Friday, October 31, 2008

Student editor receives 5-day suspension

The Marin Independent Journal reports today that a student at Redwood High School in Larkspur who publishes an online conservative newspaper has been suspended from school for five days.

Why? Officials with the Tamalpais Union High School District said they could not discuss individual students or disciplinary actions. But Cyrus Massoumi (pictured) said he was suspended from school on Wednesday for distributing flyers directing students to his online newspaper, which he previously stored on a school computer server.

He said that there are articles in The Deadwood Barf -- a parody of the school newspaper The Redwood Bark -- that many people might find offensive. But Massoumi said school administrators went too far in their response, sending a security guard to remove him from class and asking him to undergo a psychological evaluation.

"They asked me to sign a 'no violence' contract, saying that if I refused they would call the police and have me declared a physical threat," said Massoumi, 17. "It's ridiculous."

Although Massoumi doesn't mention any Redwood students or teachers by name in his paper, he doesn't shy from satirical attacks on environmentalists, Israel, gay rights activists, women and his fellow Marin residents. (Photo credit: IJ, Frankie Frost)

KGO-AM switches to solar power

KGO-AM 810 on Thursday became the first major broadcast station in California to use solar power for its transmitter. Here's the transmitter building with solar panels as seen from the eastern approach to the Dumbarton Bridge. On the Ronn Owens show, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi flipped the switch that turned on the studio's new solar panels.

KGO-AM Transmitter Engineer Art Lebermann notes in his blog on the solar project that the concentrated photovoltaic panels "are mounted on dual-axis trackers that allow the panels -- like much of the plant world -- to follow the sun as it moves across the sky during the day. This means that unlike traditional fixed panels, the SolFocus panels are positioned for the best possible energy generation during all daylight hours."

Dellums asks for inquiry into Bailey case

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums has asked the California attorney general to conduct an independent investigation into the city police department's handling of the murder of newspaper editor Chauncey Bailey (pictured). The Chauncey Bailey Project, a coalition of Bay Area investigative journalists, has reported that the lead investigator in the case, Sgt. Derwin Longmire, ignored evidence linking former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusef Bey IV to Bailey's killing. Here's the project's report on Dellums' call for an outside probe.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lesbian, gay journalists present awards

The Northern California chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association held its Fall Honors reception Monday at the Intercontinental Hotel, according to the Bay Area Reporter. Recipients of the 2008 Excellence in Journalism Awards included, from left, Katherine Jarvis, a student at California State University, Chico who is this year's Bob Ross Student Scholarship winner; Greg Sherrell and Fernando Ventura from Energy 92.7; Cynthia Laird, news editor of the Bay Area Reporter; and Tony Russomanno, a former longtime reporter for KSFO, ABC7 and CBS5. (Photo by Rick Gerharter from the Bay Area Reporter Web site.)

Berkeley students create micro-news sites

Phil Bronstein reports that while spending a few days on the UC-Berkeley campus he learned about some micro-news sites that students and faculty have created. The sites are mainly focused on small areas in the East Bay, giving readers the kind of local news not found in newspapers. He notes that they were able to get the sites up and running in six weeks, thanks in part to a $500,000 Ford Foundation grant.

Here are the sites:

North Oakland


El Cerrito

Emeryville

Albany

West Oakland/West Berkeley

East Bay Corridor

San Francisco's Mission District

No pregame, postgame shows for Warriors

The Warriors have begun their season on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, but the broadcasts don't include a pregame or postgame shows. That's because the Warriors, owned by Chris Cohan, sued CSN Bay Area in April. The Warriors claimed that terms of their agreement with CSN were disclosed to the Giants when the baseball team bought a stake in CSN. Back in May, when the suit was filed, the SF Business Times noted:
    The lawsuit highlights the competitive environment between the Bay Area's pro teams over broadcast deals, which can involve millions of dollars and whose details are closely guarded secrets of any franchise. In addition to airing most Warriors games, Comcast SportsNet has deals with the San Francisco Giants, Oakland A's, San Jose Sharks and other local teams. ...

    The Giants get the highest rights fee, estimated at a few million dollars annually, followed by the A's, Sharks and Warriors, the sources said.

Kaiser Family Foundation to start wire service

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a Menlo Park-based nonprofit, said Wednesday it plans to start an independent news service to report on the U.S. health-care system and “the increasingly urgent political and policy debates surrounding it,” according to the San Francisco Business Times.

The free news service will "provide in-depth coverage and news at a time when cash-strapped news organizations are being forced to scale back their efforts in this crucial area.”

KFF said the new service will be based at its Washington, D.C., office and will be headed by two veteran health-care journalists:
    • Laurie McGinley, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and editor who previously was the Wall Street Journal’s deputy bureau chief for global economics and its national health-care policy correspondent, and

    • Peggy Girshman, an Emmy-winning editor and producer who previously was managing editor at National Public Radio and an executive editor at Congressional Quarterly.
According to the Business Times, KFF will enter into partnerships with news organizations to jointly produce and publish articles, and will provide free content for syndication to news organizations in the U.S. and elsewhere.

MediaNews exec: Tell the whole circ story

Matt Baldwin, MediaNews vice president of research, says in a memo posted by Romenesko that he doesn't understand "the newspaper industry's insistence on self-flagellation when it comes to reporting circulation declines" when broadcasters don't make the same announcements about their medium. "I cannot recall a single instance of radio announcing the number of listeners lost to fragmentation, new formats, HD or satellite radio services," Baldwin writes.

The story newspapers miss when they focus solely on printed newspaper circulation are the gains newspapers have seen on their Web sites.
    Metro Denver is a perfect example. According to the Denver Scarborough Report (a national media research firm), 1.3 million adults read a printed newspaper at least once a week. That number hasn’t fluctuated significantly in over three years, even with the circulation changes documented in the article. Here's what HAS changed: In that same three years, the weekly unique visitor average for the Denver newspaper’s family of websites has grown from 827,582 to 1,286,070. Even with some duplication between print and online, there’s no question that the Denver newspaper total audience (print plus online) is at an all-time high.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Former CCTimes editor to El Paso Times

Former Contra Costa Times executive editor Chris Lopez has been named editor of the El Paso Times, according to the AP.

