Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Chron files motion to quash subpoenas

The Chron, with an assist from Carl Bernstein, filed a motion today seeking to quash federal subpoenas that call on reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams (pictured) to identify the source of grand jury testimony they reported in articles about the use of performance-enhancing drugs by Barry Bonds. The Chron's argument: If the law was bent or broken by the leaking of the testimony, that damage was more than balanced by the benefits of the articles. In other words, the ends justifies the means.

Among the documents the Chron is filing in U.S. District Court is an affidavit by Bernstein (at left in this 1973 AP file photo with Bob Woodward), who says the court should allow the reporters to keep their source or sources anonymous. "Almost all of the articles I co-authored with Mr. Woodward on Watergate could not have been reported or published without the assistance of our confidential sources and without the ability to grant them anonymity, including the individual known as Deep Throat," Bernstein wrote in an affidavit.

Another supporting affidavit comes from former Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent (pictured), who writes: "I believe that the BALCO steroid scandal engulfing MLB is the biggest crisis to hit MLB since the Black Sox scandal in 1919 and that Mr. Fainaru-Wada and Mr. Williams have done a service by naming names and bringing national attention to the major crisis now facing America's Pastime ... I believe that the journalism here at issue as well as the investigative work it typifies should be encouraged."

A different take on Barry Bonds' book

Columnist Lee Benson (pictured) of Salt Lake City's Deseret Morning News says something in his column this morning we haven't heard discussed often in Bay Area media about the book accusing Barry Bonds of taking steriods. Benson's point is that the book by SF Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams extensively uses grand jury testimony that is supposed to be secret. Even printing it is a violation of the law. "Theirs is the usual fourth estate excuse: The public has a right to know, and if they didn't print it, someone else would," Benson writes. "In other words, as Barry Bonds might say if he could ever find it within himself to muster the truth, sometimes mitigating circumstances make breaking the law justifiable." Benson points out that neither the Chronicle nor Bonds are likely to ever be punished for their lawlessness. Both the newspaper and the Giants slugger have high-priced lawyers who will help them to beat any rap.

Press Club's latest newsletter is out

The new Peninsula Press Club newsletter is out. It has details about Thursday's Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards banquet as well as a report on the club's high school newspaper contest and other gossip. The club's newsletter is edited by Board President Michelle Carter. Click here to download the PDF. To see previous issues, go to our newsletter page.

Press Club contest grows every year

For the fifth consecutive year, the number of entries received by the Peninsula Press Club for the Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards has increased. Since the 2002 competition, the number of entries has increased 32 percent to 578 this year. On Thursday (June 1), this year's awards will be presented during a dinner banquet at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1221 Chess Drive, Foster City. The contest, now in its 29th year, honors the best work by journalists in an 11-county area. A record 578 entries were received from 47 media outlets this year, up from 557 in 2005, 462 in 2004, 453 in 2003 and 437 in 2002. More than 100 awards will be presented to print, broadcast and internet journalists. The contest also has a category for public relations professionals. Cocktails at 6:30, 7:30 program. Tickets: $50 PPC Members/$55 Non-members. Free parking. For tickets, e-mail Press Club Executive Director Darryl Compton.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Craigslist imposes "lockdown" on sex ads

Pressure from the media and a flurry of prostitution arrests have forced SF-based Craigslist to impose a "lockdown" on its personal services ads in Seattle, according to Seattle Post Intelligencer writer Robert L. Jamieson Jr. Craigslist, headed by Craig Newmark (pictured) of San Francisco, now requires anyone who wants to see those ads in the Seattle area to register online. A review board of local residents screens the ads and checks those who register.

The people who post the racy ads are upset, Jamieson wrote. He quotes one female escort as saying that the attention Craigslist was getting with the arrests was too much and said she would be glad when the glare dims. Situations such as this, the escort wrote, "keep me on my toes and teach me not to be sloppy about how I do business. Be careful."

Why the focus on Craigslist when alt-weeklies run the same kind of ads? Jamieson writes, "It's not entirely because young women are deciding to use the site to sell flesh, or worse, being pimped out. It is primarily because Craigslist founder Craig Newmark won't take responsibility for this problem on his Web site, a site that is more popular and powerful than any ad in any weekly anywhere. He comes off like a naif who is shocked to hear about what's going on."

Hearst Corp. moves into new corporate HQ

While employees at the Chronicle pinch pennies, parent company Hearst Corp. has moved into a $700 million, 46-story glass tower that Business Week says "is about as modern as it gets." The new headquarters' "morphing of art deco with the contemporary will also underscore Hearst's efforts to adapt its Old Media holdings for the Digital Age," the magazine said. "It's just great to complete the chief's vision of the future," Hearst CEO Victor F. Ganzi said, referring to William Randolph Hearst. "We like to think we built a 21st century office for a 21st century company."

57,000-pound KR signs headed for scrap heap

Katherine Conrad of the Merc reports this morning that the 57,000-pound, 13-foot-tall, 94-foot-wide Knight Ridder sign atop the office building at 50 W. San Fernando St. in San Jose is probably headed for the scrap heap for recycling after the newspaper chain shuts down in July. The sign was controversial when it went up in 1999. Chairman Tony Ridder required that the city change its sign ordinance to allow for the behemoth as a condition of moving the company headquarters from Miami to San Jose. San Jose tightened the sign rules after it went up to prevent such a sign from being erected again. However, a new tenant in the same building could use the same sign, and put its name in place of "Knight Ridder." The leasing agent also predicts there will be demand for the two floors Knight Ridder's corporate brass occupied: "It's breathtaking space,'' Mark Ritchie said. "The finishes, the flooring, the millwork, the cabinets. It's beautiful and contemporary and very current. We actually would like to have the space available because of the activity in the last three months."

Monday, May 29, 2006

New pub brings flair to Point Reyes Light

Robert Plotkin (picturred), a 36-year-old former freelance journalist and Monterey County prosecutor, promised readers when he bought the Pulitzer Prize-winning Point Reyes Light that they'd get a more thoughtful, literary newspaper. But as John M. Glionna of the Los Angeles Times reports this morning, Plotkin has angered some readers by injecting what they see as sensationalist, tabloid-style journalism into a weekly paper that had long fashioned itself as a humble deliverer of small-town news. Glionna writes, "The Christmas edition featured a haunting front-page mug shot of an accused rapist and a lengthy article about the crime that many called ill-timed for a holiday issue. Plotkin later explained that he was reading Truman Capote's nonfiction crime bestseller 'In Cold Blood' at the time. During recent rains, the Light published a headline — 'Chinese Water Torture Will Intensify' — that some readers found insensitive." The LA Times story also touches on the feud between Plotkin and the paper's former owner, David Mitchell, which has resulted in a restraining order against Mitchell following a scuffle between the two men.

