Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

SB Newsroom Fights the Long Leash of Attrition

A citizen stringer pointed out to me that Santa Barbara Newsroom is now accepting donations for their operating expenses and to help make ends meet. It looks as though the request in the form of a "Commentary" was posted late last night. Here's the main quote:

Time is not on our side in this lopsided contest in the courts with Wendy McCaw, the owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press. Even though she fired all of us eight reporters illegally, and even though we know the courts will eventually rule in our favor, the truth is that the labor laws of this country give employers a long leash to exercise their abuse of power.

Perhaps for the first time, we also get an indication that The Teamsters have spent into six figures to protect these reporters...basically dues from truck drivers and construction workers around the country are funding the defense of an industry that is completely foreign to them. All the while, McCaw has eight experienced and well-paid law firms that have been attacking these reporters and many of us that oppose their intransigence, incessantly.

At the risk of sounding trite; this inspires me as I, within this context, know what it takes to keep going in the face of opposition. I do not know, however, what it is like to not know how I can pay my mortage, health insurance and other necessities of life because Ampersand Publishing will do all that it takes. I can only imagine under the guise of anonymity and what I have experienced under the vise of one of these overly-paid firms for a short while -- what these reporters have been experiencing daily.

Checks can be sent to the following address or electronically via PayPal -- please give what you can:

Santa Barbara Union Defense Fund
PO Box 30041
Santa Barbara, CA 93130



Anonymous Anonymous said...

SBNewsroom should not be a charity project, nor a vehicle for fired reporters to attack the News-Press.

It needs to start making money on its own.

That means building up advertising, including luring away News-Press advertisers, and doing more promotion.

Online news can be profitable.

SBNewsroom will go out of business if it remains a Teamsters vanity project or a charity. It needs to start making money. Soon.

5/08/2007 7:56 AM  
Anonymous ordinary citizen said...

She needs eight law firms for this?! I would like to know who, besides B Capello, is enabling the wicked witch of the west to destroy lives. Can you list these firms please?

5/08/2007 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mineards Gossip... not a peep about the NP.

Royal Family, 14 Paragraphs
Misc International, 6 P
LA, 8 P
Central Coast, 9.5 (.5 for Frequent Santa Barbara Visitor, Brophies, kitchen floor, 5 P)

Vieja Valley School Fundraiser
Hope Ranch
Hitching Post
Brophies (Boston-themed restaurant, next to SB Yacht Club),
Brophies, Ventura (Coming June)

And send gossip, like Laura, he might have full reign (ok bad, Pun):
Richard Mineards has been a print and broadcast commentator on the British royal family for decades, and is now on the gossip beat in Santa Barbara. The opinions in the column are Mr. Mineards' and not necessarily those of the newspaper. Readers with tips and amusing items for the column are most welcome at

5/08/2007 9:43 AM  
Anonymous snarky said...

Rotating Taglines:
Staff report,(no tagline)

5/08/2007 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would pursuing advertising and a profit-driven operation for SB Newsroom be problematic from a legal standpoint?

Since these reporters see themselves as fired illegally, can they continue to fight for their old jobs through the Teamsters and National Labor Relations Board but at the same time operate a business in direct competition with their old employer?

5/08/2007 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too would like to see SBNewsroom achieve support through advertising. But that is easier said than done on a level sufficient to support it. In the meantime, I willing to support it through voluntary subscription - charity is too perjorative a term.

As for improper competition witht he SBNP, I suspect their renewed employment might prevent them from further competing with the NP. But, assuming their employment contracts prevented post-employment competition and such a term was enforceable, I am confident SBNP counsel would enforce SBNP rights. I am equally confident that Teamsters counsel are advising SBNewsroom staff on such issues. As I have seen no report of SBNP cease and desist letters or lawsuits over SBNewsroom activity, I see the competition issues as nonexistant.

5/08/2007 1:23 PM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

SB Newsroom is hardly a "vehicle for fired reporters to attack the News-Press." Practically the only time the SBNP has been mentioned was in the debut "Commentary" and in the Jerry Roberts press conference (to which SBNP sent a reporter but showed its true cowardly colors by not even writing about).

It would be great if it could garner advertising, but I'm not sure its even an actual business.

