Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Monday, February 26, 2007

Is the News-Press Indispensable?

Considering my last post -- maybe not....but a reader suggested that we discuss the comment below on a new thread....makes sense to me.

Anonymous said...

The News-Press has taken some hits, but it's still the indispensable news and information source for Santa Barbara.

Boycotting it and refusing to speak to its reporters will only choke off the flow of information that's needed in a free society. While I can't support everything Wendy McCaw has done in the past few months, it's time to give her the opportunity to fix things instead of being locked in a state of war.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

They aren't needed in the way your reader thinks, and the web is just as much a place of record (perhaps even more so today) as the old newspapers used to be.

The trend will continue to move in this direction. Even the NY Times wants to stop publishing a paper and move completely to the web in five years or less.

2/26/2007 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it is indespensible as long as it is the only newspaper that delivers to your door. As soon as another one delivers to one's door, it can but not necessarily will be replaced.

Silly question really. I think some of the disposssed writers still think any one person makes a business run. No one is that important.

The whole is equal to the sum of its parts and there is so much more to a daily home delivery newspaper than a few disgruntled writers. This is sad to accept, I know.

But everyone learns this important lesson in whatever profession they choose. They are in fact dispensible and life moves on ...without them. Kind of existential, right? But, hey we all learn this.

John Zant got it right in his interview. He is both wise and humble .... and culpable so he did the only decent thing, he bellied up and moved on. I think the rest of you, hubristic that you are, should take note and get on with your lives.

The NewsPress will survive and new readers will take it for what it is - a delivered daily and legal publication of record - the rest now is filler. And there is no monopoly on filler these days.

You just have to get this straight - it is Wendy's newspaper. She bought it fair and square and has a right to run it the way she wants. Travis has found a growing constituency with his anti-growth editorials. This newspaper today is leaving you all behind.

I think the union rep who set up the last NP crew to that banner stunt should be fired and everyone get back to accepting the reality of the situation rather than bankin your lives and your careers on some vague "legal rights."

2/26/2007 6:22 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Sadly, none of us nor any of our institutions is indispensible. This little piece of grandmother's humbling wisdom applies especially in the case of the Santa Barbara News-Press. The only thing that the news press offered that other newspapers and other media outlets did not offer was local news and sports delivered to your driveway at 5:00 AM every morning, in time to enjoy over your morning coffee. But now that the paper has divested itself of its news and sports reporters and its news editing staff, there is really nothing of local interest to read every morning. It would be nice if the News-Press could regain its former status as the source of local news and sports, but I, for one, do not see that happening any time soon. Yes, there are the editorial pages. But one can surf the blogs for opinions and find a great deal more diversity and better writing there. Indispensible? Try irrelevant.

2/26/2007 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No county reporter.

No City Hall reporter.

No Goleta reporter.

No religions reporter.

No cops/public safety reporter.

No education reporters (k-12 or higher ed).

No investigative reporter.

No social issues reporter.

No courts reporter.

No science reporter.

No environmental issues reporter.

Any I'm missing?

Any true beat reporters?



2/26/2007 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess the folks visiting blogabarbara fall mostly into the over FIFTY viagra crowd. Lots of us youngins get our news via our cell phones and mostly from the net. It's old news if it's on paper. To help you seniors out, here's an article about what's been going on in the world, something you may have missed:

Do Newspapers Have a Future?
Monday, Sep. 25, 2006 By MICHAEL KINSLEY Article

It seems hopeless. How can the newspaper industry survive the Internet? On the one hand, newspapers are expected to supply their content free on the Web. On the other hand, their most profitable advertising--classifieds--is being lost to sites like Craigslist. And display advertising is close behind. Meanwhile, there is the blog terror: people are getting their understanding of the world from random lunatics riffing in their underwear, rather than professional journalists with standards and passports.

Ten years ago, it was a challenge for websites to get people to spend time for pleasure in front of a computer screen. "Your problem will be solved actuarially," a computer-sciences professor assured a group of Web pioneers, and sure enough, it was. Now the problem is to get people under 50 or so to pick up a newspaper. Damp or encased in plastic bags, or both, and planted in the bushes outside where it's cold, full of news that is cold too because it has been sitting around for hours, the home-delivered newspaper is an archaic object. Who needs it? You can sit down at your laptop and enjoy that same newspaper or any other newspaper in the world. Or you can skip the newspapers and go to some site that makes the news more entertaining or politically simpatico. And where do these wannabes get most of their information? From newspapers, of course. But that is mere irony. It doesn't pay the cost of a Baghdad bureau.

