Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

News-Press Mess Makes Business Week

The News-Press Mess made Business Week with an article on how private ownership can create its own set of problems for newspapers. Although they got their facts slightly wrong in mentioning yours truly and BlogaBarbara (we aren't running the reinstate Burns petition -- that's at, they do a nice run down with quotes from Dawn Hobbs and the formerly organized Scott Hadley.

In other news, Craig Smith today writes about how Wendy has hired Barry Capello to go after Teamster lawyer Ira Gottlieb who they contend was "lurking" at the Biltmore during the Lifetime Achievement Awards -- even as a paid guest at the hotel.


Anonymous dd said...

Barry Capello - now there's an ethically challenged attorney if there ever was one! He and Wendy should fit nicely together. dd

11/22/2006 8:44 AM  
Anonymous said...


Quick correction: "Save the News-Press" is not running the petition. It does have a link. The petition was put together by somebody called "Citizen Santa Barbara." He or she is the first name on the list.

p.s. "Save the News-Press" is growing. Check the link above. And you can find the petition at:

11/22/2006 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hole Wendy dug for herself collapsed long ago on top of her but she still keeps digging.... downward.
The article in Business Week was fun reading... far better than the News Press.
Who is giving Wendy legal advice? or do they just take the check and cash it? Wendy says she is scared of contact Ira Gottlieb? well he is a good lawyer, something all her money has not been able to purchase for her to this date. Maybe it's time for Wendy to retire form the "business" world and return to being a recluse.. that would be the best Holiday gift she could give.

11/22/2006 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Soon this will become a classic case study at all colleges and universities for journalism and business students to learn from. It could even spill over into the psychology departments as well.

11/22/2006 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would you people have to whine about if Wendy went away?

Your lives would have no meaning any longer.

11/22/2006 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy and Capelio now that a credible combo for the town to laugh at.. does adding Nipper to the mix make it a Happy Meal.

11/22/2006 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Improper whining??? said...

RE Anonymous 9:36:

Your post suggests that their is no good purpose to the criticism of and discontent with McCaw et. al.. But that would suggest that one should just accept McCaw's abuse of the community through her mismanagement of the paper. For an institution as important as a paper, her abuse can not and should not be so easily dismissed.

11/22/2006 4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm wondering how Nelville will spin this.

11/22/2006 4:24 PM  
Blogger spiritsofsb said...

anon-0936---- you must be as new to SB as Wendy and Travis are---

this town/community THRIVED before their arrival, and will thrive once they're gone

11/22/2006 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Billionaire Wendy feels she has the right to control whoever might come within 100 meters or so of her. And she has thuggish lawyers who are willing to threaten anyone who feels otherwise with expensive legal entanglements if they feel otherwise.

The only questions, really, is, can we get her to send out 10 or 50 more of those letters?

11/22/2006 7:48 PM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

The Business Week story was far more balanced than the one-sided hit piece in American Journalism Review. It's worth noting that the Business Week reporter used quotes from Agnes Huff and a News-Press editorial to provide different views, rather than harrassing employees in the supposed interest of "balance." Business Week also provides important context by noting that the Teamsters are fanning the flames of discontent to further their own interests, and by highlighting differences between local and corporate ownership of newspapers. The American Journalism Review piece was interested in none of these nuances, preferring a savage and highly personal attack on Ampersand executives and News-Press editors.

However, Business Week could have gone into more detail about the benefits of local ownership. While pointing out the turnover related to the transition period at the News-Press, the article made no mention of turmoil at the Los Angeles Times, nor did it point to steeper circulation losses at the Chicago-owned paper. Wendy McCaw, unlike distant corporate owners, is committed to a vigorous and locally focused newspaper of the highest quality. For this she should be thanked, not condemned.

11/22/2006 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Worker Bee said...

And as Wendy's mess trickles into the mainstream, I am saddened, on the eve of Thanksgiving Day, to read the Business Week article. Here we are, debating what is worse - corporate greed or personal greed.

What waste this rotted greed wrought. Amazing, since the old axioms are true: money can't buy you happiness; you can't take it with you; it is the root of all evil.

So we may not have as much money or power as you, McCaw, but we are not so vile as you and your greed, and for that I am thankful.

I wonder if McCaw, as she turns a fork into a slice of Tofurkey, feels true happiness around the Holidays. Does she appreciate what she has? Is she surrounded by friends she trusts, and a family who loves her?

I pity the woman.

