Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Monday, November 12, 2007

Teamster/SBNP Contract Negotiations About to Begin - Baron Shoots First Salvo

More than a year after the News-Press employees election to join the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, contract negotiations are finally scheduled to begin this week with management of the Santa Barbara News-Press.

The negotiation sessions this week will be held Tuesday and Wednesday (11/13 and 11/14) at an undisclosed, neutral location in Santa Barbara.

Here is a portion of the letter sent to News-Press employees from Teamster Chief Negotiator Nick Caruso related to the upcoming contract negotiations. Conciliatory in nature -- let's hope the feelings are mutual between labor and management.

Until now, the fight has focused on ongoing disputes between employee and employer. Contract Negotiations are an opportunity for the participants to find common ground (if they so choose) and build an Agreement based on both the shared and distinctive needs of the respective parties. Labor brings the collective voice of the employees to the table and offers the expertise of these professionals with regard to more effectively applying their craft. In exchange we seek fair compensation and working conditions. Management will bring legitimate business concerns. Preferably, we can work together to resolve our differences and through the process of exchanging proposals and ideas, an Agreement can begin to evolve.

I have worked closely with the Union Committee Members to draft your expressed issues into proposals that we will present to the Employer. The proposals represent the collective vision of what the newsroom can and should be from the Employees’ perspective. The Committee Members are dedicated to that vision and will fight to whatever extent necessary to create a better workplace than exists today.

Up to this point, the Employer has adamantly opposed recognizing the employees’ legal right to bargain overcompensation and working conditions. Now that the day has arrived, we are hoping Management will begin to acknowledge that there may be some benefit in listening and discussing what the newsroom professionals have to offer.

The upcoming contract negotiations make me wonder if News-Press Co-Publisher Arthur Von Wiesenberger wasn't trying to begin a preemptive strike in the Pacific Coast Business Times this morning when he blamed the Teamsters for their significant drop in subscriptions. Of course it is always easier to blame others for your own mistakes.

Here's the quote:
When asked to comment Nov. 6, News-Press co-publisher Arthur von Wiesenberger wrote in an e-mail that a union-orchestrated “smear campaign” against the newspaper was to blame for the publication’s drop in circulation. The News-Press “will not bow to this intimidation,” von Wiesenberger wrote.

“These subscriber cancellations have demonstrated the relative success of the injury that has been inflicted on the News-Press,” von Wiesenberger wrote.

Isn't this great? The free market is at work! Both sides have had their say and the News-Press has certainly outspent The Organized by a factor of at least 10 to 1. Despite the amazing amount of funds that McCaw and Company have paid to defend their right to say what goes on the front page -- it seems The Organized have the upper hand. How long can falling subscriptions on Sunday be bolstered by hubris? Yes -- the free market works, but will neo-Libertarians like Wendy McCaw and Travis Armstrong admit that now?

For a more detailed analysis of the PacBizTimes article, you can see Craig Smith's post earlier today.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is in the employees best interest to boost circulation. They need to start working on this ASAP if they are to be taken seriously saying they are working for mutual best interests.

However, this union guy sounds like a real jerk in his opening and insulting salvo and has certainly annoyed me, let alone management, with his arrogance.

Hope gets all the loose money the diminished circulation he caused is put on the table for the employees to divide up. And nope, you don't get your mitts on the legal expense budget, just the circulation income.

The union crowd needs to get down on their knees and beg with door to door soliticiations to get these lost subscriptions back that they brag so much about losing for their employer.

What a mess. I feel sorry for Wendy and hope she closes the paper down rather than submit to that level of arrogance tarted up as "mutual interest" bargaining. Nope, it is not. It is world class arrogance.

11/12/2007 9:26 PM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

Nipper apparently does not read his own editorial pages when he complains about others conducting an alleged "orchestrated smear campaign".

Most amazing (although nothing is with them any more) is how one of their editorial smears gets fully debunked and shredded in other publications, only to be repeated some more on the same editorial pages days later.

Will we be reading again about the totally bullshit "Helene-Gate" a year or two from now?? Probably not, as the inventor of that pseudo-scandal by then will be Editor-in-Chief of the Koochiching County Courier.

11/12/2007 10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best of luck on the union negotiations. When both sides come to a fair agreement, I will happily resubscribe.

11/13/2007 7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Union-orchestrated "smear campaign"?

