Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bill Martin takes the mystery out of weather

KTVU Channel 2 News Director Bill Chapuis says weatherman Bill Martin is "more than anything else a scientist ... If there's something going on, (if) there's an earthquake, I don't have a problem asking bill, 'What's a strike-slip fault?'" But in this Oakland Tribune profile, Martin says he tries to keep the lingo simple for his viewers. "We're all really bad when we start out," he says about those in his profession. "You try to overwhelm people with how smart you are. The older I get, I realize people don't really care ... Nobody remembers what I say. They remember the five-day (forecast), that's about it."

Correction of Stanford distribution story

An item we posted yesterday, headlined "Conservative paper fights distribution rules," misstated the opinion of Lindsay Reinsmith, editor of the The Progressive, about a ban on door-to-door distribution of publications on the Stanford campus. The item was a summary of a Stanford Daily article in which Reinsmith acknowledges there are two sides to the issue. Unfortunately, we only quoted her statement about one side of the issue. Her entire quote is as follows: “Door-to-door distribution is nice in that it allows students to access publications,” she said. “They have to make literally no effect to get publications produced on campus. However, it creates a mess of paper on campus, and students don’t necessarily want their own copies of publications. You have to find a balance here between allowing students to find ready access to material without overwhelming them.” In addition, a quote in the original item attributed to Editor-in-chief Ryan Tracey should have been attributed to Editor Emeritus Ben Guthrie. The PPC apologizes for the errors and we appreciate Alec Rawls and Ryan Tracey of the Stanford Review for pointing out the mistakes.

KR profits drop 22%; local data released

Despite pressure by investors to increase its stock price, Knight Ridder shares fell 2% today on news that the company's profits declined 22% in the fourth quarter. Revenues increased 3.1% during the quarter to $819 million, but that number included newspapers Knight Ridder acquired during the year. Comparing the same papers in 04 and 05, total revenues would have fallen 0.2% in Q4. CEO Tony Ridder, in a conference call with financial analysts today, refused to talk about his efforts to sell the newspaper chain, which owns the San Jose Mercury News, Palo Alto Daily News and other Bay Area newspapers. Ridder said in a press release, "Our weeklies, free dailies, shoppers and targeted print publications, in the aggregate, continued to show revenue increases in the double digits. During the year, the company added the Palo Alto Daily News Group of free daily newspapers (in the peninsula below San Francisco), the Silicon Valley Community Newspapers and two more community weeklies in Texas." KR also reported that classified revenues increased 5.4% in San Jose in December compared to the same month in 2004, and that the paper's total ad revenues that month were up 1.3%.

Dave Barry says newspapers are dead

CW Nevius, writing in this morning's Chronicle, says there weren't a lot of laughs during his interview with Miami Herald humor writer Dave Barry. Barry said he believes newspapers are dead, and that blogs and podcasts are the next big thing in journalism.

Barry Bonds' reality show draws criticism

Giants slugger Barry Bonds, who usually ignores questions from reporters, is negotiating with ESPN and Major League Baseball to do a reality series -- and ESPN.com's ombudsman is howling. The weekly show would follow Bonds on and off the field, starting with spring training and continuing through the season as he chases the home run records set by Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. No word on how much ESPN will pay Bonds. "Simply collaborating with such high profile newsmakers seems out of place with the covenants of the kind of broadcast journalism most ESPN staffers seek to attain," wrote ESPN.com Ombudsman George Solomon (pictured at right), referring to Bonds and another proposed reality show with basketball coach Bobby Knight. "My suggestion to ESPN would have been what I'd tell NBC News if it wanted to do a reality show with Donald Rumsfeld: 'Don't,'" Solomon wrote. Others are commenting on this too, including Dave Albee of the Marin IJ, Irvin Muchnick in BeyondChron.com and Tim Dahlberg of AP.

Investigative reporting on the block

The San Jose Business Journal, in an editorial, points out that the Mercury News series "Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice" is exactly the kind of indepth, investigative work that will disappear if parent company Knight Ridder continues to cut newsroom budgets in order to boost profits and pretty the chain up for a sale.

KR execs to take questions today

At Today (Jan. 31) at 11 a.m. Pacific time, Knight Ridder chief executive Tony Ridder and other top KR executives are scheduled to discuss the company's earnings in a webcast conference call. Normally we wouldn't highlight an earnings conference call in this space, but given the fact that KR is for sale, and most of the details about the sale process are under wraps, this call could be revealing.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Cell phones will soon get KRON 4 reports

KRON Channel 4 announced today (Jan. 30) that is has signed a deal to have its news, weather, sports and traffic reports broadcast directly to mobile subscribers as part of a service that will be rolled out in the Bay Area in the next two months. KRON'S reports will be delivered by the WNI Network, a Tokyo-based weather forecaster which is expanding into the United States. Wireless carriers will offer their customers WNI's "LiveLocal" mobile application, featuring KRON's reports, for $4.99 per month. "By joining the WNI Network, we are using the latest mobile technologies to enable our viewers to watch our local programming at their convenience," said KRON President and GM Mark Antonitis. The Press Club reported Jan. 18 that Gannett bought a stake in Palo Alto's 4INFO, a company that specializes in sending news to cell phones (scroll down for item).

