Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A's name FMer as new flagship station

The A's, which were heard this season on a couple of low-wattage AM stations, are switching to FM. The team has announced that CBS Radio's Free FM (KIFR) 106.9 will broadcast all 162 regular season games and 15 training games for the next two seasons. Last season the team was heard on CBS Radio's KYCY-AM 1550 and Salem Communication's KNTS-AM 1220. While it's unusual for an FM station to air baseball games, it's not unprecedented. The Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals also have FM flagships. And this year, the 49ers are on both AM and FM stations -- KNBR 680 and 1050 and The Bone (KSAN-FM) 107.7, all properties of Susquehanna Radio. The A's will bring back its radio broadcast team of Ken Korach, Vince Cotroneo and Ray Fosse. Robert Buan returns for his eighth season hosting the team's "Extra Innings" post-game talk show.

SJ Business Journal reporter dies

The Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal is reporting tonight that one of its reporters, Andrew Hamm, died suddenly at his home in Tracy from a heart attack at age 46. Hamm had been at the Business Journal since 2000. He covered energy, transportation, hospitality and sports management. He'd previously worked at a number of Bay Area publications including ANG Newspapers and the Milpitas Post.

Silver lining in circulation figures for Merc

While the overall circulation of the Mercury News declined by 9 percent in the most recent six-month period, the paper's home delivery increased. Home delivery is the figure most important to advertisers, the Merc says. Daily home delivery grew from 191,140 to 191,920 during the week and from 205,870 to 206,107 on Sunday. About half of the daily paper's decline in circulation came from a fall in single-copy sales, due in part to an increase in the price of the daily paper to 50 cents in October 2005. The figures were reported in a story published this morning about how newspaper circulation is decreasing but Web visits to newspaper sites is on the rise. [PPC, yesterday: Merc circ drops 9.4% daily, 9.7% Sunday

News directors group hands out awards

KCBS All News 740 was the big winner in the 25th annual Northern California Radio-Television News Directors Association news competition, taking home nine awards. KNTV NBC 11 was second, with six awards, and KGO NewsTalk 810 and KCLU-FM tied for third place with five awards each.

The awards were presented Saturday at a banquet at the ABC Broadcast Center in San Francisco. Former KRON news anchor Tom Sinkovitz was the master of ceremonies, with NorCal RTNDA Vice President Janice Gin, assistant news director at KTVU, handing out the plaques.

A highlight was the presentation of lifetime achievement awards to KCBS Radio's Al Hart (left) and KGO TV's longtime meteorologist Joel Bartlett (right).

Best television newscast plaques for Class "AA'' went to KGO ABC 7's "ABC 7 News at 6PM,'' in the 60-minutes category, and to KPIX CBS 5's "Eyewitness News at 11,'' for its 30-minute newscast.

In Class "A,'' the award for the best 60-minute newscast went to KSEE 24 in Fresno's "News at 6.'' For the 30-minute newscast in the Class A category, the plaque went to KGPE 47, also in Fresno.

The radio Class "AA'' plaque went to KGO-AM, "KGO Morning News,'' for a program over 15 minutes. The under-15-minute radio winner in Class "A'' was KNCO in Grass Valley.

A complete list of winners can be found on the association's Web site at www.norcalrtnda.com.

New Marin IJ publisher named

Mario van Dongen, former publisher of the Napa Valley Register, was named the new president and publisher of the Marin Independent Journal on Monday. Van Dongen, 48, will assume the post on Nov. 6, said John Armstrong, vice president of California Newspapers Partnership, which owns the IJ. (Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group is the majority owner of the partnership.) Van Dongen has most recently served as regional vice president of sales for the Northern California PennySaver. Prior to that he was the president and publisher of the Napa Valley Register for more than three years. Kenneth A. Svanum resigned as the IJ's publisher in August, citing family medical issues.

Shrinking newsrooms feeling stressed

A month before he was let go as editor of the Contra Costa Times, Chris Lopez told a gathering of Bay Area public relations professionals that "there's a lot of stress in newsrooms as we shrink ... There’s a lot of stress because we’re learning new skills. You can’t survive in my shop right now if you can’t collect audio with the story or you can’t produce Flash presentations."

Lopez's remarks came during a panel discussion Sept. 21 sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America's newsletter The Strategist. Panelists included (from left) Lopez, Youth Outlook editor Kevin Weston, Schwarz Communications West Coast GM Gary Thompson, and journalis Dan Neuharth (son of USA Today founder Al Neuharth). Here's a link to the entire transcript.

Here's a couple of other things Lopez said:
    • "Consolidation is going to shake out in many different ways and in many different forms, though. You walk around the East Bay, and there are ethnic publications that are just growing and growing. Local community weekly publications are a growing part of the industry. Maybe big mainstream newspapers, like the Los Angeles Times, the Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News, are going to keep having to [reduce] costs, but there are still going to be a lot of newspapers out there in different forms. It’s a healthy industry."

    • "You’re going to even see new media technology companies having to form partnerships with old media because newspapers are cash cows. They generate a lot of money. These business guys know that. They’re smart, and they’re figuring out how to form partnerships. Newspapers may eventually be owned by new technology, but they’ll still exist."

[PPC, Oct. 20: Coco Times editor Chris Lopez 'replaced']

Monday, October 30, 2006

Merc circ drops 9.4% daily, 9.7% Sunday

UPDATE: The San Jose Mercury News lost 9.4% of its daily circulation in the last six months and 9.7% on Sundays compared to the same period last year, according to figures released this morning (Oct. 30). That brings the Merc's circulation to 228,800 daily and 254,454 on Sunday. Across the country, the average newspaper's paid circulation fell 2.8 percent on weekdays and 3.4 percent on Sundays during the period, the Newspaper Association of America reported today. Circulation VP David Rounds told E&P Online that the Merc has been cutting back on copies purchased by third parties other than readers (called "other-paid" in circ jargon), such as papers bought by hotels. Rounds said that the number of home-delivered papers actually increased during the period. Rounds also said the Merc is still feeling the effects of the newsstand price increase from 25 to 50 cents. [NYT: Circulation plunges at major newspapers] [PPC, May 9: Chron, Merc explain circulation drop]