How in touch can the co-publisher be about newspapers when he's engrossed in his travel show and in driving around town in his new matching Bentley? (What did he do to earn that?)

This isn't a union town and most don't care about the newspaper union.

Since he and his girlfriend kicked off the meltdown, however, they've beefed up yacht commentary, puffy celebrity gossip and page one animal stories.

But credibility, quality and local news coverage have cratered. People don't want to be pulled down to the co-publishers' intellectual levels and so are heading for the free alternatives with more local news.

Libertarians like McCaw like competitive markets. Here is one at work.

The union subscription cancellation campaign is long over, but customers will continue to flee unless McCaw decides to do something different, like treat readers as intelligent.

The co-publisher probably did better in the past year selling his "Nipper's" brand thong underwear on

11/13/2007 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The union crowd needs to get down on their knees and beg with door to door soliticiations to get these lost subscriptions back that they brag so much about losing for their employer.

The union won't have to beg me. I've talked to a lot of people who feel the same as I do, just hire back the staff that I have missed for over a year and I'll be back. I'll call up circulation myself to re-subscribe.

Silencing the incompetent and hateful Travis would certainly go a long way towards getting me back too. Silencing the idiot consort/court jester would be nice too.

If not, I too hope she closes the paper down so we can get another paper in town without the fear of getting sued by Darth Wendy.

11/13/2007 9:24 AM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

When an acceptable contract is signed it will be time for the Union to encourage people to resubscribe. It's still too early now. The struggle continues...

11/13/2007 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote the following before seeing David Pritchett's own posting. David, you rock!

I know this is slightly off-topic, but when do we get a new topic called "Travis the Liar"? If you read his column today you will see he is, incredibly, still doing his "Helene-Gate" schtick (sp?), now alleging a City Hall coverup over the dastardly modifications to her kitchen. That scandal, of course, has been thoroughly debunked by David Pritchett and others (see Travis, you can't handle the truth!!!

How anyone on this blog, or in Santa Barbara, or the known universe can continue to defend a paper that publishes such scurrilous, bilious innuendo and outright fabrications is simply beyond my comprehension.

11/13/2007 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

News-Press management should go into the meeting and say, okay since you want to be involved, you take the good with the bad. Let's see... the profits are down because of the union supporters. oh, right, that's you people, telling everyone and anyone to cancel your subscription. Guess what? There is no money for raises, bonuses or better working conditions because YOU drove the profits away. What goes around comes around.

11/13/2007 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Union guy does not sound like a jerk at all.

Wendy has every right to shut the paper down if she wants; she need not have a single employee if she so chooses.

But if she does choose to have employees, she must obey the law in her dealings with them, just as we all must obey laws.

11/13/2007 11:53 AM  
Anonymous MapQuest said...

I would not wish that misfortune and pox upon the good people of Koochiching County.

11/13/2007 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, you called wendy and travis neo-libertarians as it that was a dirty word.

Is that really what you menat to imply.

I have much more respect for libertarians then I have for the communist/socialist leaning left wing folks who often comment here on Bloga Barbara as a forum.

11/13/2007 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does Pritchett get away with b.s. spelled out? Sheesh.

Agree most part with 9:26 a.m. Union reps should not encourage actions taken by employees with big mouths, banners and enlisting the 'easily obtained' aid from City officials. They bit the proverbial hand that fed them.

My father was a Union rep back in the day when they HELPED the people, did not not take the dues money and run into politics. My two nephews are unioned-up in Vegas because they have no choice. For $42 a month, they get nothing. One was laid up for 8 weeks with a broken leg and the union gave him a measley $100.00 per week after he paid dues for 7 years. There is NO state disability in Nevada.
Also, for the dues paid, the Union more than ADVISES the employees how to vote. Nice!

The employees here better call their Labor Board before they sign on any union dotted line and get their promises in UNION BLOOD and be sure it will hold up in a court of law... not a union court.

The NP employees have no clue and they are believing that someone other themselves is going to 'help' them? They are so mistaken. When that monthly payroll deduction starts coming out of their check, they are going to feel it and it will be too late to wonder where that money is going.

What is it about people that always want someone else to mother them? They are going to want WENDY to mother them once they find out what the union is going to do once inside those NP doors.

I, too, would shut down the paper instead of having Teamsters tell me what to do with my company and how to live. The employees do not deserve an 'in-your-face' win which is what they probably think this is all about. It will get them zilch.. nada.

Dare I say, God help them? Sara, if you wish, edit out "GOD" lest it offend someone.