Chron explores ties between Giants, KNBR

The Chronicle's Tom FitzGerald explored the 27-year relationship between the Giants and KNBR. Larry Krueger, who complained on the air about the team's "brain-dead Caribbean hitters," claimed in a lawsuit that he had been fired because of pressure from the Giants, a claim both the team and the radio station deny. In fact, the team and KNBR say that their relationship has grown more tense over the years, with the Giants hinting that when their contract with the station ends, they might buy a radio station of their own. Former KNBR program director Bob Agnew (pictured), who was fired along with Krueger and producer Tony Rhein, says the relationship between the team and the station changed dramatically when the Giants moved into the new park. Suddenly, he said, the station and the team were battling each other for corporate sponsors -- and that brought out the worst in both. (Agnew photo by Christina Koci Hernandez of the Chron.)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

"My" won't become part of KRON's name

My, my, my! Many, if not most, of the affiliates of the new broadcast network MyNetworkTV (it's all one word) are embracing their new identity by adding the word "my" to their name, according to Broadcasting and Cable magazine. The network, being launched by Fox and headed by Fox News chief Roger Ailes, will offer affiliates two English-language novelas, "Secret Obsessions" and "Desire," running five nights a week with weekend recaps starting in September. WWOR New York is now known as "My 9" and KDFI Dallas is now calling itself "My 27." In Charlotte, N.C., future MNT affiliate WWWB is switching its call letters to WMYT and renaming itself "My TV 12." WAAT in South Bend, Ind., changed its name to WMYS. But KRON is taking a more measured approach. The station plans to use MNT in some parts of its branding, perhaps in prime time, while holding onto its well-known KRON 4 News, too, Broadcasting and Cable reports. "We have a strong brand in KRON 4 and a new partner in My Network," says KRON President Mark Antonitis. "We can make a happy marriage with both." (No word yet on what happens to the 9'O Clock News since MNT wants to air its schedule from 8 to 10 p.m.) By the way, the word "My" is part of another brand owned by Fox parent News Corp. -- "MySpace" the Web site popular among teenagers.

PPC past president Kane suffers heart attack

The Peninsula Press Club's board of directors has decided not to accept the resignation of board member and co-founder John Kane, who recently suffered a heart attack. The board made its decision based on the fact that Kane is the immediate past president and therefore, according to the bylaws, an automatic member of the board. The refusal is also in hopes that Kane will soon be on the mend and on his way back to the board. The soonest a vacancy might have to filled is in December.

Kane is one of the club's earliest and most faithful officers. He helped to found the club 48 years ago with fellow board member Jack Russell. Kane never wavered in his support of the Press Club which he joined as a sports writer for the San Mateo Times. He continued at the Redwood City Tribune and the Palo Alto Times. He then formed his own Kane and Associates public relations firm which represented clients from England to Silicon Valley to the Peninsula.

His particular interest is in fostering high school and college journalism scholarships. His chairmanship of the Herb Caen Scholarship Committee led dozens of journalism students to advance their media careers. A fine baseball player at the University of the Pacific, Kane was recently inducted into the Sequoia High School Sports Hall of Fame. He also has continued to serve on the committee for the San Mateo County Sports Hall of Fame.

After his heart attack, he was hospitalized at Kaiser’s Acute Care Center in San Leandro, and he is recuperating at the home of his son in Newark. Coincidentally, while at the San Leandro facility, Kane found himself a next-door neighbor of another PPC board member, Bill Workman, who has been undergoing therapy to overcome the effects of a stroke in December.
Bill’s wife Marla says she’s hoping to bring Bill home to their new apartment at Woodlake in San Mateo soon.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Court allows bloggers to protect sources

The state 6th District Court of Appeal in San Jose ruled Friday (May 26) that bloggers and Web masters are entitled to the same First Amendment protections from having to divulge confidential sources as other journalists. The ruling came in a case where Apple Computer was attempting to get the courts to force bloggers, such as Jason O'Grady (left) of PowerPage.org, to reveal their sources about a new product the Cupertino company was planning to launch. Apple's lawyers convinced Santa Clara County judge James Kleinberg (right) to let them subpoena O'Grady's electronic files in an attempt to find his source. However, O'Grady appealed and therefore hasn't revealed his source.

One issue the case raised is whether some journalists are more worthy of constitutional protections than others. The appeals court, in its unanimous 69-page ruling, rejected that line of thinking. "We decline the implicit invitation to embroil ourselves in questions of what constitutes 'legitimate journalism,' '' Justice Conrad Rushing wrote for the court. "The shield law is intended to protect the gathering and dissemination of news, and that is what petitioners did here. We can think of no workable test or principle that would distinguish 'legitimate' from 'illegitimate' news.''

[Electronic Frontiers Foundation statement] [New York Times (registration required)] [Bloomberg News] [San Jose Business Journal] [Chronicle] [Merc] [Information Week]

Was the media Barry, Barry bad to Bonds?

Kansas City Times baseball writer Jason Whitlock, writing for ESPN.com, says that "the media" destroyed Barry Bonds because he was "Barry, Barry Bad to us. When he chose to interact with the media, he was condescending and rude. He thought he didn't need us. He thought he swung the biggest stick in the park. He was Barry mistaken." Bonds' reality show on ESPN was put on hiatus this week, a nice way of saying it's been cancelled. The last episode airs Monday at 4 p.m. Pacific.

Goldberg, Pulcrano named to reform panel

Merc Editor Susan Goldberg and Metro Newspapers Editor Dan Pulcrano (both pictured) have been named to a 15-member panel studying open government reforms in San Jose. Open government has become a major issue in San Jose in the wake of a scandal in which Mayor Ron Gonzales was accused of making secret deals with the city's trash contractor. Members of the news media have been involved in the open-government reform process from the get-go, with the Merc drawing up a proposed ordinance. According to a story by Merc reporter John Woolfolk half of the members of the committee were nominated by various groups representing businesses, labor unions, neighborhoods, good-government groups and the news media. The rest of the members were to be drawn randomly from a list submitted by the mayor and council members. The task force's first meeting will be scheduled for mid-June at City Hall.

Newspaperman James McClatchy dies

James McClatchy, who worked as a reporter, business manager and executive for more than 50 years in his family's newspaper company, died Friday (May 26) from complications from an infection following a recent surgery. He was a member of the fourth-generation of one of the state's oldest newspaper families. His great-grandfather and namesake was a founding editor of The Sacramento Bee in 1857. His grandfather, C.K., owned and edited the paper for more than half a century. His father, Carlos, was the founder and first editor of the Fresno Bee. His aunt, Eleanor, ran McClatchy Newspapers for more than 50 years. And his brother C.K. was editor and president of the company in the 1970s and 1980s. McClatchy Co. is in the process of buying Knight Ridder Inc. Closing is set for next month. [Sacramento Bee story with a family tree (registration required)]

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Barry Bonds reality show pulled

Barry Bonds' has lost his ESPN reality show because he isn't hitting enough home runs. That's according to management at ESPN. "The story was not developing like we had hoped," said John Skipper, ESPN VP for content. Ratings for the show have been low and sports columnists, including ESPN ombudsman George Solomon, have questioned the ethics of even doing such a show.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Online forum does the job of a newspaper

According to this morning's Marin Independent Journal, residents of rural west Marin County want to be able to talk to one another, but don't want the restrictions placed on them by local community newspapers and West Marin radio station KWMR. So they've created an online forum, www.forumwestmarin.org, where residents talk about anything -- politics, drug use, pesticides, pollution and even the dispute between the present and former publishers of the Point Reyes Light. The site was started by Jeanette Pontacq, Donna Sheehan and Paul Reffell, according to the article. Says Don Deane, the publisher of the weekly Coastal Post newspaper, "If it gets used and catches on, it's a great idea ... There's certainly plenty of stuff out here to comment about."

