Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, July 13, 2007

Santa Barbara Newsroom Signs Off

It is with a heavy heart that I report that signed off tonight after just a few short months of reporting what we should be getting from the News-Press from these very's the text of their press release:

Date: July 13, 2007

To: All Media

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

Re: Closure of

We are closing down as of today so that we can switch gears and crank up the campaign again as we approach the Aug. 14 trial date, during which the National Labor Relations Board will prosecute the News-Press on more than one dozen unfair labor practice charges, including our illegal terminations.

While we were able to reach some of the public through our web site, we need to be out in the community now bringing attention to the upcoming trial date and to the fact that this fight is long from over.

Please see the commentary on our web site for more information. Thanks.

Thanks to all of you for bringing us the news when you didn't have to and believing in a cause that is worthwhile.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

how come the Liberal intelligentsia didn't support this venture???

7/13/2007 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baron at 9:54 PM, because ethical news reporting and telling the truth is not a Liberal vs. Conservative issue.

It's like getting married and working for a living -- some do and some don't. It's not an issue of where one sits on the political spectrum.

7/14/2007 7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Liberal intellgentsia are the same people who speak really loudly about having what they want and when it comes to the bottom line, they want someone else to pay for it.

Don't invite them to dinner, they'll step out on the bill.

7/14/2007 8:08 AM  
Anonymous donaldo de santa barbara said...

anonymous @ 9:54 is very simple and obviuosly identifies with the right wing side of things. There are many complex reasons why the SB Newsroom closed. There is no need to go into details because answers are not really solicited by your "question." I don't mind stating that I did support the SB Newsroom. I donated a years subscription that I no longer paid to the News Press. I consider it a donation and expected it would not be enough. The reporting was limited but all well written and I will miss it in the mornings. Anyway, I wish the reporters the best and I hope Anon 9:54 takes a look at the documentary with an less narrowly focused perspective.

7/14/2007 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose I'm one of the liberal intelligentsia. I sent an amount equal to a year's News-Press subscription to the Newsroom.

What's weird is that no `new-media' venture (EdHat, Indy, Sound) grabbed those very talented reporters.

I guess the right-wing intelligentsia are the folks who get their bottom line covered by proceeds from their General Dynamics stock, which of course has become quite profitable due to the wonderful right-wing war in Iraq, fueled by taxpayer money from the US... what is it, $500 billion total cost now?

7/14/2007 4:07 PM  
Anonymous harping said...

I wish them well but anyone could see the writing on the wall--SB Newsroom was never meant to last. It's too bad the staff didn't follow the lead of & incorporate as a nonprofit. That would have been a good model to follow. They could have lined up permanent sponsors & become a viable online news source.

7/14/2007 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Sola Lola said...

8:08 AM -- Wow, what a knee slapper. Keep up the jokes!

Here's one for you:

WM is repeatedly invited to dinner, but she never shows up. Instead, she foots the bills of her lawyers' dinners, replete with the finest bottled water to wash down the skewered journalism that has become her namesake dish.

Oh, wait that's kind of a sad joke. Of a situation. I guess I'll have to leave the funny ha-ha's to you, 8:08.

7/14/2007 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow donaldo de silly banana...$144 donation? Good for you.

7/14/2007 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really wish that this could turn into a serious conversation about where print media is headed. Obviously an internet product without advertising will fail, because there is no revenue stream. As newsprint becomes increasingly expensive, every newspaper in the country is looking for ways to maximize the profit from their virtual product. The NP has failed at it with the pay wall .. the Independent gives away valuable news and info for free .. as do papers like the LA Times, SF Chron and NY Times, although some of the good stuff from the NYT comes at a price. Here's the ultimate question. If we want to be environmentally savvy and receive news online, why should it be free when the people who produce it must somehow earn a living? What are the long term solutions here?

7/15/2007 1:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's face it: their local reporting was lazy and agenda-driven, just like it used to be at the News-Press. (The present lack of any substantive stories at the NP is almost better than the hatchet jobs we used to endure.) There's a reason the Indy and Sound did not grab some of those reporters. It's because there was no talent there at all.

7/15/2007 10:12 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I beg to differ 10:12 AM -- they are excellent reporters that many of us have worked with for many years. You aren't in journalism for as long as they were if you are biased and lazy...

7/15/2007 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I dont think they were biased, they may have been lazy. They had a great rollout with plenty of mentions from other local media and blogs but chose to do just a story or two a day. If it was three stories it was a banner day. It seems like they never bothered to try and win greater support by actually taking the battle to wendy.

By that I mean they needed to showcase a better product with more local reporting to show those who hadnt already migrated from the NP what they were missing. They chose not to do that, however lucky for those of us wanting local news the Daily Sound stepped up and now gives us more local stories than the NPress. But the fact remains with a larger writing staff (8) than either the Sound or NPress they turned out far less content.

Maybe they had other jobs and reasons but then they shouldnt have led off with the "were back to doing what we love" commentery. I hope they win in court and that their lawyers do a better job than they did with the newsroom.