On Oct. 20, 2006, then-Coco Times publisher John Armstrong announced that Lopez had become redundant and would be replaced by Oakland Tribune/ANG editor Kevin Keene. Since then Lopez has had a stint at The Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs and served as communications director at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

Chron circulation down 7%; Merc off 1.9%

The Chron lost 7 percent of its daily circulation to 339,430 copies compared to last year while Sunday was down a hair more, 7.4 percent to 398,116, according to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations as reported by E&P. The Mercury News was down slightly, 1.9 percent to 224,199 and Sunday was down 4.3 percent to 241,518.

Ex Merc reporter ashamed by media bias

Former Mercury News reporter Michael S. Malone, now an ABCNews.com columnist, writes that he is embarrassed to tell people that he is a journalist these days.
    The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I've found myself shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer. ...

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those people who think the media has been too hard on, say, Gov. Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to Alaska to rifle through her garbage. This is the Big Leagues, and if she wants to suit up and take the field, then Gov. Palin better be ready to play ...

    No, what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side -- or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for Senators Obama and Biden.
Malone, a fourth-generation newspaperman, is also shocked by the declining standards in the news business, such as how journalists on the national level face no consequences after they're caught stealing or faking stories. Or how opinion is now finding its way into news columns. And perhaps his biggest objection is how the traditional media is refusing to cover both sides of the election story.
    Why, for example, to quote the lawyer for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., haven't we seen an interview with Sen. Obama's grad school drug dealer -- when we know all about Mrs. McCain's addiction? Are Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko that hard to interview? All those phony voter registrations that hard to scrutinize? And why are Sen. Biden's endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?
(Photo credit: Santa Clara University Web site)

Diaz explains election editorial process

"Our goal is not so much to turn elections as to offer readers an independent analysis of campaigns and ballot measures that can be complex and confusing -- sometimes by design," Chron editorial page editor John Diaz explains in a column on Sunday.

Diaz also notes:
    "[F]or all the Republicans who complain about newspaper bias, I offer this fact: The surge of endorsements for Democrat Obama is the exception, not the rule. Since 1940, the Republican candidate has been endorsed by a majority of U.S. dailies in all but three elections - 1964 (Johnson over Goldwater), 1992 (Clinton over Bush and Perot) and 2004 (Kerry over Bush).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

No KFRC farewell show

The KFRC farewell show we hinted at earlier this week is not to be. Celeste Perry, one of the on-air hosts who lost her job Monday as the FM station prepares to simulcast KCBS-AM, tells the Bay Area Radio Digest it's not going to happen. "We recorded little goodbye promos after we were unceremoniously laid off on Monday morning," says the former morning co-host (fourth from left).

Besides Perry, program coordinator Cory Callewaert, morning man Dave Sholin (center), morning show producer James Baker, mid-day host Sue Hall (second from left) and afternoon host Jay Coffey (right) lost their jobs Monday, according to AllAccess.com. Also departing is marketing and production director Christopher Denatale.

Remaining with CBS Radio/San Francisco are imaging director/night personality Steve Moore (left) and production manager Tim Jordan. KFRC general sales manager Karl Isotalo will become interim national sales manager for the simulcast and KFRC local sales manager Melissa Galliani will become new business sales manager.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bailey police investigation questioned

On Sunday, the Chauncey Bailey Project will report that Yusuf Bey IV, the former head of the now-defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery, played a larger role in the Aug. 2, 2007, killing of Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey (pictured) than previously known, according to a preview story posted on the Merc's Web site tonight.

The project also will report that Sgt. Derwin Longmire, the lead investigator in Bailey's killing, never documented in his case notes key evidence linking Bey IV to deeper involvement in the crime.

"Something's fishy. It appears (Bey IV) has some serious involvement, both before and after" the killing, said Richard Leo, a criminal law professor and author of a book on interrogations who said he found "a glaring problem" in the way Longmire worked the case, adding that numerous questions about the complete picture of what happened remain unanswered.

Here's a link to the preview story posted tonight.

Journalist accused of Chevron ties

We'll caution you up front that we only have half of the story here, but the environmental group Amazon Watch put out a press release today calling on Chevron and San Francisco journalist Pat Murphy to "divulge their financial relationship in light of disclosures that Murphy's website accepts fees for editorial control of news articles written under Murphy's byline."

For many years, Murphy has operated the Web site San Francisco Sentinel. We've sent him an e-mail to get his side of the story.

On Monday, Chevron goes on trial in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on charges that it helped the Nigerian military shoot and kill unarmed villagers who had taken over an oil platform in an act of civil disobedience. Murphy was slated to cover the trial as a self-styled "independent" journalist with a press pass from the San Francisco Police Department.

Amazon Watch says in its press release: "Murphy's website, the San Francisco Sentinel, has the look and feel of an online newspaper and does not make it clear that it accepts fees for control of editorial content. For several months Murphy has been posting a steady stream of commentary and misleading facts to discredit indigenous groups suing Chevron for environmental contamination in Ecuador without disclosing he is being paid."

UPDATE Oct. 24, 7:15 P.M.Pat Murphy, Sentinel editor and publisher, sent us an e-mail linking to this response in which he says "The environmental front groups Amazon Defense Coalition and Amazon Watch continue to make false accusations against me and the San Francisco Sentinel."

While making a general denial, Murphy didn't answer our question about whether he was being paid by Chevron as Amazon Watch claims. We asked him again to answer that question. We've also e-mailed Amazon Watch to ask them what evidence they have supporting their claim that Murphy was on Chevron's payroll.

Murphy says in his response that the Amazon Defense Fund and Amazon Watch "stand to gain billions of dollars from the lawsuits by Steven Donziger, Pablo Fajardo and the law firm of Kohn, Swift & Graf — if their suits against Chevron are successful."

UPDATE Oct. 24, 11:15 P.M. Murphy responded: "I am not being paid by Chevron."

UPDATE Oct. 28, 7:51 P.M. Mitch Anderson, corporate accountability campaigner at Amazon Watch, responded: "As our press release states, Murphy has admitted on his web site that he accepts payment from companies to write favorable articles about them. Also on his web site he admits to writing articles for Don Solem & Associates, a public relations and marketing firm that lists Chevron as a client on its web site. We are asking Chevron and Murphy to explain the relationship between the two of them."

Sonoma Valley Sun expands to twice a week

While other papers are reducing days of publication, the Napa-based Sonoma Valley Sun is expanding from once a week to twice a week.

Starting next week, the Sun will publish on Tuesdays and Fridays. Previously the paper had only published on Thursdays.

“The Friday edition of the Sun will have everything the Thursday edition has had: news, opinion, letters, social scene, community bulletins, event calendar, feature stories, business stories, your favorite columnists, sports, classified ads, and the Poodle Doodle, of course," Publisher Bill Hammett said in a Sun story.