Conservative paper fights distribution rules

The staff of a conservative newspaper at Stanford, The Stanford Review, is engaging in civil disobedience in order to overturn a university rule that prevents door-to-door distribution of newspapers. The newspaper is openly violating the policy by distributing papers door-to-door from dorm to dorm, and giving its reasons for committing such a rule violation on its Web site. According to the Stanford Daily, the Stanford Review now faces "indictment" by the university and a possible appearance before the school's Organizational Conduct Board. Possible punishment includes educational sanctions, monetary fines and removal of university recognition. “Door-to-door distribution is essential for the publications community, essential for students interested in reading our publications and consistent with the values for which both Stanford and Residential Education stand," an un-apologetic Stanford Review Editor Emeritus Ben Guthrie said. Lindsay Reinsmith, editor of the left-leaning student publication The Progressive, told the Stanford Daily that she felt there were two sides to the issue: “Door-to-door distribution is nice in that it allows students to access publications,” she said. “They have to make literally no effect to get publications produced on campus. However, it creates a mess of paper on campus, and students don’t necessarily want their own copies of publications. You have to find a balance here between allowing students to find ready access to material without overwhelming them.” (The previous item originally contained two errors that have were corrected Jan. 31.)

J-prof: Democracy bias hinders reporters

American journalists have a predisposed bias to support capitalism and democracy, which is part of the reason why they've done a poor job covering the Mideast, University of Texas journalism professor Robert Jensen told a Stanford audience Jan. 27, according to the student newspaper, The Stanford Daily. "Everybody hates the media," Jensen said. "The problem is that everybody does not hate the news media for the right reasons." According to a story by student reporter James Hohmann, Jensen complained that news outlets are beholden to advertisers and that journalists too often let sources in positions of power and authority shape the angle and direction of their coverage. Jensen said that while he is a journalism professor, he doesn't have a TV at home because he sees the medium as a "toxic waste dump." He favors increased unionization for reporters to "give working journalists some control over their own work."

Does this mean 'citizen journalism' is dead?

The failure of Dan Gillmor's Bayosphere citizen journalism Web site doesn't mean that citizen journalism is dead, says Tom Grubisich of the USC Anneberg Online Journalism Review. Grubisich has found some grassroots journalism sites that work because they "focus on a specific locality -- such as Brattleboro, Vt., Westport, Conn., or Bluffton, S.C. -- not an entire region," Grubisich wrote. "They try to capture the unique flavor of those communities. They do what blogger and media observer Tim Porter said, in commenting on Bayosphere's failure: 'They have voice and emotion and quirkiness, human qualities that appeal to people and bring the news down to a small-town level.'"

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bloggers get scoops from governor's staff

Flashreport.org, published by Jon Fleischman (pictured), leads a pack of conservative blogs that are becoming a significant source of state government policial news, according to a story by Carla Marinucci of the SF Chronicle. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, calls Fleischman "the Matt Drudge of California." The publishers of these sites are getting scoops because powerbrokers, including the staff of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, are giving them special treatment. Two other conservative sites Marinucci identified were California Political News and Views (capoliticalnews.com) by Steve Frank of Simi Valley and PoliticalVanguard.com by Lafayette attorney Tom Del Beccaro. What about the Democrats and liberals? Marinucci says "such partisan powerhouse publishing has been almost exclusively a Republican phenomenon." And Democrats, like veteran strategist Garry South, read the Republican blogs: "When I want to find out what the Luddites and troglodytes on the other side of the aisle are thinking, the FlashReport always provides good -- and free -- insight," South told Marinucci. BTW, columnist Timm Herdt of the Ventura County Star covered the same phenomenon in his Jan. 25 column and mentions one Democratic site, SpeakOutCalifornia.org, founded by former Assembly Woman Hannah-Beth Jackson of Ventura County.

DA charges newspaper is a political tract

When Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine were publishers, the newspapers they printed were nothing more than political propaganda. No attempt was made to report news objectively or accurately. Newspapers have come a long way. Now, according to an article in the San Jose alternative weekly Metro, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office has filed a complaint against West Valley-Mission College Trustee Chris Stampolis (pictured), contending that a newspaper the Democrat politician has published twice in three years is nothing more than a political tract designed to help a slate of candidates in the city of Santa Clara, and that the publication should have been labeled as a political mailer as required under state election laws. Stampolis, a resident of Santa Clara, told Metro he will file a response to the DA's complaint. It's due Jan. 30. (Photo from the West Valley-Mission Community College Web site.)

Woodruff injury shows risks to journalists

This may seem to be out of the bailiwick of the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club, but the injuries suffered today by ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and photographer Doug Vogt in Iraq illustrate the grave risks journalists face covering that war. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 61 journalists have been killed while covering the Iraq war since March 2003. Howart Kurtz of the Washington Post discusses the threats journalists face in a war zone and he points out that Woodruff had stayed close with the family of NBC's David Bloom, who died in 2003 in Iraq from a pulmonary embolism. For those who wish to express their thoughts about this situation, ABC News is directing people to the "World News Tonight" message board.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

AP names new regional news editor

Brian Carovillano, day supervisor for The Associated Press in Boston, has replaced Michael Warren as the wire service's news editor for Northern California, based in San Francisco. Warren was named deputy Latin America editor for English services. Carovillano, 32, served as AP's lead reporter for the federal corruption trial of longtime Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci and was involved in coverage of the West Warwick, R.I., nightclub fire that killed 100 people. Carovillano's appointment was announced Jan. 23 by John Raess, chief of bureau for Northern California, northern Nevada and Hawaii.