7/15/2007 5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the McCaw and company definition of bias. Anybody who writes any story that does not agree with Wendy's opinion is biased. Hmmm, sounds like they need to go back to square one and read Webster's definition of bias and come up with a more appropriate word.

7/15/2007 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole print media situation in Santa Barbara is just sad. I'm a whole believer in marketplace economics and business doing the right thing. But in Santa Barbara there's a whole slew of problems here.

1. Here we had a paper owned by the New York Times that actually had some form of journalistic ethics.

2. Then the locals, in love with "local ownership'', welcome Wendy as the savior of local news. Lots of ecological and animal/animal rights stories are put out. Remember the missing Mircats for 30 + days on the top of the fold of the paper?

3. Over the next couple years after a few editors, publishers, staff members a blow up occurs because a controlling owner asserts herself. In reality she doesn't want a union. This whole thing isn't about her appointing TKA into the newsroom, it's about the fact the inmates want more money and say in the newsroom. Getting Jerry Roberts out, bringing TKA in was a response to a war already waging.

4. Writers jump ship or fired. Some go to work on their own like, some go to the Independent and the Daily Sound. The problem here is that nobody put up one solid front to put out a daily competitor that actually showed all sides of issues on both news and editorial pages.

My personal experiences of the pre-blow up of the News Press was not to ever work with them. I've been misquoted and been with their reporters enough to see how they don't get the essence of the real story. I gave up some time ago.

7/15/2007 8:17 PM  
Anonymous reppin said... was a brilliant idea.

So how come the quality and quantity of the reporting didn't blow the competition away as it should have, given that Santa Barbara Newsroom had the largest and most professional reporting group in town?

7/15/2007 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:17 pm

1. You got that right!

2. She can be so beguiling. Little did we know!

3. It was over 5+ years and it was not over salaries. Wendy made life hell for anybody she promoted or didn't like, regardless of how hard they worked. Wendy cut benefits promising annual bonuses based on a merit system that included annual reviews. I know too many people who received bogus negative reviews and no bonus. I was not one of those but then again, they liked me for some reason.

4. Starting a daily newspaper to compete with Wendy would take millions in capital investment, just in equipment. Then you have to add employees and be able to foot the bills until revenues picked up. YOu have to have the presses as it isn't really feasible to print out of town. That is one reason the Independent and Sound will probably never be more than they are.

As far as being misquoted etc, I am not a reporter but I do know the whole reporting and editing system is much more complex that I thought it was. I doubt if it was intentional. I think everyone does their best, but anytime information is given second hand there are bound to be inconsistancies. What is important is to interview all sides and to present all the facts minus opinions.

7/16/2007 5:17 AM  
Blogger MCConfrontation said...

It's too bad what happened to those people, but their response to it ( was totally lame. Approximately six people will miss that website. One story every three days will not keep any website afloat, especially one that purports to cover the news in a city of 100K.

7/16/2007 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mcconfrontation... had more news per week than the News-Press.

Sure, the Newsroom could have been way better. But lame? I don't think so. Now the first few issues of the Sound, that was lame, but it is lame no longer.

7/16/2007 10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to be a naysayer, but realistically it looks like McCaw's lawyers took a calculated risk and won. That is, they fired the reporters knowing they could be reinstated eventually, but that it would take so long that it wouldn't matter. They played the system, not the law. The decisive factor was losing the injunction that would've put the reporters back pending the proceedings. Now it'll be at least another year before the reporters could be back. How many will wait that long, given that it could be longer?
Meanwhile, a few more of the union supporters inside will gradually leave. The union will be certified, but with few enthusiasts for it inside. So the company will offer a little carrot to get employees to vote to decertify. Just a scenario.
I think the Teamsters got outsmarted on this one.

7/17/2007 11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


SBNewsroom was lame? This is wrong and spiteful on so many levels.

Considering their limited resources, its actually quite amazing what this group of reporters were able to achieve.

Let's not forget: the largest and most knowledgeable newsroom on the South Coast, pooling their talent and donating their time.

I'd like to see what you're willing to do FOR FREE for your community.

Maybe then we'll know what's really lame.

7/17/2007 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:15 Before you attack McConfrontation, the fact remains with the largest and most knowledgeable newstaff they turned out less material than either the Sound or n/p.

And I donated to them but think they blew a opportunity to truly create a showcase and do more stories thus draining off more of Wendys support. As for resources they had the contacts and a scanner for breaking news which actually with the contacts they were not really limited. You can support them and still be critical of what they did at newsroom.

Still I wouldnt call it lame in terms of the stories just no where near enough of them.

7/17/2007 7:57 PM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

This is really admirable and so helpful for anonymous critics to be criticizing people who were illegally terminated from their jobs and then still wanted to write news articles and did so quite well for Santa Barbara NewsRoom... ALL WITH NO PAY.

7/20/2007 12:45 AM  

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