The new Tuesday edition of the Sun is to include many of the same features, but with expanded coverage of local sports, investigative news pieces, and some unique features of its own. “The increase in editions,” said Hammett, “is part of our continuing commitment to serve our community with news and information essential for active participation in civic affairs.”

The newspaper, owned by Three House MultiMedia, also offers news on a daily basis on KSVY-FM 91.3 and on SVTV Channel 27 on Comcast cable.

The Sun says it will continue to publish 15,700 copies on Fridays. The paper's initial press run on Tuesdays will be 5,000. It will be delivered to targeted households that have indicated an interest in receiving a newspaper twice a week, and to those households who have specified delivery through donations to our organization.

The expansion comes at a time when other newspapers are cutting back. For instance, the Palo Alto Weekly went from twice-a-week to once a week starting this month.

Don't call this SF native an "anchor babe"

Last month we posted a link to a profile of Rachel Maddow, a Bay Area product who is raising the ratings at MSNBC. Now here's a profile of another former Bay Area journalist who is becoming a cable news star, Jenna Lee of the Fox Business Channel. Chuck Barney of the Contra Costa Times says that Lee has been referred to as an "anchor babe," a "bombshell" and the "fox at Fox Business News," but she rejects all of those titles. Barney says Lee, 28, has been showing her smarts, her hustle and her stamina in recent weeks as she reports on the meltdown on Wall Street.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More about KCBS's new FM signal

An update to the item below about CBS Radio's plans to simulcast KCBS All News 740 on KFRC 106.9: KFRC's Dave Sholin, Celeste Perry and Sue Hall have been let go, but they will return this week (we don't know when) to do a farewell show. According to promos, KCBS will be heard on KFRC starting at 7:40 a.m. (get it?) on Monday, Oct. 27. Since KFRC's on-air staff has been let go, the station is playing music and recorded liners until the switch occurs. KCBS gm and CBS market manager Doug Harvill said he's been thinking about putting KCBS on the FM dial for years.

Rebecca Corral: Are there listeners who don't listen to AM and only get their sounds, their radio from FM?

Harvill: Yes.

Corrall: What? Why?

Harvill: That's a question that perplexes me because I love the AM dial. And most people do. There is a small minority that, you know, may be exclusive to one band or the other. What this is about is people who prefer FM, or want the audio quality of it or listening to you guys in stereo. We're going to make it available to them. This is such a terrific service. And this is a way to grow it and make it available to more people. ...

Corrall: So since we will be heard on FM, assuming there is a different audience in FM, will KCBS's sound begin to change?

Harvill: I would like to keep that a surprise.

Off mic: Even away from us?

Corrall: Are you going to tell us?

Harvill: Yeah I will, at the appropriate time. There's some things that we will do to update the sound. You know, not changing reporters or what we're doing or the way we report the news. But some of the things you wouldn't expect -- for example making sure that all of our reporters have digital recorders so on FM it sounds that much better. The production packages, the music you hear between the elements needs to be updated, and put in stereo.

Newsroom changes in Gilroy, Morgan Hill

Mainstreet Media, owner of the Gilroy Dispatch and the Morgan Hill Times, has announced some changes in the newsrooms of the two newspapers in southern Santa Clara County.

Sheila Sanchez is stepping down as editor of the Morgan Hill Times on Nov. 7 to spend more time with her family.

Gilroy Dispatch City Editor Robert Airoldi will replace Sanchez.

Michael Moore (no, not that Michael Moore -- look at the picture!) will join the Morgan Hill team after six years as a journalist in Georgia.

At the Gilroy Dispatch, online editor Christopher Quirk will replace Airoldi as city editor.

And, Nicole Baldocchi is joining the staff of the Gilroy Dispatch as a reporter.

The moves were reported in the Gilroy Dispatch and Morgan Hill Times.

Monday, October 20, 2008

KCBS 740 will be heard on FM starting next week

KCBS All News 740 will also be heard on 106.9 FM starting Oct. 27, giving the station a chance to reach new listeners on FM, the station announced today.

"With this announcement we are ensuring our listeners will have access to the superior news and information they've come to rely on no matter how they choose to receive their audio content," said Doug Harvill, senior vice president and market manager for CBS Radio San Francisco. "And not only that, having the station on the FM radio platform will afford us the opportunity to amass even more consumers of the station. The benefits of this move are plentiful -- from improved sound quality and ubiquitous distribution, to increased brand exposure."

106.9 FM had been home to classic hits KFRC for the past year. Before that it was the home of Free FM, CBS Radio's experiment into edgy talk radio.

The KFRC staff was notified this morning. "We lost some people who we really love and respect here today. That was tough," said Harvill. "But knowing what we're building for the future eases that pain and gets me excited."

The classic hits music will continue to be available as streaming audio at KFRC.com, and on 106.9's HD 2 channel for those listeners with HD radios.

"We've always had a great product on KCBS," said Harvill, "and we're thrilled more people will be able to experience what in excess of one million already do on a weekly basis."

In addition to AM and FM signals, KCBS will add its signal to the AOL radio service.

MediaNews exploring outsourcing in all areas

MediaNews Group chief executive Dean Singleton told a publishers group today that his company was exploring outsourcing in nearly every aspect of their operations -- and that even copyediting and design jobs may be sent overseas.

"In today's world, whether your desk is down the hall or around the world, from a computer standpoint, it doesn't matter," Singleton said after his speech to the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association meeting in Aventura, Fla.

MediaNews, which owns 11 Bay Area dailies including the Mercury News, is well known for cost-cutting efforts.

"One thing we're exploring is having one news desk for all of our newspapers in MediaNews ... maybe even offshore," he said during the speech.

Here's the story from AP.

Merc may move some of its operations

Another MediaNews Group newspaper may be moving to a smaller home. In the past couple of years, MNG has relocated the San Mateo County Times, Oakland Tribune, Santa Cruz Sentinel and Palo Alto Daily News to leased locations. Now it appears the Mercury News may be next.

Publisher Mac Tully says he has hired a broker to sell the paper's headquarters near 880 and Brokaw Road. The Merc has operated out of that location since 1966.

A story Friday indicated that the Merc might move about 400 of its employees to a new location and keep its printing presses and other post-production equipment on the current site, which is about 32 acres.

A constant rumor, however, is that the Merc is looking to move its printing to the new plant that Canadian printing company Transcontinental is building in Fremont to service the Chronicle. The plant is larger than what the Chron needs, which has fueled speculation that one or more MediaNews papers might be printed there as well. (See item below.)