11/13/2007 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

david pritchett's comment was not at all productive.

Are there no many more worthwhild cuases to spend time, energy and brainpower on than last years news about the news press.

The news press fight with the union is obviously going to continue on for the next 5 years.
Are we going to be bored with daily blogs about the news press for the next 5 years.
I hope not.

There are some people who need to get a life, let it go, and move on to sopmething worthwhile and productive.

11/13/2007 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Subscription figures have nothing to do with the union cancellation drive at this point. That was long over - and relatively unsuccessful to begin with. People just don't like the paper.. it's a disaster.

11/13/2007 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone elso but me notice that the issues where David Pritchett, with or without portfolio, has assumed a leadership position are getting their ass kicked? Why is it that the "progressive" community has never reached out to or tried to work with the two unions who can get anything done in Santa Barbara? The Cops and Firefighters Unions. And all the post Measure A whining on this and otherblogs about anyone against "A" being on the side of the "white men only" property owner voting bloc can't help. Measure A lost because it's supporters sat in a echo chamber vanity room. Period.

11/13/2007 8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:38 is right. The paper is so silly and light-weight (both figuratively and literally) that people don't see any reason to pay for it anymore. They send out the classifieds once a week for free anyway.

My opinion is that the only section that keeps the paper in business at all is local sports coverage(and most local stories are generated by coaches who call in results - the best of them virtually write the stories for the paper.) If the Sound published complete daily, local sports results and feature stories @ local athletes they'd take another several thousand subscribers away from the SBNP.

11/13/2007 9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What David Prichett lacks in subtlety he makes up for with passion, truth and caring for this community. He is not a member of a union, has no financial stake and is totally selfless in trying to oppose evil. We're lucky to have him here.

Travis deserves our sympathy. He has lost his bearings, sacrificing ethics and truth on the alter of loyalty to Wendy. Travis needs help that only he can confer on himself.

In the meantime we can expect that the NP negotiations with the Union will falter because Wendy has checked rationality at the door, and you can't negotiate rationally with an irrational person, especially when that person surrounds herself with people who have lost touch with reality. (sigh)

That said, I don't care who is running the paper or their opinions. I'll re-subscribe with the News-Press when I can trust the fairness with which it treats its employees, the accuracy of the reporting and the integrity of the opinion page.

11/13/2007 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

News-Press “will not bow to this intimidation,” the consort/court jester writes in an email. (Too chicken to be interviewed?)

The Baron trys to sound Churchillian, but he just comes off as dumb.

What, pray tell, is the "intimidation"? Let me simplify for the food writer, the nightclub is open for business, but fewer and fewer are showing up, because there's nothing interesting going on inside -- in fact, the people inside are mean.

This ain't "intimidation," it's customers voting against Wendy with their feet.

11/13/2007 11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the Anonymous writers mentioned "no money for raises, bonuses or better working conditions".
From everything I understand, there have been absolutely no discussions about raises, nor any raises around the Happy Farm, for longer than a year... so what would be different?
Guess the Deciders have been too busy with lawsuits and hearings and car shopping to remember the employees creating the so-called newspaper.

11/13/2007 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As much as I would like to see the employees get a fair deal, I doubt it will ever happen. Wendy stalled long enough to get rid of almost every employee connected with the union. Those that are left are probably paranoid about their jobs and the new hires are temps. My guess is that there will be a new vote to get rid of the union, it will pass, and that will be the end of it.

On the positive side, I have bee doing research for a college paper and Wendy is not the first eccentric multi millionaire to buy a newspaper and screw it up. In most cases the circulation fell off to the point that the paper was costing megabucks and the paper was sold. Unfortunately in some cases the damage was beyond repair. Running a newspaper is a very expensive proposition so at the point she is spending millions of her own money to keep the NP afloat, we may see a move to sell it or close it. Wendy is too far in denial to realize her errors, hire competent journalists and rebuild the paper into a real news organization.

11/14/2007 4:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the profits are down because of the union supporters. oh, right, that's you people, telling everyone and anyone to cancel your subscription. Guess what? There is no money for raises, bonuses or better working conditions because YOU drove the profits away. What goes around comes around."

Guess what? Stop suing everyone in sight and paying lawyers to flout the law, and there would be plenty of money for constructive purposes.

11/14/2007 5:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Listen up, haters.

Journalists aren't your typical union members. And newspapers are not steel mills.

