Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, March 15, 2007

PR: to Launch April 2

To: All Media

From: The Illegally Fired Journalists of the Santa Barbara News-Press

Date: Thursday, March 15, 2007

Re: Santa Barbara Newsroom Web site and news broadcast

We, the eight illegally fired journalists of the SBNP, are starting our own online news site and broadcast news program -- called Santa Barbara Newsroom -- in an effort to provide the community with the quality local journalism it deserves while we await reinstatement to our jobs. is scheduled to launch on April 2. A half-hour news program will follow, airing regularly on Channel 17, Santa Barbara's public access station. The original broadcast time slot and re-run times will soon be announced. A link to a rebroadcast of this program will also be on the Web site.

Both the Web site and the broadcast program are sponsored by the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The newsroom staff voted overwhelmingly last September to join the Teamsters in an attempt to restore integrity to the Santa Barbara News-Press through a union contract.

This multi-media effort will allow us to continue to publish the stories we have taken such great pride in providing our community. It will also enable us to provide timely updates to developments concerning our unionization effort and the pending unfair labor practice charges our Teamster attorney has filed against Wendy McCaw, the owner and co-publisher of the Santa Barbara News-Press.

Six of us were illegally fired on Feb. 5 and 6 for protesting the previous illegal firing of two other reporters.We expect the National Labor Relations Board to aggressively prosecute the company for these wrongful terminations and seek back pay and the reinstatement of each of these highly respected and award-winning journalists.

The eight fired reporters, who will now staff Santa Barbara Newsroom, are: Melinda Burns, John Zant, Dawn Hobbs, Tom Schultz, Anna Davison, Barney McManigal, Rob Kuznia and Melissa Evans.

The crisis that has brought us to this point began at the Santa Barbara News-Press last July when seven editors walked off the job, they said, because they could no longer uphold their standards of ethics and integrity. Since then more than 40 professionals have been forced out or fired.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God it's about time we got some real news in the town.
Best to you all and i hope you do a great job and make our community proud of you all.

3/15/2007 6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh gawd, union infomercals! Why not news? If you sell advertising on your website you could make some money and not need to go back to the pathetic NP. Why not make something good come of all of this?

3/15/2007 6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much assurance did the Teamsters rep give you that you would not be fired before participating in the banner hanging?

The union owes you this if they set you up to do things that ultimately (though maybe not directly causatively)led to your termination at the NewsPress.

Please this too is a story that needs to be heard. Anyone care to talk about this in the interest of Freedom of Expression?

3/15/2007 6:34 PM  
Anonymous anonymously yours said...

oh no! the union made me do it!

Wendy's values: you can drive drunk and lie to the judge and she'll give you a raise; but if you protest her nuttiness and show some backbone, you'll get fired for "disloyalty"...

congrats SBNEWSROOM! Go get'em

3/15/2007 7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do y'all figure the early morning line is on getting a cease and desist letter before April 2?

3/15/2007 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I look forward to reading it, although if its just whining about the newspress it will quickly become passe. If its actual local news reported by the impressive group mentioned, the np may be in bigger trouble (so could the sound who cant do a webedition for macintosh) than getting unionized. KEYT had its highest hit day ever yesterday on their website with people looking for info on the gang murder. If this isnt a confirmation of the NP losing audience I dont know what is.....

3/15/2007 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can now go back to my Zant fix!

3/15/2007 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try something completely different than the News-Press: put up a user friendly website with email delivery options, have interactive capability with the reporters, carry a broad diversity of columns and viewpoints, don't charge a subscription, cover local news with depth and breadth and quality and timeliness, run lots of photos, and sell lots of ads. Can't wait.

3/15/2007 8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe somebody can start covering UCSB again.

3/15/2007 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Won't have the largest news staff on the South Coast?

3/15/2007 8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former employee of the NP, i don't get the paper anymore. I go online to get some news, and read edhat and the Indy, and watch the 6am news. None of my new media sources insult my intelligence with one word definitions, with anonymous quotes, or huge pictures with cutlines that serve as articles. Thank God our writers who know Santa Barbara are writing again. I love the people still working there but, let's have some local news for a change! Thank you, Newsroom!

3/15/2007 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


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

So far the spectacle has been about what McCaw can tear down.

This new news source is about creating something new, building up.

Building up is something McCaw can't seem to do. Cease and desist letters, investigators and scads of lawyers don't fit in with the creativity and character it takes to build. She can't even hire an editor-in-chief.

This will accelerate her circulation and advertising declines.

3/15/2007 10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how are they going to get paid? Free websites like this one, Ed Hat, Santa Barbara's Blog,, are plenty.

Sara, as you know, they are under quite an illusion if they think they can make a living on web news.

3/15/2007 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Delirious !

3/15/2007 11:10 PM  
Anonymous Don Lubach said...