Chron's circ down 5% daily, 7% Sunday

The new circulation figures are out today for the six-month period ending September 2006 and the Chronicle's readership declied again. Daily circulation dropped 5.3% to 373,805 and Sunday fell 7.3% to 432,957. Editor & Publisher says just about every major metropolitan newspaper’s circulation was down during the period. One of the notable exceptions is Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, which not only saw its numbers increase, but it is now the No. 1 newspaper in New York and it passed the Washington Post to become the No. 5 newspaper in the country. Meanwhile, back in California, the LA Times saw its daily circulation drop 8% to 775,766. (Figures for the Mercury News weren't immediately available.) [Chart of Top 25 papers] [E&P: Big metros show severe declines in latest circ report]

Saturday, October 28, 2006

DJs Kim Vestal, Bob Kohtz fired from KBAY

Two longtime South Bay radio personalites, Kim Vestal and Bob Kohtz (both pictured), have been fired by KBAY-FM 94.5, according to Brad Kava of the Mercury News. Kava points out that Kohtz, who did the afternoon drive 3-7 shift, had been a DJ at the station for at least 35 years and was one of the few people in the business who has never been fired. Vestal, who did the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. music show, was given a check at the end of her shift on Thursday. She has been in South Bay radio for 26 years, the last five at KBAY.

Leslie Griffith Watch: Deadline comes, goes

"The Leslie Griffith Watch continues and I'm starting to feel like Linus in the pumpkin patch, waiting for something that just isn't going to happen," writes Contra Costa Times TV writer Chuck Barney in today's edition. "If you're keeping a tally, Griffith now has been away from the KTVU Channel 2 anchor chair since Aug. 22. Her so-called leave of absence was to have ended on Friday, but do you think we'll see her cheery face on Channel 2 come Monday? Don't count on it. Word is she's headed out of state for some rest and relaxation." [PPC, Oct. 25: Reasons given for Griffith's exit from Ch. 2] [PPC, Oct. 19: Anchor's woes started with on-air gripe] [PPC, Oct. 8: What happened to KTVU's Leslie Griffith]

Santa Cruz Sentinel sold to Alabama firm

Dow Jones & Co. is selling the 25,000-circulation Santa Cruz Sentinel to an Alabama-based newspaper conglomerate that owns 93 other daily newspapers. The Sentinel will be first daily to be owned by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. west of Texas. The Sentinel is one of six papers Dow Jones is selling to CNHI. Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group, which acquired the Mercury News and Contra Costa Times in July, appears to have been outbid for the Sentinel. Today's article about the sale in the Sentinel quotes Editor Tom Honig as saying no significant changes in the paper's news coverage are planned. "From what I know of CNHI, ... they have no interest in controlling editorial policy. Their interest seems to be mostly financial." Honig said. "The difficulty in running a community newspaper is getting enough resources and that question won't be answered for a while."

2 FCC commissioners oppose consolidation

The two Democrats on the five-member Federal Communications Commission, Jonathan Adelstein (right) and Michael Copps (left), held a hearing in Oakland last night (Oct. 27) to discuss the agency's plans to revise its rules regarding how many stations a single company can own. According to the Chronicle, the two told an audience of about 350 that their attempt to fight media consolidation is an uphill battle because they're in the minority on the commission and they're having a difficult time getting information from the agency's staff. Speakers at the hearing complained that minorities were under represented on TV news. "Sure, people of color are in the news, but as crime suspects," said Malkia Cyril, director of the Oakland-based Youth Media Council. "This is about being able to have more local control over the media outlets."

Friday, October 27, 2006

Examiner planning another free daily in SF

Billionaire Denver oilman Phil Anschutz (pictured), who bought the San Francisco Examiner from the Fang family two years ago, is planning to launch yet another free daily newspaper in San Francisco, according to the SF Daily. The SF Daily says it was told by sources that the new paper will be known as the City Star and that it will look a lot like SF Daily. Examiner editor Jim Pimentel wouldn't give a start date for the new paper, saying it would launch sometime this year. The SF Daily is owned by Dave Price and Jim Pavelich, who started the Palo Alto Daily News chain of free dailies in 1995 and sold it to Knight Ridder last year. The SF Daily started in May and has grown from 8 to 24 pages a day. (Photo of Anschutz courtesy of The Denver Post.) [PPC, May 3: Ex-Palo Alto publishers launch daily in SF] [PPC, Feb. 23: Anschutz went from Bay to Breakers to buyer] [PPC, July 24: Anschutz cashed in on Examiner archives]

Merc layoffs are first salvo in contract talks

East Bay Express writer Will Harper, in his blog, says that the 101 layoffs at the Mercury News last week were seen by employees as a "shot across the bow of the unions currently in contract talks with the newspaper. On the heels of other recent announcements, the developments seem to herald a significant downsizing across many or all of the company’s dozens of Bay Area papers," Harper writes.

"Company employees, speaking under the promise of anonymity, see the layoffs at the Merc as the likely first act to a similar reduction in force at the Times and possibly also the company’s long-time East Bay papers," Harper said in his blog. He quotes an ANG employee as saying: "The general feeling around here is that the hammer is coming down here soon too." [PPC, Oct. 20: Merc to layoff 101 employees, 8.5% of staff]

Dilbert cartoonist hit by rare speech disease

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams, a resident of the East Bay city of Dublin, tells the AP that he has been suffering from Spasmodic Dysphonia, a mysterious disease in which parts of the brain controlling speech shut down or go haywire. According to the AP, one of the most peculiar aspects of SD is that victims are typically unable to have intimate conversations in their normal voice. Yet they can speak under different circumstances, such as immediately after sneezing or laughing, or in an exaggerated falsetto or baritone, or while reciting poetry. He is taking treatments where Botox is applied to the larynx and hopes his most recent bout with the disease was his last one.

