The Latest N-P News

A few new tidbits related to the News-Press mess arose in the Santa Barbara blogosphere over the past week.


The first is that the saga has hit the pages of BusinessWeek, the highest circulated American business magazine with nearly one million issues every week. It uses the N-P as a solid example of how independent ownership may not be the best thing for the media. It’s called “The Future of the Fourth Estate?” and that question mark hangs rather frighteningly, at least for those of us here in S.B. watching the meltdown of the once-trusted daily institution. See that article by clicking here.


As well, the November 22 issue of Editor & Publisher includes an article raising the same issues. Former editor Michael Todd is on-the-record talking about how pet issues of Wendy McCaw morphed into “news” stories. It’s a good read, and gives reassurance that we are not alone here in Santa Barbara. While we may be facing the most egregious outcomes of independent ownership, other places are experiencing similar shifts.

How many more of these articles will it take for Wendy McCaw and her cabal of Travis Armstrong and Arthur von Wiesenberger to realize that they are truly in the wrong? Can it be more obvious?

Meanwhile, Travis has apparently resorted to getting personal on The Indy‘s own columnists Barney Brantingham and J’Amy Brown. Both have been referenced in recent editorials.

Travis took Barney to task for not returning his phone calls and hanging up on him. It’s a ridiculous and silly point, because why would anyone — especially Barney, who gave his heart and soul to the paper for decades only to be treated horribly — trust Travis to write an ethical, objective piece. He’s already lost any shred of credibility he once had. (And “shred” is quite kind on our part.)

Travis also targetted J’Amy for her role six years ago in trying to get a developer to donate money to a nonprofit foundation. Please keep it up, because the attention only helps us at out.

And the latest news, as reported on Craig Smith‘s ever-diligent blog, is that Wendy McCaw has hired big shot attorney Barry Capello to scare away Teamsters attorney Ira Gottlieb. Capello is about as intimidating as they come in Santa Barbara, and the most centally located too: his dark-wood-decorated, high-ceilinged office sits at a prominent corner above Canon Perdido and State Street.

I had a long face-to-face with Capello once when I was reporting on a lawsuit aimed at Lazy Acres, whose owners he was representing. He proved a nice, persuasive guy, but I couldn’t help but feel that if I said the wrong thing, the floor might drop out from under me. I wrote as much in my first draft of that article, but it was edited out (probably a smart move). In any case, he’s not a man to mess with, which is to say that McCaw finally found an attorney to match her insatiable taste for using the law as an attack weapon.

So that’s the news for now. Next up will be the National Labor Relations Board‘s hearing on whether the News-Press acted in retaliation by ending Starshine Roshell‘s column and firing union organizer and longtime reporter Melinda Burns. No date has been set for that yet.

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