It would be nice if Sara McCune Miller would step up, as some have mentioned, and maybe bankroll the SB Daily Sound or something. It's hard to tell how that's doing. Even though it's free, it's still hard for me to even get my hands on a copy. Needs better distribution channels.

5/08/2007 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

_Support SBNewsroom as you can for now. There's alot to learn.
_Eight law firms? Is Cappello the only local enabler? It's more & more like an invasion.
_Does Mineards Gossip... want LA, royal gossip from SB? What's the deal? He won't do the SB newsy gossip he could. He's YELLOW like his co-columnist Dr. Laura.
_The good news is they are DOCUMENTING how NOT LOCAL and OUT OF TOUCH they are. One Voice.
_They continue documenting their before, during and after complicity in crimes against humanity. Including the major character assassinations, even silence connects them with the porn one.
_The sbnp is now a FREEBIE. According to their "dudes (not) selling the subscriptions" business plan.
_We've been noticng more trolls on other blogs, as in political campaigns and Dr. Laura. One or two people can look like many. I'd like to know more about their techniques. Is it a "make money at home" scam? You see the advertising on talk radio.
_I don't think the 33% & 28% are correct now. More cooked stats.
_At what point are they certifiable? Insane, that is...

5/08/2007 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If what writes has economic value, then they should sell ads or subscriptions, rather than looking for charity.

If it doesn't have value, then they need to write what people want to read, so they can sell ads or subscriptions.

A silver lining in their "recess" is that they will learn business realities.

5/08/2007 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I REALLY like and wish it much success, buuuuuut...I do have to agree with anon. 3:51 and anon. 7:56. They do need to find a way to generate funds rather than asking for donations.

5/08/2007 6:58 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

C'mon people, you could at least send the Newsroom what you were paying for SBNP monthly subscription- the Newsroom reporting is better and cleaner and a heck of a lot more timely than that "other" paper.

Just be glad it's not you trying to eek out a living while fighting 8 high-powered law firms! dd

5/08/2007 7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know who the various law firms representing Wendy&Co. are?

I will need legal help soon on a couple of unrelated matters -- I would rather not do business with any law firms that are providing her assistance.

5/08/2007 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Have Money, Will be Stupid”

May 8th, 2007

The opening paragraphs…

“Santa Barbara, such an odd place. It’s natural beauty is marred by the ugliness of those who can afford to live there. It’s also home to a bizarre newspaper called the Santa Barbara News-Press that seems to mirror, if not in money at least in oddness the area it serves.

The News-Press is owned by Craig McCaw’s (of cellular fame) ex-wife, Wendy McCaw. She seems to believe that because she sucked her ex dry she is fit to run a newspaper. It’s not working out so well, btw.”

etc. etc. etc.

5/08/2007 9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Ripped from INSIDE THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY or a statement on Wendy McCaw's Santa Barbara News-Press?

Ampersand's business plan:

What kind of scrapbook is this?

5/08/2007 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post is about raising revenue and the last is about selling papers. All of those other people running around outside of the newsroom must have been worth something after all.

5/08/2007 9:11 PM  
Anonymous boB said...

Advertisers do rule and that is the key to the demise of the SBNP.

I throw out some ideas in a blog that I have just written (050807 @ about 9:10 pm) on the ".....100% Commission" post.

Check it out. The key to all this is advertising.

Cancelling home subscriptions has an effect, but a serious decline in ad revenue will kill them emotionally! Even a billionaire who doesn't need the money will feel that message.

10% is all I ask! Just 10%. Reduce your ad expenditures by 10%. Everyone do it! Everyone! Just 10%. It's a start! Churches, painters, realtors, mortgage companies, financial planners, restaurants, home improvement stores, florists, book stores, grocery stores, (fill in the blank with your business). Just 10%! It's a start!

I'm boB

5/08/2007 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with asking for donations. This nonsense about subscriptions and advertising revenue being essential models has convinced me to donate.

5/08/2007 10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Craig Smith’s Blog, May 8, 2007: “Seven Resignations In Seven Days. Tuesday, May 8, 2007."

"It's official. … That makes Fred the seventh News-Press writer to resign in as many days over the controversial Jerry Roberts story.”