KQED members give up voting rights

KQED members, by a 2 to 1 ratio, have voted to give up their right to elect members of the board of directors, the Chron reported. More revealing, however, is that only 15 percent of the public broadcasting organization's members even bothered to send in ballots. KQED, which operates channels 9 and 54 and 88.5 FM, was one of the last nonprofit media institutions that gave its members such rights. [PPC Oct. 5, KQED's plan to end membership elections]

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Reasons given for Griffith's exit from Ch. 2

The Matier & Ross column in today's Chron lists the reasons why Leslie Griffith (left) probably won't be returning to the KTVU anchor desk. She's been MIA for more than seven weeks now and the column quotes a source as saying the split is due to the station's changing newsroom personnel, the pressures of added broadcasts and shorter news stories, and greater news control being exerted by the station's ownership in Atlanta -- plus tensions with longtime co-anchor Dennis Richmond (right). Matier & Ross said the final straw appears to have been the station's lack of reaction to an Oakland Tribune column a few months ago headlined, "How long do we put up with Leslie Griffith?'' Apparently the station's management made a few phone calls to complain about the article and that was it. [PPC, May 6: Moore, Griffith sound off about TV News]

PPC recommends donations to 3 groups

The Peninsula Press Club's board has voted unanimously to make donations of $100 each to three organizations that promote the First Amendment. In addition to making these contributions, the board also asks the club's members to consider making donations to these worthy organizations.

They are:

Californians Aware is "a nonprofit organization established to help journalists and others keep Californians aware of what they need to know to hold government and other powerful institutions accountable for their actions. Its mission is to support and defend open government, an enquiring press and a citizenry free to exchange facts and opinions on public issues. In short, Californians Aware will be a center for information, guidance and initiatives in public forum law." CalAware's general counsel is Terry Francke. Here's a link to the group's board. The address for donations is 2218 Homewood Way, Carmichael, CA 95608

California First Amendment Coalition, or CFAC, "is a nonprofit public interest organization dedicated to advancing free speech and open-government rights. Since its founding in 1988, CFAC has been a crucial counterweight to the tendency, at all levels of government, toward greater secrecy and declining accountability. A membership organization, CFAC's activities include educational and informational programs, participation in 'test case' litigation to enhance first amendment rights for the largest number of citizens, and legislative oversight of bills affecting free speech." CFAC's executive director is Peter Scheer. Here's a link to its board. The address for donations is California First Amendment Coalition, 534 4th Street, Suite B, San Rafael, CA 94901.

Student Press Law Center is "an advocate for student free-press rights and provides information, advice and legal assistance at no charge to students and the educators who work with them." The center provides free legal advice and information as well as low-cost educational materials for student journalists on a wide variety of legal topics. In addition, the SPLC operates a formal Attorney Referral Network of approximately 150 lawyers across the country who are available to provide free legal representation to local students when necessary. The executive director is Mark Goodman. Here's a link to the SPLC's board. The address for donations is Student Press Law Center, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1100, Arlington, VA 22209-2275.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

FCC to hold Bay Area hearing

Bay Area residents will get a chance to tell FCC commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps how they feel about the current media landscape at a community forum to be held at 5 p.m. Friday (Oct. 27) at Oakland's Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway at 10th Street. near the 12th Street BART stop in Oakland. The public comment period will begin at 6:30. The Chron has a story about some of the issues facing the FCC, such as attempts to change ownership rules.

Former Palo Alto editor has great timing

Perhaps the main beneficiary of the meltdown of the Santa Barbara News-Press is former Palo Alto Daily News managing editor Jeramy Gordon. Today's Chron has a profile of Gordon, who left the Daily News last year to start his own free daily in Santa Barbara.

"When we started, everyone said, 'It's not going to work. This town doesn't need another paper,' " said Gordon, seen in the picture above at his desk. Within a couple of months, however, much of the newsroom staff of the town's main newspaper, the News-Press, walked out in a dispute with billionaire publisher Wendy McCaw over journalism ethics. "Well, I hate to give Wendy McCaw credit for the success of this paper, but we definitely had a bump in circulation and advertising because of them." Gordon is getting praise from an unlikely source, the town's weekly paper. Editor Nick Welsh calls Gordon's crew "Instant geniuses ... Nobody looked at them for a while, but I think they do an impressive job. They are credible, and this mess has made a lot more people take notice."

Besides Gordon, the Santa Barbara controversy involves two other Bay Area newsmen -- Jerry Roberts, former Chronicle ME Jerry Roberts who quit the News-Press rather than allow McCaw manipulate news stories, and Travis Armstrong, a former Mercury News writer who is McCaw's editorial page editor. (Photo by Elisa Miller, special to the Chron.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

SF's only locally owned station is openly gay

Chron radio writer Ben Fong-Torres points out in his Sunday column that San Francisco's only locally owned radio station, KNGY (Energy 92.7), is also the only station in town that's openly gay. While the station doesn't crack the Top 30 list in overall ratings, owner Jeff Bayliss notes that KNGY is No. 1 with men 25-54 -- beating KGO, KFOG and even Sports Talk KNBR. The station's morning show (Fernando and Greg, pictured), has "been adopted by the gay community, but women, both straight and gay, are following these guys, too," said Bayliss.

Chron sat on story about police spying

Three years ago, the Chron came upon a remarkable story about San Francisco police spying on reporters -- and didn't print a word about it until yesterday, a month after the story broke in an alternative weekly. The story was that police checked records of calls made from a phone used by journalists at the city's Hall of Justice in an unsuccessful attempt to find out who leaked a memo about the department's "fajitagate" scandal. The Chron's owner, Hearst Corp., sent some harsh letters to the city but ultimately decided against taking any legal action. It appears the Chron was forced to write about the matter after A.C. Thompson of the SF Weekly broke the story on Sept. 27. In Sunday's Chron story, deputy managing editor Stephen R. Proctor is quoted as saying, "Part of the reason I didn't have the story assigned was that the police hadn't done anything illegal ... I probably should have given more weight to the question of whether they had done something improper."

    Reaction:

    • Retired police inspector, Reno Rapagnini: "I'm embarrassed that the Chronicle would not go to war about these issues ... It's about freedom of the press."

    • Former police chief Willis Casey: "I don't want to say what was done was unethical, because that is too strong a word. But I think it is a breach of mutual respect, one which I, personally, would not have done."

    • Police Commissioner Theresa Sparks: "It's outrageous. It's totally outrageous ... To me the press rooms, both at City Hall and the Hall of Justice, should be neutral territory. The press should be able to call who they want to call. ... To me it just smells bad.

