Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Cappello to NYT: The Meteor Has Hit

Senator John McCain told a New York Times reporter today that he was "stumped" as to whether contraceptives can stop the spread of HIV during a Boys on the Bus interview in Iowa. In reading this, I was amazed that a presidential candidate could say this in 2007. The real story here is that he must know the truth but was afraid to say it as the religious right might not look kindly to someone saying anything else but the word "abstinence".

Interestingly enough, Santa Barbara News-Press attorney Barry Cappello told the New York Times today that what we think we know about newspapers is so old school that journalists haven't caught up with the times. I was surprised a representative of a newspaper could say that in 2007 as well. Here's what Cappello really said:

Mr. Cappello said newspapers are anachronisms, and journalists have failed to realize this.

“The meteor has hit. We’re watching the end of the industry,” he said. “Journalists think they can write what they want when they want. I don’t know if that can survive in this age.”

An anachronist journalist then, kind-of according to the dictionary, is a person who "who seems to be displaced in time; who belongs to another age". So, they can't write about what they want? What about the news? Do they want to write about the basil harvest or the fate of meerkats at the Santa Barbara Zoo as an above-the-fold, above-the-banner story? Does a reporter have no choice but to hit delete when they start typing a celebrity address and then have second thoughts because he is their boss' friend? Does Travis Armstrong have no choice but to write about saving whales and his personal hatred for public officials because he, too, is an anachronism? Are journalists and editors merely marionettes of this new century's bias towards political correctness and those who happen to have money?

Under this logic, journalists should drink Kool-Aid, put on their Nikes and go to work each day. There has to be a wall between newspaper ownership, the newsroom itself and Cappello repeating something his client has said? If so, do they think they are untouchable? The NLRB decision, by the way, is just a recommendation according to Capello...I think the "meteor" is made of hubris....pride, of course, comes before the fall.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Capello is an expert in journalism, why? He is a cultural arbiter, why? Who IS this guy? He seems an opportunist who is using the whole News Press thing to further his own ambitions. What he said didn't even make sense. Has he ever worked in a newsroom? Does he think reporters just go out there and write stories about only the things they want to write about? Uh, no, Barry. Reporters have "assignments" made by editors who get their marching orders from on high. Then those stories are read and edited by about four or five people. Reporters aren't allowed to write whatever they want. Ask them.
It's not so much an objection to Wendy's "meddling" that is at issue; it's her capricious disregard for objectivity -- labelling anyone who disagrees with her worldview as having a "bias." She is no journalist and neither, obviously, is Capello.
But what can you expect from a woman whose legacy will be piles and piles of losing litigation? Do a Google search. No helping her fellow man, not even much on behalf of her beloved animals. Cultural contributions? Fuggedabout it. But there's a whole lot of evidence that Wendy lives for legal battles and other than the one she won over Craig, she tends to be on the losing side. But like most professional litigants, she seems to live for the fight, so winning or losing really isn't the point. It's the joy of the battle -- the meetings, the planning, the strategizing, it could almost be mistaken for a life. What was Capello's comment about cease and desist letters being a "form of dialogue?"
Too bad she confuses intransigence with character.
Oh yeah, one more thing, regarding that popular seer Barry Capello: Blogs are taking off in popularity these days and they're written by people who write what they want to write without retribution, unlike reporters who have to weigh every word. So actually he's wrong. Journalism is changing because it's being written by people who write exactly what they feel like writing, and those stories are being read by more and more people who are tired of reading the watered-down news by committee that most newspapers offer ... or the sad rag the News Press is these days.

3/19/2007 2:11 AM  
Anonymous donaldo de Santa Barbara said...

Printed news may be a dying industry but I am not convinced. The news itself or the desire for it is definetly in competition with entertainment.

Sometimes "news" is too complicated for digesting into thoughfull conclusions... so my observation is that most select what they want from the "news" to fit their needs or level of comfort.

Many simply buy the news for the advertisements and coupons. I know of many who look at nothing but the sports pages ,which is substaintial, while never looking at what I consider to be the national, international or local news.

The life section, similar to KEYT 3 TV news with weather 3 times in a half hour interluded with nice stories about whatever doesn't get the intestines in a bunch and is about all that many want to hear. "coming up again and again the news weather tracker 3." All news media seems pre-occupied with stuff that doesn't matter much. If that is what this NEWS MESS turmoil is all about then i would give some credit to the News Press but I think not.

