Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

News-Press Circulation Down 14%

The article from Editor & Publisher speaks for itself. A 14% drop can't be good -- even with plenty of money to weather the storm.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

14% drop is pretty puny since posters here claim "no one" reads the NewsPress anymore. Sounds like a lot still do regardless of their boastful claims and demands we imprision ourselves in ignorance for their wounded egos.

What is not good is this group of liberal bias malcontents getting blind-sided by the outcome of this last city election. Had they read the NewsPress they would have seen this train wreck coming months ago.

11/07/2007 7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL @ 7:52

25% drop in circulation in the last year.

Those who I talk to keep getting the NewLess Press only for the funnies and crossword.

11/07/2007 8:26 PM  
Anonymous lovin' it said...

You just couldn't resist, could you?

Measure A is defeated, Helene is suffering from her elitist mannerisms, and a guy who believes in being realistic about the damaging effects of overbuilding has been elected to the city council.

Hooray!!!!!!!! I say.

But Sara HAS to take a dig at The NP. Even though the article doesn't mention it, all of us locals know that McCaw and the NP has had to withstand a huge slander attack by its ex-employees. And sales are down? Shocker.

At least when TKA criticizes elected officials, he gives us specific examples of their misbehaviors. The ex-reporters, on the other hand, just come up with clever slogans to dramatize their dislike of the NP. Chanting about "the law" and "shame", taping their mouths shut. Drama, drama, drama.
But if you go to their ex-employee website and view their lengthy documentary, you will see that they do not lay out a single example of something specific that the NP did that would substantiate their claims. AND THEY ARE REPORTERS! They ought to know how to bring the facts to tell the story!

But, hey, with all their drama in this small town, some people bought it.

Meanwhile, with the results of this election, it looks like Santa Barbarans are paying enough attention to make better decisions at the voting booth. Yay!

11/07/2007 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 7:52

"...we imprision ourselves in ignorance for their wounded egos."

Say what?? I mean the least you could do is string some words together that have coherent meaning.

BTW, I thought the train wreck advocated by Travesty in his fact bereft, innuendo infused opinion pieces was the complete removal of all incumbants. Well, maybe if the SBNP continues shaping its supposed news to avoid statements from or content reflecting the breadth of positions by anyone its management disagrees with, it will be more successful next time. But another 14% decline in readership might well blunt even the obtuseness of current SBNP procduct.

11/07/2007 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Reading Comprehension said...

What's more, the biggest decline occurred in the category most desired by advertisers and by the same token, publishers. Individually-paid circulation, for more than 50% of the price, cratered 15.8%. The News-Press lost 5,549 copies in that category.

The paper ratcheted up discounting -- that category is up 68%

For a newspaper of this starting size, this is the largest drop in circulation nationwide for a newspaper that has an owner who will sink as much cash into it as necessary. The circulation is not dropping because they have no money, but rather because of all the problems we already know about.

11/07/2007 8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the "puny" comment, Anon 7:52 pm. The 14% reminds me of 1987.

The Stock Market crashed by 20%. The doom and gloomers were out in droves. Within a year, it recovered and with a few corrections along the way and the Tech stocks' overinflated price burst, the market is happy and healthy today. (I laughed out loud at the 2.3% drop today when doomers were spouting warnings at 1 pm Pacific Time.)

Cut to Santa Barbara 2007:

SB NP and Wendy McCaw will overcome and recover from the tragedy of "the employee" and come back with the best Newspaper that Santa Barbara has ever had.


11/07/2007 9:23 PM  
Anonymous lovin' it (not really) said...

Sara, please post my last comment. You used to claim to allow points of view that are different from yours.
Change of policy? At least say so.

11/07/2007 9:25 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

lovin' it -- it was an hour between your comment and the following one. Almost another one until I got to it...sorry but I have a life outside of BlogaBarbara :)

I am fine with publishing your reacted a bit fast for what happened and with a bit much 'tude for how I handle comments on the blog.

One of these days you'll see that I am all about the conversation -- unless a comment is mean and vindictive. Otherwise, say what you want.

You were in the gray area but I am fine with your stated opinion... keep letting us know how you really feel!

11/07/2007 10:28 PM  
Anonymous lovin' it (not really) said...

No, Sara, my posting shows up as only 9 minutes after the previous one, not an hour.

When I posted when there was one comment, and later I checked back to see a second comment from around the same time, but mine wasn't there. Looks like we were all online around the same time. I don't visit your blog very often. It looked as if you had skipped my post (as you have before) and I wanted to call you on it this time before too much time went by.


11/07/2007 11:45 PM  
Anonymous lovin' it (not really) said...

I am fine with publishing your reacted a bit fast for what happened and with a bit much 'tude for how I handle comments on the blog

Your blog is full of 'tude. Hello.

You were in the gray area but I am fine with your stated opinion... keep letting us know how you really feel!

What's the gray area? The fact that I agree with Travis and you don't?

11/07/2007 11:50 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

What is not good is this group of liberal bias malcontents getting blind-sided by the outcome of this last city election.

Funny how consistently NP supporters are wrong about the facts. Plenty of people predicted right here that Measure A would go down and that Francisco would beat Barnwell. Unlike anon, we're able to admit to reality even when we don't like it.