    • Police Commissioner and school district attorney David Campos: "First Amendment guidelines are critical ... Any allegation that the Police Department engaged in something similar to what HP did is a serious allegation that needs to be looked into."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bay Area loses Spanish TV news operation

NBC's plan to cut 700 jobs nationwide, which was announced Monday, will result in the elimination of Telemundo Channel 48's two locally-produced Spanish-language newscasts, the Mercury News reports. Channel 48 will continue to air news at 6 and 11 p.m., but the programs will be beamed from another city, possibly Burbank. A five-person bureau will cover news for Telemundo in the Bay Area. Channel 48, owned by NBC Universal, operates out of KNTV Channel 11's studios on First Street in San Jose. Channel 48 was never able to put a dent in the ratings of Spanish-language rival Channel 14. At 6 p.m., Channel 14 has double the number of viewers of Channel 48 and often more than any of the English-language newscasts.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Merc to lay off 101 employees, 8.5% of staff

Less than three months after Dean Singleton's (left) MediaNews Group acquired the Mercury News, the newspaper announced today that it will lay off 101 employees -- including 40 from its newsroom -- due to declining advertising revenues. Publisher George Riggs said in an internal memo that he intends to have eliminated the jobs by Dec. 19.

Executive Editor Susan Goldberg (right) told KCBS-AM: "This is an economic layoff and it is because of the transformation our business is going through, as we go from a print on paper business, to an electronic dissemination of information business. You are seeing a lot of issues there as advertisers are also going more to the electronic media."

The Merc is in the midst of contract negotiations with three unions. Riggs said that depending on the outcome of those talks, it is possible that "further expense reductions" might lower the number of layoffs.

Last November, the Merc reduced its staff through voluntary buyouts, which reduced the size of its newsroom by 52 people, from 332 to 280, according to Editor & Publisher. Assuming the newsroom still has 280 employees, the newest round of layoffs would cut the size of that department to 240 people.

[PPC, April 26, 2006: Singleton says no layoffs are planned at Merc. "Staffs go up, staffs go down ... I can't promise you they won't go down."] [Chronicle: Merc to cut 101 jobs]

Coco Times editor Chris Lopez 'replaced'

The first page of the Contra Costa Times Web site this afternoon was blunt in announcing the departure of the paper's editor, Chris Lopez. "Editor of Times replaced," the headline said. Not something you would expect, like "Editor resigns." Publisher John Armstrong said in an internal memo that Lopez is being replaced because his position had become "redundant." On Aug. 11, nine days after MediaNews bought the Times, ANG Newspapers executive editor Kevin Keane was appointed to oversee Lopez, creating a situation where the paper essentially had two editors. Yesterday, less than three months after that move, MediaNews decided it could get by with just one editor -- Keane. Lopez has been at the Coco Times since 2000, starting as an assistant managing editor, then ME and then executive editor. Previously he was at the Denver Post, where he was part of the team that won a Pulitzer in 1999 for coverage of the Columbine High School shootings. [PPC, Aug. 11: ANG editor to oversee Coco Times news]

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Chronicle agrees to be held in contempt

The Chron is going to great lengths to keep reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada (pictured) out of jail. According to the Associated Press, the newspaper has agreed to be held in contempt of court and pay perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for refusing to assist a federal grand jury that is trying to find out who leaked grand jury transcripts in the Barry Bonds case to the two reporters. The AP said that under the proposed deal between the newspaper and federal prosecutors, the Chronicle agreed to pay a fine of at least $1,000 per day for up to 18 months. Both sides reserved the right to argue for more or less. The agreement is largely procedural, allowing the entire case to move before the appeals court. The deal requires the approval by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White, who originally ordered the jailing of the two reporters Aug. 15. The newspaper is appealing his decision.

WSJ SF reporter told how HP spied on her

For a year, Hewlett Packard's spies collected information about Pui-Wing Tam, a reporter in the Wall Street Journal's San Francisco Bureau. They collected her home trash, set up an online account with AT&T to see who she was calling, photographed her in public, recorded her voice mails, and investigated her husband. They even know when and where they were engaged. The extent of HP's spying was revealed to Tam yesterday, who wrote this first-person piece in today's edition. Even with these extraordinary explanations, Tam doesn't believe the company has fully disclosed the extent of her spying -- she found some holes HP's story.

Anchor's woes started with an on-air gripe

The newsletter for the local chapter of the National Television Academy offers some clues about why KTVU anchor Leslie Griffith has been missing from the station's newscasts for seven weeks. The newsletter says her problems with management began when she criticized how her script was written -- on the air. Griffith said something to the effect of "Can you believe how poorly this story is written?" Nobody is quite sure what she said because tapes of the show were immediately pulled off the station's shelves and never returned. "But that one indiscretion couldn't be enough to constitute such a long leave from the anchor chair," the newsletter says. "Something else happened but the specifics from insiders on this point vary too much from person to person to be reported. One thing they all agree on, though. They all hear Griffith isn't coming back, that the station is negotiating some sort of departure package since she apparently has three more years left on her contract."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

October 2006 Press Club board minutes

Meeting was brought to order by board President Micki Carter at 6:22 p.m.

Board members present: Jamie Casini, Peter Cleaveland, Dave Price, Jon Mays, Ed Remitz and Jack Russell. Executive Director Darryl Compton was also in attendance.

Absent: John Kane, Aimee Lewis Strain.

Minutes of September meeting were not approved because there is an outstanding issue with them.

Treasurer's Report: Nothing to report.

The treasurer's report was approved unanimously.


Old Business

Bench Bar Media. Casini said there has been no further discussion on bench/bar media and Carter said the club should shoot for a late January/early February date.

Roster. Still on the to-do list, Compton reports.

Scholarship winners. It was reported that some students have still not turned in the information needed for the scholarship money which is a concern because it must be paid in this calendar year.

Donations. The board unanimously approved Cleaveland's motion to give $100 each to the California First Amendment Coalition, the Student Press Law Center and California Aware. There was some discussion about the appropriateness of giving away member dues to other organizations, but the board overall reached consensus that giving a small amount to these groups would send a message that it was in favor of first amendment advocacy. Price agreed to post the information on the Web site and give Carter the information to place in the newsletter.


Old Business

Newsletter. Carter informed the board that the deadline for submissions is Nov. 1.

High School Journalism. The board discussed what it could do to help high school journalism programs. Mays offered to compile a list of schools and the status of their publications. Mays also suggested inviting the school representatives for a focus group to help the board determine with what the schools need help. Compton said the board could possibly donate $5,000 toward the cause.

