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Thumbs Up for Santa Barbara News Room


Some may have wondered where the Independent has been with its coverage of SantaBarbaraNewsRoom.com, the new online venture from our peers formerly-and, they hope, future-ly-of the News-Press. In fact, blogger Craig Smith recently commended the staff at the Daily Sound for not only running an article on the project, but also for doing so on their front page above the fold.

Though the news briefs section of the March 22 issue of Independent mentioned that the eight were readying the site for its April 2 premiere and our SB Media Blog discussed the matter during the recap of the March 25 town hall meeting on the News-Press “situation,” we wanted to clear any misconceptions that we were anything but completely thumbs-up stoked for Dawn, Barney, Melissa, John, Rob, Tom, Anna and Melinda.

In a larger sense, one could view the journalists’ decision to continue reporting-with or without doing so under the News-Press masthead-as representing everything noble about the profession. As far as the Independent is concerned, we’re happy to have the competition, even if SantaBarbaraNewsRoom.com snatched away the title of “city’s largest newsroom,” which we held ever-so-briefly. More reporters and more news means everyone has to stay on their toes.

On a similar note, look for Independent.com to be considerably expanding its online news coverage in the near future. The revamped website, which has been months in the making, will be part of the Independent’s effort to provide more daily news to our readers.

And, yes, the Independent will continue to cover news involving the dispute between News-Press management and their former employees, even if some of the parties involved are once again active competition. Don’t think we’re going to become like a certain other local paper attempting to ignore the situation altogether.

On the subject of News-Press coverage on events happening in De La Guerra Plaza, did anyone happen to read the article in last Saturday’s paper on the felling of the historic palm tree there? Interesting to note that current News-Press staffers aren’t, in fact, blocked off from events in the plaza by some impenetrable force field. We were beginning to think they were.

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Comments from our previous website:

Let me get this straight,

SB Newsroom is open for DAILY business, with the largest reporting staff in town writing intelligent stories that remind us of what we’ve missed.

The Indy, with maybe the second largest reporting staff in town, is “considerably expanding its online news coverage in the near future” to “provide more DAILY news.”

Edhat.com is pulling together DAILY all the local news that fits and delivering it fresh to email boxes everywhere.

The DAILY Sound is growing bigger each day and its website continues to improve.

The hottest DAILY columnist right now is Craig Smith.

Blogabarbara.com is DAILY — presenting opinion viewpoints from all sides.

Former NP reporter Scott Hadley wrote that former NP news editor and Beacon publisher Bill MadFadyen is hitting the internet with a new DAILY local news publication.

The UCSB DAILY Nexis is gearing up under the former NP editor.

Thank you, Wendy McCaw, for providing, as you promised, the “best local news to be had.”

Posted by Fresher news and fewer dead trees | April 4, 2007 08:27 PM

craig smith is the hottest columnist? really? i was under the impression that the talk of the town was our mystery columnist sara de la guerra.

Posted by mr.peabody | April 4, 2007 08:38 PM

Here is Doc Searls’ take on SB Newsroom:

http://doc.weblogs.com/2007/04/04

P.S. Craig and Sara are both hot — in different web divisions, comment uploadable vs. comment non-uploadable.

Posted by mr.nobody | April 4, 2007 08:43 PM

Wendy McCaw and The Mess make international news again, this time in The Economist:

Business.view

Hard pressed”

Apr 3rd 2007

From Economist.com

If newspapers are dead, the corpses are oddly popular”

http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8952634

An excerpt:

Nature has yet to devise the man, however, who wants to own a newspaper as an end in itself. The desire to shape public policy, or promote private interests, or loom large on the national stage, and sometimes all three, is never far behind. That can produce great newspapers: think Lord Beaverbrook, and Rupert Murdoch. It can also produce disasters: think Robert Maxwell, or, at a personal level, Conrad Black.

Nor are the newly wealthy necessarily any less intrusive than older money: witness the recent antics of Wendy McCaw, ex-wife of a cell-phone magnate, at the Santa Barbara News-Press.