Newspaper angst is now focused on the Los Angeles Times, where I was editorial and opinion editor in 2004 and '05. Long the industry's leading example of needless excellence, the Times has had bureaus around the world, a huge Washington staff and so on. Yet it had a near monopoly in its own town and made little attempt to compete elsewhere. So what was the point?

The Tribune Co. of Chicago, which bought the L.A. Times six years ago, has been asking that question and answering it with demands for cuts in budget and staff. One might ask what the point of the Tribune approach is as well. The Tribune paid a premium for a premium paper and seems intent on dragging it down into mediocrity. That may improve margins in the short run, but it does nothing to address the fundamental crisis of newspapers. Two weeks ago the Times's editor and publisher publicly refused to chop any further, which doesn't address the crisis either.

Some believe that the answer is to restore local ownership. Newspapers were born free, and yet everywhere they are in chains, like Gannett. Fueled by noblesse oblige and municipal pride, a wealthy local won't need to squeeze the last dollar out of the business. Just look at the Sulzbergers of the New York Times and the Grahams of the Washington Post. Ah, but there is a difference between folks who get rich owning a newspaper and folks who get rich and then buy a newspaper. As a rule, rich folks don't buy expensive toys for other people to play with.

So are we doomed to get our news from some acned 12-year-old in his parents' basement recycling rumors from the Internet echo chamber? Not necessarily. The fact that people won't pay for news on the Internet isn't as devastating for the old medium as it seems. People don't pay for their news in traditional newspapers: they pay for the paper, which typically costs the company more than it charges for the finished product. So in theory, giving away the news without the paper looks like a good deal for newspapers, if they can keep the advertising.

Once you've rented an apartment online, you know that traditional newspaper classifieds, with their tiny type, have no future. But only slow-footedness has kept newspapers from dominating online classifieds. Technology can be bought, but the brand value of a local newspaper cannot (unless you buy the paper). Maybe it's too late, but if newspapers have missed this boat, it's their own fault.

Newspapers are not missing the blog boat. They are running for it like the last train out of Paris. They hold their breath and look the other way as their most precious rules and standards get trampled in the rush, and figure they'll worry about that later.
And later? The "me to you" model of news gathering--a professional reporter, attuned to the fine distinctions between "off the record" and "deep background," prizing factual accuracy in the narrowest sense--may well give way to some kind of "us to us" communitarian arrangement of the sort that thrives on the Internet. But there is room between the New York Times and for new forms that liberate journalism from its encrusted conceits while preserving its standards, like accuracy.

I'm not sure what that new form will look like. But it might resemble the better British papers today (such as the one I work for, the Guardian). The Brits have never bought into the American separation of reporting and opinion. They assume that an intelligent person, paid to learn about some subject, will naturally develop views about it. And they consider it more truthful to express those views than to suppress them in the name of objectivity.

Newspapers on paper are on the way out. Whether newspaper companies are on the way out too depends. Some of them are going to find the answers. And some are going to fritter away the years quarreling about staff cuts.

2/26/2007 7:16 PM  
Anonymous harping said...

The N-P may be "indispensible" as you all like to spell it, but it's certainly not indispensable (the correct spelling). Just had to get that off my chest. ;-)

2/26/2007 8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, you're part of the future. Yes, the News Press is just another part of history, like the buggy whip.

2/26/2007 8:20 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

LOL -- more proof that I am not some disgruntled and frustrated journalist :)

Thanks for the spell check Harping -- the "new" blogger doesn't have that readily available. I better find it quick....

2/26/2007 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If about 35,000 residents buy the News-Press each day and about 400,000 people live in Santa Barbara County, it's not even close being "indispensable news and information for Santa Barbara."

For the same reason, it never was, even when it was "The Voice Santa Barbara County."

But the News-Press was once very important, when it was fully staffed with reporters, columnists and editors, and before the digital revolution forever changed its near local monopoly.

With McCaw's incomprehensible slashing and burning of her own business down to about three news reporters, and with the new digital wave being surfed by competitors (while the News-Press inexplicably watches from the beach), the News-Press is not close to being "indispensable" -- it's really not even that important any longer, and it fades further each day.

2/26/2007 9:28 PM  
Blogger George said...