December Board Election. Carter said she cannot serve another term as president. Casini agreed to be considered as a replacement. Price agreed to be considered as a vice presidential replacement for Russell. Mays and Remitz agreed to stay on for consideration as secretary and treasurer, respectively.

It was announced that Jennifer Aquino, executive editor of the San Mateo County Times, is interested in serving on the board. Other possible candidates for the board include Micki Carter as past president, Cleaveland, Russell, Lewis and perhaps Diana Diamond of the Palo Alto Weekly or Clay Lambert of the Half Moon Bay Review.

Meeting adjourned at 7:15 p.m.

Next meeting is 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the San Mateo Daily News to accommodate Remitz's schedule.

Minutes submitted by Mays.

Amanpour: A reporter with opinions

CNN's Christiane Amanpour (left) was the keynote speaker at Stanford last night for the inaugural Daniel Pearl (right) Memorial Lecture, and she let critics of the mainstream media have it. According to the student-run Stanford Daily:
    Her view on what the cable news networks show: “The age that we are in right now is the age of serious, but what we are given is about the most banal and frivolous diet you can imagine ... I don’t know where it’s coming from, or why the networks are peddling this kind of frivolity when we desperately need to get to the bottom of these matters."

    How is the U.S. doing in the war on terror? “It is unbelievable that in this country we are having debates about torture and secret prisons ... Things like Abu Gharaib and Guantanamo Bay have deeply affected the moral authority of this country and have deeply compromised it.”

    About accusations that reporters are unpatriotic: "Since Sept. 11, there has been a tendency by the powers that be that if stories are reported that don’t fit the political vision, then it’s the reporter’s problem — the reporters are unpatriotic, the reporters are comforting the terrorists ... But we have a duty to say no, to say no, because if we don’t say no, and if we don’t expose it and stand up against it, then our whole profession is compromised."

Griffith expected to leave Ch. 2 soon

"Word is that a press release has been tentatively prepared to announce (Leslie) Griffith's departure" from KTVU. That's according to the Contra Costa Times, which points out that the co-anchor of Channel 2's top-rated "10 O'Clock News" hasn't been seen on the air in seven weeks. The newspaper noted that two weeks ago, KTVU general manager Tim McVay said Griffith would be back on the air "any day now." Now he's saying she's on a "short-term leave" that has been extended to Oct. 27, but he refused to go into detail, citing "privacy rights." The Times says viewers shouldn't hold their breath waiting for her return. [PPC, Oct. 8: What happened to KTVU's Leslie Griffith?]

Bay Guardian celebrates 40th anniversary

The San Francisco Bay Guardian is celebrating its 40th anniversary as a hell-raising, establishment-fighting alternative weekly. Bruce Brugmann, who founded the Guardian with wife Jean Dibble, has written a 3,822-word history of the paper and its many battles over the years. Brugmann (pictured) concludes by saying, "I am happy to report on our 40th anniversary that the Guardian is aware of the challenge and is gearing up in the paper and online to compete and endure till the end of time, printing the news and raising hell and forcing the daily papers to scotch the rumors coming from our power structure exposés and our watchdog reporting. The future is still with us and with our special community and critical mission, in print and online."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Saunders: Wilson a victim of intolerance

Chron columnist Debra Saunders (her byline logo is at right), writing about last week's Pete Wilson saga, says that SF is "very tolerant unless you hold the wrong opinion. Then the supes will try to get you fired." Wilson, the KGO-TV anchor and KGO-AM talk show host, created a storm Oct. 10 when he criticized the decision of Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who is gay, to raise a child with Rebecca Goldfader, who is a lesbian. Goldfader delivered the baby a month before Dufty faces re-election. They plan to be co-parents while dating other people. Saunders zeros in on Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who led the effort to get Wilson fired on the grounds that gays were victimized by Wilson's commentary. She says the problem with Ammiano's analysis is that, in this case, "gays and SF supes are in power -- and they're trying to get a man fired for expressing views they don't like. They clearly don't appreciate the beauty of free speech: When you don't like what someone says, you talk back. You don't silence dissenters, unless you are afraid of what they say."

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday book section 'harder' to justify

Chron editor Phil Bronstein (pictured) tells Publishers Weekly that his Sunday book section doesn't have many ads from book publishers and it's getting "harder and harder to justify something that has no ad support. ... We continue to do it because we think it is important to the cultural community of the Bay Area." Bronstein is quoted in a larger article about newspaper book-review sections, which are getting smaller or disappearing altogether. Former Colorado Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, who now heads Association of American Publishers, says "I'm always amazed they say you don't see enough ads — but I don't see too many ads for sports teams." Bronstein says that if book publishers supported book sections "it would send a very good signal that they believe in their product." Since the Bay Area is an extraordinary book community, he said, the paper intends to cover books "for as long as we can." How long will that be? "I just don't know in this environment," said Bronstein.

Protesters interviewed on Wolf tape

Josh Wolf (pictured) today is spending his 57th day in federal prison for refusing to surrender a video he shot of a violent political protest in San Francisco. The Chron, in a 1,597-word story, notes that Wolf is on his way to becoming the longest-jailed journalist in U.S. history. The record holder is Vanessa Leggett, a Texas true-crime author who was jailed for 168 days in 2001 for refusing to identify her sources to a federal grand jury investigating a homicide. Much of today's Chronicle story had been reported in August by the Bay Guardian, though it is reassuring to see it on the front page of Northern California's circulation leader. What's new is that Wolf's attorney, Martin Garbus, is quoted as saying the footage sought by the feds doesn't depict the crimes in question but features interviews with about 10 anarchist protesters who shed masks to speak into Wolf's camera lens. If true, then it would bolster Wolf's argument that the feds want his tape to identify anarchists as part of a crackdown on that political movement. Wolf repeated to the Chronicle his stance that he won't surrender the tape because he doesn't want to act as an arm of law enforcement. If he screened the video for the grand jury, he said, "They would say, 'Do you know this person, or this person, or this person?' They would then take all those people and call them into the grand jury, the same way the House Un-American Activities Committee did to create a list of Communists." (Chronicle photo by Paul Chinn. Behind Wolf is the federal detention center in the East Bay city of Dublin.)

