Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

SBNP Correction Begs Question

A recent article by Maria Zate on two firings of Circuit City employees who made too much money has been the subject of an interesting correction from The Santa Barbara News-Press:

Sunday's News-Press reported on two Circuit City workers who are no longer employed by the company. The News-Press, along with most reputable members of the media, has a policy of always attempting to speak to both sides of any story. We tried in this case, but were not successful. The story, however, did not reflect those efforts as it should have.

A citizen stringer who passed this along to me questions why the correction says the two employees are unemployed rather than what the original article was about -- that experienced salespeople there were paid too much. For all we know, the typical Circuit City 'declined to comment' was excised from the article. Was this correction generated by Circuit City management or by News-Press management? It's an important aspect of the correction that should have been made clear. Our citizen stringer wonders whether Zate's original article was edited and now she will be accussed of "newsroom bias" -- was she set up for failure? Why didn't the copy editor think about this before the article was published?

I guess the answer is so obvious that there is no reason to talk about it :)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real story here is the quote from the News-Press correction: "The News-Press, along with most reputable members of the media, has a policy of always attempting to speak to both sides of any story."

If this had referred only to the NP news reporters, yes, in the past (before they fired their best reporters) generally they did try to represent both sides of the issues.

The same cannot be said for the Editorial page which usually did not even acknowledge the existence of another side. And the editorial page editor clearly screened out letters and columns from people who had a different stance than the News-Press.

Stating a policy and adhering to it are two entirely different things. The correction properly states the standard any reputable paper should follow. The NP's actual practices are in daily violation of their stated policy of "attempting to speak to both sides of any story."

4/11/2007 12:33 PM  
Anonymous sbjules said...

Since it has been widely reported that Circuit City's policy nationwide is to fire employees who make "too much", it seems extra silly that the News Press would "correct" the story. The employees may re-apply for their jobs at the entry level salary.

Why not just use an AP story. But then this is the News Press.

4/11/2007 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When is the News-Press going to speak to "both sides" of the current nasty union fight involving the paper -- and actually publish the story otherwise being carried around the world?

Then the News-Press could properly start to include itself as a "reputable" member of the media.

4/11/2007 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"BOTH sides of ANY story"???

Yeah, right...

As long as the story is on the wendy mccaw editorial page approved list and there are still reporters around to cover it.

4/11/2007 5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Memo to News-Press publishers:

"Reputable" media cover "ALL" sides, not just "BOTH" sides.

Didn't you know?

4/11/2007 5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The News-Press, along with most reputable members of the media, has a policy of always attempting to speak to both sides of any story. We tried in this case, but were not successful."

Hey, Wendy and Nip, when you wrote the "story" about the NLRB throwing out some of the union claims, did you "attempt" to call up the union guy Travis saw outside his window in the middle of the night to get his "side"?

Gimmmmeeee a break.

4/11/2007 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And, where was the "story" about ALJ Schmidt trashing Armstrong, Steepleton, Huff and their lawyers, all lying and unreliable?

4/11/2007 9:46 PM  
Anonymous BigBrainBobmary;) said...

Sara, to have your questions answered, simply contact Ms. Graham Brown, the highly personable director of community relations at the News-Press, and ask to see Maria Zate's original story and how it was altered during the editing process.

It's all public information. After all, a newspaper serves its readers and loves to give them a glimpse at how it operates.

This can be done while Ms. Brown provides a group tour of the newsroom, which is a common practice among reputable newspapers to show members of the community how they operate.

Just ask to see the "audit trail" on the story on any newsroom computer and you'll see everyone who edited it and how each may have changed the story. Business Editor Dale Rim would love to demonstrate this and explain how he edited the story too.

Then, you can tour the rest of the building and even stop by Wendy McCaw's office and chat with the co-publishers in a friendly give-and-take conversation about any topics, especially bias, religion, Teamsters and SB Newsroom reporters.

After that, pop into Travis Armstrong's office and ask him to explain how he researches and writes his editorials, and chooses letters to the editor and op-ed pieces to provide balanced viewpoints. Ask to see his collection of letters and op-ed pieces that he chose not to print and ask why about each one.

Last by not least, you can visit with Scott Steepleton and ask him to explain what an Associate Editor does and why that title exists while there is no Editor-in-Chief ... yet (Or ask HR's YoAp about that ;)

Isn't having a community newspaper great or what?

4/11/2007 10:46 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

bigbrainbobmary -- yeah, I can see it now...burly, maybe even snarky, security officers at my side with video cameras as I use "public information" as my shield and then am promptly escorted out of the buidling to cries of "wait...I am Sara de la Guerra" from the ghosts of Storm Troopers.

It would be especially fun to have high tea with Mr. Armstrong while we go over each letter that he doesn't publish...and then hear a low, James Earl Jones-like voice -- "Sara, I am your father...". LOL

I have nightmares about thanks.

4/11/2007 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of "reputable" media, looks like all those whales and seals that once only inhabited the News-Press opinion pages today populate the front page as well.

Ban the bias, Wendy, ban the bias.

4/12/2007 1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the latest on unions and doing the right thing read Dr. Laura's local tidbits. One of the best writings to date.

4/12/2007 6:06 PM  
Anonymous boB said...

Dear BigBrainBobmary;)

I sincerely love your post! That was tres clever and muy informative! Thanks so much!

BTW since Sara can spell your name correctly, I keep hoping that she will notice that I officially spell mine backwards! ;-)

Sincerely, boB

4/12/2007 8:51 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I have noticed boB -- very clever. I like that around here...thanks for reading.

4/12/2007 9:08 PM  
Anonymous BigBrainBobmary said...

Thanks boB, appreciate the compliment. :) And Sarah, your response was hilarious!

BTW, I had once posted a comment as "Bobby the Brain G." and later bumped into a friend named Mary at a local supermarket and she said she liked what I wrote on the blog as "Big Brain Bob." I got a kick out of that. So, in honor of her I used that name this time and added hers to the end. That one was for you, Mary! :)

P.S. Note to any pro-wrestling fans out there, yes, I adopted that nickname from a former professional wrestler named Bobby the Brain Heenan. He later became a manager. Now that was using his brain to save his body, eh?! ;)

4/12/2007 10:49 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Thanks - that kind of response is what makes this worthwhile, I had no idea about the ontology of that name and love to hear what makes my readers tick -- good choice!

4/13/2007 12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were a NP reporter, I'd think twice before writing about any local issues whatsoever, for fear of writing something "biased" (e.g. something that does not promote TKS'a editorial policy.) Seems like there are a lot of big, easy-to-cover stories that are not being picked up. (Like garbage company BFI stealing $190,000 from 900 customers! Huge story picked up by the Indy, but not a peep in the NP - maybe Wendy has a friend at BFI...)

4/13/2007 12:06 PM  

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