11/08/2007 12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since the SBNP does not publish anything negative about its owner or administration, and since SBNP continues to be the only daily paper in the city, then what has been the vehicle for the alleged slander campaign by former employees?

I'd guess the nation-leading loss of subscriptions, which comes a full year after the union call for a boycott, can be attributed primarily to the quality of the product. No matter what you think of the Teamsters or of Ms. McCaw, any objective reader would have to think that the SBNP is very weak local paper now days. Both the volume and the mythical emphasis on local coverage gets weaker by the day. It remains a market economy: if the paper were any good it wouldn't have lost 14% of its subscribers.

The SBNP may survive in the long run, but if it does it will be because of Ms. McCaw's money, not her business acumen.

As for anon 9:23's view that the SBNP will bounce back as did the stock market which "is happy and healthy today", well, one can always hope, but I can't put much confidence in either assessment.

11/08/2007 7:08 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

lovin' it -- must have crossed a moderation at the same time. I didn't purposely leave you out...

11/08/2007 7:49 AM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

Let’s see if I can offer some light instead of heat about the election and the News-Press.

I am a political liberal. I definitely think the News-Press has become garbage under McCaw, and I think Armstrong is a jerk with no journalistic ethics. I thought the Blue Line project would have been a good way to wake up some unthinking people to the potential ramifications of climate change. I freely admit to all that.

Despite those positions, some may be amazed that I actually am not an advocate of aggressive over-development in Santa Barbara, workforce housing, and the canyonization of Chapala St. I think it’s a good thing that there was not a sweeping victory for the incumbents, and I’m particularly happy that Giddens didn’t get elected because I believe her position on building out homes destroys the traditional character of my neighborhood and others.

So, I feel pretty good about the election. I think it sent the right message, but I don’t feel as though it is an indication that the editorial position taken by the News-Press somehow was vindicated by the election, or even had much to do with the results. There were some common sense decisions made by voters like me, and it’s possible that Armstrong and I might come to the same conclusion on some issues. I actually question whether positions taken by the News-Press change the minds of as many supporters as they lose in people who vote against Armstrong’s positions. Armstrong wanted wholesale change; I wanted exactly what happened. He lost 2/3 of his wishes, and I got all of mine—so I feel pretty good.

And I don’t have a post-election hangover that will drive me to vilify any of the Council members for the next couple years. I think they’ve been doing a decent job on some of the issues we face here. I give them and those who lost great credit for stepping up to the plate, even if I don’t agree with all their positions. Let’s see if the message sent in this election resonates with the Council.

11/08/2007 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone read Travesty's column today? The bile is an overdrive, let me tell you. If we believe TKA, then there is a massive uprising brewing among our local citizens to recall Mary Blum!! Hmmm, I didn't sense that on the street today when I got my muffin from Tuttini's. Also, Helene's alleged property ownership malfesance is still on TKA's smear-dar, even though it's been totally debunked by Craig Smith and others. I guess if TKA repeats a lie enough times then someone like "lovin'it" will believe it. Also, Grant House is through in this town, even though he did not stand for re-election. I can't remember much else, just the same old crapola that TKA spews out. Meanwhile, the NP looks skinnier and woeful than ever, but I am sure Wendy and Baron Von Cheeseburger will bring it back to it's former glory any day now, any day now, any day now. Bueller? Bueller?

11/08/2007 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cancellations are coming from the pro-Blum crowd and others who reveled in the bias of the old News-Press. It was inevitable that the paper would lose the defenders of an indefensible status quo once it was liberated from their biases. The News-Press will pick up new subscribers who realize that it's now an objective and complete source of news from, about and for Santa Barbara.

11/08/2007 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Fred & Lamont Sanford said...

The best daily newspaper that Santa Barbara ever had has been distributed locally by it's Los Angeles based publisher for many decades.

The News Press was known as the News Supress long before Wendy McCaw came along, so why the crocodile tears? Remember the days when the News Press wouldn't acknowledge the existance of the News & Review, and if you read the two, you'd regularly get two radically different perspectives on the same issue?

The numbers don't look good. Losing 1/6 or 1/4 of your business is not good in publishing. Unless you're grooming your audience and getting rid of readers you don't want to serve anymore.

It is possible that the NP could reduce circ while actually improving it's core audience demographic (thus a much better return per column inch published) and also get rid of a bunch of unpaid coverage of issues the owner doesnt want while covering issues they feel are important to themselves and their audience. Unlikely but certainly possible.

On the other hand, there is a well spring of new media in Santa Barbara. Good and not so good quality wise... but always great to see the effort and get someone else's perspective!

Sanford & Son.
JUNK Since 1939.

11/08/2007 11:48 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Thanks and congratulations to the Independent and the Daily Sound for picking up the slack!

11/08/2007 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 9:23...

AGAIN, IT IS JUST BUSINESS. Wendy could find something else to do to reduce her TAX BASIS but then she would not be having any fun or notoriety. I'd like to have a failing newspaper as a giant tax deduction for my billions.

A question for you brilliant people: WHEN... tell me please.... was News Press ever a decent, let alone good, newspaper? HUH? WHEN? Not in my life time nor my parents who called it a 'commie' paper way back when.

Cheers for Wendy. She has brilliant accountants and the money to make the people here insane. I think it is hilarious so it is why I participate.

Finally........SARA does a great job with what she has to work with........