Do you doubt for one minute that these people -- almost all of whom have a college degree -- could find another job?

These professionals joined the Teamsters because there are serious issues at stake.

Santa Barbara used to have a newspaper.

We don't have one anymore.

Without a union, you'd be hard pressed to find a credible journalist to work at Wendy McCaw's News-Press, EVER. Sure, she could staff her paper with UCSB and Westmont grads, but the quality is gone. The awards are gone.

Public discourse suffers.

And we all lose, because someone with extreme wealth wants our newspaper as a toy.

11/14/2007 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Business leaders have to be asking: why on earth did the News-Press bring the Teamsters to town?

Not the sharpest tools in the shed.

11/14/2007 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You think that you can trash the News Press and then have them offer a generous compensation package?

Don't hold your breath!

Your actions cut the amount of revenue available to be divided up between the workers.
So it was effectively worker compensation money that you caused to go away with your actions.
Actions have consequenses.

And this is the unintended consequence.

It's payback time.

11/14/2007 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

response to anon 9:56

speak for yourself.

I love the News Press. So do thousands and thousands of others.

It's an excellent first class paper, and much better now with all those biased reporters gone.

The New Press editorials about the big ugly 4 story monstrosities have done more to preserve the character of Santa Barbara than any other person.

So a few smart growth progressives in favor of densifying (read ruining) our town don't like these editirials.


Who cares about them and their hairbrained HOT principle ideas. Certainly not the vast majority of the good folks of Santa Barbara. (thank god)

11/14/2007 6:15 PM  
Anonymous Socrates said...

Question for those employees still working at the News-Press who could care less about the newsroom's problems since July of 2006.

Those are most of the folks in advertising, business, payroll -- departments who don't give a damn whether there's a wall between editorial and news, or a catwalk; who don't give a damn if every news reporter and editor is destroyed in their careers, their livelihoods, their reputations. These folks merely worship the dollar and will crawl to pick one up.

My question to these folks is, how do you feel about getting shafted by the co-publishers you continue to serve on your knees, knowing that they'd happily splurge on two Bentleys, but screw you on raises, wages and health benefits?

I figure that while you're crawling on your knees and licking their boots, you don't present a formidable image to negotiate for anything more than tablescraps.

The best thing about this is you're all finally getting what you deserve, because you are low-down, yellow-belly cowards and ignore the fact that the essence of a newspaper emanates from within its newsroom.

Yes, the reporters and editors create the product that you sell advertising around; create your jobs in payroll and business. (And those mock editors such as Steepleton, Rim and Armstrong don't count, because they lack integrity and credibility, and are not true journalists).

By not caring that the newsroom has tanked, you in effect are suffering the consequences as well. That's what's great about karma -- what goes around comes around. Deal with it, suckers!

Hey, maybe you can earn a few extra bucks for a Christmas bonus by polishing their Bentleys.

11/14/2007 6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely, socrates, the co-publishers wouldn't buy matching Bentleys but not give raises to their hard working, loyal employees??!!

What would two Bentleys like theirs cost, anyway?

Would the associate editor be taken for a ride?

11/14/2007 7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may not agree with Wendy and Arthur and their cause, but you have to admire the strength of their character.

It would have been much easier for them to walk away at the first sign of trouble, to pocket some cash from the News-Press when undoubtedly some cut-rate operator would have been willing to buy it, strip it down and make a profit.

Instead, Wendy and Arthur have continued to invest in the product - and yes, that includes the staggering legal bills - and fight for its survival in the face of real existential threat. (If you don't believe in the gravity of that threat, look at the circulation trend.)

Wendy and Arthur didn't purchase their matching Bentleys with profits from the newspaper, that's for sure!

11/14/2007 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“These subscriber cancellations have demonstrated the relative success of the injury that has been inflicted on the News-Press,” von Wiesenberger wrote.

Always the victim. Poor little rich girl and consort.

11/14/2007 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have heard a lot about the matching Bentleys, but are they a "let them eat cake" myth? An urban legend? Does anyone have a picture? Do the co-publishers park them in his and her stalls in the parking lot on Anacapa Street? Do they drive them at the same time down Anacapa, in formation, while talking to each other on mccaw cellular?

11/14/2007 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about the injury that's been inflicted on the good sensibilities of Santa Barbara by the honorable Baron co-publisher von Wiesenberger?