Yes, it's time to give Wendy her opportunity to fix things, just like it's time to give Bush a chance to fix things in Iraq.

2/26/2007 10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not a question of "letting" Wendy run "her" paper. She has had the opportunity to show she is interested in dialogue, and so far has rejected every overture. The union isn't going anywhere, and can only compel, and has only sought, a discussion, a negotiation, a conversation about how to treat the reporters who report the news. The law compels her to do it, and she can cooperate or be embarrassed and compelled to the table by the NLRB. The union sought her cooperation at first, and again over the Labor Day weekend, and would still be interested in a discussion, though she has made it more difficult with the firings, her dishonest and belligerent management team, and her bellicosity. It's by no means impossible, but at this point, Wendy has to show some good faith, and engage. Until then, the battle rages on, and she will lose, in court, at the NLRB, and in the public eye.

2/26/2007 10:22 PM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

"...the web is just as much a place of record (perhaps even more so today) as the old newspapers used to be." This is not true, because things can vanish from the web, or be changed without a trace, while you can go to the library and look up newspaper articles from last week, last month, or last century. Until we get an accurate way to archive the web is is not going to be a place of record.

2/27/2007 7:26 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

The digital revolution is leaving behind the traditional means of dispensing the news. As long as the SBNP continues to "print", it's a dead horse in the very near future, no matter what WM says or does. dd

P.S. That might be a good thing for the community too.

2/27/2007 7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


There are SO many alternative, free sources of local SB News, including Bolgabarbara.

Below is a very compact list that illustrates the point:


Edhat - - If you don’t want to view multiple sites, Edhat posts local news from sources throughout SB County from sources such as The Independent, The Santa Barbara Daily Sound, Daily Nexus, Montecito Journal, KCSB FM, Channel 3 TV, etc.
Coastal View -
Daily Nexus -
Montecito Journal -
Santa Barbara Daily Sound -
Santa Barbara Daily Sound Forum -
Santa Barbara Independent -
KCSB (UCSB Radio – FM 91.9) -

Lompoc Record -
Santa Maria Times -
Santa Ynez Valley News -
Santa Maria Sun -

KCOY TV (Channel 12) -
KEYT Local TV News (Channel 3) -
KSBY TV (Channel 6) -

El Tiempo -
Latino Today -

BLOGS OF NOTE - These are often the source of a wide range of ideas and reactions, and often they “scoop” the traditional media. They also allow you to post your reactions, anonymously if you so choose:
Blogabarbara -
Craig Smith’s Blog -
The Indpendent -
Goleta Observer -
Sound Off Santa Maria -

LOCAL CLIPPING SERVICE - - All of the above are to help people get news over the internet. But, for a clipping service for current news or copies of older local articles or local research, contact John Hankins at 745-5432.

2/27/2007 8:47 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

You will see the same list below --- from a post last week. Some people will like bookmarks, some people will like the rss feed style. Adding John Hankins, although perhaps a shameless plug? is fine with me as John does a great job...

2/27/2007 9:37 AM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

What is "clipping"?

The original subject here seems to be yet another spin job by Huff n Puff or The Nipper.

I still have not read how "indespensable" the Newspress supposedly is. Was this just a jab with no facts to back it up, as has become the operating mode of the fake Newspress supporters?

2/27/2007 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wineguy - nothing on the web goes away.

The is just one example

just think we can reduce our paper consumption by getting our news from the web - less ink too

2/27/2007 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The shoddy state of the NP and the poorly written, inaccurate articles don't make it a good public record!

In ten years from now, what are folks going to look back and see?

Far better to move to the web.

2/27/2007 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The is not much more than a toy.

Try searching it for to see what I mean.

2/27/2007 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still the obsession with the News Press. Don't you have anything better to do with your life 3:54PM ?

2/27/2007 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm, and the NP is nothing more than a toy for Wendy and Co.

2/27/2007 7:50 PM  
Anonymous Liam Keane said...

With all the reporters gone, the news press is not needed.

News: News Off The Press
Jobs: SimplyHired
Weather: WeatherUnderground
Real estate: Trulia
Opinion: the blogosphere
Calendar: Eventful
Photos: Flickr
Business: Pacific Coast Business Times
Arts & entertainment: the Indy
California: Los Angeles Times
US/World: Google News

The News-Press' days are numbered.

2/28/2007 10:29 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home