Chronicle turns to TV to help classifieds

In an attempt to boost the effectiveness of its classified pages, the SF Chronicle is launching a daily TV program that will carry classified advertising, according to stories in Media News Daily, E&P and a press release from the Chronicle itself. Said Phyllis Pfeiffer, senior VP of advertising (left), "We've worked long and hard on this program to make it appealing to advertisers not only on a cost basis but also on a reach and frequency basis." "Chronicle Jobs TV" will air at 5:30 a.m., Monday through Wednesday, on Channel 44.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Google censorship protest largely ignored

Normally censorship is one of those topics that automatically draws special attention from newsrooms. But it appears Bay Area newspapers and TV stations largedly ignored a protest Thursday (Jan. 26) outside of Google headquarters in Mountain View by Tibetans and their supporters who oppose Google's decision to censor the search engine's results in China. Google has agreed to block terms such as "freedom," "human rights" and the religious group "falun gong" from its Chinese search engine in return for the right to operate in that communist country. The only mention we could find of the protest was this photo by Dino Vournas of AP. The AP story on Google that moved on the wire during that news cycle didn't mention the protest. A search of the internet turned up only one story on the protest -- from a Tibet English language Web site, phayul.com, and another story in the Palo Alto Daily News.

Google to build Great Firewall of China

Google, the $5.2 billion Mountain View Internet powerhouse that originally stood for "freedom of the net" has submitted to Chinese censorship, blocking certain words and phrases from its new Chinese search engine including "human rights," "freedom" and the banned religion "falun gong." At the same time, Google says it will fight attempts by the U.S. government to search its files for information on how often Google users search for child pornography. Critics, such as The Hearld of London, are howling: "Google, the last of the cyberspace good guys, the company whose motto is "don't be evil", the firm so cool it lets its staff ride bikes in the corridors and stuff themselves with free Gummy Bears, had gone over to the dark side." In Red Herring, Google co-founder Sergey Brin explains why his company agreed to Chinese censorship. Still, Congress will investigate the Great Firewall Google has agreed to build. Google shares closed at 433.49 today (Jan. 27), down from their all-time high on of 475.11 on Jan. 11.

ANG publisher Roger Grossman dead at 59

Roger Grossman, former publisher of the Marin Independent Journal and various Alameda Newspaper Group publications including the Oakland Tribune, has died at age 59 after a long battle with prostate cancer, according to an obituary this morning in the ANG Newspapers. "Roger walked the tightrope between business and journalism in a way that made it all seem more honorable," said Charles Cooper, managing editor of the Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., who was ANG managing editor in the mid-90s. And he preached that you couldn't be successful as a newspaper unless you were successful as a business, Cooper said.

Gore's network gets 'current' affairs lesson

Current, the San Francisco-based cable network co-founded by former vice president Al Gore, is being sued in federal court over its name by an Internet company also known as Current, according to the Gazette in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Current, the Internet company based in Maryland, claims it has the right to the word "current" when it comes to Internet and broadband communications, and that its name is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2001. But Current, Gore's TV network, claims that the word "current" is used by lots of businesses. A trial is set for January 2007. Current, the Internet company, is backed financially by Google, Hearst and investment giant Goldman Sachs. Current TV was founded by Gore and Hyatt Legal Services founder Joel Z. Hyatt of Atherton.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

SPJ: Send a message to KR's buyers

This morning (Jan. 26) the Society of Professional Journalists issued a statement about the likely sale of Knight Ridder, owner of 32 dailies including the San Jose Mercury News, Palo Alto Daily News and Contra Costa Times. "A national conversation about how Knight Ridder newspapers can maintain their journalistic integrity under escalating profit pressures should send a message to investors not to ignore the social value of their investments," SPJ said. In an accompanying second statement, SPJ's Northern California chapter describes what could happen if the company is sold: "...[I]f Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group were to purchase Knight Ridder, he would add the San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times -- the region's second- and third-largest papers -- to his existing archipelago of Bay Area titles, including the Oakland Tribune and 10 smaller papers. That would give MediaNews control of most of the daily newspaper circulation in the Bay Area not already controlled by the chain-owned San Francisco Chronicle." So where do we go from here? SPJ also offers some initiatives worthy of discussion.

KR talks to everyone but Gannett

According to a report posted this afternoon (Jan. 26) by Pete Carey of the Mercury News, Knight Ridder execs have ended three weeks of meetings with potential buyers of the newspaper chain, and they've talked to everybody except Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper publisher. Gannett is probably the one company in the best position to buy KR, with enough cash on hand that it could literally write a check for the $4.3 billion company. Carey doesn't say why KR hasn't made a presentation to Gannett, or whether that will occur next week. CNBC reported that Gannett made an offer for KR on Jan. 6 and then withdrew it minutes later -- a report that both KR and Gannett have denied.