Tully said the Merc could either sell about two-thirds of the site, or sell the entire property and lease back a third for the production facility. An adjacent 18-acre property was sold by the Mercury News' previous owner last year for about $27 million. That property is now being developed for a new Lowe's home improvement store. (Photo credit: AP, Mario Jose Sanchez, Dec. 4, 2006)

Opening of Chron printing plant delayed?

For a couple of years now, the Chron was supposed to switch its printing from its existing plants to a new, non-union operation in Fremont in Feburary 2009. The switch was to take place on the day that the Teamster contract for the paper's printers expired. But hiring some 300 new printers hasn't been easy. Particularly since the union guys work for $28 to $38 an hour while Transcon is trying to hire people at $15 to $18 an hour. Now this ad appears indicating Transcon has hired Manpower to staff its Fremont pressroom. More importantly, the plant's opening is now set for "Summer 2009," not February.

NYT editor's father dies at Stanford Hospital

New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, who grew up in San Mateo, lost his father George M. Keller, 84, on Friday from complications of knee surgery at Stanford Hospital. The elder Keller moved up through the ranks at Stanford Oil Company of California (Socal) to the position of chief executive officer. In 1984, he led Socal in the unprecedented takeover of Gulf Oil for $13 billion. For more information, see the San Mateo County Times obit.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

KFOG's Dave Morey to sign off Dec. 19

Longtime KFOG morning host Dave Morey told his audience on Friday that he was moving to Michigan and his last show would be Dec. 19. He plans to continue doing his 10@10 segment on tape. Morey, who has been in radio in the Bay Area for 39 years, notified his bosses four months ago of his decision. "My contract was coming up, and I had to make a decision to sign on for another long time, because that's the way they like to do it, or to go ahead and make the move now," he told the Merc. Morey said he bought a house on a lake in Michigan where he plans to spend his retirement. The house will include a studio where he will tape the 10@10 segments.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Berkeley Rep raises 6K for high school paper

Berkeley Repeertory Theater, which is presenting a play about students who volunteer for the Berkeley High School newspaper, has announced that its audiences have donated $6,000 to bail out the real Berkeley High paper, The Jacket, which is having money problems.

"We're so proud of our patrons and so glad that we could be of help to local teens," said Susan Medak, managing director of Berkeley Rep. "After each performance of our current show, the audience has been encouraged to help Save The Jacket through old-fashioned civic engagement: by putting donations in a coffee can on their way out of the theatre. People have responded with tremendous generosity. They've already contributed $6,150 — enough to keep the paper alive for at least another year — and there are still five shows left in the show's run!"

The Berkeley Rep is presenting "Yellowjackets," written by Berkeley High graduate Itamar Moses. "Eleven young actors create a compelling collision of race and class that forces us to examine familiar surroundings with fresh eye," the Berkeley Rep says. Here's a link for more information.

Local stations plan analog shut off test

TV stations in the Bay Area will conduct a soft analog shut-off test on Tuesday, Oct. 21 for about one minute at 6:15 p.m. The test will consist of signal tones followed by a graphic that will say "ready" for viewers who can receive a digital signal (digital TVs, converter boxes or cable) and a "not ready" for viewers of an analog over-the-air signal. Viewers will be directed to the www.dtv.gov Web site for more information. The FCC will also be staffing its call center. The Bay Area is estimated to have about 200,000 over-the-air households. A previous test in Wilmington, N.C., involved 1,000 to 20,000 households, according to Broadcasting & Cable.

Chron carriers cited for theft of free papers

The Berkeley Daily Planet reports that two men who were delivering the Chron were cited Wednesday for stealing free newspapers. According to the Planet, the circulation manager of the East Bay Express watched as the two men scooped up free circulation newspapers from racks near Solano Avenue. The two suspects were charged with theft of free publications, driving on the wrong side of the road and driving with expired plates. Recycling centers are paying 8 cents a pound for recycled newspapers.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Schechner, Lobertini sue KPIX for age, sex bias

Two veteran KPIX CBS 5 reporters, John Lobertini and Bill Schechner, who were laid off along with three other on-air personalities in March, sued the station today alleging age and sex discrimination.

Their San Francisco Superior Court lawsuit (CGC-08-480933) says the CBS-owned station "designed its workforce reduction process to eliminate older employees" and targeted "only male on-air talent" in making layoffs.

Before the downsizing, KPIX’s on-air talent pool consisted of 19 women and 17 men.

Others caught in the same round of layoffs March 31 were Manny Ramos, 56, Tony Russomanno, 57, and Rick Quan, 51. No female on-air reporters or anchors were let go, the plaintiffs' attorney, John McGuinn, told the Chronicle.

Schechner, 66, was at KPIX for 20 years while John Lobertini, 48, was there for nine. Neither has found a new job.

When contacted for a response, KPIX spokesperson Akilah Monifa said, “… the claims have no merit and we look forward to vigorously defending ourselves.”

The following is from a statement issued by the plaintiff's attorney:
    John McGuinn, Schechner's attorney, said, "The criteria KPIX used to accomplish its downsizing discriminated against its older employees: out of 240 employees, 14 were let go whose average age is 51.9. The remaining 226 employees' average age is 43.9. The statistical likelihood that there could be such a disparity in age, if age were not a factor in KPIX's decision, is less than 1/3 of 1 percent.

    According to McGuinn, all five of the fired KPIX reporters are men. The day before the layoff, the KPIX Web site listed 36 on-air talent: 19 women and 17 men. Five of the 17 men were let go. No women were let go.

    McGuinn specializes in discrimination law, and several years ago won a 6-figure judgment in a similar case brought by ABC7 reporter Steve Davis.

    Schechner is a 20-year veteran at KPIX. He worked at the station from 1976 to 1981 and again from 1993 to 2008. In the interim, Schechner worked at NBC News as a national correspondent for the "NBC Nightly News" and was co-anchor of "NBC News Overnight."

    He has anchored early morning and mid-day newscasts, covered politics, the arts, Patty Hearst, poverty, the murder of George Moscone, inner city violence, gay marriage and the lives of young people. He's reported world news and filed a regular TV column, "Schechner's Journal."

    He began on Bay Area TV as a reporter on KQED's "Newsroom" program from 1972 to 1976.

    "I've been around for a long time," Schechner said. "I know the history of the Bay Area — what's changed, what hasn't. My goal has always been to give voice to those who are often ignored. I wasn't finished when they laid me off. I simply want to go back."