Our news today and in the future will likely be a smorgasboard of whatever you want or better yet not want and instead leave behind at the news buffet. Any news media will suffer financially if it doesn't cater to the diversity of an introspect and neglectfull society unwilling to really look into the mirror for fear of seeing themselves at the root of any problem.

I think it was Bobby Kennedy Jr. who stated recently that "we are entertained to death." Who has time to pay attention to the important stuff when we can watch poker on TV when we're not at the local casino. As a whole we are distracted, too much to do and too many placed to go, be really thoughtfull.....Anyone for a round of Golf?

3/19/2007 6:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cappello is spewing the poison that, in his judgment, will best advance his labor outlaw client's position, the law be damned. His "meteor" quote sounds a bit like he's warning people that Wendy might shut down the paper, and that in any event, fascism must reign, and the reporters should not have the independence from management's editorial position that they ordinarily enjoy, consistent with journalistic ethics. As for his apparent intent to file "exceptions" to Judge Schmidt's findings, no one has yet to answer the basic question: where is the reversible error in that decision? What finding was incorrect? Where is the basis for overturning this election, knowing that the heavy burden of doing so is squarely on the News-Press? There will be no reversal of the findings that Steepleton and Armstrong are liars, that the News-Press knew it was going to lose the election and that there was no misconduct by the union whatsoever. If, pardon me, anonymous comments from the blogosphere can overturn this election, then what election at the SBNP would ever be held valid?

Bottom line on the exceptions: it's purely a bad faith delay tactic and nothing more, and the News-Press, Cappello, McCandless, Wendy and Nipper know it. Period.

3/19/2007 6:16 AM  
Anonymous park park park said...

Cappello really peed in his mess kit with that one. It's an open invitation for all the other newspapers on the South Coast to eat the News-Press' lunch.

Hey, I was walking around on Saturday night... there were huge stacks (4 feet tall, covering an area the size of a basketball court) of Sunday inserts in the parking lot of the News-Press. Kind of looked like a warehouse floor...

That is all fine, legal, and good for them... I just didn't know they used there parking lot as a rather large staging area for paper assembly. Or was this because there was an unusual amount of advertising on Sunday?

3/19/2007 6:31 AM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

I think Mr. Cappello has been reading Vanity Fair. I found this article about how newspapers are obsolete and billionaires are buying them up to be quite interesting. (The article does not mention the News-Press.)

3/19/2007 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NYT writes"
"Mr. Cappello said newspapers are anachronisms, and journalists have failed to realize this." I thought Cappello worked for Wendy McCaw, Ampersand? Is he working for the journalists now? Or will he be chatting about teachers, judges and other professions? WHAT DOES WENDY REALIZE? Is this why she bought and wants to hold on to a newspapers, because she realizes she has an anachronism?

“The meteor has hit. We’re watching the end of the industry,” Says Mr. Cappello. Is the meteor a code word for the transition. He is confusing.... Why would a sane attorney admit his client invested millions in "watching the end of the industry." These are some fatalistic sick people.

What's the new age? Is "Dr" Laura their foremost blog expert?

3/19/2007 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

News-Press parking lot has been used as a staging area for production for a long time. Nothing new there.

3/19/2007 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Park etc., that happens every late Saturday night, has for years. The Sunday inserts.
Also, 2:11, just for the record, it was Millstein who said a cease and desist order is a form of dialogue. Let's spread the glory. Wendy can pick 'em.

3/19/2007 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... eyes are still twitching over John McCain's confusion over one of the purposes of a condom. I haven't even got to the rest of the article...

3/19/2007 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well with owners like Wendy it's no wonder that news papers might not have a future.

3/19/2007 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Capello came to town with the district attorney's office and quickly realized this Anglo Old Boys town needed a junk yard dog lawyer and proceeded happily to be one. You can read all about this years ago in the California Lawyer monthly magazine who did a feature story on him then.

He had his own high-profile divorce and tried to squelch his public record about his shared community property assets.

He was bred to be mean and made a bundle doing it. He was Wendy's only local choice for a legal hit man.

And he is a damn good lawyer because he can look anyone in the eye and spit on them at the same time. Few in this town have such cojones available for hire and have gotten away with it.

He chose to be an outsider and this is his secret. Just like Wendy - if you don't care to "just get along" you can go a long, long way.

3/19/2007 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the World according to Wendy and the new Dr. Agnes, truth is a dinosaur?