From Wendy McCaw “Dear Staff and Friends” letter, July 18, 2006, written last summer while on the good ship Calixe:

“We are rapidly moving to complete our new team in the newsroom. While there are still some difficulties ahead, we are picking up momentum and should be back on track very shortly. Our search for a new editor is well underway.”

From Wendy McCaw “Opinion: Setting the Record Straight” July 25, 2006, still last summer somewhere in Europe:

“We are in the process of hiring a new editor who is a strong journalist with impeccable credentials to be the buffer between the newsroom and the publisher. I am gratified that in July our new subscriptions exceeded cancellations, resulting in a net subscription increase of 406. While the vocal minority has tried to make a lot of noise, the quiet majority are showing their support.”

This from the Wendy before the L.A. Times reported her 9.5% circulation drop, “worst in the region.”

From Craig Smith’s Blog, May 8, 2007,

“A very reliable source has told me that Wendy and her not-so-royal consort, Arthur von Wiesenberger will be heading off to Europe in early June and not returning until the end of July.”

SBnewsroom, get ready for a long long summer. Wendy Hilton will insist that all pending legal suits be put on hold until she returns from her European yatching vacation.

When Travis Armstrong returns from his vacation, and the Baron and Baroness depart next month, will Travis be "acting publisher" again?

What happens when Steepleton and his feature writer other depart for their vacation? Who will "staff report" for most local news?

5/08/2007 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Advertisers do rule.
Send Newsroom money that you save.
Write to let advertisers know how serious smearing someone is.They are disgusting to support her behavior.

5/09/2007 12:59 AM  
Anonymous Anon (Edited) said...

The Newsroom has gotta grow up, Stop Whining and create something that the community cares about.

It is time for them to buckle down and compete with the News-suppress.
It should not be too hard to create something that the community can be proud of, especially since there is very little competition.

I propose that they get to work and start a truly LOCAL paper that forgets about the "lost puppy" stories from the AP and just prints local news. There is so much going on in this town.
If they actually went to work instead of begging for money, then they could create something that could build into a real career for themselves and provide the final push to YABBADABBA, Wendy McCaw, to leave town with her tail between her legs.

5/09/2007 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sent a check in to SB Newsroom, more then a 3 years contribution to PBS... please do so too!

5/09/2007 12:51 PM  
Anonymous former np subscriber said...

anon 10:29am, You may be the last to know what you're talking about. The Newsroom is new, getting it's bearings. The best public news sources are from public donations, not more corporate shills. Ampersand and all enablers are sustaining an indisputable example of Mccarthyism. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. You want to stand with yellow journalism? Open your eyes..

Send a donation.

5/09/2007 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about Brophies. I'll miss it.

5/09/2007 2:54 PM  
Anonymous GVG said...

Dear boB,

I can understand why you spell your name backward.

You suggest, among other businesses, that grocery stores cut back on advertising to punish the News Press for issues stemming in major part from events surrounding employee unionization. In today's NP (borrow a pass along copy from Sara to verify) the largest advertisement was a 12 page insert from Lazy Acres Market which is owned by the Albertson's grocery chain. Albertson's was hardly a champion of union rights during the grocery workers strike. In fact, non-classified section advertisers are predominantly large corporations or small businesses. Both tend to be conservative and anti-union. I don't think there would be much support from these entities for a group of employees who were willing to stand on a freeway overpass urging motorists to boycott their employer's product.

Also, do you really think that most of the business owners you are suggesting reduce their ads by 10% actually read this blog?

However, you might find some success in shrinking NP classified section revenues by urging the area's many government employees not to advertise their yard sales or by persuading local aging hippies to reduce the size of their ads on the disposition of their old VW buses.

I'm sure Ms. McCaw will enjoy the summer on her yacht (staffed by non-union employees) without concern for an advertising boycott of the News Press.

5/09/2007 3:10 PM  
Anonymous boB said...

Yikes! An old VW bus? OMG! Where is it being dispositioned (perhaps by a Govt employee!)? I neeeeeed it! Already "Feeeelin Groooovy"!

I'm boB <---- backwardoldBeetlelover 8D

5/09/2007 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like Steepleton wrote the majority of the paper this morning.

How long can he keep it up?

The best local news to be had. But when she said that--she meant making the news, not covering it.