It's certainly not the first online site that does some of the work of a local newspaper. The Bay Area also has the Coastsider (an online newspaper for Half Moon Bay), the San Francisco Sentinel (which covers the city in both words and pictures), the more hip SFist.com, Metroblog San Francisco (part of a chain of Metroblogs in several U.S. cities), and seemingly millions of special-focus news sites including Valleywag.com (a Silicon Valley gossip site) and Curbed San Francisco (a site that claims it treats real estate like pornography).

There was also the site of former Mercury News columnist Dan Gillmor, Bayosphere, which is being revamped and will be part of an online "hyperlocal" news project in Palo Alto being set up by the Internet startup company Backfence. Backfence has similar community news sites in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. (By the way, Backfence's community news site for Palo Alto was supposed to be online by the end of this month.)

Local media monopoly forum set for June 1

With the consolidation of the local newspaper industry, can journalism survive in an era of corporate mergers and acquisitions? What about public service and community needs? What can be done in response to these trends to strengthen the quality of our news media workplaces? Those are among the questions panelists will attempt to answer at a June 1 forum presented by the Society of Professional Journalists and Media Alliance. Panelists will include Guild President Linda Foley, San Francisco Bay Guardian Editor Tim Redmond, East Bay Express Editor Stephen Buel, New America Media director Sandy Close and a panelist to be named later. Moderator will be SFSU journalism professor Erna Smith. The discussion is set for 7 p.m. (6:30 reception) June 1 at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market St. at Octavia, San Francisco. Admission $5, free for SPJ and Media Alliance members. See the SPJ-NorCal site for information.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Paper pulls plutonium ad after call from FBI

The San Francisco Daily, a free paper that began publishing May 3, already has some regular readers — at the FBI. Co-publisher Dave Price decided yesterday (May 23) to pull a joke classified ad offering plutonium for sale after the daily received a call from the FBI. The ad read: "Plutonium, weapons-grade. Must sell. Best offer. Permits needed," and a phone number. FBI special agent Jake Millspaugh said his office had received "multiple" complaints about the ad, which has been appearing every day since the SF Daily began publishing on May 3. Price said he placed the ad to gauge the number of readers the new paper had — the more calls, the more readers. In the first few days after the SF Daily started, the ad only drew one call a day. But in the past two weeks, Price has been receiving three or four calls a day from curious readers. After telling callers that ad was a fake, Price would then ask them where they found the paper and what they thought about the new publication. The SF Daily also got a call from the California Department of Health Services, Radiologic Health Branch, which inquired about the ad. The FBI didn't ask that the ad be pulled, but Price said he thought it was best to voluntarily stop running the ad given the unintended controversy it had created.

J-school seeks support for Chron reporters

Seventeen members of UC Berkeley's J-school penned a letter in this morning's Chron urging journalists and the public to oppose the Justice Department's attempt to get Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams to reveal their sources in the Barry Bonds steroids case. "This is a case that goes to the heart of much of the investigative reporting done in our country -- the type of reporting that exposes corruption and other wrongdoing," the statement said. "If the government prevails, much of this reporting could dry up, and we would all be the poorer for it."

Bronstein pleased to battle Singleton

American Journalism Review senior writer Charles Layton tries to shed some light on why Hearst Corp., owner of the Chronicle, would invest in Dean Singleton's MediaNews, the company that is acquiring virtually all of the Bay Area's newspapers except the Chron. "Why Hearst would help to finance a deal that benefits a major competitor — to the apparent disadvantage of one of its own papers — remains a mystery," Layton says. "Is Hearst hedging against the large financial losses (up to $60 million a year) that the Chronicle has been suffering? Nobody at the Chronicle seems to know."

Layton has a couple of good quotes from Chron editor Phil Bronstein (pictured).

• About the investment in Media News: "That was a business decision by Hearst ... and I think the only people who can answer that are the people involved in the business decisions at Hearst." A Hearst corporate spokesman declined to comment to AJR.

• About competing against Singleton: "[Editorially] we're very pleased that Dean Singleton is going to own these properties, because we feel that the issue of quality will distinguish us even further. There are some things he might do at those papers that will make them less valuable rather than more valuable. We see opportunities here."

Monday, May 22, 2006

Singleton to make showcase of Merc

Dean Singleton, seen here performing in a skit at a company retreat in Sundance, Utah, tells the New York Times that he plans to make the Mercury News a showcase for how print and the Internet can be merged. "All the issues we're dealing with as an industry happened first in San Jose and are more dramatic in San Jose," Singleton told the Times. "And if you begin to find solutions to the dramatic changes that are going on there, you've found them for all newspapers." Singleton says the big challenge ahead is figuring out how to make money from the Web, where most news is free and ads are cheap. "If we don't start getting paid for news, we can't continue to afford to produce it," he said. The skit, pictured above, featured Singleton in a turban and swami outfit as his editors sang their own lyrics to "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" ("Writers here/are thinking fast/of parking cars/and pumping gas.")

GOP PR man front runner for Philly papers

An investment group led by Philadelphia public relations executive Brian P. Tierney, who is active in Republican politics, is the front runner to buy Knight Ridder's Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, according to columnist Will Bunch. A source tells Bunch that Tierney's group is at the one-yard line.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

BART planning to create a TV news channel

BART is going into the TV news business. The Bay Area Rapid Transit District is installing TVs in its stations and on its trains which will air short, daily newscasts, promotional videos for BART and commercials. BART hopes the commercials will become a revenue source. BART TV programming will also be streamed on the Web and available over mobile phones and iPods. The public transit agency is advertising for an "experienced TV news producer" for a job that will have "all the high-paced energy of TV news without the crazy schedules!" The job pays between $82,764 and $128,244 a year and has the "almost unheard of benefits" (we're quoting the ad) that BART employees receive. The idea of BART TV grew out of an effort last year by the BART board to increase revenues in other ways besides fare hikes.

Gonzales defends move against reporters

It's hard to imagine any top officials from the Bush administration sitting down for a meeting with the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle. But one advantage of being owned by a chain like Hearst Corp. is that if your reporters at one paper can't get the story, maybe the sister paper can. That's what happened Friday when U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales sat down with the editors of the Houston Chronicle, a paper that has been more friendly with the president and Gonzales, both of whom are from Texas. But the editors in Houston hit Gonzales with questions about why his justice department was attempting to force two reporters at the smaller Chronicle to testify about Barry Bonds' steroid use or face jail time. "We know the importance and appreciate and respect the importance of the press to do its job," Gonzales said. "But we also can't have a situation where someone who does a terrible crime can't be prosecuted because of information that's in the hands of the reporter." Apparently in an interview later, SF Chron editor Phil Bronstein offered this response: "I'm not a lawyer, but does this really involve 'a terrible crime'? ... Is that crime sufficiently terrible to remove from the press our ability to provide information that has clearly been valuable to the public, to professional sports, to high school and college athletes and their families? While Mr. Gonzales says he doesn't have a problem, we have a problem with a Justice Department that wants to make the press an investigative arm of prosecutors." (The Houston paper ran the SF Chron's story on the meeting.)

