Leaked Memo Reveals What Owner Wendy McCaw Believes To Be
Today, Tuesday, February 13, the management of the
News-Press — including, multiple inside reports suggest,
owner Wendy McCaw herself — sat down with their dwindling
editorial staff and laid out their stance on the newspaper’s
ongoing meltdown. The gist? That this is all a Teamsters tactic to
undermine the newspaper and bring in the union, that the newspaper
is actually doing better since it cleaned house, and that the
community is tiring of the story.
Once again, this is clear evidence that the paper’s management
is out-of-touch with reality. Their claims are refuted in short
order by the fact that, 1) the Teamsters only became a major part
of this story after
the unionization vote, and only after the remaining employees
forced to unionize because of management’s assault on them; 2)
audited statistics published on Independent.com last week show a
fairly sharp decline in News-Press circulation up to last
September; and 3) attention to the story is growing immeasurably
from around the world, as Independent.com and Santa Barbara
bloggers posted their biggest web traffic ever last week due to the
six firings. (We had close to 6,000 readers and 14,000
pageviews last Tuesday alone, according to Google Analytics, and
the large majority of them focused on the N-P story!)
Earlier today, The Independent was leaked a
confidential memo — evidence that at least a few editorial
employees don’t believe the McCaw hype — and we present it
CONFIDENTIAL: Facts about the Santa Barbara
News-Press 1. What is all this
about? This is a campaign organized by the Teamsters.
Former newsroom employees had planned this campaign with the
Teamsters since before the July 6 walkout and irrespective of what
is said, the campaign is being masterminded by the Teamsters. The
real issues are not what are being claimed publicly.
2. Why did they walkout? They walked
out because they believed what Jerry Roberts told them. Because
Roberts could not accept the fact that he could no longer do
everything his way, he staged a public departure and convinced some
loyal staff to follow him. What hasn’t been talked about was that
Roberts in his position had been censoring the news, allowing bias
into reporting, and taking out his personal vendettas in the press.
This was unacceptable to new management. The editors, including
Roberts, walked out, because they said, “management was interfering
with the news.” It was not. What they didn’t say was that Roberts
had been demoted two years earlier, and then became antagonistic to
the owner. The lack of communication and clear animosity created a
very bad working environment in his department. 3. Did
Management interfere with the News? No. Wendy McCaw
sent a memo to a reporter, following an article that included Rob
Lowe’s home address, explaining the paper’s standard policy not to
print addresses of public individuals. This was for the Lowe’s
safety as well and is standard policy of most major newspapers.
Even Barney Brantingham admitted after he left the News-Press that
Wendy McCaw had never interfered with his work.
4. Is the paper doing OK since the
walkout? The paper is doing fine. In fact, it is
doing much better since the changes in the newsroom. Statistics
show that in the first half of last year under the supervision of
Jerry Roberts, many more subscribers canceled than in the second
half following the departures of Mr. Robert’s and the others.
5. What about the bias in the news
reporting? Yes, there was bias under prior
management. An independent study in 2005 revealed that over half
the subscribers felt that the news was biased. Melinda Burns was
fired for bias, so was Anna Davison. The current management is
committed to removing bias from the news reporting.
6. Did Wendy McCaw break the law? No.
Although the Teamsters would like our community to believe
otherwise, no laws have been broken. The Teamster Union, on the
other hand, has been under a Federal Monitor for years because of
its well documented history of racketeering and illegal
7. Why did John Zant get fired? John
and four other Newsroom employees attempted to harm and damage the
newspaper by displaying a banner on 101 urging customers to cancel
their subscriptions. Disloyalty of this type by any employee is
unacceptable, inexcusable and jeopardizes the livelihood of fellow
8. How many people have been fired since July
6? The first termination was in September. Since
September, 12 people have been terminated for cause.
9. Why is the News-Press portrayed so
negatively? Because of lies, misinformation and spin.
The goal of the Teamsters efforts is to pressure and disparage any
business and any employer who will not play ball. The more
frustrated the Teamsters become, the more pressure they try to
bring upon their target. Unfortunately, competitors of the
News-Press will print anything and everything they believe will
help them take advertising dollars or readership away from the
News-Press. And former journalists who left the News-Press in
temper tantrums and who cite false reasons for their departure have
appealed to their colleagues and friends in the media to write
false, biased and untrue stories about these events.
10.Is the News-Press financially
viable? Yes. Our readers and advertisers have been
incredibly loyal and understanding during this period. They prefer
not to be involved in issues such as this, as their priority is
running their own businesses. They recognize these series of
unfortunate events for what they are – a concerted campaign by the
Teamsters. By all accounts, the community is getting tired of
steel-mill tactics and prefers other issues to focus on. Despite
the vicious campaign, and contrary to the lies and speculation,
News-Press circulation figures have stayed in line with general
newspaper industry declines. The state of the newspaper industry is
changing and it is clear that it has been tough for papers
nationwide. We are strong and getting stronger. We are committed to
the Santa Barbara News-Press, the employees, subscribers
and the advertisers.