Among her crimes against humanity that prompted the resignation of six senior editors and a columnist-the so-called “Santa Barbara Seven”-she had the newspaper adopt a pro-vegetarian stance, editorialise against Thanksgiving turkey dinners, and required that the word “blond” be spelled with an “e” when used to describe women.”

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2007 09:58 PM

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 04, 2007

Sacked Santa Barbara Journos Take On Their Old Boss”

For the past nine months, the ground beneath the Santa Barbara News-Press has been shaking as the owners and staff of the newspaper are involved a labor law dispute of epic proportions. Now, the newspaper’s former reporters have launched a site to directly compete with their nemesis ex-employer.

At the center of the scandal is News-Press owner and co-publisher Wendy McCaw, a millionaire heiress with some unconventional ideas about how newspapers should report the news. Read the details about her eccentric style guidelines and her kowtowing to a local celebrity in C.W. Nevius’ SFGate column from last year.

etc:”

http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2007/04/sacked_santa_ba.html

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2007 10:04 PM

And from the Daily Nexus:

Local Writers Launch News Website

By Evan Wagstaff / Staff Writer

Published Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Issue 93 / Volume 87

http://www.dailynexus.com/article.php?a=13627

Not that McCaw is meddling in the news, but has the News-Press featured a story about SB Newsroom?

Posted by Just wondering… | April 5, 2007 07:12 AM

No story but Dr. Laura does a great job of leading News-Press users to SB Newsroom this morning, saving the Teamsters advertising and marketing dollars.

Posted by Anonymous | April 5, 2007 07:25 AM

They used to end, “Thanks, News-Press.”

So for those of us now grateful to find www.sbnewsroom.com,

Thanks, Dr. Laura”

Posted by I remember those TV ads | April 5, 2007 12:05 PM

Schlessinger bashed the SB Newsroom today and apparently asked them to syndicate her column.

Since the SB Newsroom obviously wouldn’t give Laura a glance, I’m offering her my entire blog in a special Thursday edition of:

Fake “Doctor’s” Sunday Funnies

Posted by Worker Bee | April 5, 2007 01:31 PM

Santa Barbara’s Blog is another one, and probably the best of the Daily blogs. And News off the Press in a great local news feed.

http://www.santabarbarasblog.com

www.newsoffthepress.com

Agree, out of a fire, some beautiful flowers grow.

Posted by sally c | April 5, 2007 03:42 PM

Do I understand correctly that the www.sbnewsroom.com is ‘sponsored’ (i.e. funded) by the Teamsters. Well, THAT should guarantee news and editorial integrity (april fool). You are judged by the company you keep. Teamsters have been convicted for quite an interesting variety of crimes - not a sign of high integrity.

Posted by Zorro | April 5, 2007 07:15 PM

Catholics, Republicans, eagle scouts, US Marines,and NFL players, and others “have been convicted for quite an interesting variety of crimes”. Which has what to do with the SBNP mess? The only Teamsters I see on a regular basis drive trucks for UPS.

Posted by bosox1 | April 5, 2007 08:03 PM

For the continuing inuendo about how the modicum of financial sponsorship the Teamsters Union provides to sbnewsroom.com, please explain what your bitch is about and any, any, any examples of what you are spinning here and how it is remotely relevent to the local news coverage at Newsroom.

Put up or Shut up.

Posted by First District Streetfighter | April 5, 2007 08:52 PM

Zorro, is that Wendy’s hand I see in your sock? Joe McCarthy thrived for quite a wretched while with guilt by association, but eventually he was dismantled. Yes, facts and evidence — both of which are lacking on the McCawthy ledger — would be nice, if you’ve got any. In this case, the legal scorecard shows Wendy ‘way behind.

