World Premiere of Documentary Film about the Santa Barbara News-Press “Meltdown” Set for Friday, March 7 at Santa Barbara's Arlington Theatre at 7:30 PM
Santa Barbara, CA, January 17, 2008 – Billed as the story of “an epic struggle for the soul of journalism,” the new feature-length documentary film CITIZEN McCAW
will premiere at Santa Barbara's famed 2,000 seat Arlington Theatre on Friday night, March 7th at 7:30 PM.ABOUT THE FILM
The film chronicles events since July 2006, when editor Jerry Roberts and five of his colleagues quit the Santa Barbara News-Press, citing owner and Co-publisher Wendy McCaw's abandonment of journalistic ethics, which McCaw denied. Since then, McCaw and dozens of her former staffers have been engaged in a fierce clash of wills that raises important national questions of journalistic ethics and media ownership.
McCaw’s attorneys assert that she alone can decide how news is covered. The other side, represented by journalists and community leaders, says that journalism is a public trust, asserting that the publisher must keep out of the news operation.
The film chronicles the twists and turns of community protests, legal maneuverings, a union vote, child pornography charges, a 25% decline in circulation, a noticeable drop in the paper's coverage of local news and issues, and numerous other events, including a surprise ruling in early January 2008, when a federal labor law judge found that McCaw's paper had violated federal law by firing six of her reporters for pro union activities. The paper is appealing the ruling.
Over 80 hours of footage were shot, including interviews with national leaders in journalism. Washington Post Executive editor Ben Bradlee and journalist Ann Louise Bardach appear, as do former NBC News reporter Sander Vanocur, Ronald Reagan’s biographer Lou Cannon, Harvard's Alex Jones, Boston University's Lou Ureneck, and USC's Diane Winston. The film was shot in high definition in Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Washington DC and at many landmark locations in Santa Barbara.ABOUT McCAW'S ATTORNEYS
The producers have received four warning letters from various McCaw attorneys. The letters threaten legal action depending on the film's content. In 2007, her attorneys subpoenaed all of the raw footage shot for the film, as well as all of the production and interview notes. The subpoena was considered a "fishing expedition" and was immediately revoked by William Kocal, the administrative law judge who oversaw the trial of The Santa Barbara News-Press on charges of violating federal labor laws.
Labels: Citizen McCaw, Santa Barbara News-Press, Wendy McCaw