BlogaBarbara

Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, September 14, 2006

News-Press Salsipuedes Continues...Again

I'm losing track really quickly here. EdHat reported that Dr. Michael Seabuagh has resigned from the News-Ptess and he will continue his column on his blog and with the Southwest Missourian.

The best and the brightest continue to leave this once venerable paper -- my prediction is that it will sell within the next month or so. How else can Wendy, Nipper and Travis rebuild the trust the paper once had with the community?

46 Comments:

Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Why thuhell do you think they want to rebuild trust the paper once had with the community?!?!

That is the problem, that they are not rational thinkers even to care about profit, prestige, reputation, etc.

Seabaugh posts his comments at his own local web site, in addition to that Missourian newspaper.
www.HealthspanWeb.com

9/14/2006 8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you base your prediction of McCaw selling the paper on the premise that employees form a union?

McCaw certainly has the resources to prolong this fight as long as she wants to, even while losing subscribers and advertisers. The resignations have lessened her expenses, as a boatload of high-paid editors have been replaced by one rookie (Steepleton) and better-paid reporters replaced by cheaper cubs. I'd wager that the profit margins are holding up, as both revenue and expenses are down.

As for another owner coming in, it's unlikely someone else would want to inherit McCaw's mess. Especially if there's a union -- few owners are interested in taking on a unionized workforce. The paper would have been an attractive asset a year ago, but I doubt anyone wants to take on the messy and unprofitable task of putting Humpty Dumpty back together.

9/14/2006 8:28 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Agreed on all counts -- then again, a clean slate might make a world of difference, union or not. I would think a new, respected owner would be welcome in our community and could do very well.

9/14/2006 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy might want the paper for a tax write off. Actually, I just think it's narcistic or some combination of mental illness. She's got to be well medicated with Nipper at the helm. The VF article pointed out some of her weaknesses. She needs attention. She can afford to buy it with people like the Douglas family, so on. Rational people dealing with her will be a long twisted road. If the Schlessinger column is any indication, well www.poxnews. Read about her DEBATE, the greatest one sided debate in history. Let's not forget she has the ear of the prez. Is Dr. Seabaugh free to write his version or does Wendy and Schlessinger have him tied?

9/14/2006 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not support the Santa Barbara Daily Sound? They are doing a great job, and don't have any of the baggage. That would make it the paper of record.

I'm NOT going back to the NP

9/14/2006 9:49 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

Ah but Sarah, who determines the definition of "respected" is?

I think that alone could deter new owners/corporations of purchasing the NP. dd

9/14/2006 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy, Nipper and Travis don’t care about rebuilding trust. I’ve been a daily reader for 40 years and I’ve mostly liked the paper. It hurts to see that trust destroyed needlessly, almost imperceptibly, step by step, day by day.

Readers like me need to get over trying to figure out what the direction is now for the new new News-Press. There is none. Wendy, as recently as last week in Vanity Fair and the L.A. Times, could not offer one specific shred of the “bias” or “agenda” to support any rational reason for her purge. That was it for me.

Wendy’s purge, with Len Wood’s and Andrea Huebner’s departures this week, and starting as far back as ex-publisher Joe Cole leaving, has now cleaned out every single person in the chain between her and the reporters – and she has lost a couple of those to boot. Wendy the kamikaze is lurching towards a newspaper that will represent her narrow and boring world view, with no underlying philosophy other than she being able to change the news on her whim or tantrum.

Wendy can push employees around, but readers like me can’t be bullied. We’re leaving and getting our information for free from the internet on our cheap computers. We really don’t care about Wendy McCaw or Arthur von Wiesenberger or Travis Armstrong or David Millstein or Agnes Huff, or whether there is a union. The paper just isn’t that good any more and I have better things to do than dealing with all of the negativity by reading it.

9/14/2006 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Dr. Seabaugh gone. What a loss. Seems like he was mistreated like everyone else. He didn’t need to stay around. He was doing the News-Press a favor by writing. I’ll continue to read him each week, on-line.

9/14/2006 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy McCaw is not going to sell. The worth of the paper has been cut in half, and so for her own ego she has no choice but to hang on to try to recover. Besides, how would Baron Nipper survive—he needs the work.

9/14/2006 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A “clean slate” is what Travis Armstrong needs. He’s apparently on vacation, having worked all summer to awful effect. Since Wendy McCaw makes him her lightening rod, he’s taken an unbelievable amount of abuse for her. He’s smart enough, so I’m sure he’s getting paid for it. Maybe on vacation he’s gaining perspective, and wondering why the hell he should return to this mess.