11/22/2006 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wish Wendy would ride one of her monogramed trucks out of this town and let someone thats competent own/run the news paper.
Wishfull thinking.....
But i do have thank her for the great laughs she has provided some in this town and the bad she had to hurt so many innocent people to do it.

11/22/2006 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And if Wendy and Travis were to leave, there would still be a mess in City Hall's virtual lockstep, a Planning Department willing to grant developers everything they ask, and an embarrassing lack of quality recreational facilities and proper school facilities for our children. Don't blame the messenger for those realities.

11/23/2006 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 4:06 said, "McCaw's abuse of the community through her mismanagement of the paper. For an institution as important as a paper, her abuse can not and should not be so easily dismissed."

Dear Anon, let's not overdramatize this thing. The Newsrepressed is a news paper, nothing more, nothing less. Whatever McCaw does, she is doing with something that belongs TO HER. It does not belong to the community, it is her property. If she runs it into the ground, then its on her. (Which I think she is doing)

Blogging is fine, boycotts are fine, even starting or supporting a replacement business, but let's not over emotionize (in relationship to the community) this thing. I realize it is a very emotional topic to employees and former employees of the NP, but to the community as a whole; not so.

If she has "abused" the community, then it MIGHT be considered through actions like the Coastal Commission row. But, mismanagement of her own business IMO meet that level of accusation.

11/23/2006 8:16 AM  
Anonymous trent said...

God money I'll do anything for you.

God money just tell me what you want me to.

God money nail me up against the wall.

God money don't want everything he wants it all.

No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me
No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me

Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
Id rather die than give you control.
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
Id rather die than give you control.

Bow down before the one you serve.

You're going to get what you deserve.

Bow down before the one you serve.

You're going to get what you deserve.

God money's not looking for the cure.
God money's not concerned with the sick among the pure.
God money let's go dancing on the backs of the bruised.
God money's not one to choose

No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me
No you can't take it
No you can't take it
No you can't take that away from me

Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.
Head like a hole.
Black as your soul.
I'd rather die than give you control.

11/23/2006 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two interesting things in Nelville's post. One, he mentions that the third-rate Huff was quoted in the Biz Week story. Great. But WHY wasn't she quoted in the AJR piece? She was given every opportunity to do so, but only managed to send impotent little threats to the reporter who was merely doing her job in trying to get the perspective of people inside the N-P. Instead of providing McCaw's side of the story, which is what a PR person like Huff is supposed to do, she becomes a lame shill, and a shrill one at that.

Two, you mention the LA Times. Excellent. Yes, there is great turmoil at the paper. But even if the Biz Week story didn't mention it, you will find it exhaustively covered in the one place it matters: the LA Times. It has run numerous balanced stories, letters to the editor and columns and op-ed pieces. Many of the letters and columns were quite critical of the Tribune Co., which owns the Times.

Now compare that to the News-Press. It has fired or forced out dissenting columnists, refuses to run letters that disagree with Wendy and Travis, and "communicates" by having Huff put out character assassinations on PR Newswire.

So sure, Nelville, let's talk about the Times. Let's talk about transparency and accountability. Might as well do it here, because we sure as hell aren't going to see it in the News-Press.

11/23/2006 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that the same Nelville or a post Capello Neville? Highest quality, heh? I know many who wouldn't agree. Wendy's (Nip?) choice of Barry Capello says ALOT. Not neccessarily "winner". She loves supporting lawyers and "barracuda" would impress her. I'm thankful history won't be written by Wendy & her poor choice in people. Money will buy Love's attorney. It won't buy love (community or friends). I'm part of the community. She has fiduciary responsibility where she is a miserable failure. Yes, her abuses must not, will not be easily dismissed.

11/23/2006 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:16, A news paper exists as a public trust, a dimension not governed by laws of ownership, however correct you may be about Wendy having the legal right to run the newspress into the ground. Trust me, outrage is only part of this non-employee's response to the "transition". One doesn't have to be in the profession to understand the importance of free and unbiased reporting. Sarah, thank you (all?) for your community service - as well the occasional elbow to the ribs. Happy Thanksgiving.

11/23/2006 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Truth to Power said...

Neville, three things:

1. If Wendy refuses interviews, she can't then complain about "one-sided hit pieces." Doesn't work that way.

2. The quality of the paper is in freefall and hasn't been this bad in years. It has become like the radio station -- boring with few interesting voices. It's what happens when an "executive" rubs out her best talent.

3. With BusinessWeek, you and Wendy have also become the laughing stock of the national business community, which frequently happens with those who inherit money rather than earning it through their own talent and hard work.

11/23/2006 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Over emotional whinning??? said...

