Thursday, October 11, 2007

News-Press Gets Outfoxed

You would think that if any newspaper in America is going to "own" the story of the restoration of the island foxes to the Channel Islands, which lie just off our shore, it would be the Santa Barbara News-Press.

After all, the story is local and News-Press owner Wendy McCaw fancies herself as a champion of animal rights. Make that, a fanatical champion of animal rights.

Think again.

Although the front page of yesterday's News-Press indeed carried the story of the release of 10 island fox pups into the wild, apparently none of the reporters at the News-Press wanted to chance walking the plank to cover it. The island fox story that the News-Press ran was a wire service story. In fact, as far as I can tell, it wasn't even available on the News-Press' website. (The link above is to the L.A. Times website.)

If you followed my coverage of the recently concluded NLRB hearing, you know that the most treacherous beat for a reporter at the News-Press is the wildlife beat. Just ask fired reporter Anna Davison.

I guess associate editor Scott Steepleton wasn't offering any hazardous duty pay for accepting the story assignment. That meant that the News-Press, our former paper of record, got "outfoxed" on this story by its former columnist Barney Brantingham who had a nice write up about the release of the foxes on The Independent's website.

* * *

A reader tipped me off to the fact that Wendy's royal consort, Arthur von Wiesenberger, got seriously dissed when he showed up 10 minutes late to claim his reservation at Carlitos restaurant on State Street across from the Arlington a week ago Sunday.

According to the Bottled Water Boy's own account on his website his food order finally arrived at his table one hour after he did.

He opines that some "staff training" is in order at Carlitos.

A lot of us think some "staff training" is in order around the publisher's suite at the News-Press.

* * *

While in New York City on Monday I visited the Museum of Modern Art. When I walked into the gallery that had a collection of photographs by Tanyth Berkeley, I swore I had stumbled across the official portrait of Wendy McCaw.

For a moment there I thought that the Frump de Grump had never looked so good.

Pip! Pip! For now!

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