11/08/2007 2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Circulation was down around 9% for the 6 months ending March 31, and now down another 14% for the six months ending September 30.

It would be hard to find another U.S. paper that has had such losses within a year, outside of maybe New Orleans after Karina.

From 9% to 14%, Hurricane Wendy seems to be pushing the train down the hill ever ever faster.

11/08/2007 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, et al:
All your posts aabout the news press are BORING- BORING- BORING.

Can't you come up with anything better than this?

You are wastiung your talents and your time.

We all could be discussing something really important instead of this petty fued that only 1% oif the folks in town care about.
It's no longer news. It gotten to be a petty and childish and foolish activity.
why? Because the owner of the News Press appears to have more money than god and appears determined to totally ignor anything you would or could ever say. So your missives are only going to provide yopu and your readers with frustration and a fruitless waste of your valuable time and energy.


11/08/2007 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Five cheers for the old News & Review. LOVED that paper. That was when the NP was one sided trash and the N&R was a solid alternative perspective.

Maybe the more things change the more they remain the same: the NP has returned to its prior position of being one sided trash. How tragic that it trashed all those fine people in the process. If only the Storke's could step back in... I still put my money on Sara Miller McCune. Justice and a good heart always prevails.

Kudos to all, including Sara, for providing truly grassroots media in SB. I don't think we've ever had such a variety of news sources.

11/08/2007 9:38 PM  
Blogger John Quimby said...


I stayed out out of the election posts because I live in the County in one of those weird peninsulas within the city and couldn't vote.

You articulated my thoughts very well.


11/08/2007 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Fred & Lamont Sanford said...

As you all know well we are in strong agreement with 6:19 PM on the getting over it /getting a life suggestion. But, we digress...

Even though less are reading the NP, many open it just for the inimitable TRAVIS ARMSTRONG. We are writing to say that we think that Travis should be looked at under another light.

He is an employee, probably paid Santa Barbara employee wages, he has a tough job and a difficult workplace. Just listen to those who are now out the door. And, he has continued to do his job, regardless of what any of you think it should be. We think he does a good job and that he should be proud of his contribution here.

Although you'd believe otherwise if you only read blogs, Travis and the NP can't be wrong all the time, and they actually aren't. In fact, Travis provides a good counter-balance to positions taken by other outlets locally. On occasion, we think he's gone over the top and weve been taken aback by a few comments he's made. Many times, he's right on point.

His occasional tactlessness is mild compared to what is heard daily on FOX. (As an arbitrary gauge of offensiveness, we were far more taken aback by the quotes attributed to elected officials about the Chumash than anything we've heard out of Travis.)

The local powers that be that he's pitched at are all adults, all well able to handle it. Many deserved the heat and the public is better served with spotlights on than off. Most pitched back formidably - Mayor Blum is a good example of someone who has played it like an adult for the most part.

Many went far out of their way to be personally petty and overtly rude toward him. But Travis is like Timex...he's taken a lickin' and kept on tickin'!

How would you feel if it was you and so called journalistic ethics experts as well as your own co workers are complaining because a story about the details of one of your most embarassing personal moments wasn't published, even though its a public record and other local media outlets could run the story (and some did)?

Coverage of any DUI at the level of Travis' was also very unusual, generally reserved for a celebrity or an elected official. Travis' DUI probably got more local media than several other DUIs that involved serious injury and death... combined! He's right up there with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie!

We nominate Travis for the 2006/2007 Best Brass Balls in Santa Barbara Award!

Now which paper will run that new "BEST Of" category?

Fred and Lamont Sanford

PS Alot of people thought the News Press was "one sided trash" when the Storke's ran it. And were also sure that McCune has reconsidered her "offer" to purchase the NP by now. Perhaps she will prevail by remaining far far far away! And we agree... Kudos to the new!

11/08/2007 10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 6:15

I 'got over it' by joining the club. A very smart post last week helped. You can't post in any newspaper anywhere what you can here and Sara really does a good job. There are many subjects here so you can pick and choose and stay out of the NEWSPRESS fun.

I like the "Travis for President" myself. The way Wendy is becoming known throughout the country, perhaps she could beat the PANTSUIT for President. I'd love it, personally. If you want to buy an election, this one is it!!

Is this good enough to change the subject a little? Have some fun... try laughing!!

11/09/2007 12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of you with short attention spans, make room in your simple minds for just three things McCaw has done and your pathetic hero Travis Armstrong supports - just three:

1. She wrongly accuses Jerry Roberts of a heinous crime.

2. Wrongly smears the names of its ex-reporters in labor trials.

3. Has put out of work dozens of hard working, decent people for no reason other than spite and pride.

If you had friends losing sleep while stressing over how to pay rent or keep their homes while patching their careers back together after McCaw dragged them through the mud behind her money wagon - with Travis Armstrong playing the role of the drunken monk steering the coach - you might not so easily forget.

11/09/2007 5:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A 20 percent loss, plus, in the last year! More for the Sunday paper, and they have the only one in town!

Wouldn't most owners fire the publisher immediately?

11/09/2007 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara McCune doesn't hold a candle to Wendy McCaw. Wendy was civic-minded enough to buy the News-Press and keep it out of the hands out outsiders.

Sara made a big production about her alleged desire to buy the local newspaper, but it was a very hollow, grand-standing gesture. She never really intended to buy it.