East Bay journalism club presents awards

A year from now, the Contra Costa Times and the Oakland Tribune won't be competing against each other for awards because they will be owned by the same company. But last night (May 19), the CCTimes received 27 awards while the Trib and its Alameda Newspaper Group got 12 awards from the East Bay Press Club. Of course the CCTimes and other Northern California Knight Ridder newspapers will become part of Dean Singleton's MediaNews group, which already includes the Oakland Trib and seven other Bay Area dailies. If anybody has a list of the East Bay club's winners, please email it to us so that we can post it on this site. Below are links to the stories published this morning by various papers about the awards they received. Of course they don't mention awards other papers got so we were not able to cobble together a complete list from these reports. [Hayward Daily Review] [Contra Costa Times] [ANG newspapers]

Friday, May 19, 2006

Burkle accused of spying on ex having sex

The man who newspaper Guild leaders recruited to help they buy the San Jose Mercury News and other Knight Ridder papers hired private detectives to get video and still photos of his ex-wife having sex with an ex-convict, according to documents released Friday in a divorce case. Some 1,200 pages of documents that billionaire Ron Burkle (pictured) fought to keep secret were released, which detail his lavish spending habits, his financial holdings and allegations of how he spied on his ex-wife, Janet, long after their divorce. Last year, when a Los Angeles business newspaper printed some of the allegations, Burkle had his employees buy up ever copy of the newspaper to prevent the public from reading about his alleged escapades. However, this new information was carried by the LA Times, Associated Press and hundreds of other papers, even Pravda in Russia. While Burkle was unsuccessful in buying the Mercury News, he and the Guild are still bidding for other Knight Ridder newspapers including the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News. Guild leaders have said they don't believe Burkle would try to interfere with the newsrooms of the newspapers he wants to buy.

Singleton to buy a home in Bay Area

Dean Singleton, who will control most the daily newspapers in the Bay Area in two months, is shopping for a second home in the Bay Area. He wouldn't tell reporters from the Mercury News where he is buying a house, however. He said he will continue to maintain a residence in Denver, where his family will remain. "I'm not leaving Denver, but I expect to spend a lot of time in the Bay Area for the foreseeable future,'' he told the Merc. "I can't imagine doing this and not wanting to go out there and be part of it.'' In July, Singleton hopes to close a $1 billion deal in which his MediaNews will acquire a controlling interest in the Merc, Contra Costa Times, Monterey Herald and St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press. To fund the deal, Singleton has entered into a partnership with the Hearst Corp., owner of the SF Chronicle. The Bay Area dailies already owned by MediaNews are the Argus Leader, Hayward Daily Review, Marin Independent Journal, Oakland Tribune, Pleasanton Tri-Valley Herald, San Mateo County Times, Vacaville Reporter and Vallejo Times Herald.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Court rules against Burkle in records case

In a ruling hailed as a First Amendment landmark, the California Supreme Court has denied billionaire Ron Burkle's bid to keep secret his divorce records. Kelli L. Sager, a lawyer who represented the media in the case, said the ruling would help keep courtroom records, as well as courtroom doors, open to public scrutiny. "Usually the spouse with the least power may wind up not getting a fair shake. You've got to have this stuff open so everybody can see what's going on," Sager told the LA Times. Burkle was recruited by the Newspaper Guild union to help it buy the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Monterey Herald and other Knight Ridder newspapers. [AP] [Sacramento Bee Editorial: A victory for open courts]

Legislative update:While Burkle's lawyers were fighting in the courts to keep his records secret, his lobbyists were trying to get a bill through the legislature to do much the same thing. However, according to the CNPA Legislative Bulletin and the Sacramento Bee, bill (SB 1015) has been placed in the "inactive file" because of concerns raised by female lawmakers and women's advocacy groups.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Donors save high school's newspaper

Donations from the public will allow the Pony Express -- the student newspaper at San Marin High School -- to continue to publish, according to the Marin Independent Journal. Donors have pledged $4,000, more than four times the amount needed to keep the paper going. When it appeared the paper would have to close, the Marin IJ printed an article about the paper's troubles. "By 11 a.m. on the day after the article was published in the IJ, two people had called, pledging $500 each," said Michael Cusack, the paper's co-editor-in-chief, who is pictured above on the left with co-editor Alex Randall. "We have met and far exceeded our goals ... In fact, we're hoping to be able to expand one of those issues," Cusack said. "We're very excited about this." (Photo by Robert Tong of the IJ.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Newsweek's Alter talks in SF tonight (5/16)

Join the Society of Professional Journalists Northern California Chapter for an informal reception for Jonathan Alter, author of the forthcoming book "The Defining Moment: FDR's First Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope," tonight (May 16) at 6:30 at the London Wine Bar, 415 Sansome St. at Sacramento, San Francisco. The event is free, and books will be available for purchase. Go to the SPJ-NorCal site for more information.

Former LA Times reporter to edit weekly

Jeff Mitchell has been named editor of The Alameda Journal, a 22,000-circulation weekly affiliated with the Contra Costa Times newspapers. Mitchell, 44, replaces Lucinda Ryan, who was promoted to the position of executive editor of the Daily News Group in Palo Alto, replacing Diana Diamond. The Daily News Group and Contra Costa Times are owned by Knight Ridder and are being sold to MediaNews. Before arriving at the Alameda Journal, Mitchell was a reporter for the Pasadena Star-News, the Daily News-Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Times. He also served as a reporter and editor for the North County Times in San Diego County and most recently worked for the Fairfield Daily Republic and Marin Independent Journal.

Singleton's MediaNews posts loss

Dean Singleton's MediaNews lost $3.6 million on revenues of $208.4 million for the quarter ending March 31, according to a report in the Denver Business Journal. That would put MediaNews's profit margin at -1%. One particular drag on the privately held company's fortunes is its joint operting agreement with E.W. Scripps Co. in Denver -- where the two companies jointly operate the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News -- a 5-year relationship that has gone sour with Scripps publicly demanding changes. Scripps VP Joseph NeCastro said last month, "As for Denver, we want you to know that we're not at all happy with what we're seeing out there, and we will be spending a fair amount of time and effort to address our performance issue there." MediaNews, owner of eight dailies in the Bay Area, is forming a partnership with Hearst Corp., owner of the Chronicle, which will enable it to buy Knight Ridder's Northern California newspapers including the San Jose Mercury News and Contra Costa Times.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Guardian: Fight the KR-MediaNews deal

Bruce Brugmann's Bay Guardian says in an editorial about the proposed sale of Knight Ridder's Merc and CCTimes to Media News, "The implications are staggering. The deal sets the scene for an unprecedented level of local media consolidation — and could lead to a scenario in which all the business, advertising, and even editorial functions of almost every Bay Area daily would be run out of one central office ..."