11/14/2007 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

news press 1
union 0


Teach them union organizers to suck eggs

11/14/2007 9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your character meter is wildly inaccurate. Strength of character is not measured by depth of pocket book. Someone with real character and bright ideas would have sat down with her detractors months ago, face to face. A coward would do otherwise.

Real character also requires admitting mistakes. You won't get that from McCaw and von Porkpattie.

Will one of you proud McCaw supporters just admit that you support the libertarian-ness of all this and not the woman herself? You may feel she has the right to what she will with the power her ex-husband provider her, but you can't be taken seriously when you insist she's done right by that gift. She's been exactly backwards at every step.

11/15/2007 6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy has made generous philanthopic donations to this town. She believes in it and acts on it with her pocketbook. I for one am thankful for her investments in this community.

And I think she is on target with the NewsPress. I don't really care if she is or is not a "nice" person personally.

I judge her only by her public acts, which have been sound and sincere, and valid from her own personal perspective which is she is allowed to have, just like all her detractors are allowed to have.

Please listen to her side too - she often has surprising and sound explanations, but these are drowned out in all the petty shouting, the posturing and the take no prisoners polarizing.

11/15/2007 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear 6:58,

Don't worry about these McCaw lovers. It's obvious the vast majority are paid supporters. Seems the frequency of pro-McCaw posts here rose dramatically after she hired Barry Cappello. Might be fun to check the archive.

11/15/2007 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we (the News-Press employees) sadly underestimated Wendy's willingness to win her point, no matter what it did to the quality of the newspaper.

11/15/2007 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh you sad sad people who are so envious of people who are in the public eye and who just happen to have money as well. If anyone is paid, it is the Wendy haters... probably paid by her 'ex' rather than her side paying anyone to suppport her; i.e. her attorney.

Where do you think up these things? You probably acquitted OJ Simpson the first time and will do so again. Poor SB. From Paradise to Hell.

11/15/2007 9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a paid Wendy supporter. I am not a Libertarian or even a Republican. But I support Wendy's right to do as she wishes with her own fully paid for newspaper.

Which means she can run it into the ground if she wants to. She owns the name; and the employees do not.

I do support private enterprise staying private. And I support her desire to get rid of the prior bias, and replacing it with what ever she wants.

And we all can vote with our readership. It is a free country.

11/15/2007 10:44 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

It's really hard to moderate this blog at times....

11/15/2007 10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, anon 10:44.

Way way back I said the same about Wendy and her personally owned business.

This place has become one giant gossip machine and I am actually ashamed of myself for getting involved.....

However, one more time:

IT'S WENDY's BUSINESS. Funny that a "council member" has not come out to find a private party to buy it... Huh, Helene?

11/16/2007 1:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A person may have the right to run a business into the ground but most owners would go out of business with how Wendy is running it. It is a case of a free market economy gone awry. The normal profit and loss motivation to produce a quality product for the customer (community) does not exist. Wendy has made herself both owner and customer at the community's expense.

As to character and class, Wendy and Nipper have none. If they did, they would have worked hard to study and learn the profession of journalism. They would respect the community by seeking truth and publishing it whether it agreed with them or not. They would leave their personal agendas on the editorial pages where they belong and give the community the whole story, not just Wendy's version in reporting. People with class have respect for others and value other points of view and are willing to learn and grow from searching for truth. Wendy has never presented any of those qualities in her actions.


11/16/2007 5:10 AM  
Anonymous Fred & Lamont Sanford said...

Once they all sit down and look at the blood that's been spilt all sides will probably realize that everyone needs to work together to put a competitive product on the streets and preserve revenue.

Ain't no one gonna force the employer to create jobs or offer raises or bonuses when the $$$ are not there. It does not matter whether Wendy or Nipper drives a Yugo or a Bentley.

Frankly, we predict that the Teamsters will ultimately play a key role in the resurrection of the News Press. This will be accomplished by helping the paper find quality reporters and advertisers.

Remember the Teamsters organize many newsrooms and other media employees across the country. So this is nothing new to them.

11/16/2007 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5:10 am: YOU ARE BIAS and can't write objectively about the business; rather you have to personally attack the owner.

Most important, when you attend school for a degree in business (MBA) you do NOT have to know a thing about the business you start, build, or buy. Wendy does not need a degree in Journalism to buy and supervise (YES, SUPERVISE) the running of a newspaper business.