Berkeley paper seeks Wal-Mart's records

The Society of Professional Journalists' Freedom of Information Committee is hosting a mixer Feb. 8 with Becky O'Malley, co-owner of the Berkeley Daily Planet, which is suing to obtain sealed court records in a civil suit over working conditions at Wal-Mart. The mixer will take place at the Triple Rock Brewery, 1920 Shattuck Ave. and Berkeley Way in Berkeley starting at 6:30. The event is free, though you have to buy your own drinks. Directions and details are on the SPJ web site.

A profile of the man at war against KR

Charles Layton of American Journalism Review describes the private dinner meeting at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco where money manager Bruce Sherman (pictured) told Knight Ridder's board of directors that the company's stock price needed to increase or they should sell the company. The article goes into detail about Sherman's motivations, background, ideas about business -- and what caused him to go to war with chief executive Tony Ridder. Sherman sees himself as an "activist investor" who isn't afraid to push management around, according to Layton. The article also explains how Sherman is personally in a lot of trouble if KR's stock doesn't improve.

Chron Pulitzer winner Allan Temko dies

Allan Temko, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former Chronicle architecture critic who used his position to shape the Bay Area as profoundly as any developer, died Wednesday (Jan. 25) in Orinda, according to an obituary in this morning's Chronicle. He was 81. Temko, who had been in failing health, died of apparent congestive heart failure at the Orinda Convalescent Hospital, the Chronicle said.

Merc becomes KR's unofficial spokesman

Tuesday's Wall Street Journal report about proposed budget cuts at Knight Ridder was confirmed Wednesday (Jan. 25) by the KR-owned San Jose Mercury News, which appears to have become an unofficial conduit for KR's corporate types. While KR executives in downtown San Jose are refusing to make public comments, "sources" are telling the Merc's Pete Carey which stories in the competing media are correct and which ones are false. For instance, an LA Times piece Jan. 11 claiming that senior VPs Hilary Schneider and Art Brisbane were forming a management group to buy KR was knocked down the next day by Carey. Carey also refuted a CNBC report that Gannett made an offer for KR and then withdrew it. On Wednesday, however, Carey's story confirmed the Wall Street Journal story.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

SPJ calls for 'national debate' on KR sale

The likely sale of Knight Ridder has prompted the Society for Professional Journalists to call for "an urgent national conversation" about how to preserve public-service journalism at the chain's 32 daily newspapers, according to a report tonight (Wednesday, Jan. 25) on the Editor & Publisher magazine web site. The call is coming from SPJ's Northern California Chapter, and an announcement is expected to be posted tomorrow (Thursday) on the chapter's web site, http://www.spj.org/norcal/. SPJ's move comes a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that chief executive Tony Ridder is promising would-be buyers that management will cut jobs, benefits and even page sizes in order to increase the company's profits. The problem, in SPJ's view, is that newspapers already have fatter profit margins than other companies, and further cuts will hinder newspapers from doing the kind of reporting necessary in a democracy.

Governor hires reporter who covered him

The Sacramento Bee announced today (Jan. 25) that one of its reporters, Gary Delsohn, has been hired by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as his chief speechwriter, a job that pays $110,000 a year not including benefits. Recently, Delsohn has been covering the governor for The Bee. Delsohn is expected to start his new job Feb. 8 and the paper will put him on other assignments than state politics in the meantime. He is a past Knight Fellow at Stanford University. In 2003, he wrote a book called "The Prosecutors; A Year Inside the Life of a District Attorney's Office." Delsohn replaces speechwriter Jeff Danzinger, who has worked for the administration since Schwarzenegger took office after winning the 2003 recall election.

Ex-Clinton official to train financial journos

Dan Froomkin, writing for the NiemanWatchdog.com blog, says former Clinton Treasury Department official Brad DeLong is fed up at how the media is covering the economy. DeLong, now a UC Berkeley economics professor with a blog of his own, has teamed up with Journalism School Professor Susan Rasky to teach a class called "Covering the Economy." The class is intended for Berkeley students, but Rasky says several established Bay Area journalists have received permission to sit in on the class.

Chron boxing writer Jack Fiske dead at 88

Jack Fiske, who wrote about boxing for more than 40 years for the Chronicle and was inducted into Boxing's Hall of Fame, died Tuesday (Jan. 24) after a long battle with Parkinson's disease at age 88. "Jack Fiske was a brilliant writer," longtime referee Arthur Mercante told the Chronicle. "He said what he wanted to say under no uncertain terms."

New publisher takes over in Santa Cruz

Molly Evans, general manager of the Santa Cruz Sentinel for the past year, has been promoted to publisher, replacing Dave Regan. Regan, 65, is retiring after 23 years with the 27,000-circulation daily. Evans, 48, came to the Sentinel after seven years as advertising director at the Cape Cod Times in Massachusetts, also an Ottaway paper. Ottaway is the community newspaper chain owned by Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co. Evans says she will reveal "several exciting initiatives" in the coming months, but didn't want to elaborate for fear of tipping the competition. As she takes the reins of the paper, Evans is also battling breast cancer. She is scheduled to have surgery and will be out for several weeks. But she said the new enterprises planned are far enough along as to not be hindered by her absence.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

KR vows to cut jobs, benefits, page sizes

Knight Ridder chairman Tony Ridder is telling prospective buyers of the newspaper chain that management will increase profits by cutting jobs, benefits and even reducing page sizes, the Wall Street Journal reported this morning (Jan. 24). Reporters Dennis K. Berman and Joseph T. Hallinan said that Ridder is telling buyers that he can increase the company's EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) from $685 in 2004 to $925 in 2006 -- a 20 percent jump. "[B]uyers have viewed Knight Ridder's projections as overly optimistic," the reporters said.