It is suggested that Ms. McCaw's management of the SBNP is not abusive of the community because it belongs to her, is her property to do with as she pleases. While I will concede that I know of no legal obligation that might compel McCaw to manage the journalistic output of the paper other than as she has, that is too simple an analysis to yield the conclusion that McCaw's conduct is not abusive of the community.

The First Amendment was adopted in recognition of the community interest in the press. I feel that it implies a corresponding obligtion in a paper, moral if not legal, to conduct itself with a recognition of the paper's role in competently and evenhandedly publishing the news and providing a forum through, the letters section, for broad community discourse. This moral interest is implemented through so called journalistic ethics. That McCaw chooses not to act in recognition of these moral and ethical precepts is abusive of the community which is thereby deprived of the asset I feel a paper is supposed to be. That is particularly the case where the paper in question is such a dominant journalistic source as the SBNP is in Santa Barbara.

Now, if she wants to run a pet or vegetarian magazine and direct the content of its articles, I would not care so much, with apologies to pet lovers and vegetarians who might feel otherwise.

11/23/2006 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She has abused her responsibility to the community as owner of the News Press.
A once good paper that is now only good to line the "wendy" container.
Wish she would ride one of her monogramed trucks out of town.

11/23/2006 7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure the whole city would like to see Wendy hauled out of the city with the rest of the trash.... at least she would have "her" news papers to read and keep her company on the trip.

11/23/2006 10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A big THANKS to Sara De la Guerra and other internet sources for providing the Santa Barbara community with excellent coverage and news that the News Press can no longer provide.
This Blog is one of the best sources for the community to post the peoples opinions the News Press would be too afraid of printing, even the LA Times prints challenges to it paper, they are not afraid to do it, but I guess there is a certain maturity that the LA Times can handle but that Wendy is incapable of.... it's time to run the News Press like an adult Wendy and not a little child having a temper tantrum. It's time to grow up Wendy and act like a responsible adult.
On a side note Wendy anyone around you that supports your resent actions is no friend of yours. Take a good long look in the mirror and ask yourself if that is really the person you wish to be .. one that the whole country is laughing at not just the people in the community you live in.
I feel Wendy that you are capable of doing what is right, so suck in that gut and put your false pride aside and do it before it is to late, or for ever hold your peace.
You can't change the embarrassing history of this, but you can change and be a better person for it. Scrooge did it so can you.
It's time to think long and hard about the legacy you leave behind. One would hate to think it's the monogram on the sie of a garbage truck. Think about.

11/23/2006 11:10 PM  
Anonymous Where's the Community Trust? said...

Isn't it outrageous, that while virtually all local, regional and even nationwide city papers have a free online reading capacity, here in SB our "paper of record" won't even post the details of BREAKING NEWS that poses a public threat---here's the "teaser" on an apparent freeway shooter---yet, in order to get more details, eg: WHERE ON THE FREEWAY, one has to pay!!!!! Yet one more example of failing to serve the community

SBNP Breaking News
Possible freeway shooting

November 24, 2006 10:30 AM

Authorities are investigating a report of a shooting on Highway 101 involving a white pickup truck, possibly a Toyota,

11/24/2006 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didnt find thing that i need... :-(

11/24/2006 12:38 PM  
Anonymous don't fence me in said...

I heard a rumor that a chain link fence was erected around the News-Press parking lot on Anacapa Street today. Anybody got the details? Don't Santa Barbara's aesthetic standards prevent such an unslightly monstrosity? Or are we in for Wendy's Property Rights vs. The World: The Sequel?

11/24/2006 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Dear don't fence me in,

It's true. There's a chain link fence about six feet high covered in green mesh lining the property line along Anacapa Street. Looks like it's up to block views into both SBNP parking lots from the street.

Robert Frost

11/24/2006 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Spendy said...

The smart money says the chain link fence is to minimize embarrassment due to the "McCaw Obey the Law" signs popping up on employee car windows, which the News-Press would like to, but cannot lawfully, suppress.

11/24/2006 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With a circulation of more than a million, BusinessWeek is one of the most widely read business magazines in the world.

Guess we've made the big time.

Next up - comedy central.

11/28/2006 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, there's genocide happening in Africa. FYI

11/29/2006 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, there's genocide happening in Africa. FYI So...

Has nothing to do wih SB.

11/30/2006 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Two things at once said...

hey anon 9:41---can you walk and chew gum at the same time?
All politics is local. Some of us care and do what we can for oppression in all its manifestations.

12/01/2006 8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no we don't!

12/06/2006 10:01 AM  

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