KFRC change causes 'a bit of an uproar'

Chron radio columnist Ben Fong-Torres on Sunday (Oct. 15) wrote the obit for the old KFRC, which has dumped its oldies format for its new MOViN99.7 sound. Torres says the switch has generated the most mail he's received since KABL-AM 960 became KQKE "The Quake." Mike Preston, KFRC program director, told Torres: "There is a bit of an uproar ... but the people who are discovering it -- we're getting passionate e-mail from them." The new format is described by station owner CBS as "rhythmic AC" (adult contemporary) -- "a blend of adult hits from the '80s, '90s and today." Core artists include Janet Jackson, Prince, OutKast, Beyonce, Black-Eyed Peas and Mariah Carey. The format has succeeded in Seattle and L.A., and CBS wanted to be the first to institute it in the Bay Area. "We were in a footrace with a competitor to do this. So it had to be done in a stealth manner." That explains why there was no advance promotion and why the on-air staff wasn't told about the change in advance. As a result, on-air hosts Cammy Blackstone, Dean Goss and Sue Hall weren't able to say good-bye to their listeners. KFRC is keeping morning newscaster Mark Nieto and veteran DJ Katie Mason. [PPC, Sept. 22: CBS Radio dumps KFRC's oldies format]

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Radio's Michael Savage backs Jerry Brown

KNEW's Michael Savage, who once wrote a book titled "Liberalism is a Mental Disorder," has donated $5,600 to the campaign of one California's best known liberals, Jerry Brown, who is running for state attorney general, according to the Chronicle's Matier & Ross column. Savage, whose real name is Michael Weiner, explained that he doesn't think Brown's opponent will win. "Why bet on a horse that isn't going to win? Why throw your money in the garbage." Savage also says that Brown, currently Oakland's mayor, has moved to the center "which is what this socialist state needs."

Chron gives science group the runaround

George Mason University's Statistical Assessment Service (STATS), a non-profit, non-partisan scientific organization that reports on scientific and statistical errors made by the media, says a Sept. 27 Chronicle article on cosmetics was based on incorrect information posted on an Internet site.

Here is the STATS article about the Chronicle report. What we found most interesting was the "editor's note" on the STATS article:
    "STATS asked the San Francisco Chronicle for comment on this article. We spoke in some detail to the Home and Gardens features editor Lynette Evans, who then refused to go on the record; Evans directed us to the Chronicle’s managing editor Robert Rosenthal for comment; Rosenthal said he was passing the matter on to Meredith White, deputy managing editor. White did not respond.

    "Normally, we investigate what a news organization writes and not the editorial reasoning behind the story; but we were surprised by the appearance of such a one-sided piece especially in light of the draft toxicological review published this summer by the Environmental Protection Agency, which lowers the risk on DBP, one of the chemicals cited as dangerous in the Chronicle story."
    The note was signed by Trevor Butterworth, editor of STATS' journal.

Judge: Newspaper isn't a political mailer

A judge ruled has ruled that a newspaper that heavily favored one candidate over another in a 2002 mayoral election didn't violate campaign laws, the Mercury News reports. Santa Clara County District Attorney George Kennedy charged Chris Stampolis (pictured) with failing to report the expense of circulating a political mailer in Santa Clara, a city north of San Jose. Stampolis argued that he published and distributed a newspaper, not a mailer. Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Neal Cabrinha on Wednesday (Oct. 11) ruled in favor of Stampolis, saying the publication isn't a slate mailer because there's no proof that Stampolis rejected advertisements from candidates with whom he disagreed. Supervising Deputy District Attorney Julius Finkelstein said he may appeal because people assume that newspapers attempt to be balanced when covering elections while a mailer clearly supports certain candidates. [PPC, Jan. 29, 2006: DA charges newspaper is a political tract]

Saturday, October 14, 2006

KGO's Wilson knew topic was 'trouble'

"I know it's going to get me into trouble in terms of political correctness, but I don't care." It was with those words that KGO's Pete Wilson began to discuss his views on his radio show Tuesday about a gay San Francsico Supervisor and a friend, a lesbian, having a child and agreeing to raise it together even though each "co-parent" would date other people. Wilson's criticism on his show Tuesday resulted in a number of the city's civil and gay leaders calling for his resignation or retirement. Wilson apologized for the way he said things, but not for the position he took. Susanne Bohan of the ANG Newspapers wrote that "the quick eruption of outrage underscores the unique role of prominent journalists and what can happen when they blur the line between traditional reporting and political commentary." [Chron: Wilson won't be fired for remarks] [PPC, Oct. 13: KGO's Wilson keeps job after heavy criticism] [PPC, Oct. 12: Gay leaders seek apology from Wilson, KGO]

PEN USA to honor Williams, Fainaru-Wada

Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada of the Chronicle will receive the First Amendment Award from PEN USA, the West Coast center for the renowned writers' organization International Pen. A press release says the pair have been invited to accept the award at the group's annual Literary Awards Festival Gala Dinner (LitFest) at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills on Dec. 12. Hopefully Williams and Fainaru-Wada will be able to attend. The writers, who broke open baseball's steroids scandal, are now facing 18 months in jail for not revealing a source to the government. They're free while their case is being appealed, but would go to jail if the appeal is unsuccessful. (The photo was taken by Darryl Bush of the Chronicle. In it, Williams, center left, and Fainaru-Wada, center, speak to reporters after leaving court Sept. 21.)

Air America's woes won't stop 'The Quake'

The bankruptcy filing of liberal radio network Air America won't have any immediate impact on its Bay Area affiliate, The Quake (KQKE-AM 960), according to KQKE Programming Director Bob Agnew. According to the Associated Press, Air America plans to stay on the air during bankruptcy. It filed only after a creditor threatened to seize the network's assets. Clear Channel owns both KQKE and conservative KNEW 910, and Agnew serves as programming director of both stations.

County finds new reason to charge for data

Santa Clara County now claims it can charge fees for maps of property lines, flood zones, etc., because these maps are copyrighted by the county. "Our answer to that is that 'you've got to be kidding,'" said California First Amendment Coalition (CFAC) executive director Peter Scheer (pictured). If the county argues that the information is copyrighted, Scheer said, then the same could be said of every document created by government. CFAC, a government watchdog suit, filed suit against the county on Wednesday, according to the Mercury News.