"It's clear that the Internet has made daily newspapers less powerful and less essential," the Guardian's editorial continues. "But in the Bay Area (and in most of the country) there's simply no Web alternative that can do the work of a daily paper. Real watchdog journalism requires a staff — reporters to go to meetings, to challenge politicians, to stay on top of City Hall — and so far, nobody's found a financial model that allows that to happen purely online."

The Guardian says it's time to ask candidates where they stand on the deal. Phil Angelides, who is running for governor, "didn't seem to know much about it until we clued him in, but he said he was 'concerned.' He needs to do better: A strong statement opposing the deal would be a good start," the Guardian said. Steve Westly, who is also running, supported a Merc employee buyout of the paper, but hasn't said the deal should be derailed.

The Guardian urges every city in the Bay Area to take a stand on the deal too, "starting with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which should hold hearings and pass a resolution demanding that Lockyer block the deal."

The Guardian also notes that several members of Congress from the Bay Area sent the Justice Department a letter that is critical of the deal, but not Nancy Pelosi or Tom Lantos. Neither Pelosi nor Lantos has gotten back to the Guardian to explain why they didn't sign it.

Paper posts unedited comments about stories

The Sacramento Bee's Web site, www.sacbee.com, has begun allowing readers to post comments at the end of stories without any editing or filtering, although profane or libelous comments are removed later. "The aim is reader interactivity, in all its on-the-fly, real-time, gotta-do-it-now glory. And it's making the paper's newsprint veterans in turns nervous, perplexed and highly curious," writes the Bee's Public Editor, Armando Acuna. "Few papers allow similar comments, and, so far, The Bee may be the largest to do so." Acuna says the ability to comment has been highly popular with readers, taking people at The Bee by surprise. Through the first two weeks, there were a combined 1,000 comments posted on 366 different stories. There were 20,000 page views, meaning people who read the comments that many times. Only a handful of comments have been killed. "What makes this more remarkable is that neither the paper nor sacbee.com promoted or advertised the change."

Chron accused of underestimating crowd

Ah, the science of crowd estimates. If you're determining the size of a protest, and you print a number the organizers think is too small, you'll get angry letters for weeks. Pick too large a number, and those who disagree with the protesters will think the paper is taking sides. Ask the cops? They're too smart. Many have stopped giving crowd figures, knowing they'll just get criticized even if the number is exactly right. Dick Rogers, the Chron's reader representative, is critical of how is own paper came up with a figure of 30,000 for a May 1 immigration rally. He offers suggestions as to how the Chron can do a better job in the future because "there's one thing you really can count on -- this won't be the last demonstration in San Francisco."

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Injunction issued against former publisher

A Marin County court commissioner issued a permanent injunction yesterday (May 12) against former Point Reyes Light publisher Dave Mitchell (left), barring him from visiting the newspaper where he once won a Pulitzer Prize. The injunction stems from a Feb. 16 incident in which Mitchell grabbed current publisher Robert Plotkin (right) by the neck and tried to run him down with a car. The fight stemed from an argument the two had over the paper's coverage of a land dispute. Plotkin, a former Monterey County deputy district attorney who purchased the paper last year from Mitchell, said he felt he needed to obtain the injunction. "I have to protect myself, my wife and family," Plotkin told the Marin Independent Journal. Mitchell signed off on the injunction, saying, "Who would want to be around the guy? ... Why would I want to see Plotkin?" The Point Reyes Light won the Pulitzer in 1979 for its stories exposing the Synanon cult. (Plotkin photo by Chris Stewart, SF Chron; Mitchell by Paul Girard, SPJ NorCal.) [Chron from April 28: Newspaper's new owner upsets and fascinates locals]

'Chronicle' removed from amphitheater

Sleep Train, a mattress retailer, has replaced the Chronicle as the title sponsor of the giant Concord amphitheater, the San Francisco Business Times notes. The Times' headline on the item was "Chronicle goes to Sleep." The venue, now known as the Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord, opens its season June 6 with Bruce Springsteen. Signs are being changed now, the Times says.

Judge denies motion to open UC meeting

The Chron has lost Round 1 in its attempt to open up University of California meetings where pay proposals are on the agenda. Yesterday, Alameda Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith denied a temporary restraining order sought by the Chron that would have prohibited the Board of Regents' Special Committee on Compensation from meeting in closed session on Wednesday, according to a story by Bob Egelko. The committee will forward its recommendations to the Regents, who are required to vote in public. On June 26, Round 2 will take place when the Chron seeks a ban on future closed meetings. The newspaper says it is also asking for records from closed-door hearings on compensation dating to November 2001 and other documents the university has refused to disclose.

Friday, May 12, 2006

New battle between dailies seen in SF

Blogger Alan Mutter, an editor turned venture capitalist, says that while the Chronicle's circulation is plunging, the city now has two free dailies that have potential. There's the Examiner, owned by billionaire Phil Anschutz, and earlier this month another daily started -- called the San Francisco Daily.

"The S.F. Daily, whose initial press run was a mere 5,000 copies, is noteworthy, because it is being produced by the publishing duo who built the Palo Alto Daily News into such a formidable force that the San Jose Mercury paid a handsome price to acquire the free paper a few months before Knight Ridder was put up for sale," writes Mutter on his Reflections of a Newsosaur blog.

"Can a city that seems to have forsaken its traditional paper successfully support a dueling pair of free dailies? Potentially, yes, because the two freebies are pursing different strategies. ... The SF Daily, reprising the Palo Alto formula, is going after small, neighborhood retailers who have limited budgets to reach a limited trading area. It's tricky to recruit the Mom and Pop advertisers, but, if the S.F. Daily is successful, it will own this rich, underserved market," Mutter wrote.

New firm for First Amendment lawyer

James Chadwick, who has represented many news organizations and reporters in the Bay Area over the years, has moved to a new law firm, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, located on the 17th Floor of Four Embarcadero Center in SF. Phone: (415) 434-9100. Chadwick was previously at DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary in Palo Alto.

Chron to sue over closed UC meeting

The Chron says in today's issue that it will go to court to open a UC Regents meeting next week where the salaries of university officials will be decided. UC's "top management has been acting as if the university is a privately held company and it can spend money as it sees fit and make compensation decisions behind closed doors, with occasional rubber-stamp approval from the regents,'' said Chron lawyer Karl Olson. "But UC is a public trust, and its actions have to be taken openly.'' The Chronicle reported in November that the university compensated some highly paid employees more than it reported to the public.

Santa Cruz publisher answers questions

Molly Evans (pictured), the new publisher of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, talked to the local Chamber of Commerce about her newspaper the other day, and her paper printed her remarks. Among other things she noted:

    • The Sentinel is owned by Ottaway Newspapers, a subsidiary of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones. "They never tell us what to write or who to endorse," said Evans. "They want us to send them cash."

    • "Having a free Web site has hurt single-copy sales, and students from the university don't buy the paper, they go online to for information."

    • Then why not charge for the Web site? "Charging would hurt our ad sales. Our classified ads are on the Web and some, but not all, of our display ads."

    • Who is the typical Sentinel reader? "Our most loyal readers are baby boomers and their parents. Is my 13-year-old going to read a newspaper the way we have? Probably not. A lot of people from out of the area read the paper to stay in touch."