I am a woman who knows nothing about how to make rubber hose for gasoline pumps. Yet, I was the MANAGER and SUPERVISOR of the company to oversee that the business was run properly.
Under-Management were the experts in the product and those people are paid to be sure the product is good, including quality control.

That is as simple as I can make it.

Leave your personal VENOM out of public eye. It is offensive to all readers.

11/16/2007 1:58 PM  
Anonymous re: the comment about Baby Boomers that somebody said...

McCaw lovers abound here now.

Blogabarbara, welcome to the world of an expensive (make that an obscenely overly expensive) counter campaign.

It's so apparent. It may not be Huff and Puff anymore, but the effect remains the same, and equally as sad.

Keep the comments coming, McCaw lovers. Frankly, you're overdoing it, but nice try anyway.

To anyone 55 or older, does Wendy represent you to the next generation?

Boomers, is this the sort of stuff, the future reality, that you hoped and worked for? It's almost 2008, how's your world? How's your impending retirement? How's your newspaper?

11/17/2007 3:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just because you have a degree from some university does not make you a good manager. I spend many good years at that NP and my "venom" as you put it is based on fact not heresay. Moreover, I am now a management student at a university so I balance my personal anger by trying to look at things from a business perspective. I agree that you do not need to be a journalist to be a publisher. In fact most publishers come from the business side of the paper. Remember, even though there is a manufacturing element to a newspaper, the nature of the product makes it very different than producing rubber hoses. To be successful, a publisher needs to understand the essentials of what journalism is, and educate themselves in the basics of best practices. They are also the most recognizable representative for the paper in the community who is the end customer. How important is that? Steve Ainsley's predassor had come up through production but did not understand the "business" of producing a paper. The combination of a recession and poor business practices turned the community off, reduced circulation and advertising, and put the paper at risk financially. Steve was promoted through the business side of NYTRENG. He understood the importance of the customer, understood newspapering, and he knew how to run a business. In 5 short years turned the paper around. Circulation was up, advertising was up, profits were good, and the employees were really happy. I can't say I agreed with all his decisions, but Steve communicated with the employees, advertisers and community. He sought their input and feedback to produce the best product. He treated the people who worked there as an asset not a liability.

In general, newspapers today are going through major changes in order to survive. Newsrooms are being revamped and the focus is being narrowed more to local news. Newspapers are having to adapt to creating a synergy between web and print mediums. Even with all the changes, communication is still the primary purpose of a newspaper. Wendy does not communicate with her customers, advertisers or employees. Circulation is way down, advertising is way down and employees have revolted. She has gone through at least 5 publishers in 7 years. Any student of business would know that this is a business in trouble, and it all points right back to the incompetence of the owner. If she didn't prop it up with her millions, the NP would be going under.

11/17/2007 6:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Indeed. The pro-Wendy posts almost always smell like fabrication. It's subtle, but not clever enough to pass. The jokers writing her PR should try to invent posts that read less like ad copy and more like humans with thoughts, concerns and ideas. To wit:

"You may not agree with Wendy and Arthur and their cause, but you have to admire the strength of their character." - Anon

You can't possibly concoct that statement unless you're on McCaw's payroll. Here's some fortune cookie wisdom for McCaw's PR hacks: your work here will serve you well should you ever land a job writing ads for cigarettes.

11/17/2007 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I support Wendy's right to do whatever she wants with her own paper. I am not making up these "pro-Wendy" posts. I am not on her payroll.

I philosophically and independently believe in private enterprise and the risks and benefits this entails.

Please stop accusing anyone who does not think like you and/or agrees with you as a fraud. These are legitimately held viewpoints shared by many in this community. Not all, but many.

And they translated into the ousting of a liberal city council person. More liberals will be gone at the next election because there are a lot more of us in this town than you were ever led to believe because of the ....bias.... in the old NewsPress.

11/17/2007 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back at ya... 6:01

GREAT POST. WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY THIS IN THE FIRST PLACE? Much better than venom and now the entire blog has something intelligent and insightful to read.

I would like to put my "rubber hose" manufacturing business up against the paper any time, in all areas.

Until such time as nuclear energy powers our automobile, there will always be a need for rubber hose!

Whereas, the newspaper is currently in the process of becoming extinct and will be a viable instrument until the last of us dinosaurs who like to hold the paper in our hand with morning coffee passes on to the big "city desk" in the sky!

11/17/2007 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems the strategy of the anti-Ampersand goons is to malign McCaw supporters as paid agents of some organized p.r. conspiracy.

