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
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?
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
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 Independent.com 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
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.