Posted by anonymous | April 6, 2007 05:26 AM

Now let me understand this, ‘bosox1’. Anyone who says anything that might remotely be construed as support of Wendy is immediately suspect, but (FirstDS) the fact that the Teamsters sponsor the website of Wendy’s detractors and enemies is irrelevant since everyone knows that the Teamsters organization wouldn’t ever do anything to influence its members or memberwannabes? Pulease…

As I’ve repeatedly said, I’m no fan of Wendy. But if you are at all familiar with the history of the labor movement, you will know of the Teamster organization’s various convictions for fraud, perjury, jury-tampering, and racketeering. I sure wouldn’t want them in my foxhole.

And ‘anonymous” (one of many - can’t keep you all straight) could you provide us all with a legal scorecard please? Do we have final decisions from the courts?

Let’s try to keep this discussion on issues and facts, shall we?

Posted by Zorro | April 6, 2007 08:34 AM

Not only does Dr. (of Physiology) Laura attack the Teamsters, she attacks all unions. Why can’t workers just take on some personal responsibility? If a job is so bad, a worker can leave. If he or she can’t get another job, that’s a personal fault.

She lives in one lovely world.

Indeed, it’s so lovely in the second part of her Thursday column she talks about how the answer to gang problems in Santa Barbara is a little Rudy Giuliani heavy-duty policing of the kind that made headlines out of Amadou Diallo.

Posted by George | April 6, 2007 10:02 AM

To First DS: a quote from the SBNewsroom front page: “The Santa Barbara Newsroom is supported by the Graphic Communications Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters”. It is no more comforting to me to have the Teamsters sponsoring the news than it is for you to have McCaw in control. The Teamsters are no paragons of integrity, truth, or objectivity.

To Worker Bee: It is not legal for McCaw to fire workers for voting for a union, assuming that they have taken the necessary legal steps to legitimize the election, which I believe they did(that’s the law). It WAS legal for her to fire anyone she wants, ANY time, for ANY reason, before the workers voted for an election (it’s called the doctrine of employment-at-will - it’s the law in California and many other states). It may have been legal for her to fire workers who stood around in public with signs saying “don’t buy the News Press” or something similar, whether or not there was a union certification election in process - the law will decide that one. So whether you think it’s a duck or not is quite irrelevant - the law is not an opinion poll.

To Worker Bee and George: I managed my own career, thanks. Never had union representation; never wanted it; never would want it. What these folks seem to want is a guaranteed job here in “Paradise”. Who will ensure integrity of the press if the Teamsters are in charge? If you think for one second that a unionized newsroom is above bias and prejudice and ‘managing’ the news you are truly naive. (Not that McCaw is any better).

And who cares what Dr. Laura thinks? What does she have to do with this discussion?

Posted by Zorro | April 6, 2007 11:13 AM

Zorro,

Perhaps we should repeal all the state and federal labor laws that organized workers fought to implement into our society. This “I don’t need the union” garbage is narrow minded. It’s like saying you don’t need the freeway because you don’t have a car.

And the law is entirely an opinion poll, especially if a jury is involved. And otherwise, laws don’t create themselves. Laws reflect what we deem is right and fair. Whether something walking like a duck is deemed a swan is totally revelant: if McCaw wins in this case, we know the justice system failed because she can spin this all day long, but she fired the reporters because they formed a union. Specifically, she fired them for engaging in protected activity. I mean, come on! (And OJ killed his wife, etc.) Failures of justice is an important matter, and I for one am not waiting for the courts to tell me if its raining outside. The writing is on the wall and anyone with a job and an interest in living in a fair and decent society damned well better be interested in our court system calling ducks ducks.

As for Dr. Laura, I bring her into for selfish reasons: I like amateur porn and my hobby is putting Mr. Yuck stickers on her naked pictures.

And Zorro, I think you make some decent points, but please refrain from characterizing the fired reporters as people who are looking for a favor. They are standing up for something and if you can’t respect that, I don’t know what to tell you…

Posted by Worker Bee | April 6, 2007 11:53 AM

WB: I don’t for a minute think we should repeal labor laws; I’m just saying that McCaw may not be in violation as much as people would like to think. I personally do not want representation by a union nor did I ever. That does not say anything about what I think of unions in general.