There is no conspiracy. Rather, voices of Santa Barbarans are rising up in support of Wendy McCaw, Arthur von Wiesenberger and their newspaper, which may be our town's best defense against out-of-control development and irresponsible politicians. This sentiment is real, it is not orchestrated, but anti-Ampersand goons are too blinded by hatred to recognize it.

11/18/2007 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCaw haters:

You just don't get it do you.

McCaw is winning.

You are impotent to stop her!

It must be terribly frustrating to know that no matter what you say that it makes absolutely no difference. life goes on. The News Press goes on. The unpaid News Press supporters lives go on. But YOU are stuck in your own little world of childish hatred. Your hatred will slowly keep eating at you and change your personality, your mental, physical health and your well being. Have a good life on your emotional rollercoaster downhill. The only one who is going to be the "loser" here is you.

11/18/2007 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, Baron, well said.

11/18/2007 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have found that what goes around, comes around. Wendy may be able to prop up the NP indefinitely and pay millions for fancy lawyers to fight her battles but in reality what has she won? She has no real friends, no real respect in the community, her employees hate her and the NP is sucking lots of money from her in losses and legal fees. That is a pretty hollow victory in my book.

11/18/2007 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, can't say my NewsPress support extends to the lightweight and opportunistic Baron, but Wendy and Travis garner my growing admiration. But hey, he too is part of the team and if he makes Wendy happy and Wendy makes Travis happy, then Baron, you too are on board.

11/18/2007 9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:36 What have you found to admire in Wendy and Travis after all the damage that has been done to the paper, and disrespect to the community? That is a stretch!

11/19/2007 7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's time for the peanut gallery of McCaw haters to pipe down, resubscribe and rejoin community life here in Santa Barbara.

If they would only read the newspaper, instead of mindlessly repeating the same 2006 mantras, they might like what they see.

The News-Press is much improved. More local news. No bias.

There are a few cheerleaders for the past on this blog and others (hello, Craig Smith!) but there are many more happy readers.

For those who dropped their subscriptions: Pick up the paper, don't be influenced by the complainers, and rejoin the conversation. You'll be glad you did.

11/19/2007 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are still missing the point here.
It does not matter if Wendy doesn't have any friends, or if people don't respect her, or if it costing her a lot of money. or even if the news Press is not doing well financially.
It does not matter if it is a hollow victory for her.

All that matters is that 20 years from now the News Press will still be our daily paper and that it will still be owned by Wendy and she will still be runing it the way she wants, which will be the same way she is running it now.

And you are impotent to change this reality!

The point is that the real losers here will be those handfull of folks that have built up such hatred for the news press that this hatred will begin to consume them and change their mental health and their physical health. Their personalities will slowly but surely change for the worse.
Is that what you want to do to yourself by hanging on to this emotion of hatred?
Knock yourself out!

11/19/2007 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

News Press haters.

Is it raining on your parade yet?

11/20/2007 12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Posts on your blog concerning the NewsPress have become a marketing tool - make no mistake. Anon 4:37PM writes:

"The News-Press is much improved. More local news. No bias."

See, we can't believe you're sincere because this is entirely false. There is hardly any local news in the NewsPress, mostly AP wire stories, and no one has ever provided one - not one - shred of evidence that former reporters produced biased stories.

And we will continue to deplore Wendy and her lap dogs no matter how many phony supporters attempt to clean up her image. As my grandpa used to say, you can't polish a turd.

And it's not eating me up inside one bit. To the contrary. Sitting down while aggressive acts occur around you is the sort of thing that rots your gut.

11/20/2007 6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You've got to be kidding when you say the fired reporters stories were not biased.

Any idiot could read them and clearly see how biased they were.

While true that the quantity of local reporting is less, the quality of what there is clearly much less biased than it was before.

You can try and spin this by claiming that people who are happy with the News press like me but that just isn't true and an obvious spin. Do you make the redicuous claim that there are no folks who are happy with the news press except those who are paid to say such. What a rediuculous thing to say. Nobody is gloing to believe that because it obviosly just isn't true. If everybody was unhappy with the News Press everybody would cancell their subscription, and the vast majority continue to happily subscribe.

Your attempt to spin just shows the invalidity of your argument and your case. Otherwise you wouldmn't have to resort to spinning. Spinning is for those with a weak case and for those who are impotent and have no power.

