Long time public radio stalwart KCRW, has put on line their topic of July 3, “Newspapers: Publishers, News and the Editorial Wall” from their public affairs program, The Politics of Culture. Former News-Press publisher and editor Jerry Roberts is featured, along with Washington Post special correspondent Lou Cannon, long-time PBS producer Lowell Bergman, and Professor Alex Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University. Matt Kettmann has a nice preview here.

Wendy McCaw
Shannon Kelley

This link will take you to KCRW’s podcast list (just go down to The Politics of Culture and click on the Itunes graphic — make sure you’ve got Itunes running — and pick the “Newspapers: Publishers, News and the Editorial Wall” episode, which runs 29 minutes).

This link takes you to the story page, on which you can listen online to the broadcast (click the “listen button and a Realplayer media player will pop up).

IN A RARE public document, newspaper owner Wendy McCaw presents a lengthy reply to a letter Lou Cannon wrote to her back in late May. Almost as rare, the link is not protected by the subscribers-only wall that the News-Press imposes on their website.

Here’s a taste:

Dear Mr. Cannon,

The world has passed you by. Young people today no longer wear watches, no longer read newspapers, no longer watch TV news. They communicate by text messaging and in MY SPACE. They distrust the mainstream media, in large part because they distrust the decrepit ideas asserted by the old generation who claim to be “experts” such as yourself. You exemplify the basis for this distrust with your reference to “various inquiries” allegedly finding that we committed some journalistic sin.

This is the essence of irresponsible journalism and at the core of your deserved loss of reputation. Instead of relying on purposely uninformed bloggers and the biased “journalists” they support who are attempting to insert the Teamsters Union into Santa Barbara’s mainstream newspaper for supposed facts, why not roll up your sleeves and do some real investigative work? I challenge you to state a single legitimate agency “inquiry” that has found we violated a journalistic standard. None exists. It is simply more evidence why certain journalists today have committed a grave disservice to the public they claim to serve…

: It’s a corker.

Just to keep the letters and public outcry straight, Lou Cannon wrote a letter privately to Wendy McCaw, protesting the underhanded link of Jerry Roberts to a News-Press owned computer riddled with pornography. When it was not published, Cannon published it in the Los Angeles Times, both print and online editions.

: The LA Times opinion piece.

Wendy McCaw fired back with a reply in the News-Press, most notable for its obvious lack of an editor. Intriguingly, the PBS program Ms. McCaw mentions, “News Wars,” was hosted by the aforenamed Lowell Bergman who is also the reporter of this Frontline installment. From the synopsis: “FRONTLINE examines the mounting pressure for profits faced by America’s network news divisions and daily newspapers, as well as growing challenges from cable television and the Internet. Bergman talks to network executives, newspaper editors and publishers, bloggers, Wall Street analysts and key players at Google and Yahoo! about the battle for market dominance in a rapidly changing world.

“Bergman examines one of the biggest challenges facing the traditional news media: As their core audience grows older, the number of viewers and readers who want their news in a conventional format is shrinking. “

: McCaw’s reply to Cannon’s letter. (Nick Welsh has a round-up of this dust-up which fleshes out this evolving narrative).

Lou Cannon thought Wendy’s letter deserved : this reply.

Which brings us to : today’s commentary by Ms. McCaw, complete with headline typo.

Barney Brantingham in the '70s.

BY THE WAY, it doesn’t go unnoticed that the one year anniversary of the walkout of six top News-Press editors and 46-year veteran columnist Barney Brantingham is just two days away. Here’s a link to Barney’s original story of his walkout.


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