Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

Yesterday was what I would call a "slow news day." After having spent the last two weeks sitting in the NLRB hearings for six hours a day and easily spending another two or three writing about what I observed, a slow news day, or two or three, is quite welcome.

There are a couple of things worth passing on though.

Although I don't have many details, I have it on good authority that Hannah Guzik left the News-Press after she expressed concern over the way her stories about the NLRB hearings were being edited. Apparently it was a "you're fired"/"I quit" situation.

* * *

To the south of us, the Ventura County Star has a new publisher. George H. Cogswell III was named the new president and publisher replacing Tim Gallagher, who announced his resignation last month. Gallagher is starting a media consulting business.

* * *

Two years to the day after The New York Times began the subscription program, TimesSelect, The Times will stop charging for access to parts of its Web site. The change took effect at midnight last night.

Although the subscription program produced $10 million a year in revenue, projections for growth on that paid subscriber base were low, compared to the growth of online advertising.

Sounds like The Times is saying that while charging for access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives was profitable, having more sets of eyeballs to deliver to advertisers has an upside potential that's even greater than what they could expect to realize through charging for access to some of the content on their site.

Of course the News-Press continues to require a subscription to the paper in order to be able to access the content on their website.

Wonder what Wendy McCaw knows that The Times doesn't?

* * *

One of the few things the News-Press doesn't charge for is access to its anti-union commentaries, the latest of which appeared in the paper yesterday with Travis Armstrong claiming "we wuz robbed" as a result of the alleged failure to the Union to turn over e-mails in response to a subpoena.

The Union has denied that it wrongfully withheld any documents that were in its possession.

* * *

When gold was discovered in the Congo at the turn of the 20th century, it should have been a blessing for the Congolese people who inhabit a mineral-rich country in the heart of Africa. Apparently it’s been anything but that. In the northeastern Congo miners work in grueling conditions in open pit gold mines.

Marcus Bleasdale traveled with Human Rights Watch researcher Anneke Von Woudenberg into the heart of Congo’s mines, where local warlords gain the profits while local populations suffer.

Tonight (Wednesday) at the Center Stage Theater in Paseo Nuevo, Bleasdale and Woudenberg will be present for a discussion, reception and photography viewing. The discussion will be moderated by UCSB professor, Benjamin Cohen, Michael W. Mulnix, President, Antioch University Santa Barbara and Victoria Riskin, Co-Chair, Human Rights Watch Southern California.

The reception with wine and hors d' oeuvres begins at 5:30 pm. The panel Discussion begins at 6:30.

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