If Sara is so concerned about local journalism, then why hasn't she started her own newspaper? Oh, that's right — she said that wasn't economically viable. In other words, it wouldn't make her richer. That's the difference between Wendy and Sara right there. Wendy puts her money where her mouth is. Sara doesn't care enough to do that.

So, please, spare me the platitudes about Sara McCune. She's just another wealthy transplant who is milking the amenities of Santa Barbara.

11/09/2007 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 5:53 a.m.
Have some caffeine.

Are you keeping a journal re NP?

The 3 statements posted are absurd.

Roberts should have been gone long before he finally left; the smearing was done by the employees who followed Jerry out the door; the others fired needed to be fired, period. It's all on record but apparently not in your journal.

If the reporters were/are so good, why not seek employment in other newspapers outside of SB and commute with the rest of the working class? Or, dare I say, "MOVE?"

11/09/2007 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good points in the 12:50 post. Under Roberts' reign of error, reporters and editors treated the News-Press like their own personal plaything. They were warned on numerous occasions to take corrective action but the warnings were ignored.

The News-Press is a vastly improved product now that the staff has been purified. Soon, old subscribers will return and new subscriptions will flow in.

I for one am very proud of the way Wendy McCaw has conducted herself through this ordeal. Without fail, she has been dignified, professional and thoughtful in her decisions. The News-Press is better for her owning it.

11/09/2007 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:50 and 8:01PM

My statements are not absurd. Do you consider falsely accusing someone of being involved in a child porn ring a disgusting smear? No? I pity you.

Are you really proud of McCaw? You may believe the wealthy should be able to do whatever they'd like, but proud? I reserve pride for inventors, builders, protectors and healers, not wealthy divorces who communicate exclusively through lawyers. You might realign your priorities to admire the truly gifted, brave, and generous.

11/10/2007 7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lovin' it -- you haven't been paying attention if you think the SBNP's management has been innocent. They have illegally fired at least 9 people, have threatened shopkeepers on bogus libel allegations, have sued the Independent though they have at most a de minimus claim with no conceivable damages, have sued a journalist (Sue Paterno) merely because she had the temerity to criticize the NP, have blocked the collective bargaining rights of its employees based on frivolous election objections and a press release about an alleged threat that it trumped up, have suborned perjury in both NLRB hearings, and have misrepresented the facts and the law to witnesses and to two ALJs and the NLRB. As a witness, Wendy was demonstrated to be a liar in her arbitration against Parker, and could not tell when an article was "biased" -- claiming that it had no bilateral point of view even as that second view was repeatedly pointed out to her. Everyone but Wendy thinks editors have a role in writing stories -- that is, editing. Anyone who saw her testify can confirm that she was out of control when the topic turned to "controlling" animals. They must be allowed to go unregulated, but the only option for her employees is to get the hell out if they don't like her violations of the law and suppression of workplace rights. That's not America, no matter what her lawyers and Dr. Laura say about it.

11/10/2007 7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got the same impression from court documents, particularly the one where Wendy lists in detail her ongoing frustrations with the way things had been going, Craig S. show what a grinch Wendy was but it had the opposite effect.

It showed the inmates had tried to take over the assylum and were using it in defiance as their own personal plaything. And then screamed foul long and loud when they finally got canned for this unacceptable behavior.

The NewsPress still has a long way to go to get back on top. Simply not enough local and timely news and the full page ads are oppressive and highlight the lack of news and internal substance.

I wish Wendy would pay less on lawsuits and more on hiring good reporters who know and understand up front the kind of paper she and growing members of the community want.

We do like the more conservative offerings than the old NewsPress for balance.

But what is really missing is the independent, investigative journalism that tracks local politics and keeps our elected officials and city staffs honest and on track.

This is huge gap the new NewsPress has yet to accomplish. The last election should be encouraging however to do more.

11/10/2007 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCaw and her lawyers and Roberts and his journalists can spin back and forth but, in the end, it's the nameless, faceless local readers who vote with their feet and their dollars.

So far, locals are deserting McCaw in record numbers. Nearly one quarter of her subscribers have quit in the past 18 months. No matter how spun, it's a management disaster, and the buck stops with her.

11/10/2007 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I wish Wendy would pay less on lawsuits and more on hiring good reporters who know and understand up front the kind of paper she and growing members of the community want."

I can shed some light here. Good, experienced reporters aren't applying. No good reporter wants to move to expensive Santa Barbara and be hired as a temp with zero job security and zero benefits.

All the newsroom hires in the last several months have been hired as temps, with no word on how long that status will last.
Perhaps it's a union-busting measure -- temps can't be members of the union that's been certified. But in any case, as long it's happening, you're not going to get much of a news staff that way.
However you feel about Wendy or Jerry or whoever, it's hard to argue that there's not much local news in the NP. How could there be? A very small staff of temps as news reporters. (Local sports coverage is relatively healthy, however.)

11/10/2007 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They say the natural life for any natural disaster is about 6 months.Even our tragic fires and mudslides lose their sense of tragedy and urgency after 6 months.

Thus too is the NP debacle losing ground as insignificant and finally irrelevant. Life goes on in our small town.

