Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Leaked SBNP Memo Posted at Indy

Although several bloggers, including myself, chose not to run it -- The Independent Media Blog has published an SBNP memo that turned into an FAQ on management's intransigent stance on what is happening at the newspaper.

My favorite one asked "why the News-Press is portrayed so negatively". The answer? As if written by a high-powered political consultant -- "Lies, misinformation and spin". The answer went on to say the Teamsters will say or do anything to get elected and that former employees left in "temper tantrums" and are now spreading misinformation and the b-word (that would be 'bias').

Da Nile ain't just a river in Egypt.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to take look at the memo.
I feel it tells the story now that many people have suspected all a long..... she's crazy.
I urge all to read the memo and come to your own conclusion.

2/13/2007 9:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of us who still work at the NP who have not chugged the Kool-Aid did not receive this memo.

2/13/2007 11:19 PM  
Blogger John Quimby said...

I repsect the right of any business person to own their business and manage it as well or as poorly as they are able.

Aside from the obvious questions regarding labor laws and the firing of unionized employees the big picture issue here is First Ammendment right.

Again, I support the right of the owner and publisher of the NP to freely express their editorial opinions in their newspaper and to state their case to employees.

However, to fire employees for "disloyalty" defined as an exercise in free public speech which does not name and therefore cannot be assumed to harm the NP is, in my opinion, a malicious and agressive use of force against our entire community. I find the use of the term, "disloyalty", to be bitterly ironic in the cases of those who were fired after years of loyal service to their employer and to this city. Did they write "Cancel Your Newspaper" in stories they worte for the paper? No. According to management, they did it on public property.

No employment contract, no local ordinance, no State law can supercede Federal law, especialy when it is defined as the First Ammendment of the United States Constitution.

In my opinion no citizen can be required to sign away their First Ammendment rights to an employer. Just as no employee can be required to legally consign themselves into slavery.

No doubt the courts will give us a legal decision on this question.

In the mean time I will not give up the right, paid for in blood, to stand and speak in my own words and under my own name about an issue that deeply affects the city where I was born and raised.

Remember the old News Press editorial motto?

"Without Favor to any Friend, Without Fear of Any Foe".

2/14/2007 12:43 AM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Why did you chose not to run the memo initially?

2/14/2007 1:29 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I actually haven't run the memo in its''s on the Indy web site. I didn't want to be the first to run something that was leaked. Now that it is in the public domain and someone else made that decision -- I don't have an issue making a post on it.

2/14/2007 5:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Newspress is the newspaper in town that is being sabotaged by The Independent. No other business that has angry employees has ever gotten near the attention and the gossipy coverage that the NP is getting from the NP in an attempt to take it down.

Reporters from the NP standing on a bridge with a sign that says CANCEL YOUR NEWSPAPER are obviously referring to the Newspress. The union vote already happened, the trial already happened and is awaiting a decision. There was no reason for the employees to promote a boycott of their own employer.

Free speech? Yes. Free slander? No.

2/14/2007 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was the attempt to unionize a reaction to the firing in July or an ongoing effort that precipitated the firings?

Ironic that so much ink has been spilt over 12 individuals yet no one stood up for the 400 jobs lost when W.M. wanted the hanger complex at the airport to keep her and her friends private jets out of the sun (1999). She's been a bad actor since the day she came to town. Only consulation is she is watching her 100M investment in SBNP go down the toilet...

2/14/2007 9:44 AM  
Blogger matt said...

The Independent does not want to take the News-Press down. Far from it. We want the News-Press to succeed as a functioning, responsible daily newspaper. Democracy cannot function without it. That is why we are shedding light, as is every other self-respecting newspaper, on what is clearly a full-frontal assault on the crucial field of journalism. This is nothing more or less than our job.

Unlike the News-Press, the Independent is run by intelligent, caring, mature people who honestly worry about the state of Santa Barbara without a daily newspaper that has (or hopefully can regain) institutional knowledge and historical standing.

Please stop lying that The Indy wants the News-Press to go down. It is simply not true and anyone who knows anyone on the Independent staff can learn that by asking us.

We are merely doing our job, covering the most important story that's come to Santa Barbara over the past decade, if not longer. This is what newspapers do, and it's ashame that the News-Press is no longer doing so.

Do we enjoy the international prestige that comes with covering this story (which is our normal job)? Certainly.

Are we thankful for the golden egg that's been given to us by Wendy McCaw to cause our website traffic to explode exponentially? Of course, as is every blogger in town (and beyond).

Have we reaped in large profits because of the News-Press' downfall? Hardly. (Check out page counts; they've grown quite modestly.)

But most importantly: Are we scared that the lack of government and societal oversight that was once provided by the fully staffed News-Press might translate into uncovered scandals, increased corruption, and the loss of a sense of an informed community? Absolutely, which is why we need the News-Press to succeed and pull through this rough time.

So when someone says that we're relishing in the daily's demise, don't believe the hype. As professional journalists, we care about the News-Press' future probably more than most, and cannot wait to return to the days of friendly rivalry over scoops and sources.

Thanks for reading the truth,


Matt Kettmann
Senior Editor
The Santa Barbara Independent

P.S. If you are so sure of your convictions Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, then please use your real name.

2/14/2007 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 8:43,

The banner drop, as widely reported, was done in protest of the ILLEGAL Jan. 25 firing of a NP reporter. The NLRB will take up that termination and those that followed soon. The subscription boycott started Sept. 5. Who said it was over? Nobody. Labor disputes do not end with certification of a union. The heat stays on until contract negotiations are a success.

2/14/2007 10:34 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Thanks for the comment Matt -- I appreciate your input and clarification.

2/14/2007 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 8:43AM,

I can't think of any interpretation of "slander" that would justify the firing of any of the former News-Press employees. Whether you believe the promotion of the boycott was reasonable or not is your opinion, but it is not slanderous.

And if you honestly think there was no reason for the employees to promote a boycott, you've had your head stuck in the sand for the last 6 months. McCaw fired their colleagues (possibly illegally), and has used every back-handed tactic in the book against their attempts at unionization. If that doesn't warrent retaliation, I don't know what does.

2/14/2007 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon: "...Only consulation (sic) is she is watching her 100M investment in SBNP go down the toilet..."

Not too likely --- her investment in the NP is in good part in the real estate and has probably increased in value since she bought it. That alone is probably a major reason why she has no problem with spitting in the face of Santa Barbara and Santa Barbarans who, as Matt K. wrote, long for the newspaper, even as it could have been better.

2/15/2007 7:50 AM  

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