Gillmor disappointed by Bayosphere project

Dan Gillmor, who left the San Jose Mercury News a year ago to start the Bayosphere.com web site as a way to encourage "citizen journalism," is now planning to move on to a new foundation he has started called the Center for Citizen Media. "Although citizen media, broadly defined, was taking the world by storm, the experiment with Bayosphere didn’t turn out the way I had hoped," Gillmor wrote in a letter posted this morning. "Many fewer citizens participated, they were less interested in collaborating with one another, and the response to our initiatives was underwhelming. I would do things differently if I was starting over."

Columnist: 'I don't support our troops'

Going further than we have never seen a pundit go at a mainstream media outlet, LA Times Columnist Joel Stein says, "I don't support our troops." Stein, who attended Stanford, says pacifists are taking a "wussie" position when they say they are against the Iraq war but support the troops. "I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea."

UPN, WB merge; Channel 20 loses network

The WB and UPN networks are shutting down at the end of the summer, and a new network, CW, will launch. CW will be owned by CBS (UPN's owner), Tribune Co. and Warner Bros. (Tribune and Warner owned the WB.) In San Francisco, CBS-owned UPN44 will become the CW affiliate. KBWB Channel WB20 will lose its network affiliation and its source of two hours of primetime programming. AP's report.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Join local SPJ chapter in a toast Feb. 3

Save the evening of Feb. 3 for a "Toast to Bay Area Journalism," a fund-raiser for the Society of Professional Journalists-NorCal Chapter, at The New Delhi restaurant, 160 Ellis St., downtown SF. New Delhi owner Ranjan Dey is donating a portion of the night's proceeds to the SPJ-NorCal chapter. SPJ NorCal board members Francine Brevetti of ANG Newspapers and Paul Kleyman, editor of "Aging Today," will be behind the bar. Visit the SPJ NorCal site for details.

ANG, KR combo would dominate Bay Area

Dean Singleton, owner of papers such as the Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County Times and Marin Independent Journal, met last week with Knight Ridder execs to discuss buying the newspaper chain, according to a Mercury News story by Pete Carey. If Singleton's ANG newspapers in the Bay Area (daily combined circ of 297,952) were combined with KR's Bay Area papers (526,418), they'd surround and dominate the 512,000-circulation San Francisco Chronicle. However, it would create an interesting situation in San Mateo, where KR owns the San Mateo Daily News (a free daily spawned by the Palo Alto Daily News) and Singleton has the San Mateo County Times (a traditional home-delivery broadsheet). Would both remain open? Would they be combined? Same questions would come up in the East Bay, where both companies compete head-to-head.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Investors would like sale of KRON 4

John M. Higgins writes in Broadcasting & Cable Magazine that Young Broadcasting CEO Vince Young (pictured at right) would please investors if he put KRON Channel 4 up for sale. "Given the high valuation of stations sold recently in smaller markets, KRON could fetch a fat price," Higgins writes. The company's shares plunged 76 percent in 2005, with revenues and profits down. Young bought the station in 1999 for a record $823 million from the family that owned the Chronicle, but the station's value plunged when NBC pulled its affiliation and bought KNTV Channel 11.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

CBS to deliver all-news radio with FM sound

In the past few days, three radio broadcasting companies serving the Bay Area (CBS, Bonneville and Clear Channel) announced plans to flood the airwaves with new HD channels to deliver niche formats to listeners. Most of the additional channels will air music, but CBS Radio said that one of its new FM stations here will have an all-news format. The CBS news release didn't elaborate on its new all-news station, but it's likely to be a simulcast of KCBS-AM 740. Bonneville, owner of KOIT, KDFC and MAX-FM in San Francisco, is simulcasting or moving its AM all-news stations to FM in other markets thanks to the new frequencies created by HD. HD radio receivers start at $299, but the price is expected to come down, and new cars will soon have FM HD receivers. Ben Fong-Torres explained the new FM HD system in the Chronicle on Jan. 15. How good is HD radio? MSNBC columnist Gary Krakow says HD radio will provide some real competition to satellite radio and Howard Stern.

Oakland Tribune Tower sold

The 26-story Oakland Tribune Tower was sold for more than $15 million on Friday (Jan. 20), but the Oakland Tribune and its parent, the Alameda Newspaper Group, won't be forced to move, according to a story in the Oakland Tribune. John Protopappas, who bought the building in 1995 for $300,000 and received $1 million in city and county tax breaks, sold the 100-year-old landmark to Los Angeles entertainment lawyer Eddie Kislinger.