This last election shows the shifts in sentiments are running deep. Final vote tally may well put Fransisco ahead of Schneider. An unknown, un politically connected opponent late coming into this game tapped the deep status quo resentments and this town will now never be the same.

New people are moving into SB all the time. They subscribe to the local daily and take it for what it is. And they take it for a public forum as it is.

It remains the dominant force for public opinion whether you agree with them or not; it remains the most dominant resource for discussion of that opinion. Nothing else carries the same weight.

The net loss of readers will become smaller and smaller as this unionization incident fades in memory too and becomes meaningless except to only the very few most intimately connected.

The lawsuit will be resolved in favor of Wendy - no owner can be forced to work with people they do not want. Nothing in law allows for that.

The ads continue. The new writers become more knowledgable and solid. And Wendy becomes happier and happier having the appropriate amount of control over the direction of the paper she invested her own dollars into.

Peace. Even to those of you who let all of this twist your life into knots with deep hatred and vitriol. Peace. The rest of us are moving on. Life it too precious not to.

11/10/2007 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:23pm said...

SB NP and Wendy McCaw will overcome and recover from the tragedy of "the employee" and come back with the best Newspaper that Santa Barbara has ever had.

Hi, I've been looking for you anon 9:23pm. I have a bridge to sell you and you look like just the right person to buy it. The bridge runs between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Also, I have a friend who is trying to get money out of a certain African nation and needs someone to bankroll him. Can you help?

We need to take care of these matters quickly and not wait for the SBNP to become the "best Newspaper that Santa Barbara has ever had"

11/10/2007 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

East coaster visiting 3 times this year...(close friends and business.)

I cannot believe all this insanity is still going on but I am hoping it is a kind of 'therapy' for you. It seems the Hollywood crowd who all admit to being 'in therapy' has rubbed off. I think Sara has done you a great service allowing you to spout off venom as well as a few intelligent posts.

I have determined Santa Barbara is only "PRETTY" but has no substance.
A little fairy land like "Oz" and people like myself would rather return to our roots, such as Dorothy returned to Kansas!


11/10/2007 4:00 PM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

To: Anon 2:46

Speaking about the News-Press. you said:

"It remains the dominant force for public opinion whether you agree with them or not; it remains the most dominant resource for discussion of that opinion."

You're probably right about that, but you draw the wrong conclusion from it. The problem for those of us who read newspapers and who are interested in the community is that we recognize the importance of the local daily paper. Not only should it offer the opinions of it owner and editors (which it has every right to do), but it should also be the historical record for the area. Fifty years from now, people wanting to know about the 2007 City Council election you mention will turn to the records of the local daily newspaper. What they will see from looking at the News-Press is a terribly skewed and unrepresentative selection of editorial comment and public opinion as shown in the one-sided selection of letters the News Press published.

The News-Press ownership has no desire to represent the sense of the communtiy. In addition, the one-sided nature of their editorial stance has influenced their coverage of hard news for quite some time. Let's not even get into the mendacity of what they did to Jerry Roberts. That's not up for debate--the entire national journalistic community finds the News-Press actions unacceptable.

So asking us to live with it or let it go is a hard thing to accept. I like reading newspapers and I believe they have a purpose larger than being a mouthpiece for the owner. There is a responsibility to represent to the readership that which is actually happening--a historical record of the events. The News-Press has moved far away from that. That's why so many people are angry and no longer support it. I am not able to let it go, and I won't start buying it after a few months of becoming used to what it's become. I sincerely hope enough other people feel strongly enough about it to influence the present ownership or drive it out of business.

11/10/2007 5:53 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

This post is sandwiched between completely different posts -- do you only read BlogaBarbara when you are in town? That isn't the essence of the Internet --- and what happens at our ever smaller daily is news, much like if it happened to the Post in DC or the Times in NYC or the Chron in SF. Why would it be different here?

Therapy? No. We are witnessing the meltdown of a once great paper and you better bet the same coverage would be happening with blogs back East if it had to do with their home town. Do you disagree? If so, how could you?

11/10/2007 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We don't know if Roberts is really innocent. Lots of people get away with crimes when the evidence is processed by incompetent investigators. Just our humble opinion.

11/10/2007 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When was the NewsPress all that great?

Don't forget a lot of us didn't like the former liberal bias and would not consider it a great paper then at all.

And how long ago was it always called the "NewsSuppress" while it was under former ownership a few decades ago.

And gheesh, who could ever call it great when Storke had his biased sway. Powerful, independent, controversial ...yes and maybe ....but never, ever great.

I have been reading it by default over 30 years ..... and it has never been great. It just is and as long as it is just is, it will be what it is.

11/10/2007 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a little late to ask the NewsPress to go out of business.

They just elected their first seat on the city council. They are on a roll and building for the really big election coming up in two years.

It is not too early to ask everyone to start reading it again so you know which way the wind has been blowing.

11/10/2007 10:58 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Please don't spin it that way -- Francisco wasn't elected by the News-Press...he was in the right place in the right time. They have nothing to do with it -- or are they a 501(c)4?

11/10/2007 11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever influence the News-Press opinion writers will have in elections ahead depends on the strength of their ideas, whether there is a sense of fair play about letting in all points of view, and how many people will actually read the newspaper.

The ideas have been limited, one-note and mean. Like Orwellian propaganda or advertising, maybe effective in the short-term, but short on breadth and intelligence.