9/14/2006 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to say this on a pro-union rag like blogabarbara, but most of us who advertise in the News-Press are private businesses. The incredible ineptitude shown by News-Press management will make it one of the very few local businesses to have a union. How can the News-Press be so dumb as to import a virus that could spread to the rest of us?

9/14/2006 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Worker Bee said...

Don't worry your pretty little head off, anon 11:30AM. Just don't treat your employees like pig slop and they won't form a union.

9/14/2006 12:32 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Daily Sound has tremendous growth potential to take over the daily dominance. Then do need to hire some Newspress refugees and expand to true daily distribution, although that works better with home delivery and not just picking up a print edition on ones habitrail Monday through Friday.

Daily Sound even puts most of its articles at their web site, AND accept comments on them, just like Independent, Santa Maria Times, Ventura County Star, and many more.

Imagine the newspress with comments posted by readers at the web site.

9/14/2006 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never been in a union but I do know one place I worked for nine years made sure we didn't join a union by keeping us happy enough so we didn't have a reason to join one. When I worked there, it was a Fortune 100 company.

9/14/2006 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many private business owners, how many workers? Which group has the numbers? I know private business owners, nonunion and union workers. I'll let them all know what I think. I have no respect for even small business that turns it's back on it's community because they fear united workers. People can be selfish. Whether or not the paper makes it and workers get rights, that's not all there is to this mess. Wendy's paper will go on and plenty of people won't know much of the issues or even the VF piece. They get AP wires and believe the Wendy spin. Whether it's that child in molestaton case or targeting and naming UCSB student regarding anal sex. Their lack of integrity is going to cause alot more senseless harm and destroy more lives then their little minds can grasp. I DO NOT WANT TO SUPPORT ANY INDIVIDUAL, SMALL OR LARGE BUSINESS WHO IS SUPPORTING WENDY'S BIG LIE. AND CITIZENS LIKE OPRAH CAN STATE THEIR OPINIONS BY OMISSION. IT'S STILL A LIE. They are apart of what can destroy the lives of the innocent. Children and students don't have much power. PROHUMANITY

9/14/2006 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The trends afflicting the newspaper industry - declining readership, advertising (particularly classified) migrating to the Internet, increased use of direct mail instead of newspaper inserts - make any newspaper a questionable investment. The News-Press would be a uniquely terrible investment for these reasons plus the damage its current owner has wrought.

Santa Barbara isn't a great newspaper market to begin with. Even before Wendy botched the News-Press, its circulation of just over 40,000 in a county of 400,000 wasn't that strong. And many of the most affluent readers took the L.A. Times or N.Y. Times, not the News-Press. Advertising isn't that great either, due to the lack of large retailers such as Target and the tendency of tourist-oriented businesses to avoid newspapers with local readerships.

Even without a union, the News-Press is an expensive business to operate due to high wages and costs associated with operating in this region.

Bottom line: No one wants to take this mess off Wendy's hands.

I predict she'll have the News-Press for at least another year, just to spite critics and because the paper will remain profitable for a while. While the newsroom bloodletting happened quickly, the financial bleeding will be much slower. Readers with one-year subscriptions will elect not to renew after getting an inferior product. Advertisers will respond to the hemorrhaging by demanding lower rates or withdrawing from the paper. And slowly, inexorably, the News-Press will become a failed business.

I pity every employee who stays around for that.

9/14/2006 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work of a union (SEIU) and they don't do workers any favors. Just collect dues.

If the NP employees think the union is going to make things better, they are sadly mistaken!

We would do well to look at the Newspaper Industry as a whole, and see that it's in decline, then consider their options.

It's an Internet News World now.

9/14/2006 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've switched to the Daily Sound and really like. Their website is great too!

9/14/2006 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have talked to many who have cancelled their subscription to the NP and subscribed to The LA Times. They, the LAT, may decide to create a Santa Barbara Edition. Several reporters available.

9/14/2006 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can speed along the financial ruin by boycotting the advertisers.

9/14/2006 5:01 PM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

What is the source to believe a local edtion of Los Angeles Times would be established?


I see Huff and Puff is now dissing SEIU in a comment above.

9/14/2006 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Ms. McCaw will not sell the paper. That would be losing. Her orientation is obviously win/lose. She will not willingly lose. She has hired a new crew with hope of winning. Winning for Ms. McCaw includes ridding the News-Press of reporters and editors who do not share her political ideology, busting the attempt to unionize the news room, and maintaining a steady pressure on public policy initiatives that she considers confiscative. Losing would include any concession to community oriented values as opposed to Ayn Rand, selfish, "Great White Shark" values.