Press Club includes Marin County

Earlier this week, we sent out an email announcing our upcoming journalism contest, and Marin County was accidentally left off of the list of counties served by the Peninsula Press Club. Fortunately, the entry form was correct. We're sorry if our friends in Marin County got the wrong idea. We want you to participate in our contest. So just to be clear: The Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards Competition is open to all print, broadcast, Internet and public relations professionals who work or reside in Alameda, Contra Costa, MARIN, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano or Sonoma counties. Here's a list of who won last year.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Bay Area TV, radio GMs to speak at forum

For the first time in memory, the general managers of all of the San Francisco's TV and radio news stations will get together for a panel discussion. The Radio-Television News Directors Association of Northern California, or RTNDA, will bring them together for a discussion titled "The Changing Bay Area News Market," Feb. 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the ABC Broadcast Center, 900 Front St., San Francisco. Scheduled to speak will be (top row, from left) Tim McVay, KTVU 2; Mark Antonitis, KRON 4; Ron Longinotti, KPIX CBS5; Valari Staab, KGO ABC 7; Linda Sullivan, KNTV NBC 11; (bottom row) Marcela Medina, KDTV Univision 14; Doug Harvill, KCBS-AM 740; Mickey Luckoff, KGO-AM 810, and moderator Harry Fuller. Photos are from the RTNDA flyer.

Rosy projections could slow sale of KR

Julie MacIntosh of Reuters reports that Knight Ridder executives are issuing unexpectedly rosy financial projections during meetings with potential buyers -- and that's catching the would-be suitors off guard. "Sources said the process could be delayed if bidders feel they need to spend more time working with their own estimates before making their next round of offers," MacIntosh wrote. Meanwhile, she reports Gannett has signed a confidentiality agreement and has formally entered the auction process.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Who needs ink? The future of newspapers

That's the title of a Commonwealth Club discusssion on March 30 with four media experts: Goldman, Sachs publishing industry analyst Peter Appert, retired Knight Ridder news vice president and former Mercury News editor Jerry Ceppos, former Merc columnist and now Bayosphere.com blogger Dan Gillmore, and Salon.com editor-in-chief Joan Walsh. Jim Bettinger, director of the Knight Fellowships Program at Stanford will moderate. Topics include whether competition from the Internet and other sources of information will doom newspapers and what's best for employees, readers and advertisers? The March 30 event begins with registration at 6:30 and a program from 7 to 8 at San Jose City Hall, City Council Meeting Rooms, 201 E. Santa Clara St. Call 800 847-7730 to register or go online to www.commonwealthclub.org/sv.html. Cost: $10 for Commonwealth Club members; $15 for non members. Co-sponsored by the Knight Fellowship Program at Stanford and the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

January 2006 Press Club board minutes

Minutes of the Jan. 18 meeting of the Peninsula Press Club Board of Directors.

Meeting was brought to order by Board President Micki Carter at 6:30 p.m.

Board members Peter Cleaveland, Ed Remitz, John Kane, Dave Price, Jamie Casini, Jon Mays and Executive Director Darryl Compton were present.

Board members Bill Workman, Aimee Lewis Strain and Jack Russell were absent.

The minutes of the December meeting were approved.

The minutes were amended to reflect votes via e-mail to raise Compton's salary to $1,000 a year with an additional $1,000 for the annual awards contest. It was also voted not to change the contest rules and approve them as written.

The treasurer's report was approved.

Old business

Newsletter deadline was moved to Jan. 25.

There was no update on the 2006 meeting dates.

Carter gave an update on Workman's physical condition. Workman is out of his coma but not yet fully conscious. He is in Kaiser Hospital in Redwood City.


New business

Election results. There were 12 votes cast.

For president: Carter received five votes and was elected by the board. The board voted to suspend the rule that prohibits a president to serve more than two terms. The board did so to fulfill the will of the voters who called for Carter to remain president.

For vice president: Russell received 12 votes.

For treasurer: Remitz received 12 votes.

For secretary: Mays received 12 votes.

For directors; two-year term: Kane received 12 votes; Casini, received 11 votes and Cleaveland received 10 votes.

For directors; one-year term: Price received nine votes; Strain received nine votes and Workman received eight votes.

The deadline for the high school contest is March 31.

The date of the Evening of Excellence awards dinner was decided to be Thursday, June 1 at the Crowne Plaza.

The board voted to allow Google ads on its Web site.

Carter told Compton that Notre Dame de Namur University could send him an intern for assistance.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:10 p.m. Minutes submitted by secretary Jon Mays.

Bill Workman slowly, surely recovering

Retired SF Chronicle reporter and current Peninsula Press Club board member Bill Workman is slowly but surely recovering from major cardiac-related health problems that included a stroke, reports John Horgan of the San Mateo County Times. Horgan says that Workman, 67, is no longer in a coma and is responding well. He remains in a Redwood City hospital room, and his comeback is going to take awhile, Workman's wife, Marla, told Horgan. Pictured here is Marla presenting a PPC award to Bill in 2003. Photo by Paul Sakuma.

Can the Ridders ride it out?

Penelope Patsuris of Forbes Magazine reports on the battle between Knight Ridder chairman Tony Ridder (pictured) and a group of shareholders who want new management of the newspaper chain. She makes the point that other newspaper chains with family ownership, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, have two classes of stock -- nonvoting stock for the public and voting shares held by family members. Because KR has just one class, the company is more vulnerable to a hostile takeover.