There is little sense of fair public participation – Travis Armstrong prints letters that agree with Wendy McCaw. He'll get fired otherwise. Since interactive opinion is cut off at the newspaper, whether print or web, it flows to places like this blog.

The “cratering” circulation (14% for six months, more than 20% for the last year), which had to be reported by third-party auditors to advertisers, probably to secretive McCaw’s chagrin, tell the tale of the rapidly diminishing voice of the newspaper. And since Wendy kicked off the meltdown, competitors have happily sprung up to fill the void: the Daily Sound, Noozhawk, the Indy’s daily web page, edhat, Craig Smith’s blog, Blogabarbara and others. Yeah, the quality varies, but some papers like the Daily Sound and the Independent sometimes seem to have more local reporters than the News-Press. Institutional memory about Santa Barbara is much deeper other places. The News-Press’ website lacks even the most basic features found on virtually all other 21st century newspaper websites. The competition will get better and stronger as they pick up the advertising that leaves the News-Press because of fewer readers.

Unless the new News-Press suddenly changes course, which McCaw seems incapable of doing, how much influence will it have in five years from now as readers continue to flee and competition with broader ideas continues to thrive?

Very little.

11/11/2007 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 2:46 "The lawsuit will be resolved in favor of Wendy - no owner can be forced to work with people they do not want. Nothing in law allows for that."

That is not true, and hasn't been for at least seven decades. If an employer illegally fires an employee, the NLRB and the courts have the power to order that employer to offer the employee reinstatement. If an employer could simply fire anyone it didn't like (i.e., union people, members of ethnic, age, gender groups it didn't like), we would still be in the dark ages. We have a long way to go, but your quote would set us back.

Anon 7:53 "I got the same impression from court documents, particularly the one where Wendy lists in detail her ongoing frustrations with the way things had been going, Craig S. show what a grinch Wendy was but it had the opposite effect."

The troubles with the famous Exhibit 199 are that those McCaw complaints were not communicated by McCaw's management to the employees, and with good reason: many of them would have been journalistically unethical to implement. The memo from Wendy shows that she wants her reporters to write news to be consistent with her editorial stance, and her wild-eyed, impervious to the facts testimony confirmed that. She also wants to publish "news" that will suck up to businesses in the hope of getting ads. Wendy wants it both ways -- to be perceived as ethical yet have absolute control over every word published in her paper. She said when she bought the paper in 2000, and even repeated in July, 2006 that she would stay out of those kinds of decisions and let the professionals handle it. But her Exhibit 199 shows otherwise. What you label the inmates taking over the asylum is really just maintaining the wall or a separation between management's business and philosophical interests on the one hand, and the news reporting on the other. Wendy wants to protect her friends(Rob Lowe, Michael Douglas, yacht owners, Travis, coyotes, pigs and otters) and punish her enemies (City Council, Mayor Blum, unions, employees who don't suck up), and isn't willing to restrict herself to the editorial page. That is her downfall.

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

I agree that the News-Press was never great - I've read its archives a lot. For years, say, in the 50's and 60's, the front pages were wire service and local news was pretty scattered.

But still, the Storkes and the News-Press did an awful lot for this town... Cachuma, UCSB, backing Fiesta and architectural control. We forget that for many years circa 1930 the masthead said `A home for every family'.

Not every town can get a Bee or a Point Reyes Light. But the News-Press was way, way, better under the Storkes than it is now.

The Indy,, and have taken over for me. I hardly look at the News-Press, and when I do in the library about once a week it takes me about 2 minutes.

The young folks without wristwatches don't look a the News-Press for more than a nanosecond. That is a total deathknell... 20 years from know the News-Press will be a building occupied by a Mall.

Wendy is permanently damaged (albeit wealthy) goods... any environmental group know thinks long and hard before accepting her dollars, and rightfully so... she gets the same scrutiny Idi Amin or Leona Helmsley got.

11/11/2007 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 14% drop looks like a lose-lose for both Wendy/Arthur/Travis and their fired reporters.

Six reporters are out of jobs because of trying to cancel subscriptions on an overpass, maybe successfully as it turns out. But with business now 14% down, maybe gone for good, will the News-Press be able to hire them back?

The damage to both sides will remain far beyond the last lawyer packing up and going home. No winners here ... except for the lawyers.

11/11/2007 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read somewhere that 40% of sales or profits comes from the Sunday edition.

"On Sunday, the trends mirrored that of weekday circulation: copies at the News-Press plummeted 14.8%."

Why is she just throwing that money away? Has to hurt the yacht fuel/carbon footprint bill at some point.

Will hurt worse when the Sound goes home delivery Sunday next year.

11/11/2007 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The News-Press is hiring. See

But most of the newsroom staff who worked at the paper pre-Wendy have left or are leaving.

Few want to work with Scott Steepleton or Dale Rim, who are both long on ambition but short on ethics.

I know, I worked with both.

11/11/2007 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:10 - no one has to work with someone they do not want.

They can close up shop when they are the owner. Where do you get this sense of entitlement over private enterprise? The NewsPress is not the government. It is a privately held company.

The owner's choices remain supreme, and if the owner truly does not want to work with someone and is forced to under some bizarre set of principles, that owner could just close down the whole operation.