    In the 80s and early 90s, Schechner was an anchor and national correspondent for NBC News. He's been recognized for his easy on-air manner and honored for his writing and story telling ability with two Emmys, a duPont Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award and the Humanitas Prize.

    "I'm not ready to stop. There are still stories I want to do," Schechner added.
At right are Linda Ellerbee and Bill Schechner from "NBC News Overnight," the first national all-night news program.

Some links:

Ballots in the mail on Guild unit merger

Ballots are going out this week that ask members of the Northern California Media Workers Guild and the San Jose Newspaper Guild to approve a merger, according to the Media Workers Web site. The ballots are due Oct. 31. The combination of Northern California and San Jose will create one of the largest Guild locals in the country. It will encompass about 2,600 represented members of bargaining units statewide. Members will be asked to approve a merger agreement along with new bylaws to govern the combined local. E&P has a story about the merger today.

Napa paper picketed over McCain endorsement


More than 100 Democrats marched to the Napa Valley Register building Monday night with picket signs and chants of "Change your minds! Change your minds!" a day after the newspaper endorsed John McCain, according to a report in the Register.

“They have the freedom to endorse whomever they wish, but we’re out to show our support for Barack Obama,” said Marita Dorenbecher, Democrats of Napa Valley publicity chair.

"We feel that the Register is not accurately representing the voters in the county of Napa,” the Register quoted Dorenbecher as saying.

According to the Registrar of Voters, 47.5 percent of Napa County voters are registered as Democrats, and Republicans make up 29 percent of registered Napa County voters.

The Register, which is owned by Lee Enterprises, has a six-member editorial board, but only five names appeared under the McCain editorial. Demonstrators accused Publisher Brenda Speth of overriding a decision by the majority of editorial board members.

Speth, in an interview with Register reporter Jillian Jones, said the board followed “the same process we do for every editorial board,” which is to hold a discussion and a poll on a number of issues. The final opinion in the editorial, she said, often does not reflect a consensus among board members.

“At the end of the day, the publisher’s role is to make a final decision if there is not a consensus,” Speth said. “I made the final decision, and I stand behind the process, and I welcome the conversation to continue on the Editorial page and on our Web site."

Pulitzer winner returns to roots at Mtn. View High

Jose Antonio Vargas, now a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at the Washington Post, returned last week to his alma mater, Mountain View High School, to talk to students about the importance of a good education. He's seen here talking with his mentor, former Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School Superintendent Rich Fischer. The Los Altos Town Crier covered his talk:
    Vargas, mixing humor with humility and an ability to poke fun at his naiveté, described going to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and expecting to see the Gap.

    He found himself drawn to writing stories about the powerless and the forgotten.

    “I wanted to go to the bad part of Washington, D.C.,” he said. “The idea of a powerful city with powerless people intrigued me.”
More. (Photo credit: Liz Nyberg, Town Crier)

Blogger who makes money offers advice

PCMAG.com offers some tips from Gawker blogger Nick Douglas on launching a successful blog, from choosing a platform to landing a book deal. Douglas edited the Silicon Valley gossip blog Valleywag in 2006 and that blog is part of Gawker's empire. Among the tips:
  • "Revel in weird topics. Look at these guys who love beards, or the cheese hounds at CurdNerds. These blogs are so much more fun to read than some guy reporting cell-phone news."

  • "And if you just provide links with summaries, they click one of those links and never come back. To become a source worth coming back to, you must either provide more and better links than everyone else (and you can't beat a Google News search at that) or write original stories."

  • "Give yourself a year to learn how to blog. You will be wrong a lot, and with any luck people will yell at you every time."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Marin IJ switches to two-section paper

The Marin IJ switched to a two-section paper (down from four) on Tuesday. It debuted a new section called Plus, which combines
features and Sports with obits and what's left of classified. The front section is all news, front loaded by Marin content and anchored on the penultimate page by Opinion. Saturdays and Sundays will still have four sections, but weekdays will be two.

Sonoma paper shuts down printing division

Sonoma Valley Publishing, the commercial printing division owned by The Sonoma Index-Tribune, will be shutting down as of Oct. 31, said partner-owner Bill Lynch.

The twice weekly Index-Tribune, SONOMA Magazine and other publications will be printed off site while all other local operations will continue on as before.

"The printing industry has evolved in this digital age. Energy efficiency and other innovations in press technology have made our printing equipment obsolete and our production division unsustainable," Lynch said. "We have chosen instead to concentrate our energies and resources on the continued evolution of our newspaper, magazine and other printed products, as well as our new digital-age web-based products."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NBC Bay Area to overhaul Web site

In a marked departure from the common practice of TV station Web sites serving as adjuncts for the on-air product, KNTV NBC Bay Area's Web site will become a news aggregation site called "Locals Only," according to MediaWeek.

"Our goal was to create a new type of user experience that's less an extension of our TV stations and more of an online destination for the latest local news information and entertainment," said John Wallace, president for NBC Local Media.

The site will go by the new URL nbcbayarea.com and it will aggregate content from a variety of sources including print and online. Here's a look at nbcchicago.com which went live on Monday.

Merc editorial board speaks at bench-bar-media

The Santa Clara County Bench-Bar-Media-Police Committee will hear from three members of the Mercury News Editorial Board at its meeting Wednesday, Oct. 22. Editorial pages editor Barb Marshman, editorial writer John Fensterwald and commentary page editor/editorial writer Ed Clendaniel will speak at the dinner meeting. Meetings are for committee members only and the discussion is off the record. The purpose of the committee is to improve communications between the four entities. To join the committee or for more information, contact Gloria Alicia Chacon at (408) 882-2721. Social hour is at 5:30, dinner at 6:30 and the program is at 7:30 at the Three Flames Restaurant, 1547 Meridian Ave., San Jose.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Reporter Liz Gonzales dead at 51

Liz Gonzales, a former newswoman and morning anchor with KPIX, died of cancer on Wednesday, the Chronicle reports. She was 51.

She worked for about five years at Channel 5 before leaving in 1992 after the birth of her first child. With her husband, news photographer Bob Goldsborough, she founded Gonwest Video Productions. Gonwest created news shows for every major network. Their last piece, Ted Koppel's four-part series on China, aired this summer.

The rosary will be recited at 6 p.m. Sunday at St. Patrick's Church in Larkspur. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Patrick's.

Friday, October 10, 2008

East Bay, SF business pubs merge, 15 jobs cut

American City Business Journals has laid off 15 employees from its Pleasanton office and will merge its East Bay and San Francisco Businss Times editions.