Bring on the Podcasts. Bring on the Videocasts. Bring on the RSS feeds. Good things are starting to come out of this crisis. News in formats that don't kill trees and don't require me to breakdown and buy a cable subscription.

Go Team


3/16/2007 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Santa Barbara is getting its community newspaper back -- online and on television.

Pay attention Wendy, Arthur and Travis.

You might just learn something -- from the pros.

3/16/2007 12:50 PM  
Anonymous A reader said...

Hi reporters,

A longtime resident here who's canceled their subscription to the News-Press and has even attended some of your rallies.

Glad you'll be back reporting the news.

Since it appears your future with the News-Press is now in the hands of the federal agency, I hope you'll tone down the union rhetoric and bitterness.

There's enough unpleasant stuff going on now already.

And you shouldn't become like the News-Press, who everyone distrusts because it can't keep opinion out of its stories.

Thanks for listening.

3/16/2007 2:11 PM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

The News-Press is the essential and trusted news source for Santa Barbara.

Its timely, incisive and wide-ranging coverage of the fatal gang melee shows that its newsroom is rejuvenated and focused on bringing readers the best local news there is to be had.

No glorified blog, put together by amateurs and News-Press rejects, will be able to compete in terms of authoritativeness or completeness.

This project is trivial and a waste of time.

3/16/2007 3:27 PM  
Anonymous harping said...

Who knew that Nelville had such a great sense of humor?!

3/16/2007 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ground Control to Nelville Flynn. . .
What planet's News-Press have you been reading lately?

3/16/2007 9:56 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I know it's hard not to lash out at some of the aliases who speak here -- but we need to show restraint. Otherwise good posts that I rejected folks...

3/17/2007 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melinda Burns, John Zant, Dawn Hobbs, Tom Schultz, Anna Davison, Barney McManigal, Rob Kuznia and Melissa Evans.

Out of the entire group there is only one decent unbiased journalist - John Zant.

Tom Schultz was horrible - he missed the entire Goleta elections and general plan.

Melinda Burns was a horrible reporter and was doubled bad as she had her own point of view.

Wendy and Travis are wrong - but these reporters, hold Zant, were biased and lazy.

3/17/2007 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is a great opportunity for these folks to take it to another level and show us all what they are made of. Go for it!

Im tired of the juvenile reporting on the fatal gang melee.... Call it what it is MURDER! Out of control feral kids!

Every news source in town is calling this a gang melee. So all the sources are the same.

Give us something different. Something we can't wait to read!

You do that, and you'll never need to look back!

3/17/2007 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Liam said...

This is very exciting news. Best of luck to Santa Barbara Newsroom! I am also looking forward to the expansion of SB Internet TV and the Santa Ynez Valley Times, as well as the launch of Santa Barbara Citizen News and the new Santa Barbara IndyMedia. Alternative media is strong and growing!

3/18/2007 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is so easy to get paid subscriptions or donations via PayPal that this news organization should be able to pay its own way in no time.

Population base - 100,000

10,000 possible subscribers at $30 annually each divided by 10 part-time staffers get paid $30,000 each should go a long way to digging out the local news for those who still care.

Or 5 full time staffers at $60,000 each.

So for less than the price of a single dinner or movies for two you can support local news for a year? Who would not pass up this bargain.

PayPal guys, PayPal. People will by anything with PayPal these days.

Sara, I would pay you easily this amount to support what you are doing right now.

3/20/2007 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, why don't you walk your talk a little, and restrain these liars spreading unsubstantiated drivel on behalf of Wendy Petrak McCaw?

I'm referring to the post from 12:20 p.m., which complains about Tom Schultz and Melinda Burns, two stellar reporters with over 30 years at the News-Press between them.

There is absolutely nothing to the criticisms. Tom was great covering Goleta, and Melinda may have won more awards (national, state and local) than any reporter in the paper's history.

Besides Nora Wallace and Maria Zate, the current news staff couldn't scrape together a year's worth of News-Press experience combined.

What say ye now, Petrak?

3/21/2007 10:15 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Walk my talk? Try a mile in my shoes :)

I see what you are saying but as a moderator I don't censure or feel a need to correct everything that is said here. It would be a full time job! I have to leave some of that up to you to self-police and comment.

I try to address egregious undertakings and when I am busy with the work that makes me real money -- it is hard to keep up. So, in the words of Jerry McGuire -- "Help me, help you".

Of course I hold great respect and admiration for the Reporters Formerly and Maybe Soon Known As News-Press Reporters and Tom was, is and will be great at covering Goleta. Melinda didn't deserve what she got at all and I am amazed that Nora has been able to stay on...probably because she doesn't have to be there everyday.

3/21/2007 10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anyone know a contact e-mail for the new SBnewsroom folks? I know the website is "coming soon" but I'd be interested in contacting them with press releases, etc.

3/23/2007 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just click over to for a list of contacts

4/02/2007 12:04 AM  

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