Yahoo helps China make more arrests

While Stanford defends its acceptance of a $1 million grant from Yahoo, Timothy Sprinkle of WorldPoliticsWatch.com says that Yahoo officials are continuing to collaborate with the communist Chinese in their crackdown on journalists. (World Politics Watch is a Washington-based daily focusing on national security.) Sprinkle points out that an August 2006 report from Human Rights Watch found that Chinese officials used Yahoo data again this past summer to arrest three more citizens on subversion charges. Sprinkle says the Sunnyvale-based Yahoo wants to continue to operate in China and sees its assistance in jailing journalists as a PR problem. Meanwhile, the State Department has created a task force that is developing a U.S. plan to stop foreign Internet censorship and restrictions on reporters.

Meanwhile, the stream of stories about the Knight Fellowship at Stanford accepting a $1 million grant from Yahoo keep coming. None of the stories quote any of Stanford's Department of Communication faculty other than Knight Fellowship director Jim Bettinger. That's odd considering that many of them have voiced strong opinions when news organizations have conflicts of interests. Here is a list of stories:

Friday, October 13, 2006

Santa Cruz Sentinel publisher steps down

Ten months after she took over the top job at the Santa Cruz Sentinel, publisher Molly Evans leaving to become advertising manager at the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y., the Sentinel reported today. Both papers are owned by Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones is attempting to sell the Sentinel but will keep the Middletown paper. Evans said she'd rather stay with Dow Jones than take her chances with a new buyer. "Since this isn't my home, I didn't want to be marooned out here," said Evans, who came to Santa Cruz from Cape Cod and has family in Connecticut. She said her family is longing to return to the East Coast. She said that as a cancer survivor, she didn't want to risk losing the health benefits she now has with Dow Jones. The high cost of living in Santa Cruz was also a factor in her decision.

KGO's Wilson keeps job after heavy criticism

KGO's Pete Wilson (pictured) has learned this week how far a broadcaster can go when criticising something local gay leaders feel is important. In the end, Wilson issued a partial apology and then a target of his attack said he didn't want Wilson fired. The episode also raised the issue of whether a TV news anchor, who is seen by the public as objective, can also serve as a radio talk show host, where the host's opinions are key to the success of a show.

The controversy began Monday night when KGO-TV reporter Carolyn Tyler did a story about gay San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty, whose friend, lesbian Rebecca Goldfader, delivered a baby girl last week. (Photo at right by Kat Wade of the Chronicle.) Dufty and Goldfader plan to date other people in the future, but intend raise the child as "co-parents." The baby arrived a month before Dufty faces re-election and the parents posed for another picture which was circulated in Dufty's district via e-mail over the weekend.

Wilson introduced Tyler's story without any editorial comments on KGO-TV. But the next day, he made it a topic on his 2-4 p.m. KGO-AM 810 radio show. "The Dufty-Goldfader baby is, in my mind, a travesty. Or a potential travesty. Perhaps that's a better way of saying it," Wilson said on his radio show. At a Thursday noon news conference, city leaders including supervisor Tom Ammiano and several LGBT leaders called for Wilson to resign. Some used the term "hate speech" to describe Wilson's comments. Two hours later, at the beginning of his radio show Thursday, Wilson said he will not apologize for his comments, but he said he was sorry for the way he said them.

"I let some of my argument move toward the personal. Some of it was inappropriate, some was talk radio sarcastic cheap-shotting, and I did it several times. That was wrong and unfortunate," Wilson said. "I still believe the argument is a perfectly appropriate argument. I think the argument needs to take place about the number of directions we have gone with parenting and children."

Wilson said his job was in jeopardy: "I've been in the TV news business 35 years; I watch how things happen," he told the Chronicle. "All you've got to do is look at the Foley case, and you know how stuff becomes larger than life. It's entirely up to ABC 7 if they want me to resign; KGO will not ask me to resign."

KGO, both its TV and radio stations, said they would not fire Wilson. Wilson co-anchors KGO-TV's 6 p.m. newscast which has the more viewers than any other newscast at that hour, the Chronicle said, reaching about 78,000 households in May.

Late Thursday, Dufty sent an e-mail to Wilson and the media saying: "In no way do I want to see you resign or lose your position over this incident ... It troubles me that we live in a time of disposability. In other words, that people in public life, press, etc., make a mistake and then have no choice but to resign. I make mistakes and will undoubtedly make them in the future. I try to admit to them and learn from them."

[Chronicle: Barbs over baby spark a big fuss] [Video of the KGO story and Wilson's apology on the air]

Local radio Hall of Fame to induct 37

The Bay Area Radio Museum today (Oct. 13) announced the first group of inductees into the new Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame. The museum said in a press release that the selections were made following a year of study during which input from broadcast professionals, fans and historians was weighed to establish criteria and nominees for enshrinement. Here's the list of inductees:
    PIONEER ERA -- Preston D. Allen, Ralph R. Brunton, Hugh Barrett Dobbs, Wesley I. Dumm, Edna Fischer, Fred J. Hart, Charles David “Doc” Herrold, Harrison Holliway, Colin B. Kennedy, Carleton Morse, Johnny Patrick & Helen Troy, Sherwood Patterson, Al Pearce, Rev. George W. Phillips, Glenhall Taylor and Mel Venter.

    MODERN ERA -- Ken Ackerman, Ira Blue, Al “Jazzbeaux” Collins, Frank Dill, Tom Donahue, Jim Dunbar, James Gabbert, Al Hart, Pat Henry, Bill King, Jim Lange, Les Malloy, Dave McElhatton, Bill Moen, Gene Nelson, Jumpin’ George Oxford, Dr. Don Rose, Don Sherwood, Lon Simmons and Owen Spann.

The Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame will exist primarily on the Internet at www.barhof.com, although a permanent exhibit is planned at the old KRE radio studios in Berkeley, which are being refurbished by the California Historical Radio Society (CHRS).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Gay leaders seek apology from Wilson, KGO

Gay leaders are accusing anchorman and radio host Pete Wilson (pictured) of using hate-speech on his KGO-AM show to discuss a unique parenting relationship involving gay Supervisor Bevan Dufty. A news conference is planned for today (Oct. 12) at noon at which Supervisor Tom Ammiano and other leaders will demand an apology from Wilson and KGO.

Rebecca Goldfader, who is a lesbian, and Dufty, who is gay, plan to raise a baby girl Goldfader delivered Oct. 2. The couple also plan to date other people but intend to live together as they raise their daughter.