Today's edition of the East Bay Business Times was its last edition. Beginning Oct. 17, East Bay subscribers will receive the San Francisco Business Times, which will include features from the East Bay edition.

“We started the East Bay Business Times 10 years ago during the height of the dot.com period. Despite a lot of hard work by those who worked in East Bay over the years, we have struggled to find firm financial footing,” said Ray Shaw, chairman of American City Business Journals, parent company to both newspapers and 39 other U.S. business journals. "Today’s economic climate only exacerbates a tough situation."

"This is a sad day for ACBJ," Shaw said in a statement. "While I’m reluctant to forecast the future, I can say that I don’t anticipate any other mergers of our business journals. East Bay and San Francisco have a very close geographical proximity not duplicated anywhere else in the company. And the two markets have become increasingly interdependent."

The company will keep its Pleasanton office open and maintain a staff there of 10.

The East Bay operation will be headed up by East Bay Business Times Publisher Mike Consol and Editor Al Pacciorini, whose new titles will be associate publisher and bureau chief, respectively.

Bernie Ward shipped to Oklahoma prison

Disgraced KGO-AM liberal talk show host Bernie Ward has been transferred from a federal detention facility in Dublin to a prison in Oklahoma, according to ABC7's Dan Noyes. Ward is serving a seven-year sentence for child pornography.

New ad director at The Reporter in Vacaville

Gary Lunsford, an advertising sales trainer and coach for the Northern California Community Newspapers, part of the California Newspapers Partnership of MediaNews Group, has been named as the new advertising director for The Reporter in Vacaville. He begins his new job Monday, replacing Debi Tavey, who served in the position for 12 years, according to a story in The Reporter.

"Debi will be missed and we wish her the best in her endeavors," said Reporter publisher Gregg McConnell.

"We're very fortunate to have someone of Gary's caliber to fill this critical position," he continued. "These are challenging times for nearly every business sector but particularly challenging for newspapers. The industry is in the process of reinventing its business model to meet the market's demand of multi-channel solutions for our advertisers."

Lunsford, 51, who joined MediaNews in 2007 after 17 years in sales and management with McClatchy Newspapers and the Modesto Bee, looks forward to his new job.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Broadcasters prepare for The Big One

Broadcasting & Cable has a story that describes the different ways stations are preparing for a major earthquake. For instance:
    • KPIX has built up its San Jose newsroom, which features a direct link to the broadcast tower.

    • KTVU vp and gm Tim McVay says Channel 2 is prepared to broadcast from sister KICU in San Jose should the main station be shut down.

    • KTTV Los Angeles veteran reporter Christina Gonzalez keeps an overnight bag stuffed with fire-resistant gear, water pills, a knife and a toothbrush, along with a printout of state laws regarding reporter access to disaster zones, in the truck for emergency reporting.

    • KCBS-TV Los Angeles is looking into an out-of-state telephone hub should all in-state communications fail;

    • Some news directors send trucks home with photographers each night, eating the cost of wear and tear and gas for the luxury of having the rigs spread throughout the market, not isolated at headquarters.

    • KPIX vp/news director Dan Rosenheim says an operations manager has repurposed a Slingbox (a consumer product that allows viewers to watch local television remotely) to get live shots from some 50 fixed cameras around the market. “We do it quite routinely now,” he says.

    • KPIX has can air KCBS radio hosts in their studio should the TV station be unable to get its talent on-air.

San Quentin inmates revive newspaper

The Marin Independent Journal reports that the newspaper at San Quentin has resumed publication after a hiatus of several years. The 7,000-circulation San Quentin News is written and edited by a staff of inmates, and guided by veteran journalist John Eagan of Mill Valley and a board of outside advisers.

"I thought it was a bit of San Quentin history that could and should be restored," Warden Robert Ayers told the IJ. "And I think they're doing a great job. It's only going to get better."

Prison officials said they do not censor copy or interfere with editorial decisions, and the inmates agreed with that claim.

"I've got a good feel for what's important around here and what the guys want to know," said editor Kenneth Brydon, 50, who is serving a life term for a murder in Ventura County. "We're trying to get these guys what's most important."

Monday, October 6, 2008

People Meter results released two days early

Arbitron got a letter from New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo on Thursday threatening to seek a court order to block the rollout of its portable people meter (ppm) for measuring radio audiences, set for Wednesday. So Arbitron decided to release its PPM results this morning for several markets including San Francisco. These numbers, for listeners 18-34, were included in an Arbitron press release. It should be noted that 18-34 is a demographic favored by advertisers, but stations like KGO-AM often use the 12-and-older numbers when claiming their market rankings.
                  Persons 18-34 AQH Share Ranker
San Francisco Radio Metro
Monday-Sunday 6am-Midnight
September PPM Survey Month (August 21-September 17)

Rank Outlet Format AQH Share
1 KMEL-FM Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio 10.8
2 KSOL-FM Mexican Regional 7.3
3 KYLD-FM Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio 6.3
4 KRZZ-FM Mexican Regional 5.9
5 KITS-FM Alternative 4.9
6 KOIT-FM Adult Contemporary 4.2
7 KSAN-FM Classic Rock 4.1
8 KIOI-FM Adult Contemporary 3.9
9 KQED-FM News Talk Information 3.7
10 KEZR-FM Hot Adult Contemporary 3.5
The controversy over PPM is whether the meters, which are worn like a pager and detect audio tones stations transmit, are as reliable as the hand written diaries Arbitron has used for years. Earlier surveys using PPMs showed lower ratings for stations appealing to blacks and Hispanics, and those stations asked Cuomo to open an investigation into Arbitron's methods.

All News KCBS 740 available on FM HD

At the top of every hour, All News 740 identifies itself as "KCBS and KCBS-HD," but never promotes its HD signal beyond that. No frequency is given for KCBS-HD or information about how a listener can find the HD signal.

Turns out that the all-news station is being transmitted by its sister station, KFRC-FM 106.9, as one of its HD signals, 106.9-2.

The range of KCBS 106.9-2 isn't as great as 50,000-watt, clear channel KCBS 740. But where KCBS-HD can be heard, the sound is as crisp and clear as KQED-FM. Of course the problem is that you need an HD radio receiver, and sales have been slower than expected.

A trivia note — the call letters KFRC, which were first used in the San Francisco market in 1924, stand for "Known For Radio Clearness."