3/19/2007 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cappello is sort of right. Newspapers have increasing competition from the internet, where the barriers to entry don’t require one to have a billion dollar divorce settlement in order to author news and opinion. It's more of a slow motion car wreck than a meteor.

He’s wrong about journalists. They can more and more “write what they want when they want” via electronic media, as McCaw is finding out the hard way, across the nation. Journalists writing truth to power have and will survive in any age. What frustrates McCaw is that, as this blog illustrates, old media like newspapers don’t give owners the power they once enjoyed. Thus her subpoenas and cease and desist letters and lawsuits. The most popular local columnist right now is a blogger.

Newspapers ARE becoming anachronisms, but it is an owner like McCaw who fails to realize this, not journalists.

3/19/2007 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as they get delivered to my door and I can lounge with a cup of coffee and leisurly bring the world outside in to the comfort of my own home, I will feel need for newspapers.

No can do this with my computer.

So let's everybody get on down and get back to having a really good local paper around here again.

3/19/2007 10:02 PM  
Anonymous David Pritchett said...

Does this ("everybody get on down and get back to having a really good local paper around here again") mean that we all should take a short walk and pick up Santa Barbara Daily Sound??

3/19/2007 11:46 PM  
Anonymous Outsider said...

When Capello called newspapers an anachronism and a dying industry, wasn't he admitting there is no basis for Wendy's financial claims in her suit against Susan Paterno, the author of the American Journalism Review article about the News-Press debacle? Is that what Wendy hired him to do?

3/20/2007 4:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daily Sound placement in my neighborhood is inconsistent. Sometimes I can find it, most often not. Is there someplace we can find distribution sites?

I go out of my way every week for the Independent (damn fine rag), but for a daily I still like home delivery, coffee and leisure.

3/20/2007 8:16 AM  
Anonymous David Pritchett said...

So why not Daily Sound being truly daily and home delivery with a paid subscription??

I know that is not their initial business model, but as we know, we are now living in a Post 7/6 World and everything is different now.

(bonus credit to anyone who understands that source and reference)

Morning family life is diminished without a printed newspaper at the breakie table instead of hiding in the computer room.

3/20/2007 12:56 PM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

I also echo anonymous's desire to actually FIND the Daily Sound consistently without going too far off my usual paths. I've been thinking of emailing them just to ask -- to start, I think getting them into boxes by the MTD Transit Center would be great (there are so many boxes out there, and no Sound!). If they need to pay for their own boxes though, that could be a somewhat hefty outlay of capital.... (I'm also not keen on doing all my reading online.)

3/20/2007 2:17 PM  
Anonymous harping said...

Too bad all our wishing that the Daily Sound would become a paper worth going out of our way to find has not made it happen. Although it has improved since it started almost a year ago, it still has a long way to go before it can be taken seriously. It's a shame that investors (where are they, anyway?) apparently have not made it possible for the Sound to hire some of the available former N-P reporters, editors & advertising professionals. In particular, I believe an experienced top-notch editor would make the most obvious & positive difference in overall quality. (To be fair, that also would be true for the other local papers, including the N-P, the Indy & the Montecito Journal, all of which regularly display a lack of professional editing.) In the meantime it doesn't help that the Sound's "editor & publisher" (never a good combination--except in the case of the journal by that name) chooses to fill pages with writings from "columnists" whose contributions are, to put it kindly, not quite ready for prime time. Sorry to sound so negative--guess I'm just getting impatient for to launch!

3/20/2007 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Sound Advice said...

I admire the Daily Sound for being here when we needed them but it is a terrible paper-misspellings, errors, poor reporting. I support them and support their advertisers but let's not pretend it's anything great. it's like a HS paper at best.

3/20/2007 4:10 PM  
Anonymous David Pritchett said...

Notwithstanding the need for a consistent copyeditor and some columnists who are good for more than late night, Daily Sound finds lots of news and reports it fast and accurately.
Local people who know news, know that. Daily Sound beats the competition of other newspapers and TV quite often.

The stories could be deeper, of course, but that should come as it matures. They do need a bigger investment to hire more reporters and improve distribution and their web site.

Check this:

3/20/2007 11:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My hope is for the Santa Barbara news room team of professionals. ( due out on April 2. The Sound definitely lucked out with the happening of the mess but as for depth, Jeramy Gordon has said that his content model is the Reader's Digest, quick and easy to read. Santa Barbara needs more than that.

3/23/2007 5:13 PM  

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