However, she is bleeding. In the Great White Shark paradigm, bleeding sharks had better watch their backs, because their former friends become predators.

9/14/2006 6:38 PM  
Anonymous harping said...

RE the comment by Anon. 4:12 pm (& I wish all you anonymice would choose aliases so we could read your posts without trying to remember which anon is which by checking posting times--really, it's getting ridiculous):
"the LAT, may decide to create a Santa Barbara Edition."
Unfortunately this isn't going to happen, although I wish it would too. I have it on good authority from a contact at the LAT that they have no plans to do an SB edition; it has been determined that this would not be profitable. I think anon 3:08 has the most realistic take on this situation. But anon 3:42 sounds like a Daily Sound plant. The Sound has potential but let's be honest--it has a very long way to go. They apparently don't even have a copy editor yet, & this lack is just one of many gaps contributing to the paper's overall "homespun" quality (to put it kindly). And for those bugging the Indy about going daily--forget it. They're not set up for that & it would be economically unfeasible for them to pursue that type of expansion.

9/14/2006 7:13 PM  
Anonymous body bag salesman said...

With Wood and Huebner forced out, Roberts and ALL of his original editors are gone. I've lost track; what's the total body count since the reign of terror began, which, for historical purposes, let's call the day Nipster was promoted by his girlfriend from restaurant critic to publisher:

--How many columnists have quit or been fired?

--How many editors, reporters and other journalists have quit or been fired?

9/14/2006 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to disturb your bloviation anon 3:08, but Wendy HAS received an offer to purchase the paper (this spring) and that buyer still wants it.

YES, a paper like the News-Press remains a good business. Under a strong staff, like the people who have quit, the NP saw its profits rise considerably.

And YES, Santa Barbara remains a good place for a newspaper of the NP's size. With its captive audience, there's just nothing else to read. Why do you think people care so much about it? And no, the Daily Sound doesn't cut it.

9/14/2006 9:02 PM  
Anonymous Time for Action said...

ADVERTISERS IN TODAY's NEWS-PRESS:

Brooks Institute
Indigo Furniture
John Entezari lender
Exclusive German Auto Care
Horizon Air
Cox
Jack's Kitchen
Ritz Camera
Santa Barbara Farmer's Markets
Treehouse Restaurant
Pain Relief Center
SAMY's Camera
Wine Cask
Zelo
Ranch House
Longboard's Grill
Craft Essentials
Santa Cruz Market
Arbor Services
Santa Barbara Golf Club
Carpeteria
Case Detective Agency
Home Improvement Center
Marvin Windows and Doors

9/14/2006 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here’s a relevant blog entry, titled “L.A. Times Sale May Be Nearer, As Times Editors Defy Tribune,” discussing sales rumors at the L.A. Times: http://takebackthetimes.blogspot.com/

It ends with: “Take heart, everyone. Better times are coming (unless they sell the paper to Wendy McCaw or Rupert Murdoch).”

9/14/2006 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This town's situation is more than embarassing. It's cruel and heartless, leaving a deep sadness and pain. I see the workers as trying to fight for a better work place and more. They stand up for all of us when they stand up for journalistic integrity. They can't do it alone. I wish unions weren't necessary. I feel for small business and know it's rough, I agree with treat people well. I feel disgust with the small or the large that buy into Wendy for whatever reason, she causes great harm to the most vulnerable and voiceless. Not that she won't have charity pets and performances. Her manical whims maybe great for her friends and the strugglers depending on her. I don't know this town has the fortitude to boycott advertisers, still I want a list if I'm the only one. Wendy will sink this town. I think the tourist industry is going to take a hit if the citizens won't step up. I wouldn't want people I care for to celebrate Fiesta or Solstice where the police and daily paper is as it is. The whole town may decide to go down with crazy Wendy.

9/14/2006 9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i had a long day at work today so just got home and had to "watch" my new favorite show "NewsMess".
Well that does it for the newspress they are finished... there no one left that can do a competent article of any importance to the community... it takes years to get to know what is going on and who to talk to get the news locally. The staff that is left does not know the community or it's background or players, and all that on top of the whole trust issue. Trust in a news paper takes generations to build.

Wendy and gang thanks for nothing, you have no idea what legacy you have left yourself with, the damage has been done and cannot be repaired.

This is indeed a dark time for Santa Barbara the only bright light is to know that there are strong people in our community with the ethics to what was right even though self cost might be high. No amount of money can buy that and I thank you all.

I know the newspress will continue to be printed but I will not purchase. I will do fine with the other papers in the community and encourage and welcome their growth.