And law is absolutely not an opinion poll. Law is written down, goes back to English common law, depends heavily on precedent, and certainly is modifiable if enough people think it should be changed. Application of existing law is not by any stretch of imagination an opinion poll, else why have lawyers? Disagreement with a court opinion means an appeal. That’s the system. And just because you, me, and a million other people have the same opinion, that does not make it right or legal.

If McCaw can be legally found to have fired people for engaging in what the law defines to be protected activity, then she has violated labor law and should pay accordingly. Now, as a matter of public opinion and commentary, 100% of the people I’ve talked to, including me, think she should get the poor leader, worse manager, and I won’t say worst journalist because she is no kind of journalist, award plus some special award for running the paper into the ground and being generally all around ornery and unpleasant when it comes to her employees.

And you’re right, I should not characterize the fired reporters as looking for a favor. My apologies.

Posted by Zorro | April 6, 2007 12:09 PM

One more time to “Zorro”:

please explain what your bitch is about and any, any, any examples of what you are spinning here and how it is remotely relevent to the local news coverage at SBNewsroom.com

They have published five days now. How have the Teamsters Union influenced their news coverage?

Put up.

Posted by First District Streetfighter | April 6, 2007 12:38 PM

Zorro,

Well, we disagree entirely on two things: McCaw’s guilt and word opinion - I wouldn’t like to “think” McCaw is guilty. I know she’s bloody guilty. And if our labor courts write an “opninion” in her favor, I think there’s something wrong with our labor courts, because they will have let a criminal get away with a crime.

And if enough people are of the “opinion” that the courts were wrong, and if they feel strongly enough about it, they will bug their elected leaders in Washington, who share their “opinions” on the matter in a debate and conduct a “poll,” otherwise known as a vote, which will either pass or fail the new measure into “law”. Just like the current pro-worker legislation on the table that Bush will no doubt veto.

So maybe we’re just getting caught up on the word “opinion,” but I can’t see the law as anything but an opinion. The law is people getting together in a room, sharing stories and opinions, and than a judge writing an opinion on what he or she hears or a jury voting on a verdict based on their opinions. How is opinion not central to the entire issue of law?

Oh, and apology accepted on behalf of the fired. How civil we are around here.

Posted by Worker Bee | April 6, 2007 12:39 PM

FirstDS. Yes, the newsroom has only been up for 5 days. No, there is no evidence of Teamster influence. But yes, the newsroom has only been up for 5 days. How long was McCaw in power b4 her true side came out?

WB: I understand your point re opinion and the law. But the “court of public opinion” is far from the rigor of a trial with rules of evidence, sworn testimony, etc. You “know” McCaw is guilty; I prefer to wait for the trial results.

Civil, indeed. Discourse doesn’t have to be insulting and uncivil, even if disagreements are large. ‘Civil’ is after all the first 5 letters of the word ‘civilization’.

Posted by Zorro | April 6, 2007 12:48 PM

Zorro,

Zorro,

Your last comment left me with one question: What piece of information from the McCaw follies are you missing that a trial will bring to light and help you form an opinion on the matter? Some cases may be convoluted, yes, and require rigorous trial proceedings to organize the arguments. Not this one. It’s all out there in the sun and is pretty clear - plenty enough info to make up your mind for yourself. All of it is stacked squarely againsts McCaw. Why rely on the courts to tell you which way gravity is pulling when it’s so easy to find out for yourself? I’d be happy to answer any questions that might help you make up your mind on the situation.

Posted by Worker Bee | April 6, 2007 01:33 PM

Worker Bee, Worker Bee, from my previous posts:

It was NOT legal for McCaw to fire workers for voting for a union, assuming that they have taken the necessary legal steps to legitimize the election, which I believe they did(that’s the law). It WAS legal for her to fire anyone she wants, ANY time, for ANY reason, before the workers voted for an election (it’s called the doctrine of employment-at-will - it’s the law in California and many other states). It may have been legal for her to fire workers who stood around in public with signs saying “don’t buy the News Press” or something similar, whether or not there was a union certification election in process - the law will decide that one. So whether you think it’s a duck or not is quite irrelevant - the law is not an opinion poll.”

