd have the HR queen (how does she sleep at night?) and a security guard at my desk before I could take another breath. You know how it works.

8/11/2006 11:39 AM  
Anonymous blammo said...

Hey Nellville Flynn,

Chew on this (and perhaps you can run some of your points past Beth then get back to us with her responses) ...

SPJ honors Santa Barbara journalists with Ethics Awards

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Beth King, Communications Manager
(317) 927-8000, ext. 211,

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is presenting an Ethics in Journalism Award to nine California journalists who resigned rather than accept and enforce a series of top-management decisions at the Santa Barbara News-Press that they believed violated provisions of the SPJ Code of Ethics.

When they left the News-Press in July, all nine journalists, including five top editors and a veteran columnist, cited improper ownership and management meddling in the editorial content of the privately owned newspaper. They pointed specifically to sections of the SPJ Code of Ethics that call upon journalists to “distinguish between advocacy and news reporting” and to be “accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.”

SPJ traditionally steers clear of management-employee disputes, and understands the prerogatives that come with newspaper ownership. It does not take a position either way on formal workplace grievances or union activity resulting from internal disputes.

Nevertheless, the Society has concluded that the tumultuous events that led to collective resignations at the Santa Barbara News-Press were precipitated by breaches in the newspaper’s foremost ethical obligation – to its readers – and is proud to support those who have put ethical convictions above professional security.

Selected for the national journalism organization’s highest ethics award are:

• Jerry Roberts, former executive editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press.

• George Foulsham, former managing editor.

• Don Murphy, former deputy managing editor.

• Gerry Spratt, former sports editor.

• Michael Todd, former business editor.

• Jane Hulse, former city editor.

• Colin Powers, former presentation editor.

• Former columnist Barney Brantingham, a
fixture at the newspaper for 46 years.

• Scott Hadly, former reporter.

The Ethics in Journalism Award honors reporters, editors or news organizations that distinguish themselves by performing in an outstanding ethical manner as defined by the SPJ Code of Ethics. News organizations around the world have long regarded the Society’s Code of Ethics as the defining standard of ethical conduct among professional journalists.

“We pay tribute to the courage and principled sacrifice of these nine journalists, who opted to risk their livelihoods rather than remain in a position where they felt their journalistic ethics and professional credibility were being violated,” said David Carlson, president of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Carlson said the Society decided to present the awards after initiating a comprehensive inquiry into the issue. The investigating team, which included several national board and committee members, solicited the views of many of the honorees as well as News-Press owner and Co-Publisher Wendy McCaw before deciding to recognize the nine journalists.

Roberts will accept the award on behalf of the nine Santa Barbara journalists on Saturday, Aug. 26, during the President’s Installation Banquet at the 2006 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Drive.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.


8/11/2006 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

The Society of Professional Journalists marches in lockstep with newsroom labor unions, believing that union representation will lead to higher wages and benefits for members.

In this case, the Society's decision to honor the self-martyrdom of the nine News-Press castoffs reveals its true motive: exacerbating newsroom divisions to create a climate hospitable to a union takeover.

It's transparent, really, and not surprising to see these groups close ranks like this.

But the News-Press is stronger than the Teamsters union, stronger than self-appointed press watchdogs like the SPJ and stronger than its anonymous critics and bloggers who would rather snipe than help build a better newspaper.

8/11/2006 3:00 PM  
Blogger passing-by said...

Gosh, imagine people so naively deluded that they think that union representation could lead to higher wages, benefits and (maybe) even better working conditions! Haven't those whacky newsroom folks heard Wendy say that the union is not in their best interests? Wendy knows what's best for her employees, the same way she knows best what Santa Barbarans should read. Her way is best.

8/11/2006 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Flynn this is really a stretch. You probably feel that SPJ is also a communist front organization. Do you write for the Montecito Journal?
I went to SPJ web site and could find absolutly no mention of any unions, union activities, or anything to do with wages. This organization seems about protecting first amendment rights.

"Our Mission
The Society of Professional Journalists is dedicated to the perpetuation of a free press as the cornerstone of our nation and our liberty.

To ensure that the concept of self-government outlined by the U.S. Constitution remains a reality into future centuries, the American people must be well informed in order to make decisions regarding their lives, and their local and national communities.

It is the role of journalists to provide this information in an accurate, comprehensive, timely and understandable manner.

It is the mission of the Society of Professional Journalists:

— To promote this flow of information.
— To maintain constant vigilance in protection of the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press.
— To stimulate high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism.
— To foster excellence among journalists.
— To inspire successive generations of talented individuals to become dedicated journalists.
— To encourage diversity in journalism.
— To be the pre-eminent, broad-based membership organization for journalists.
— To encourage a climate in which journalism can be practiced freely. "

8/11/2006 5:23 PM  

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