And I would not blame Wendy one bit for doing this. You keep arguing that "Journalism" owns the paper. It does not and never did. It was always owned by the owner who had the total freedom and liberty to apply what ever brand of journalism he or she wanted.

I think we have a sticking point in our arguments here. This is a private enterprise and the owner has huge latitude how she wants to run her own enterprise.

So no, this is not a dark ages philosophy, it is a fact of life and the sooner you understand we have not totally abadoned private enterprise in this country, the sooner you will be happier in your profession.

I suggest you write an employee newsletter for a public agency if you want job protection. But stop beating up the NewsPress, a private enterprise.

11/11/2007 7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe she should just rename the paper Wendy's Propaganda Press.

All journalists who apply for jobs will know exactly what to expect.

And so will subscribers.

Then we can all move on.

11/11/2007 7:49 PM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

To Anon 7:39:

No, you're wrong. Very few of us anti News-Press people think that "journalism owns the paper". It's clear to me that McCaw can do whatever she wants. and I've said that many times.

If all newspaper owners took the position that the news is what they said it is, you wouldn't know what to believe because every newspaper would have its own version of the truth. You might think that there actually was a Helene-gate or that there's an effort afoot to recall the Mayor. That stuff is fantasy, and the fact that you read it in black and white in the News-Press doesn't make it true.

What we're saying is that journalism is a profession, and there are expectations. A doctor can turn away patients legally, but not morally--just as a newspaper can push its own version of reality. Legally, that's okay, but it's a stain on the profession.

Since it's clear that opinions in Blogabarbara aren't going to change anyone's mind, would one of you News-Press supporters explain why Roberts got national awards for his journalistic integrity and why you can't point to any support for the News-Press from anyone associated with journalism?

Are you in the conspiracy crowd with Armstrong? If McCaw were right, don't you think other newspaper owners would want to support that same exercise of power? See if you can de-personalize what's going on and respond with logic to what's happening in the real world.

11/12/2007 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course it's Wendy's paper and she can do what she wants, legally or otherwise.

She and Arthur can also drive their matching Bentley's off the Cold Spring bridge, if they want.

Doesn't mean it's smart of them.

Doesn't mean its moral of them to take down with them good people who happened to be in their back seats.

11/12/2007 2:19 PM  
Anonymous devil's advocate said...

What if every newspaper and broadcast media outfit in the U.S. followed Wendy McCaw's example at the News-Press?

If you can afford to buy it, then you can force your reporters to write what you want, when you want, and to reflect your opinions on all matters, in disregard of the truth.

This system has been greatly successful for dictators in foreign countries! What McCaw lacks, however, is the power to crush any opposition by having local residents captured, imprisoned and tortured, or fed to coyotes (in the absence of local alligators, idea courtesy Idi Amin).

Just how long does it take to break the spirits of all News-Press employees and of all the residents of Santa Barbara? McCaw needs help from the likes of scientists in the movie, "Stepford Wives," so all her employees and local residents can mindlessly follow her lead.

There are some zombies who already fulfill that objective. You can tell by reading their reasons for believing the News-Press is a great newspaper, and McCaw is a great publisher.

If everyone else would just follow suit, including you, Sara, and that other nonconformist, Craig Smith, then conformity would reign over Santa Barbara and finally there would be peace.

For example, the movie "Body Snatchers," both original and remake, shows how delightful society can be when everyone walks around mindlessly, with no emotions or opinions, and just acts in line with the supreme commander's wishes.

McCaw owns you, Santa Barbarans! She is your supreme commander! Conform, or suffer the consequences! After all, she bought you, too, when she bought the community newspaper.

Get used to it and quit whining, you pathetic crybabies.

Now let me drown my sorrows with a six-pack of Yoo-Hoo, while I wish I had a matching Bentley like Wendy and Nipper.

11/12/2007 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The article from Editor & Publisher speaks for itself. A 14% drop can't be good -- even with plenty of money to weather the storm."

Ah, Sara, storms eventually end and things get back to normal.

Ain't going to happen here. This is different.

Most dropping the News-Press aren't coming back. They get their local news elsewhere, and more of it, for free, along with balanced commentary and no bullying. The storm won't end for Wendy.

That's fine. Like a big yacht with a heli, a Baron, or new twin his & her Bentleys, the newspaper is a nice toy.

11/12/2007 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCaw can do what she wants with her paper: make her reporters write what she wants when she wants it, which is what she is doing now.

But she can't make customers stay around -- and they aren't. 20-25% have quit since she started the meltdown. Integrity still means something to most people.

And she can't without lying compare herself to Katherine Graham.

11/12/2007 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The paper is doing okay. it is what it is. It is not as bad as you say it is.

And it was never as good as you say it was either. many of us really hated the bias in the articles in the old NewsPress and as slim pickings as it is today, at least we are happier with the reporting and the direction of the editorial page.

It was getting supremely tacky before Wendy was finally able to get people to leave, or ask them to leave.

Bottomline: the NewsPress was not all that great, so it has not fallen that far. And the remaining employees if they don't do something postive to get the readership back will just have a smaller and smaller pot to divide up in their union negotiations.

It never pays to bite the hands that feed you. We all learn this lesson somewhere along our professional working lives.

Welcome to the group. Sorry you idealized your own brand of "ethics" into full time unemployment.