If McCaw can be legally found to have fired people for engaging in what the law defines to be protected activity, then she has violated labor law and should pay accordingly.”

What’s the confusion? Did she fire workers in advance of the election request? No problem - she’s legally in the clear. Did she fire them after the election request? Potential problem, unless they were carrying the “don’t buy the News Press” signs as I mentioned, in which case I don’t know the law, but want to hear what the courts say.

I actually don’t have the timetable of events; If you do, I’d love to see it. The data might educate me.

Posted by Zorro | April 6, 2007 02:17 PM

Get a grip Zorro, Schlessinger is very much apart of a big political spin machine. She is not as she plays on radio. Like she carries McCaw water, she carries Cheney/Bush and now Giuliani water. She is PR, she makes news. She has her good points, like her acknowledging the newsroom. And following Travis, who dumped his reputation in front of the Judge. Speaking of the company you keep. Today in Santa Babrara is what matters. All McCaw dictates is for her pets to repeat OLD AND RECYCLED history, most of it revised. A sign of desparation and they are cowardly. Be sure to read George, an exceptional piece.

Posted by anonymous | April 6, 2007 03:35 PM

Get a grip on what? Like I said, who cares what Schlesinger says? She’e irrelevant.

Posted by Zorro | April 6, 2007 04:40 PM

Relevance of “Dr” Schlesinger is that she is taking up the place where Barney used to be. Better to leave it blank like a 1917 czarist paper.

Posted by bosox1 | April 6, 2007 05:31 PM

Of course, Schlessinger is irrelevant, and no one cares but for McCaw. You don’t get it? When McCaw has nothing but irrelevant and liars to spin for her, she pays lawyers to read blogs, that doesn’t spell failure? The McCaw people like to say Schlessinger is irrelevant, yawn all that because they use her and want to pretend they aren’t as low as she is at the same time. If Schlessinger has any relevancy it’s as an indication of how McCaw is desparate enough to use her on the world stage. Just because Schlessinger fans are dimwitted it doesnt mean they don’t spend money or vote. Strange bedfellows and to appease the elitists, McCaw must spin the yawn, who cares while using.

Posted by anonymous | April 6, 2007 07:01 PM

Anonymous, what the heck are you saying? Been into the vino a little too much?

Posted by Zorro | April 6, 2007 08:55 PM

To some it’s top secret rocket science, never to be decoded. :)

Posted by anonymous | April 6, 2007 09:19 PM

Zorro, maybe people think of you as a paralegal’s assistant who is working their way through school as a troll? Drunk on the money they pay you.

Posted by anonymous | April 7, 2007 09:38 AM

Why would I give the least of a damn? Let’s get back to issues - much more fun and educational than name-calling and drunken musings.

Posted by Zorro | April 7, 2007 01:34 PM

Have at it, all the Zorros. On your salaries, it’s worth your time. Who said “Been into the vino a little too much?”

No one thinks you give the least of a damn.

Posted by anonymous | April 7, 2007 02:57 PM

How many anonymouses can there be in one blog? Gets very confusing to those trying to have a real dialogue. Maybe we should divide into anonymousserious and anonymoussilly. I know there is SOME intelligent life out there. :-)

Posted by Zorro | April 7, 2007 04:25 PM

Schlessinger doesn’t read anonymous or I’d use Zorro. :)

Posted by anonymous | April 7, 2007 05:18 PM

Zorro is the new Clearview.

Do not feed the Clearview as it is quite opaque.

Posted by valerio | April 7, 2007 07:00 PM

You folks are strange - REALLY strange. Maybe too much blogging reduces the IQ. I’m outta here.

Posted by Zorro | April 7, 2007 07:30 PM

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