5/09/2007 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only local lawyer representing Wendy and the SBNP is Barry Cappello. Craig Smith has listed most of the lawyers who are currently representing her and/or the corporation, which include San Francisco's David Millstein, Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, and formerly Kauff, McClain & McGuire, Bay Area dork Wally Doolittle, Tennessee's Michael Zinser, LA/Atlanta's Ogletree Deakins (also gone), LA's Marty Singer and Larry Stein. This is not the exhaustive list, but it is most of the rogues' gallery.

5/09/2007 10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All those out-of-town lawyers don't have to live with the long-term consequences of the havoc they have created locally. As long as McCaw keeps making those $600 an hour payments, they will keep coming through the airport and doing her bidding. When she stops, they will disappear.

As for Barry Cappello, he must like the limelight. "New York Times on line 3, Bare."

5/10/2007 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 9:09 - I hate to say it, but Steepleton's doing a damn good job. Just one of him is beating the whole Independent crew and the SBNewsroom. Scott's articles are always clear, well-written and accurate. He's awesome! The Santa Barbara community should be grateful that he's working as hard as he is to keep us informed.

5/10/2007 3:37 PM  
Anonymous lower westie said...

Hey anon 2:54, what's up with Brophy's? I haven't heard anything, and couldn't read the article.

BTW, here's a bit of news from the lower West side, the electricity just came on after being out since midnight. Wow, when I don't have power, I have nothing. . . also, a firetruck and ambulance were out front this morning on Rancheria Street. I don't know for sure, but my neighbor said someone was hit by a car. And then another incident (SBFD and ambulance) this afternoon. I have absolutely no faith that any of this will be reported by the N P.

(boB, keep the comments coming. I have a cat named Bob. Different spelling, but just as much attitude.)

5/10/2007 4:39 PM  
Anonymous lower westie said...

My previous post illustrates why I should check facts before I post. Regarding the incident after 4:00, it turns out to be something serious. About an hour later I saw a portion of San Pascual blocked off by numerous police officers. And I just caught KEYT @ 6:30. They are reporting a teen stabing. So maybe the N P will report something after all.

. . .From the lower west side of Santa Barbara.

5/10/2007 6:40 PM  
Anonymous boB said...

Thanks for that, "lower westie".

I actually did old VW restorations for fun in my earlier life when I had a son helping me and my bod and back were in better shape.

I think that I could still rebuild early 60's carburetors in my sleep.

Anyway, I am noticing the rather polished posts that are appearing in greater numbers with props for the SBNP and generally supportive of the "changes" that have occurred.

This is ok, of course, but places a greater burden on people to respond where they see errors in them.

I had this moment this morning as I was caring a stack of this week's "Daily Sound"s down to a friend "in the building" because he had not yet seen the paper. It was, OMG, what if the Daily Sound and the Santa Barbara Newsroom merged with financial support from more advertisers and from some local investors who care about the town?

I mean, The Daily Sound with all of their reporters and those from the Newsroom, and a Sports section, and "Comics" <--- :D

And pretty soon maybe some home delivery! Why maybe if I bought that VW bus being dispositioned I could be lured back into being an aging hippie paperboy!

Maybe it could be available in the morning like it is now at coffee shops, but be DELIVERED in the afternoon to homes and subscribers! An evening newspaper! Whoa! What a concept!

I'm boB -----> meow! (Whoops!)

5/10/2007 8:15 PM  
Anonymous donaldo de Santa Barbara said...

sara de la guerra's numero uno (1) y dos (2) questions about the problematically populated ABR should be answered simply.

First of all; there are plenty of qualified residents, within the city limits, poor and wealthy alike, who can determine size, bulk, scale and even archetcual articulation, better than some poor unfortuante archetect residing in the suggested suburban Orange County, Goleta or Noleta for that matter. I'd like to see those dreaded NIMBYs or neighborhood "activists" on all our "planning process" boards and commissions. One representative each from the Eastside, Westside, San Roque, Samarkand, Bell Air Knolls and even the unsophisticated beachy Mesa neighborhood.

The problem all along has been that there are too many know-it-alls who have the "conflict of interest" of living on the outside of project plauged neighborhoods making the determinations. The thought process is backwards and the corecct thought is >>>>>>YOU ARE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST IF YOU DO NOT LIVE IN THIS HOOD!


5/18/2007 10:11 PM  

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