Knight Ridder sale isn't a done deal

Knight Ridder has disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that June 26 is the date when its shareholders will vote on whether to sell the company to McClatchy Co. The deal needs to be approved by 80 percent of shareholders. Approval is likely since 90 percent of the company's stock is held by institutions. Jennifer Saba of E&P notes that the proxy statement lists pros and cons of the deal, including the risk that McClatchy won't be able to get enough money for the papers it still must sell, and that regulators might derail the deal because of antitrust concerns. [E&P Sidebar: 34 firms looked at buying pieces of KR; proxy filing gives details on sale process]

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Scheer: Disclose antitrust filings

Peter Scheer -- an attorney, journalist and executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition -- has written a commentary that explains what antitrust regulators will want to know about MediaNews' acquisition of Knight Ridder's Northern California newspapers, including the Mercury News. He says they'll focus on Hearst's role as a lender to MediaNews, and the implications that might have on the regional newspaper market. He also urges the three companies involved -- McClatchy, MediaNews and Hearst -- to release to the public their "pre-merger review" filings, which are submitted to the Justice Department or Federal Trade Commission before such a deal gets the government's blessing. While such filings are normally confidential, Scheer points out that newspapers are in the business of making information public -- and therefore they shouldn't make an exception now.

E&P: A bad week to be Phil Bronstein

Joe Strupp of Editor & Publisher Magazine writes: "Could this past week have been any stranger for San Francisco Chronicle Editor Phil Bronstein[pictured]? First, two of his reporters were subpoenaed last Friday to testify before a grand jury investigating how they were leaked secret testimony in the ongoing BALCO steroid scandal. Next, San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds -- the subject of the paper's subpoena-prompting steroid coverage -- is about to surpass Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list, and the historic dinger will likely take place just blocks south of the Chronicle's offices. ... Finally, on Monday, the semi-annual FAS-FAX circulation report revealed the Chronicle's circulation had dropped about 15%, the most among major U.S. papers." Bronstein's response: "When has there not been a multiplicity of crises here?"

Guild chief calls KR severance 'startling'

Guild President Linda Foley, whose union has been battling Knight Ridder over pay and benefits, told the NY Post that the $29.9 million top KR executives will get in severance pay is "pretty startling." As reported here yesterday, Ridder will collect nearly $10 million in severance. San Jose-based KR goes out of business on July 1 when it turns over its assets to McClatchy Co. [Merc says $57 million will be paid to top KR execs]

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Cab driver sues Chron over photo error

San Francisco cab driver Jack Neely, right, is suing the Chron, saying a photo error has put his life in jeopardy. At left is a photo from January showing SF Police Chief Heather Fong holding a Chron story about Sgt. John Haggett, a police officer who supposedly broke department rules when he brutalized members of the public. The only problem was that, as Fong pointed out, she doesn't know who the guy was in the photo -- it wasn't Haggett. A day later, the public identified the man in the photo as cabbie Jack Neely, who hired a lawyer and yesterday sued the paper. The suit says Neely "has been placed in situations which nearly escalated into violence" and remains afraid that someone will mistake him for the officer and try to injure or kill him." The Chronicle, which demands transparency from other institutions, has refused to say how the error occurred, who committed the error or what was done to prevent it from happening again. "We said at the time that we were looking into it," Chron spokeswoman Patricia Hoyt said. "At this time, because of the legal action and because it's a personnel matter, we're not going to be publicly explaining the cause."

Ridder to get $9.4 million in severance

Knight Ridder chairman and chief executive Tony Ridder (pictured) will get $9.4 million in severance when his company is sold to McClatchy, rather than the $7.28 million previously reported. That's according to Michelle Leder of Footnoted.org, who translated a McClatchy SEC filing, and the San Jose Business Journal. Severance for other top KR execs: Hilary Schneider, $4.5 million; Steven Rossi, $4.4 million; Art Brisbane, $4.4 million and Mary Jean Connors, $4.3 million. [SJ Biz Journal: KR execs to get $30M severance]

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Merc biz editor quits, heads to Business 2.0

Seven months after he was named business editor of the Mercury News, Todd Woody is leaving to take a job as assistant managing editor of Business 2.0, an Internet site based in San Francisco. Randy Keith will lead the business department until a replacement is hired. Woody joined the Mercury News as an assistant business editor for technology in 2003, was promoted to the deputy business editor post in 2004 and named business editor in October 2005. Previously, Woody worked for the Sacramento Bee, the Industry Standard and wrote for Wired magazine. He began his newspaper career as a reporter at The Palm Beach Post. He received his bachelor's degree in politics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. A month ago, the Merc's business section received an "overall excellence" award from the Society of American Business Writers and Editors.

Chron, Merc explain circulation drop

Of the nation's 20 largest newspapers, the San Francisco Chronicle had the largest decrease in circulation, according to Audit Bureau of Circulations figures released Monday. The Chron's circulation dropped 15.6 percent from the same period a year earlier. Publisher Frank Vega (pictured) said the declines were due to a deliberate strategy of reducing the amount of papers provided at no charge to advertisers. The cutbacks involved papers that "advertisers didn't value, were quite costly and essentially had no impact on our readership," said Chron spokeswoman Patricia Hoyt. But industry experts quoted by the LA Times said such arguments aren't very convincing coming from newspapers [such as the Chron] which had said the same thing last year. "You can only cry wolf so many times," said Vice President Colby Atwood of Borell Associates Inc., which advises newspapers on Internet strategy. "Part of the decline is genuine decline." The Mercury News, which saw its circulation fall 7.7 percent to 242,865, blamed the loss on a decision to increase its sales price from a quarter to 50 cents. [AP: Newspaper circulation down, Web readers up]

Merc's Howton lands Knight Science fellowship

Mercury News health and science editor Elizabeth Howton is one of 12 journalists from around the world to win Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the 2006-07 academic year. She is one of the first two fellows in the new Medical Science Concentration within the Knight Fellowships. At the Merc, her team has reported on conflict of interest in drug research, human errors in hospital deaths and the ethical questions of genetic testing.

Monday, May 8, 2006

Scorsese helps KCSM fight FCC penalty

"Goodfellas" director Martin Scorsese has weighed in on the $15,000 fine San Mateo public television station KCSM is facing for airing a PBS documentary he directed that liberally used the f- and s- words. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, Scorsese says, "The language of the film was an essential element of the story ... The language of blues musicians often was filled with expletives that shocked and challenged America's white-dominated society of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s." If the fine against KCSM is upheld, Scorsese said it would have a deep impact on "the creative process generally and, more specifically, on the ability and willingness of filmmakers to produce authentic documentaries and other valuable programming for presentation on broadcast television." KCSM has challenged the fine, saying it is unconstitutional. The FCC said KCSM could have aired the documentary without penalty between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., but that it wants to keep the airwaves clear of obscenity when children might be watching. Scorsese also objected to relegating the show to the late-night hours. "Our mutual artistic objective of broadly sharing an accurate depiction of one of the few uniquely American art forms will be severely undermined if the commission limits broadcast of the film to hours when viewership is lowest," he argued. [LA Times: Indecency on broadcast television is mostly a word game] [MediaWeek: Scorsese teams up with college, pushes back at FCC]

Circulation of Merc, Chron plunges

Circulation of the SF Chronicle has slipped to below 400,000 for the first time in decades. The FAS-FAX report by the Audit Bureau of Circulations' released this morning (May 8) showed the Chron's circulation had fallen 15 percent to 398,246. The news was also bad in San Jose, where the Mercury News's circulation continued its free fall, dropping 7.6 percent in the past six months to 242,865. E&P provides a look at circulation numbers from across the country. [Chron: News aggregators are taking readers away from newspapers]

Chron, East Bay Express win Beard awards

The Chronicle is the winner of the James Beard Foundation Award for best food section in a newspaper with a circulation over 300,000, and the Jonathan Kauffman of the East Bay Express also picked up an award for reporting on nutrition or food-related consumer issues. The Beard Awards are considered to be the highest honor for food and beverage writers. Here's a complete list of winners.