BTW, KFRC morning man Dave Sholin (pictured) is now doing a music segment for KCBS All News 740 on the weekends where he plays a few seconds of the top song on several charts, Country, Top 40, Christian Rock, etc.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Journalists to discuss Matthew Shepard case

Five Bay Area journalists will discuss the death of Matthew Shepard and the state of gay journalism at a Commonwealth Club forum on Monday, Oct. 6.

Ten years ago, on Oct. 7, 1998, Shepard was brutally beaten on a road outside Laramie, Wyo. and died five days later. The same day, the "CBS Evening News" featured the headline of the Bay Area Reporter, a gay community newspaper, which declared “No Obits,” its first issue in 17 years where no obituaries appeared.

Participants include:
    David Lamble, KPFA host and Bay Area Reporter writer;
    David Kligman, former AP reporter whose story captured the significance of the "no obits" headline in the Reporter;
    Ed Walsh, KGO-TV assignment editor and longtime investigative journlist;
    Cynthia Laird, Bay Area Reporter editor;
    Tony Russomanno, former KPIX and KGO-TV reporter;
    Jim Hammer, prosecutor in the death of Karen Whipple, murdered by out of control dogs in the hall of her apartment house; • Tommi Avicolli Mecca, writer for the Philadelphia Gay News and today a community activist;
    Rev. Jim Mitulski, formerly pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco;
    Jeff Sheehy, author of the Equal Rights Ordinance and today, a spokesman for the UCSF Medical Center.
The forum is co-sponsored by the National Lesbian, Gay Journalists Association, Northern California Chapter. Here's a link for ticket information.

Hoax shows pitfalls of citizen journalism

Yesterday's false report on CNN's citizen journalism site about Steve Jobs' heart attack caused Apple stock to initially nosedive 10 percent before the hoax was discovered. CNN quickly yanked the report, but the incident shows the pitfalls of allowing any Internet user to post news without editing or filtering.

Stories on the incident include:
    • Heather Havenstein of ComputerWorld.com raises the question of whether CNN has sufficiently distinguished the difference between its reporting and that of its citizen journalists.

    • James Callan of Bloomberg (and others) are reporting that the SEC is investigating the incident and that CNN is cooperating, but the network hasn't said whether it has revealed the hoaxster's IP address to the government. Callan also points out that Henry Blodget, the former Merrill Lynch & Co. Internet analyst who is now a blogger, drew attention to the iReport story by posting an item on his Silicon Alley Insider Web site.

    • Blodget later posted this item, after the hoax was revealed, saying "'Citizen journalism' apparently just failed its first significant test." Blodget also writes, "It's possible that reports like this will significantly damage CNN's credibility, and we wouldn't be surprised if this caused them to pull back from association with 'citizen journalism.'"

    • John C. Dvorak of MarketWatch.com says the incident will probably result in a "re-evaluation of the idea of so-called citizen journalists, with a lot of criticism coming their way. My advice: Get over it. We're stuck with what we have. We are not going to be able to control bad reporting, disinformation, hoaxes and lies in this Internet age. It's like a bad forest fire; it can be contained but not controlled. And the likelihood of this sort of thing's being an everyday occurrence is fairly low."

    • Betsy Schiffman of Wired.com explains how the hoax had a big impact ("the subject of Jobs' health is exactly the sort of front-burner item that would tend to catch fire") and she quotes an attorney as saying the perpetrator could face criminal charges and possibly prison time.
(Photo credit: AP)

Valleywag cuts 60% of its staff

The snarky tech gossip blog Valleywag has posted a scoop about itself — it is laying off 60 percent of its staff. Gone are associate editors Nicholas Carlson and Jackson West and reporter Melissa Gira Grant.

Gawker Media, owner of Valleywag and several other sites, is laying off 19 of its 133 editorial staff in anticipation of a recession. Gawker owner Nick Denton said that while sales are up 30 percent from a year earlier, and clients in the entertainment and consumer electronics industries are "relatively well insulated," the credit crisis would hurt advertising after Christmas. Denton wrote, "2009 is obviously going to be exceptionally difficult."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Columnists start showing off their pecks

In the beginning, in the early days of newspaper columns, readers saw the columnist's name in larger type than a typical byline. In the case of Herb Caen, a logo depicting the skyline of San Francisco appeared below his name.

At some point, maybe in the 1970s, mug shots of columnists began to pop up. Soon every column had a smiley face of a columnist. It was the decade of smiley faces.

Now things have changed. We're starting to see the heads and upper torsos of columnists. Thank goodness they're fully clothed.

We're not sure which San Francisco paper started it, but the Examiner is now displaying a cut-out of Ken Garcia that is about two inches wide and five inches deep. His column is wrapped against his right arm.

The Chronicle is not taking this sitting down. Somebody at Fifth and Mission has a old picture of Matier and Ross standing up, and they're using it.

Chuck Nevius's column is also being adorned with an above-the-waist shot of the author. And Willie Brown's column mug is almost in costume, showing him in a dark trench coat and one of his famous fedora hats. Who wears a hat in their column mug?

The only problem with all of this is that a reader new to the Chronicle might think those guys looming large over a news page are the subjects of the column rather than the authors.

At least Bruce Brugmann has the dignity not to do one of these from-the-waist-up column mugs.

Former NBC11 GM out as KNBC GM

Former KNTV NBC11 general manager Linda Sullivan, who has headed KNBC-TV Los Angeles for the past 16 months, announced her retirement Wednesday after 32 years in broadcasting, the LA Times reports. She has run stations in Boston, Providence, R.I. Washington, D.C., and NBC11. During her years in the Bay Area, Sullivan oversaw the relocation of Channel 11 from 645 Park Ave. in San Jose to its all-digital home at 2450 N First St. in San Jose. She also was responsible for moving its transmitter from Mt. Loma Prieta to San Bruno Mountain in order to reach more viewers. Her move to LA was apparently a step up. She told the LA Times: "When I first came to KNBC, someone from one of the employee groups told me that 'the worst day here is still better than the best day anyplace else.'" Sullivan plans to return to Boston, where her husband, Charles, lives. The LA Times says that she leaves at a time when the economic slowdown has battered TV stations, which depend on local auto and retail advertising.

Stockton Record endorses Barack Obama

It's somewhat outside of the range of the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club, but we would like to note that The (Stockton) Record has endorsed Barack Obama for president. The Record is owned by Ottaway Community Newspapers, a subsidiary of Dow Jones & Company. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. bought Dow Jones last year for $5 billion. Murdoch, of course, is also owner of the Fox News Channel. Go figure.