11/20/2007 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stunned that this post continues since 11/12. Sara posted a NEW subject on which to bash the NP earlier this evening. This should be good as she gave a lot of scenarios on which to continue stabbing each other on this blog.

Sometimes it is fun. Then I need a week to re-group because of the venom. So... let's start anew. I do agree with recent post that there are a whole lot of people continuing to subscribe and I can't wait for my paper delivery at 5:30 a.m. It's ok for the time being. Wait it out, people.

11/21/2007 2:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hate to keep beating this horse, but I'm simply not going to let Wendy's lap dogs get the last word: 4:35PM likes to say the fired reporters were biased, and that an idiot can see that, but yet he/she does not answered the demand to provide evidence that the previous reporters were biased. NOT ONE. I can provide dozens of biased stories barfed out by the current editors, and I'll start with Sarah's most current post describing the NewsPress' habit of selectively reporting it's own legal affairs.

11/21/2007 6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All these people who claim the reporters were biased, do they even realize that only two of the 8 fired by the News-Press were (falsely) accused of being biased?

I doubt it. And, of course, the critics of these reporters offer no examples of this supposed bias, as usual. Can't seem to offer a shred of evidence. Not one!

It bears repeating, that the number of pro-Wendy comments on BlogaBarbara appeared to rise dramatically after she hired Cappello.

11/21/2007 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lap Lap Lap....

I was once 'accidentally' posted first and Sara commented on it... as if an honor. I did not realize there is a psycho 'reward' to be first and apparently 'last' in the case of the lap hater at 6:41 a.m. Guess his Mom was not loving enough so he could know the joy of sitting on her lap.

11/21/2007 12:43 PM  
Anonymous the last word said...

The News Press detractors are nothing more than a small vocal handful of angry people who don't have a clue that they are accomplishing nothing by all their ranting and raving about the News Press.

The fact is that the news press is what it is, and it aint about to change for he likes of you. So get a life and get over it allready.

My god is this constant petty bickering about the News Press BORING BORING BORING!

But what's really sad is that all this talk about the news press is so very unproductive. Nothing will ever come of it. What a waste of time and energy that could be so much better spent.

11/26/2007 10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree

Sara, Please put us out of our misery reading this wothless crap!

11/26/2007 7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

5 days between 11/21 and "the last word" post. If Sara wanted to remove it, that would have been the time.

Why are YOU wasting the time and energy you accuse others of doing? We all do as we wish and some wish to stay tuned to all things, even if BORING to you. It's not like we can see this every day.

I am still interested in NP posts and all others including archives.

11/26/2007 10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to 10:47

You don't get my point.

My point is not you and I wasting your time.
My point is that the discusions about the news press are not productive and I am only trying to steer the discussions onto some subjects more worthwhile and productive for all of us.

I would like for all of us to be able to solve some problem and make life bettter for some or all of us.

Just giving one example and thgere are 100's more, I would rather we discuss solutions to the gaang problem. with all oof this brainpower we could come up with some real solutiuons.

for example I would suggest that the city council set up a new youth commission made up of 7 volunter adulkts from the community to come uop with nideas and solutiuins and to coordinate the activity of all the agencies like rec dept and police and schools, etc and that they have a new city staff as a brand new dand independent division with a division manager and a secretary and a worker just to start it off. They woukd include the new jobs program and put on seminars for parents. and on and on and on.

Get the idea.

Us bickering back and forth, the very same 20 folks made of of 10 on each side repeating the very same thing over and over and over about the news press is like takling to a stone wall. It is absolutely a waste of our time, energy and talents and we could all be having so much more worthwhile discussions.

11/27/2007 1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:47 to 1:07 a.m.

I get you...

If we even TRY to do something worthwhile, it will become so political that we'd start down the road from where we are trying to escape. City vs NP for example.

I agree about 'talking' but if you read the tone on all these blogs, you could almost scream and I have just learned to 'ignore' the screaming know-it-alls. More power to them. Bickering stinks but I try to overlook that as well.

Good luck...I'll follow your lead if you start something like GANGS. I hate the gang culture and fear of going out alone at night.
I'll be waiting for your next post.

11/27/2007 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Avid reader said...

I agree...complaining about the News Press is a mute point...I used to love the News Press...but now it is a useless rag. It dedicates far too much front page space covering the lives of dogs and cats and fills the rest of the newspaper with wire stories. What a sham, I mean shame.

12/11/2007 9:32 PM  

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