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Numerologist gets KRON to change address

KRON Channel 4 has had the post office change the address of its building on Van Ness Avenue from 1001 to 1001552 because the programming director's astro-numerologist, Jesse Kalsi, warned that the old number was bad for business. Adding "552" to the address is what Kalsi calls a "patch," numerology jargon for fixing a bad number, according to SF Weekly. Programming Director Pat Patton, who gets personal advice from Kalsi, says things have improved at the station since the address change in January. Soon after, the station landed an affiliation with Fox's new MyNetworkTV, which had also been sought by other independents in the market. Former news director Kevin McCormick says of the address change, "It encapsulates the absurdity of the place that a numerologist could influece a decision to alter the street address of a television station." Maybe somebody should tell management that 4 is an unlucky number.

New shield law might help Chron reporters

T.J. Quinn and Teri Thompson, writing in the New York Daily News's "iTeam Blog," say a new federal shield law that Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter will introduce this week should help SF Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams keep their sources secret in the Barry Bonds steroid case. On Friday, the two reporters received subpoenas ordering them to appear before a federal grand jury investigating whether Bonds committed perjury by telling a previous grand jury that he didn't knowingly use steroids. The new law, the federal Free Flow of Information Act, will balance the importance of the information to the public against the crime of violating grand jury secrecy laws.

Chron offers new way of looking at KR sale

If you're concerned by the impact of an out-of-town media company swallowing up two of the Bay Area's leading newspapers, you probably have an Old Media way of looking at things, says Chronicle staff writer Joe Garofoli in a news story Saturday. "The challenge for old-line newspapers may have less to do with their rivalries with each other than with competition from Internet sources," Garofoli writes. The story continues the theme that began April 27, the day after the sale, when the Chronicle, in a front page graphic, explained that the sale "could be an acknowledgement that a newspaper's fundamental competition is not other newspapers, but instead other media." The story points out that when it comes to local news, newspapers are cutting back coverage and people are relying on web sites and word-of-mouth from friends and neighbors.

Members of Congress seek review of KR sale

Six members of Congress from the Bay Area asked the Justice Department on Friday (May 5) to "give careful consideration" to the antitrust implications of the planned sale of the Mercury News and other Knight Ridder newspapers to Dean Singleton's MediaNews, according to the Los Angeles Times. A letter to the DOJ sent by Democratic Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Michael M. Honda of San Jose, Ellen O. Tauscher of Alamo, George Miller of Martinez, Barbara Lee of Oakland and Anna G. Eshoo of Atherton. They said the deal "significantly heighten the concentration of media ownership and deprive readers in our districts of the quality and depth of news coverage that more varied ownership offers." [Chron: Antitrust review sought]

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Moore, Griffith sound off about TV news

In a Q&A with the publication Bay Area Business Woman, anchors Pam Moore of KRON 4 (left) and Leslie Griffith of KTVU 2 discuss the significance of Katie Couric being named anchor of the "CBS Evening News."

Says Griffith: "What is huge about the whole [Couric] thing [is] she’s managing editor of the CBS News, she’s not just anchoring the news. That means every word that she tells America is something that she had her hands on, that she made a decision about."

Moore on how the TV news business has changed: "The business is run so much more by the corporate side of things now, which didn’t interfere with the news years ago. It was like [the news department] had its own sacred position in the building. That doesn’t exist anymore, and I think it hurt overall journalism."

On sexuality and TV, Moore says: "Sexuality is so dominant in the media that women aren’t shown the range of options of who they are — it makes such a negative impression on young people."

Griffith: " I guarantee you, there are no women in boardrooms making the decisions to air that stuff, so I think that that is what we need to push our girls to do, go beyond what Pam and I have done. We’re standing on the shoulders of women like Belva Davis, who came before us; [we must] take a step further."

Moore and Griffith will speak on a media panel at the Bay Area Business Women's Expo at the Oakland Convention Center on Saturday, May 13. See www.babwnews/expo for information.

Friday, May 5, 2006

Reporters get subpoenas in Bonds case

The Chron reports that two of its reporters, Lance Williams (left) and Mark Fainaru-Wada, received subpoenas today (May 5) to testify before the federal grand jury investigating possible perjury charges against Barry Bonds. As the Chron points out, subpoenas are the latest strategy by federal prosecutors to force reporters to give up their confidential sources or go to jail. Judith Miller of the New York Times went to jail last year before eventually naming Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, as her source for the identity of CIA employee Valerie Plame.

Eastside Panther takes top honors in
PPC's High School Journalism competition

The Eastside Panther, the student newspaper at Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, took first-place honors in General Excellence and a total of 12 awards in the 2005-2006 High School Journalism Awards Competition.

The contest is sponsored by the Peninsula Press Club, Hillsdale Shopping Center and the journalism program at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont. Awards were presented at a reception May 2 in Ralston Hall at NDNU and some of the winners are seen in the photo above.

Nine publications from eight high schools from San Francisco to Los Altos offered more than 200 entries from 95 students for the competition which covered April 1, 2005, through March 31, 2006. Members of the Press Club served as judges for the contest.

A certificate of excellence also was presented to the staff of the Verde News Magazine at Palo Alto High School in recognition of their work, despite their having no competition among news magazines at other local high schools. (Photo by Erik Oeverndiek.) Here's a complete list of winners.

Bruce Macgowan cut by KNBR

Veteran KNBR sports talker Bruce Macgowan has been let go by the station's new management in what's described as a cost-cutting move. "I thought the new owners would wait a little while before making cuts," Macgowan told the Chron. Susquehanna Broadcasting sold KNBR, KFOG and KSAN to Cumulus Media last fall. Also shown the door were sports sales manager Bob Sargent and business operations director Valerie Blackburn.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Winners announced in high school contest

The Eastside Panther, the student newspaper at Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, took first-place honors in General Excellence and a total of 12 awards in the 2005-2006 High School Journalism Awards Competition.

The contest is sponsored by the Peninsula Press Club, Hillsdale Shopping Center and the journalism program at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont. Awards were presented at a reception May 2 in Ralston Hall at NDNU.