The rest of us learned to live with compromise and reality and a paycheck. And no, we did not sell our souls. We accomodated to a world larger than our own ego and are doing just fine.

And rewards for biting back at "management" are a dime a dozen. It was a given. Employees always hate management and like to stick it to them when they can. That is all.

11/12/2007 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:46 PM, "Bottomline: the NewsPress was not all that great, so it has not fallen that far."

In the past year, it's fallen by 20% to 25% of its readers.

Everyone can spin, but the circulation numbers tell the story of readers leaving in numbers not matched anywhere else in the country.

11/13/2007 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy as the owner can do what she wants but I, as the consumer, can also do what I want.

I used to subscribe to the News Press for local news and I continue to subscribe to the LA Times for "real" news. When the News Press got thinner and thinner and the local news got to be more and more sparse following the departure of reporters I grew to like, I just didn't see it worth my money to subscribe.

I don't believe those bloggers who talk about the News Press rising to greatness under Wendy, the proof just ain't there.

11/13/2007 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The news press has the financial wherewithall to weather the storm for 20 years.
Would you like to try and wait her out.
I have news for you....YOU LOSE!

You can't hurt the News has the ultimate thick skin. It can, and will, weather anything you can throw at her.

So suck it up and deal with it!

And beware of the "backlash". Several have doubled their subscription and their adverising as a result of the left wing/socialist ravings about the news press. People are not stupid and can see just who it was that was slanting the news. It was thw left wing/socialist reporters who got the ax.

Boo hoo, how sad.

11/13/2007 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...




11/13/2007 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

news press circulation down 16%

who cares!

Whats the point?????

Please, lets talk about something new and worthwhile.

11/13/2007 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to the 'afternoon' crowd today cheering on the NP.

Thanks a Bunch. I thought I was alone here! It's almost like being a Chicago Cubs fan.

If people did not want to talk about this subject 4:40, they would stop. So, stay tuned.
Thank's to Sara,there is a venue for all!

11/14/2007 12:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

News press circulation down 16%.


11/14/2007 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Here is the final scoop on the News Press:

All the word by those who hate the news press are just that words.
They have no power and they have no effect.

There is an unchanging reality here. And that is that the News Press is going to continue it's existence for the next 20 years. And it's going to continue being owned by wendy and it's going to continue to operate exactly as it's now being operated.

Therefore all your words are bouncing off of a stone wall.

So the bottom line is that you have no effect whatsoever, and will never have any effect, on the operation of the News Press.


Just how much of your time and energy do you want to waste on this. You only live once. Is this how you want to waste your time. Your anger will only hurt you!! Think about it.

11/15/2007 10:38 AM  
Anonymous All for Integrity said...

Standing up for what is right is not always easy – just ask the dozens of reporters who have lost their jobs at the News Press or the thousands of Santa Barbara residents who have stopped taking their hometown paper – but it does say volumes about the integrity of the people who live in a community. Thumbs up to the thousands in Santa Barbara who took a stand.

11/20/2007 11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yes, and look what it got them.


11/22/2007 5:28 PM  
Anonymous I got the last word on this: said...



A handful of socialist News press haters are trying to promote socialism ( and bash our countries wonderful free enterprise political system by taking advantage of the news Press union battle and using it for their left wing/ socialist propaganda purposes. .

11/23/2007 7:24 AM  
Anonymous All for Integrity said...

Doing the honorable thing does not always result in immediate success. The journalists who left their jobs at the News Press knew that the price they would pay would be high. They made their decision to leave because they are principled. They are an inspiration to all of us.

11/23/2007 10:41 PM  
Anonymous the last word said...


No, they were STUPID. They could have stayed and neigtiated in good faith and worked out some sort of compromise.

Now , THAT, is what would have been good for this community not the ripping the community into two camps: Those that hate the news press FOR PERSONAL REASONS, and those that hate unions and socialism and love the news press for standing up to the union and socialism.

11/24/2007 5:20 PM  
Anonymous All for Integrity said...

Some things you just can't compromise – like your principles. A lot of people thought the Founding Fathers were stupid to stand up to Ole King George too. I don't think this had as much to do with unions as it did with dictatorships. You just can't have Freedom of the Press when the publisher is meddling in the objective news section of the newspaper.

11/24/2007 9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

response to all for integrity :

Now you are comparing the News Press to England and a dictator.

Get real!

You just don't get it:
1. the previous reporters were somewhat biased.
2. the news press asked these reporters to please stop being biased.
3. they quit in protest.

so, they made their bed and now must lie in it.

and now they and their few supporters are SPINNING this issue to mke it appear as if the news press was the bad guy.

I got news for you; you can fool some of the people somne of the time, but the vast majority of Santa Barbarans can see righ through this spinning by the union supporters.

I say "DOWN WITH THE UNION". It will be a cold day in hell before there is a union at the news press. Don't hold your breath.

You like going up against a stone wall?

Get used to it, and
Like it or lump it!

11/25/2007 1:04 PM  
Anonymous All for Integrity said...

Santa Barbara residents just want a newspaper they can trust and when a publisher starts pulling stories, it makes it difficult for readers to trust what they are reading. Over 5,000 subscribers were concerned enough to stop getting their hometown newspaper. That's a pretty clear indication that locals view the publisher's actions negatively.

11/25/2007 5:26 PM  

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