Gannett buys piece of Palo Alto's '4INFO'

Gannett, publisher of 99 newspapers nationwide, has bought a minority stake in Palo Alto's 4INFO, which specializes in sending news to cell phones. Terms of the deal were not disclosed in a Gannett press release but Gannett will use 4INFO's services in its daily newspapers, which include USA Today.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Marin publishing exec Kep Brown dead at 57

Nels Johnson of the Marin IJ newspaper reports that Kep Brown, whose family dominated publishing in Marin County for nearly half a century, has died from bone cancer at age 57. The veteran advertising executive held a variety of North Bay media sales and management posts over three decades. Brown's grandfather, Roy A. Brown, was a newspaper visionary who acquired the San Rafael Independent in 1937, then bought the Marin County Journal in 1948 to create the Independent-Journal.

Ex-publisher Tracie Cone to run for supe

Danielle Smith of the Gilroy Dispatch reports that Tracie Cone, former owner and editor of the Hollister Pinnacle newspaper, will run for a spot on the San Benito County Board of Supervisors. Cone, 48, quit her job as a Mercury News staff writer in 1999 and bought The Pinnacle. She sold it in 2004 to MainStreet Media, which has acquired other nearby papers including the Gilroy Dispatch. She stayed on for a year as publisher before a family health crisis caused her to quit. She said that when the health issue cleared up, she decided to run.

Warren Buffett buys SF's Business Wire

Dan Fost of the SF Chronicle reports that Lorry Lokey has agreed to sell the San Francisco-based Business Wire to investor Warren Buffett. Lokey founded the wire service in 1961 to give companies a way to distribute news releases. The company has 500 employees and revenues last year of $127 million. (Photo by Jack Liu, University of Oregon)

Health journalism fellowships available

Print and broadcast journalists can apply for an all-expenses-paid fellowship to hone their skills in health care journalism. "In intimate workshops, field trips and discussions, fellows learn from the country's most respected health and medical experts, from top journalists in the field and from each other," according to a posting for California Endowment Health Fellowships program. Fellowship programs are planned for journalists in five different parts of California, with the Bay Area fellowship set for Feb. 23. The deadline to apply is Jan. 27.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Entries wanted for journalism competition

The entry form for the Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards Competition is now available. Deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 28. The contest is open to all print, broadcast, Internet and public relations professionals who work or reside in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano or Sonoma counties. Entries must have been originally published, broadcast or released between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2005. Entry fees: $15 for Press Club members, $55 for non-members. (Joining the Press Club costs $35.) Entries will be judged by a press club or Society of Professional Journalists chapter outside the San Francisco Bay Area. No Peninsula Press Club member will be involved in the judging.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

KR meets with first potential buyer

Knight Ridder executives have begun making presenations to companies that might be interested in buying the newspaper chain. First up was McClatchy, the chain that owns the Sacramento Bee. McClatchy Chairman and CEO Gary Pruitt (left) was at KR headquarters in San Jose on Thursday and Friday to hear a sales pitch from KR Chairman and CEO Tony Ridder, according to a report in the Mercury News. Other would-be buyers will visit KR in the next few weeks.

Friday, January 13, 2006

San Francisco Magazine spikes casino story

Dan Fost of the Chronicle reports that the new owner of San Francisco magazine has spiked a story slated for its January issue about sexual harassment at an Indian casino due to fears of offending an advertiser. Freelance writer Peter Byrne said he was told his 5,000-word story about lawsuits filed against the Thunder River casino near Sacramento was pulled by the magazine's new owner, Modern Luxury Media, because the casino operator had a full page ad for another resort in the magazine's December issue. Executive Editor Nan Wiener confirmed Byrne's claim. The Chronicle said Modern Luxury CEO Michael Kong didn't return its phone calls seeking comment. However, Byrne has sold his article to Salon, where it is today's lead story.

Craig doesn't have plan to kill classifieds

Craig Newmark, whose Craigslist.com has the seventh biggest presence on the internet, says he has no plan to destroy newspaper classifieds and is "just trying to give people a break," according to a BBC News report. The San Francisco computer engineer refused to be pigeon-holed in a talk from the podium of the New York Foreign Press Center. "People have made assumptions about... my politics personally, and actually no-one knows what my politics happen to be... I haven't even articulated my politics to myself."

Thursday, January 12, 2006

KR denies VPs are seeking to buy company

Knight Ridder went out of its way Thursday (Jan. 12) to knock down an LATimes report that chairman Tony Ridder's two top lieutenants, Hilary Schneider and Art Brisbane, were seeking backers to finance a management takeover of the newspaper chain. KR issued its denial through reports in the Mercury News, Philadephia Inquirer and Editor & Publisher. KR also denied a report from CNBC that Gannett had made an offer and then withdrew the offer.

Bay Guardian brings back old logo

Bruce Brugmann's Bay Guardian has a different look and a new logo, which is actually an old logo. Editor Tim Redmond explains that the Guardian is about to turn 40 and the logo is from the weekly's early days.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Stanford editor gets Daniel Pearl internship

Camille J. Ricketts, editor in chief of the Stanford Daily, has been chosen as the 2006 Daniel Pearl Memorial Journalism Intern, according to the Stanford News Service. Ricketts will work in the London bureau of the Wall Street Journal this summer. The internship was established to commemorate the work and ideals of Daniel Pearl, a Stanford alumnus and Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent who was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan in 2002.