Singleton kicking tires in San Diego

Dean Singleton, whose MediaNews Group owns 19 dailies in Northern California and eight in the Los Angeles area, has been spotted prowling the halls of the San Diego Union-Tribune, which is up for sale by the Copley family. That's according to the San Diego Reader, an alt-weekly which attributed its information to reporters at the Union-Tribune.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Singleton's partner writes a letter to the editor

At a lot of newspapers, if the owner wants to give the readers his opinion, he can simply write an editorial or a column.

Apparently things are done a little differently at MediaNews Group. The Los Angeles Daily News on Tuesday ran a letter to the editor from the company's 95-year-old chairman and co-owner Richard Scudder (pictured). Dean Singleton is frequently identified as the head of MediaNews Group, but Scudder is actually the chairman of the board. Singleton, 57, serves as vice chairman and chief executive officer.

Here's Scudder's letter, which was headlined "Patriotic ideals":
    Sen. John McCain has made patriotism an issue in his campaign for the presidency. Patriotism is indeed a legitimate issue and McCain, shot down, captured and imprisoned for years, suffered greatly. Patriotism, however, must extend beyond military service. Of the dangers threatening our country today, one of the most subtle has been the erosion of standards of honorable behavior and failing ethics.

    We have had a president who has lied, given support to torture and whose enemy-combatant ploy can, at his whim, jail a citizen for years without evidence, without trial, with no appeal and with no explanation of the charges. This is fascism.

    The principal focus of patriotism today must be the defense and reaffirmation of the ideas and ideals that made our country great. Surely truthfulness is one of these ideals. How, then, can we support a candidate for the presidency whose campaign includes many lies - most recently, one falsely accusing Barack Obama of proposing sex education for tiny tots?

    Yes, this is politics, but should not political attacks be limited to the issues? McCain's tactics are to divert attention from them and to focus instead on unrelated nonsense.
After Scudder's name, there was a note identifying him as the chairman of the board of MediaNews Group, the paper's parent company.

When it comes to politics, Scudder and Singleton are on opposite ends of the spectrum: Singleton was a supporter of President Bush while Scudder donates to Democrats.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

MediaNews replaces John Armstrong

John Armstrong, publisher of the MediaNews Group papers in the East Bay including the Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune, has been replaced by a Mercury News circulation executive, David Rounds.

Armstrong (pictured), 65, said that his bosses "concluded that I didn't have the skill set that really was a good fit for the company as it moves forward," according to a report in the Contra Costa Times.

Armstrong is a 45-year veteran of the news business who came to the CC Times as editor in 1995, less than a week before Times heiress Margaret Lesher sold the paper to Knight Ridder for $360 million. He took over leadership of all East Bay operations in 2006 when MediaNews acquired the Times.

Mac Tully, publisher of the Merc and head of MediaNews Group's Bay Area Newspaper Group, announced Armstrong's removal in the Times' newsroom on Monday.

Here's the memo Tully sent to employees about the shakeup:
    Dear Employees:

    We're announcing a leadership change for our East Bay newspapers. After many years of dedicated service, John Armstrong will be leaving the company effective October 17. We're very appreciative of the effort that John has put forth during his role as Publisher, and earlier as Editor, and wish him good fortune for the future.

    David Rounds, San Jose Mercury News Vice President of Circulation, will replace Armstrong as the new President and Publisher of our East Bay newspapers. David is a career newspaper professional with more than 35 years' experience in newspaper advertising, circulation and operations. The first half of his career focused on advertising and included work at the Independent in Livermore, ANG newspapers in Pleasanton, Hayward and Fremont, where he held numerous management positions in retail and classified advertising. In 1989, he joined Lesher Communications in the East Bay working at the Valley Times, West County Times, Antioch Ledger and the Contra Costa Times in various positions including advertising manager, general manager, group Vice President, and Vice President of Circulation. David has served as Vice President of Circulation for the Mercury News since January 2005.

    Dan Smith, East Bay Circulation Vice President, has been named Vice President of Circulation for the Bay Area Newspaper Group. He will now oversee all circulation efforts for the San Jose and East Bay consolidated operations. We are enthusiastic and optimistic regarding the opportunities associated with one coordinated, strategic effort to generate increased circulation sales and improve our customer retention for the BANG papers. Dan worked for the Mercury News from 1982 through 1995. He is very familiar with the market and has the benefit of having worked with a majority of the South Bay circulation team.

    Michael Turpin, San Jose Advertising/Marketing Vice President, has been named Vice President of Advertising/Marketing for the Bay Area Newspaper Group. Michael will oversee all advertising and marketing efforts for the San Jose and East Bay Consolidated operations. We're equally optimistic that a coordinated strategic effort in advertising and marketing for the BANG operations will be more effective and efficient in reaching and satisfying our advertising customers. Mike Jung, East Bay Vice President of Advertising, will report jointly to Michael Turpin and David Rounds.

    Michael joined the Mercury News in 1999 as major accounts manager and later assumed the key accounts group in 2002. In 2005, Michael assumed responsibilities for all of retail advertising including overseeing the assembly of a single major accounts sales team after the MediaNews purchase of The Mercury News and Contra Costa Times. In 2007, Michael became the Vice President of Advertising for The Mercury News and earlier this year assumed responsibility for national advertising, marketing and the publishing of the Milpitas Post, Silicon Valley Community Newspapers and the Daily News Group.

    While this is a challenging time in the newspaper industry, I remain convinced that we will not only survive but also thrive in the coming years. We do face immediate hardships associated with the "sea change" that is occurring in the newspaper industry coupled with a stressed economic environment. That said, the economy will eventually stabilize and newspapers will successfully navigate their way through this difficult environment.

    Newspapers remain the dominate provider of local news and advertising content. It is our core competency that no other media can match. Local news and information will always be important as people want to know what is happening with the schools their children attend, the safety of their neighborhoods, the roads they drive on, the taxes that the pay, etc. So, we have a core competency that no one else really has and that people really want – the only thing that is changing is how some people want to receive that information. How we adapt our business model to best fulfill the desires of our customers is the question we must answer – and we find the answer.

    The aggregate reach of our print and online customers is increasing. We reach more people today than we have in the past – we're a growing media. Not too many of our competitors can make that claim. I'm confident that newspapers will successfully find our way through these challenging times.

    Thank you for everything you have done to make our newspapers better and to get through our current challenges. Please join with me in wishing good luck and best wishes to John, David, Dan and Michael.

    Mac Tully