My one question to the publishers is how are you going to live in this city after what you have done to it ?
You see in this "small" city of so much money, money is not as important, respect is and you have none left.

Thanks for nothing!

9/14/2006 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In frequent queries with LA Times folks over the years, they have shown little enthusiasm for Santa Barbara and the reason is our ad base (our fairly large tourism biz advertises elsewhere for obvious reasons.) One of the reasons KEYT focuses on Ventura is SB has so few advertisers to offer, and that's what publishers want—ad revenue. Also, LAT has not done well with regional editions and, having been badly burned, they shudder at the idea. I know people are making pitches, but I think they will find the LAT door closed.

The Sound is energetic, but looks like a college paper, the Indy has its biz model well-entrenched and they will not jeopardize their position.

However, given all the people I know who have recently learned to use on-line for a news source, we may become the city of the future and our hope may lie on line...Who'd a thunk...the newly wed and nearly dead on line, leading the way of media technology!

9/14/2006 10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be happy if the Santa Maria Times established a south coast edition... the Santa Barbara Times.

9/14/2006 10:38 PM  
Anonymous savethenewspress.com said...

To the BlogaBarbara community,

Several entries today question how many staffers have quit the News-Press as a result of the ethical meltdown.

For a complete listing to date from the organized staff itself, please visit www.savethenewspress.com by hitting the above link. And please check back for some important announcements in the near future.

Thank you,
thestaff@savethenewspress.com

9/14/2006 11:03 PM  
Anonymous ribbons said...

Dear 10:32,

You write that "There(sic) no one left that can do a competent article of any importance to the community ... The staff that is left does not know the community or it's background or players."

With all due respect, this is simply false and makes one wonder how closely you follow bylines.

While it's true the News-Press took on several new staffers since July 6, you need to know that there's still a healthy dose of old timers left - including a few dating to the NY Times and even the TM Storke days.

There's still years of talent and decades of combined institutional knowledge in the building, just not as much as before. And not enough to make things hum like they did with Editor Jerry Roberts around, that's for sure.

All the pre-July 6 management-type editors are now, sadly, gone. But there's several reporters, copy editors and photographers left who have been around Santa Barbara and know the town damn well.

Here's a fact: several of these remaining staffers pre-date every single person who has already left.

They are, and have always been, the paper's front line. And they are fighting to preserve its integrity.

That front line now has no competent general, however. Many of the troops are still there. Blame what you see on a lack of leadership.

9/14/2006 11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an advertiser in the SBNP. I do not like what is going on at the paper. It is terrible and regrettable. However, the only way to reach the greater SB audience is through this paper and its sad ownership.

But having someone create lists of advertisers is threatening. This is obviously the intent. Frankly, having someone threaten me for my advertisement in any paper, smacks of the kind of coercion that occurred and occurs in societies that have some pretty terrible names of their own.

The press is free in this country. If you don't want to subscribe, do so. If you don't want to patronize, do so. If you want to organize, do so. But if you threaten those who choose to advertise in an American newspaper then you must realize the consequence is a minor scrimish, but the loss of those voices that are not your own. This is exactly what Wendy has done to her own newspaper and now you have been brave enough to do it to your community.

One Voice

9/14/2006 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Santa Maria Times is a very good paper. It already reports on county government. It would only take a few pages more to cover Santa Barbara's sports and social.
Santa Maria is growing and many commute to jobs and shop in Santa Barbara. It could be a real unifier for the county. Maybe the County Times ? hey better register that before u know who... get to it now!!!! lets see how nabs it first.. like an edhat contest.

9/15/2006 12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Advertiser list. Let the boycotts begin!

9/15/2006 5:48 AM  
Anonymous mea culpa said...