Longtime jazz critic Phil Elwood dead at 79

Phil Elwood, who covered jazz, rock, blues and comedy for the San Francisco Examiner and later the Chronicle, died Tuesday (Jan. 10) of heart failure, only four weeks after the death of his beloved wife, Audrey, according to an obit in the Chron. He was 79. Rock musician Huey Lewis said, "Talk about old school. ... He was a music lover. Imagine that. He actually loved the music. They don't make 'em like that anymore." Said jazz great Jon Hendricks, "Phil was the quintessential jazz critic ... Most jazz critics love the music, but Phil knew the music as well as loved it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Gillmor starts citizen journalism foundation

Former Mercury News columnist Dan Gillmor, who now oversees the Bayosphere web site, plans to help citizen journalists by launching a new organization called the Center for Citizen Media. "Why do this?" Gillmor asks on his Bayosphere blog. "We need a thriving media and journalism ecosystem. We need what big institutions do so well, but we also need the bottom-up -- or, more accurately, edge-in -- knowledge and ideas of what I've called the 'former audience' that has become a vital part of the system. I'm also anxious to see that it's done honorably and in a way that helps foster a truly informed citizenry. I think I can help. This is a nonpartisan initative. I aim to help anyone, regardless of political views, who has a constructive project and who is interested in expanding the reach of citizen media in an principled way. The center will live virtually at citmedia.org. I'll be posting more details there in the relatively near future." The Center will be jointly affiliated with the UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University Law School. Gillmor will be the center's founder and director.

Monday, January 9, 2006

Defense paid Chron op-ed writer

The SF Chron on Jan. 6 published an impassioned plea on its op-ed page by former San Quentin warden Dan Vasquez to spare the life of convicted murderer Clarence Ray Allen, who is sentenced to die Jan. 17. What the Chronicle didn't tell its readers is that Vasquez is working for Allen's defense team. To its credit, the Chron published a clarification today.

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Fired from KNBR, Krueger lands at KGO

Tom Fitzgerald of the Chronicle reports that Larry Krueger, fired by KNBR for critizing the Giants' "brain-dead Caribbean hitters for hacking at slop," has landed a job at KGO 810 as the main sports reporter on the weekday 4-to-7 p.m. news.

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Entries sought for Sidney Hillman Awards

For more than 50 years, the Sidney Hillman Foundation has recognized journalists who have pursued social justice and public policy for the common good. Hillman, who died in 1946, was a founder of a labor union, an advisor to FDR and a Democratic Party activist. The Hillman Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2006 Hillman Journalism Awards. Award categories include books (non-fiction), newspaper reporting, magazine reporting (including online magazines), film and broadcast journalism, and photojournalism. The 2006 awards will be given for work produced, published or exhibited in 2005. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 15. Winners receive a $2,000 prize and a plaque.

Folsom, Gonzalez get critic's 'most annoying' awards

Contra Costa Times broadcast critic Bill Mann picks the worst the local and national media have to offer. Darya Folsom's (left) "sudden, explosive outbursts of laughter are worrisome at best," he says, and Roberta Gonzales' (right) approach "is an instant tune-out factor." He calls radio talker Michael Savage a disgrace and Ronn Owens "played out."

Knight Ridder sale looks more likely

The sale of the newspaper chain Knight Ridder appears to be more likely than first thought, according to reports in
Editor & Publisher magazine and in the San Jose Mercury News," a KR paper. Other KR papers locally include the Daily News group, Contra Costa Times and the Monterey Herald. Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper company, and McClatchy, another large chain, have both expressed interest. The MediaNews Group of Colorado is also considering a deal, possibly teaming up with one or more private equity partners.

Friday, January 6, 2006

Merc sued for printing copyrighted photo

A federal judge has ruled against the San Jose Mercury News in a copyright infringement case stemming from a photograph used in a book review. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer, brother of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, refused to grant the newspaper's motion to dismiss the case which was brought by the Trial & Technology Law Group on behalf of photographer Christopher Harris, according to a report in E&P Magazine and a press release from the Trial & Technology Law Group.

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Local papers report miners survived

Many Bay Area newspaper readers woke up Wednesday to headlines saying that 12 miners trapped in a West Virginia coal mine were alive. The story was dead wrong. Here's how the San Jose Mercury News explained the error. At the SF Chronicle, reader representative Dick Rogers said his paper was caught in a "time trap." And this editor's note was published by the Contra Costa Times. The LA Times said reporters relied on credible sources, as did the relatives of the miners.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Bob McLeod, news photographer, dead at 59

Bob McLeod, a San Francisco newspaperman for four decades and a guy with the ability to make everyone smile, died early Tuesday of lung cancer at his Antioch home. McLeod, who never smoked, worked as a photographer and photo editor at the San Francisco Examiner and The Chronicle until his retirement a few months ago.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Merc reporter Harry Farrell dead at 81

Harry Farrell, longtime San Jose Mercury News political writer and editor whose passion for politics and local history led him to write the award-winning "Swift Justice" about the infamous 1933 mob lynchings at St. James Park, died Dec. 31 of cancer. He was 81.

Vic Lee jumps from KRON to KGO

Vic Lee, a fixture on KRON Channel 4 for 33 years, has joined KGO Channel 7. Lee says he was "no longer a good fit" at KRON. "I felt like I was becoming more and more irrelevant around there," Lee told the Contra Costa Times. "I knew I'd have to leave sooner or later and I think they knew it, too."