On his KGO-AM 810 talk-show Tuesday, Wilson called their choice to co-parent a child “a travesty.”

Wilson, who has been a San Francisco TV anchor for 29 years, said at the beginning of his radio show that he supports gay marriage, but he had a problem with this co-parenting relationship, where the parents have stated that they do not have a romantic relationship with each other.

“[A baby] is not an experiment,” Wilson said. “It is not an opportunity to see how far you can carry your views on parenting, alternative lifestyles or diversity in family structure,”

He condemned Dufty and Goldfader for “using a baby to make a statement,” going so far as to say their choice to have a child is “politically correct BS.”

The gay leaders who called today’s news conference said in a press release that Wilson crossed the line between commentary and hate-speech when he said: “Here’s an idea. We’ll have a 49er impregnate a team cheerleader and they can raise a mascot.”

Wilson took calls from listeners, some of whom agreed and others who criticized him.

The news conference was called by Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who is gay, and will include prominent members of the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community.

They want a public apology from Wilson and KGO, as well as the station’s help to “educate the public about the diverse families that call San Francisco and the Bay Area home,” the press release said.

Those who plan to speak at today’s noon news conference at City Hall include Ammiano, Assemblyman Mark Leno, Supervisor Aaron Peskin, LGBT Center Executive Director Judy Appel, SF Democratic Party Chair and Alice B. Toklas
LGBT Democratic Club Chair Scott Wiener, and Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club vice president Kelly Duggan.

KTVU Ch. 2 is first SF station to go HD

KTVU Channel 2 News made Bay Area television history Wednesday (Oct. 11) by becoming the first television station in the market to broadcast all local newscasts in high definition. Along with new HD studio cameras, KTVU has also unveiled a new set, HD graphics and high definition traffic and weather mapping. KTVU carries 38 1/2 hours of local news per week. “As the Bay Area News leader we’re very excited to be able to bring the benefits of high definition television to Bay Area news viewers. KTVU Channel 2 News is committed to giving our viewers the best local news viewing experience possible and high definition helps us achieve this,” said Tim McVay, VP and general manager.

MediaNews asks to delay trial for 2 months

MediaNews has asked federal judge Susan Illston for a two-month delay of the trial over the consolidation of the Bay Area's newspapers. San Francisco developer Clint Reilly (pictured) is suing, arguing that MediaNews Group's purchase of the Mercury News and Contra Costa Times, and its planned sale of stock to Hearst Corp., will create an illegal monopoly that will eliminate competition, raise ad rates and cause layoffs. According to the Mercury News, MediaNews said in a court filing Friday (Oct. 6) that it needs the extra time because it is tied up answering "extensive requests for additional information" from the Department of Justice over Hearst's involvement in MediaNews' purchase of the newspapers. The DOJ has yet to approve the Hearst part of the deal. A request to move the trial date from Feb. 26 to April 30 was submitted to Judge Susan Illston. Reilly has agreed to the request.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Marin plans new cable TV station

Marin County is planning to build a $1 million cable TV station within the next year that will offer three new channels of programming -- educational, local government and public access, according to the Marin Independent Journal. "I'd love to see a kind of local C-SPAN, where people can watch the deliberations of their government, and the public can engage in discourse," said County Supervisor Susan Adams, who serves as vice chairwoman of the Marin Telecommunications Agency board, which is setting up the station.

Black journalists honor Monroe, Allen

The Bay Area Black Journalists Association will hold a luncheon to honor Bryan Monroe and Rosie Allen today (Oct. 11) from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Carnelian Room on the 52nd floor of the downtown Bank of America Building, 555 California St.

Monroe (left) is president of the National Association of Black Journalists and was Knight Ridder's Assistant Vice President/News until that company closed earlier this year. Previously he was a deputy managing editor at the Mercury News, overseeing more than 200 journalists.

Allen (right) has been co-anchor of KGO-AM's afternoon news since 1984. She also was co-host of a weekly business program on KGO-TV for eight years.

Here's a link with ticket information for today's event.

Trial set in suit between weekly papers in SF

The Bay Guardian's lawsuit against the owners of the SF Weekly is scheduled for trial in San Francisco Superior Court starting July 16, 2007. The Guardian, headed by Bruce Brugmann (pictured), claims Village Voice Media is using profits generated at 16 other papers to subsidize illegally cheap ads in San Francisco in order to run the Guardian out of business. [PPC, Dec. 14: Guardian wins ruling in New Times suit]

SF Examiner to outsource part of circulation

The San Francisco Examiner is turning over part of its delivery to an outside company, American Circulations Innovations (ACI), according to a press release. The reason for the change wasn't given, but Examiner circulation vp Michael Phelps has acknowledged that it has been difficult to get carriers to stop delivery to residents who no longer want the free paper. The Examiner has had this problem at its papers in San Francisco, Washington and Baltimore. In addition, ACI will provide the Examiner chain with a variety of technologies designed to keep track of deliveries.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Merc tech writer Mike Langberg quits

Mike Langberg (pictured), the lead columnist for the Mercury News business section, has resigned and will take a position with a marketing and communications agency. Langberg has been at the Merc for 17 years and won numerous awards including the Best in Business award for column writing from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 2005. A press release says he is joining the TDA Group, "a high-tech marketing communications agency and custom publishing house," where he will "oversee and direct a range of marketing programs including custom publications, customer reference programs." [Langberg's final column]

Daniel Pearl documentary airs on HBO

Today (Oct. 10) would have been Daniel Pearl's 43rd birthday. Tonight at 8 HBO viewers will see the life story of the slain Wall Street Journal reporter who became passionate about journalism at Stanford and once worked at the San Francisco Business Times. Here's a link to the Chron's review of the documentary "The Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl: Documentary," which will be repeated throughout November. The film draws a parallel between the lives of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl (pictured) and Omar Sheikh, the man responsible for his brutal murder in 2002. Both men had unique ideas about the world. Pearl believed his work as a reporter promoted cultural tolerance while Omar Sheikh turned to violence in support of his beliefs. For filmmakers Ramesh Sharma and Ahmed Jamal, it was the "dramatic intersection" of the lives of both men that led them to make the documentary, according to NPR. The film is narrated by CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour. Amanpour is scheduled to speak Oct. 17 at Stanford about Pearl.