Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Who will cover the Santa Barbara city beat now?

Today the well-sourced Craig Smith, of Craig Smiths Blog fame, reported that News-Press-Mess-Less-Suppress reporter Hannah Guzik is now gone since last Friday. This Guzik Salsipuedes follows a spate of copyeditors and press operators resigning during the past month or so.

As Smith wrote, Guzik was the closest resemblance of a "hard news" reporter the News-Press had, and with high seniority and experience as well, with about nine months on the job directly following her experience writing for the Westmont College power newspaper. BTW, the total news writing experience now gone from the Press is close to 400 years cumulatively.

Guzik more or less covered --as much as that means lately with them-- the Santa Barbara city government beat. Prior to her, the city beat reporters were Anna Davison for a few weeks (that worked out well, didn't it) and Josh Molina for many years. A few other intermittent business writers also covered the beat for a few days at a time, although merely paraphrasing a staff report hardly qualifies as covering a beat (but don't tell The Steepster that).

Who will be the next sacrificial pup tossed into the deep end of the pool for the city government beat? Some potential suspects:
  1. Tom Risen, a designated business writer recently infamous for discounting all the "drama" surrounding the newspaper as moved from DC and took the job while he advertised on Craigslist looking for a local pad.
  2. Maria Zate, a veteran business writer and Teamster who has written a few good city planning articles, although the zoning and affordable housing nuances often evaded her.
  3. Nora K. Wallace, veteran ace political analyst and Teamster, directed to cover way too much Chumash-centric beat of Santa Ynez Valley.
  4. Steve Malone, veteran photographer, completing the trend to fill page space with beautiful color photo spreads with the captions to suffice as the city government reporting.
  5. Angel "I'm-just-a-temp" Pacheco, who really is holding out for a Real Job with Noozhawk (yes, you saw it here first!).
  6. Scott Steepleton, because with no news writers left, no one is left to be edited, so he instead can get ahead, perhaps for the Sunday features, with more riveting preview articles on the proclamations to be bestowed during the city council meetings.
  7. Travis K. Armstrong, because what subjects may be actual news are now first disclosed in the newspaper anyway through a selectively-factual, innuendo-laced editorial, so why not just skip the middle-men and middle-women who first write up a topic as an actual news article before it is the subject of editorials.
  8. Other writers?
Any speculation, Gentle Readers, on where the new wave of Tighter And Brighter Reporting will be coming from?

Or, has the departure of the last local news reporter from the News-Press-Mess-Less-Suppress finally been a catalyst for the Wendy Freak Flag to fly with the full transformation of the T.M. Storke legacy into the local printed equivalent of a Political Perez Hilton?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You identify Zate and Wallace as Teamsters, implying the others are not. Malone and Risen are also Teamsters. All the non-temp, non-management people in the newsroom are. Doesn't matter how someone voted or if they arrived well after the vote. (And I don't mean to imply I know how Malone or anyone voted -- it was private.)

9/19/2007 1:25 AM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

Guzik's reporting was biased, so good riddance. A lot of us like the new direction of Wendy's paper, and now we're free of another biased reporter who wanted to run the show. Boy, this blog really shows how one-sided and anti-Wendy it is with posts like this. Anti-business pinkos!

9/19/2007 5:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The next logical step is for McCaw to buy the Montecito Journal and merge the papers (Montecita News-Journal? Santacita Journal-Press?)Then the new paper could feature articles about very rich folks concerned with animal rights issues, with lots of pictures and no addresses. Dr. Laura could cover the city beat. Afterall, Laura did discover (and tell the rest of us a few months ago) that State Street rents were high and chain stores were pushing out locally-owned businesses. Who knew?

9/19/2007 7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe Richard Mineards ???? or did he jump ship ????

9/19/2007 8:02 AM  
Blogger Citizen Stringer said...

As a cross reference, today Craig Smith is reporting this about Guzik:

"Although I don't have many details, I have it on good authority that Hannah Guzik left the News-Press after she expressed concern over the way her stories about the NLRB hearings were being edited. Apparently it was a "you're fired"/"I quit" situation."

Seems like indeed Guzik salsipuedes-ed before her career and personal ethics were completely trashed with too many Cappello-is-a-Genius-and-no-other-
sides-of-the-story-exist articles published under her byline.

Today, the News-...Suppress also had nothing about the Santa Barbara city council meeting yesterday. The rest of the "local" news content was a bunch of calendar notices, some retread press releases, and a Nora K. Wallace article about the space launch that was so good the article was listed twice at their web site.

9/19/2007 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or, has the departure of the last local news reporter from the News-Press-Mess-Less-Suppress finally been a catalyst for the Wendy Freak Flag to fly with the full transformation of the T.M. Storke legacy into the local printed equivalent of a Political Perez Hilton?

People read Perez Hilton.

9/19/2007 9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the Baron can take the city beat, drawing on his high school editing background.

9/19/2007 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who still subscribe to the paper should closely read Scott Steepleton's stories and then the editorials or opinion pieces related to these issues.

Compare Steepleton's word usage, phrasing, placement of facts, missing information, who he interviews, who he doesn't.

It won't take too long for you to figure out how Wendy is "spinning the news."

And since Steepleton is still in charge of the newsroom...

No wonder people are bailing out.

9/19/2007 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city council has lost it's audience. Who cares who they want impeached, it should be them. They lost me at ben Laden.

9/19/2007 11:48 AM  
Anonymous We're Still Waiting said...

Someone on another local blog re-posted some of Wendy's promises to the community. I believe they were first posted on Blogabarbara:

"... I plan to leave the day-to-day management and editorial direction of our paper to the professionals who run it. An essential reason for buying the News-Press is to preserve its independence and integrity." 7-22-2000

"I respect the traditions of journalism and believe that the best way to run a paper is to hire good people and let them do their jobs, and that is exactly what I am doing." 7-19-2006

"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." 7-25-2006

"While I don't believe that union representation is in the best interests of our employees, the paper or this community, I respect our employees' rights to make their own decisions." 7-25-2006

"I will personally continue to work in 2007 to ensure that you receive the best local coverage that can be provided, not only this year, but beyond." 1-1-2007

9/19/2007 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are lots of creative writers in this town. Pay them enough and they can put out a daily paper any day of the week that won't be any more biased or factually corrupt as the former NewsPress.

Wendy, put out those ads - pay well and often and you will have stories about this town to throw away.

For the right money, there are lots of people who will sit through a city council meeting once a week and write a short article about what happened, and comment on what did not happen too.

Think Anaias Nin and what she was willing to do for money - and we all got some darn fine writing.

9/19/2007 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So a baby "temp" is writing the first draft of Santa Barbara history -- covering UCSB, Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpinteria, the environment and the county?

How does the number of south coast hard news reporters at the News-Press now compare with the Independent, Daily Sound, CASA, Blogabarbara?

9/19/2007 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

Gee...I would love to cover the City Council Meetings. That would be just great and I feel so very qualified. Where do I send my resume?

9/19/2007 7:01 PM  
Anonymous allegra805 said...

Employees should do *anything* the employer asks. Of any nature whatsoever. Jump off a cliff? Satisfy another's lust? Rob a bank? As employers we own you, and you have no right to do anything except what we direct you to do.

9/20/2007 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allegro - don't try to win straw dog arguments.

Employees always have the right to quit, if they don't like what the employer is asking. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery. Celebrate Constitution Day, will you?

Wendy says jump and you say either (1) how high? or (2) good-by. She is the owner. She calls the shots. Employees still have free will to seek employment elsewhere.

How much will Wendy pay to cover the city council beat?

9/20/2007 6:30 PM  

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