If advertisers want to avoid the inevitable they need to take a direct stand. Write a letter, what is your position on the editorials, the cherry picking issues, the lack of integrity, and all the public needs to know. Explain why you choose to prolong the bleeding and humiliation of our town. Do this as a group. Publish in Santa Maria Times and others. Pay to distribute in SBNP. Let us see your passion or that you are a coward. Today you can read the New York Post about Schlessinger, if you support her, say so out front or with your silence. Also read her current rants. She is a political tool, the "moral" is what she can sell. To not address ALL these matters is inexcusable. "March 23, 2000 Murder Stalls NYC Dr. Laura Show
CBS Flagship Fears Backlash After Gruesome Anti-gay Killing **Concern about Dr. Laura’s incendiary statements regarding homosexuals has increased after details of the gruesome homophobic killing of Steen Fenrich began unfolding today. ** "I'm sorry, hear it one more time perfectly clearly: If you're gay or a lesbian, it's a biological error that inhibits you from relating normally to the opposite sex. The fact that you are intelligent, creative and valuable is all true. The error is in your inability to relate sexually intimately, in a loving way to a member of the opposite sex - it is a biological error," SAID DR. LAURA in a 1998 program. "I call homosexual practices deviant," she told the New York Post." **DR. LAURA September 11, 2006 " Expect surprises from Dr. Laura
Life is full of irony, is it not?
It's the real her onstage, she says. Asked what it's like to go through life as such a polarizing figure, Schlessinger says: "It's the people who attack me who are polarizing.I only have opinions, and we've become a society which makes it very difficult for people to express opinions if they tend to be more traditional. Nontraditional types can be quite vicious. They're the ones who are polarizing. I'm not polarizing anybody. I'm just expressing my point of view." saying her own one-person onstage effort was inspired by Tomlin, the openly gay ex-Detroit comedian. But why pay to hear what you can hear her talk about free 8-11 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760)? "It's quite personal. It's the first time I've been personal. They can't hear this on the air. I don't do this on the air." Act One, which, mixes humor with true-life stories, plus current events pulled from the top stories of the day. Dr. Laura shares her opinions on everything from childbirth to death and all things in between, including her own childhood." READ DR. LAURA IN THE SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS and keep up to date on topics like under age drinking and put the onus on UCSB PARENTS.$27.50 to $150 (latter includes an after-show reception, with an appearance by the star)." Santa Barbara News-Press VOICE OF SANTA BARBARA. "Like it or leave it."

9/15/2006 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubt she will ever sell the paper. She doesn't need subscribers or advertisers because she doesn't need the money - is she a billionaire or just a multi-millionaire? I've lost count. Anyway, it could turn into a terrific tax write-off for her, and she can still pawn her message, so why sell?

9/15/2006 7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This paper will never sell until Wendy pays socially for her weirdness. Money is not going to motivate her.

9/15/2006 8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Santa Maria Times could make a south coast edition, and call it:

The South Coast Times

or...

The South County Times

or...

The Channel Times

The Santa Maria Times has always been good... I started reading it at the Santa Barbara Library 12 years ago. Unassuming and just plain good.

And now, even better, due to the hiring of ex-SBNP staff.

I don't think the Sound and the Indy are going to fill in the gap... of getting a newspaper in the morning at your door with good, reliable, local news. The extension of the Santa Maria Times is the only serious option, in my opinion.

Shall we start a petition?

9/15/2006 9:07 AM  
Anonymous mea culpa said...

Wendy will hold on to her self destructive pathology. Not likely she'll sell or ever care about community. The advertiser, small or big must make a stand. Even if it is their silence that speaks loudest. They have opportunity and time to come together. Like a few weeks. Unfortunately, the front line of Wendy's soldiers are local small business. They are the first ones to contact and boycott. This will need to go international, as Schlessinger directs her "warriors". One person can't do alot, but the ball needs to get rolling. A letter to print and sign would help. I know elderly who need help with that. I will help with postage as I can afford. If each person can help with ten more letters, that's a start.

9/15/2006 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have taken to leaving a little “calling card” at restaurants and Mom and Pop biz that states: I appreciate your establishment but I am sorry to see you are an advertiser in the News Press. The ownership of the paper has hurt our community and until things improve I hope you will consider taking your ad dollars else where. (and then I list a few suggestions with phone numbers, most particularly on-line options.) I've notice a few of the advertisers have left the NP. I'd sure like to see those big color ads of Silverhorn and Cabana Homes depart but I am not a customer so it’s hard to make my feeling known.

ALL SB County Taxpayers who are distressed about the NPMess should be calling on County CEO Michael Brown demanding the county find another source for public notice--the County is one of single largest advertisers in the NP--and that's our money folks. County of Santa Barbara Administration: 568-3400.

9/15/2006 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you wanna see the future of the NP, look no further than SB Magazine! Beauty queen A-Lister Gina Tolleson is editor, Nipper's a contributing editor...it's high society stories about high society folks, and they don't care much about "journalistic integrity"! you better ask yourselves one question.."are you pretty enough to be in Santa Barbara?"

9/16/2006 7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To everyone who thinks that money does not motivate The Wendy, and that she won't sell ever: You're wrong. Money is the grease for her wonky viewpoints. She will only bleed that money for so long, and then she will bail. She'll probably just close up shop, rather than sell, since a bit of her personal pride's in the mix as well.

9/16/2006 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool - then we can move the nurses into the NP building and turn the old Saint Francis into a park.

9/18/2006 9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone quit this week?

gotta update my NP pool.

9/19/2006 1:16 PM  

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