Nine publications from eight high schools from San Francisco to Los Altos offered more than 200 entries from 95 students for the competition which covered April 1, 2005, through March 31, 2006. Members of the Press Club served as judges for the contest.

A certificate of excellence also was presented to the staff of the Verde News Magazine at Palo Alto High School in recognition of their work, despite their having no competition among news magazines at other local high schools.

Here's a complete list of the winners:

GENERAL EXCELLENCE
First: Eastside Panther, Eastside College Preparatory School;
Second: Burlingame B, Burlingame High School;
Honorable Mention: Jefferson Tom-Tom, Jefferson High School;
Special Recognition: Palo Alto High School, Verde News Magazine

LAYOUT AND DESIGN
First: Jen Wantuch, Burlingame B;
Second: Janice Hwang, Burlingame B;
Honorable Mention: Marianna Tishchenko, Lowell High School, San Francisco.

SPORTS STORY
First: Carey Schwartz, Paly Voice, Palo Alto High School, Palo Alto;
Second: Tiffany Chan, Mills Thunderbolt, Mills High School, Millbrae;
Honorable Mention: Carey Schwartz, Paly Voice.

FEATURE STORY
First: Norma Jaimez, Eastside Panther;
Second: Luis A. Torres and Rizwana Khan, Eastside Panther;
Honorable Mention: Claire Jun, Mills Thunderbolt;
Honorable Mention: Diego Garcia, Eastside Panther.

NEWS STORY
First: James Xie and Tara Donohoe, Mills Thunderbolt;
Second: Lorraine Cancio and Kristine Radoc, Jefferson Tom Tom, Jefferson High School, Daly City;
Honorable Mention: Melody Cheung, Mills Thunderbolt;

EDITORIAL
First: Chrissy Hu, Paly Voice;
Second: Chelsea McLaughlin, Eastside Panther;
Honorable Mention: Shantall Vera, Jefferson Tom-Tom.

COLUMN
First: Maira Navarro, Eastside Panther;
Second: Ruby Farias, Eastside Panther;
Honorable Mention: Carissa Caryotakis, Paly Voice;
Honorable Mention: Diego Garcia, Eastside Panther.

SPORTS PHOTO
First: Nathan Lui, Paly Voice,
Second: Luis Torres, Eastside Panther;
Honorable Mention: Rachel Altmaier, Panther Prints, Pinewood School, Los Altos.

FEATURE PHOTO
First: Nick Branch, Jefferson Tom Tom;
Second: Rachel Altmaier, Panther Prints;
Honorable Mention: Jannette Angulo, Eastside Panther.

NEWS PHOTO
First: Rizwana Khan, Eastside Panther;
Second: Jose Ibarra, Eastside Panther;
Honorable Mention: Rachel Altmaier, Panther Prints.

Now is the time to start thinking about the 2007 PPC High School Journalism Competition. Entries will be due March 31, 2007.

MediaNews to assume union contracts

The purchase agreement for the Mercury News and other Knight Ridder papers has been filed online with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and on page 43, Item 7.4 says that MediaNews will be assuming all union contracts at the papers it is acquiring. Obviously, that's good news for the Guild, which has put out a news release on the subject.

Ceppos proposes 6 ways to improve fairness

Former Merc editor and Knight Ridder vp Jerry Ceppos (pictured) says journalists should re-emphasize fairness and he has six suggestions for reporters. He says, "Most Americans think journalists are sloppier, less professional, less caring, more biased, less honest about their mistakes and generally, get this, more harmful to democracy than they did in the 1980s."

Brugmann: Stop Singleton's media grab

Bay Guardian publisher Bruce Brugmann (pictured), in an editorial, is calling on California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and the two leading Democratic candidates for attorney general, Jerry Brown and Rocky Delgadillo, to stop Dean Singleton's acquisition of the Mercury News and his partnership with Chronicle owner Hearst Corp. The deal, Brugmann says, "creates the potential for a newspaper monopoly of stunning proportions."

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

May 2006 Press Club board minutes

Call to order at 6:25 p.m.

Meeting was brought to order by Board President Micki Carter at 6:25 p.m.

Board members Peter Cleaveland, Jon Mays, Jack Russell, Jamie Casini and Executive Director Darryl Compton were present.

Board members Ed Remitz, Aimee Lewis Strain, John Kane and Dave Price were absent.

The minutes of the April meeting were approved.

The treasurer's report was approved. Compton reported lots of money coming in and not a lot of money going out -- yet.


Old business

Professional journalism contest.

It was decided that the club could save some money by not mailing out invitations to the annual professional journalism contest. Instead, a notice will be sent out in the newsletter with a coupon of sorts to be mailed back if need be.

Bench Bar media. Nothing new to report.


New business

Resignation of John Kane. The board decided not to accept the resignation of John Kane since he is the immediate past president and an automatic member of the board. The refusal is also in hopes that Kane will soon be on the mend and on his way back to the board. The soonest a vacancy might have to filled is in December.

Newsletter deadline is Friday and it will be sent out soon after.

Scholarship competition. Russell reports judging is under way and calls to winners will be made this week.

High school contest. Successfully organized and completed by President Carter.

June 1 evening of excellence. Carter said she will write the script as long as someone agreed to make some contacts with a guest speaker. Mays agreed to contact A.C. Thompson.


The meeting was adjourned at 6:55 p.m.

Minutes submitted by secretary Jon Mays.

Ex-Palo Alto publishers launch daily in SF

A new free daily newspaper started today (May 3) in San Francisco, launched by the former publishers of the Palo Alto Daily News and the Daily News Group of free dailies.

Dave Price and Jim Pavelich -- who sold the Daily News Group last year to Knight Ridder -- a have started the San Francisco Daily. The first issue was delivered this morning by hand to San Francisco residents and business people by Price, Pavelich and their staff eight people. In the photo above, Pavelich discusses the paper with a reader on Steiner Street.

The SF Daily is free and will be published Monday through Friday. The paper is initially being circulated in the Marina, Chestnut, Cow Hollow, North Beach and Fillmore neighborhoods.

"Our focus is on local news — what’s happening in our neighborhoods — but we also want to include enough news from the rest of the world to make the SF Daily a one-stop shop for people who want to be up-to-date," said Price. "We don’t have a political agenda or a cause. Our purpose is to provide useful, unbiased information while leaving our readers with a smile."

The first issue today was eight pages. Price predicts it will remain that size for a while until the paper develops an advertising base.

Price and Pavelich each started free daily newspapers in Colorado in the 1980s. In 1995, they launched the Palo Alto Daily News, which grew over time and spawned sister papers in San Mateo, Redwood City, Los Gatos, Burlingame and the East Bay.

Price and Pavelich sold the Daily News Group last year and, after a few months off, decided to try the same concept in San Francisco. Joining them as a partner in the paper is their former distribution manager at those papers, Amando Mendoza.

The SF Daily's office is located at 2211 Lombard St. and the number is (415) 346-8282.

In this photo, Realtor Lad Wilson, one of the paper's first advertisers, holds a t-shirt the founders printed for the launch.

[E&P: Free daily launches in San Francisco] [AP: New paper has initial 5,000 circulation] [Bay City News Service: New paper's staff passes out first edition by hand]