Monday, October 15, 2007

Noozhawk Launch Is Imminent

As we all know, the continuing downward spiral of the News-Press has left a huge void in local news coverage in Santa Barbara which a number of alternative news sources have sought to fill.

Noozhawk, which its creator William Macfadyen has described as being a "daily community newspaper without the paper," will become the latest source to try to fill that void when it finally becomes available on line tomorrow.

Noozhawk will have two news reporters, Rob Kuznia, formerly of the News-Press and Sonia Fernandez, formerly of the Goleta Valley Voice. Fernandez will be the general assignment reporter and Kuznia will cover schools as well as general assignments.

The virtual paper will have columns devoted to local government with Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum, County Supervisor Brooks Firestone and Goleta government insider Jean Blois signed up as contributors.

Kristin Amyx and Steve Cushman, executive directors of the Goleta Valley and Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerces respectively, will also have regular columns.

Other contributors include; local writer Leslie Dinaberg and her husband Zack who will have a weekly "he said, she said type column;" former News-Press business writer Kathleen Sharp; Chuck Graham, formerly of the water sports magazine Blue Edge" who is now working on the publication "Deep;" Rebecca Carroll, who will be responsible for the police blotter; Andrea Estrada will do some business and real estate writing and Tracy Shawn will contribute articles on home improvement.

Andrea Huebner, who up until a year ago had been the Life section editor at the News-Press, is the web content editor and coordinating everything with respect to the Noozhawk site. Edgar Olivera who was the webmaster for the short lived Santa Barbara Newsroom serves in that same position for Noozhawk.

And yes, I'll be part of Noozhawk. Look for me everyday on the Noozhawk web page where you can read the first few paragraphs of my daily post then click the link to come over here and read the rest of it.

Noozhawk's contributors won't be limited to journalists and writers. Macfadyen is talking to the local high schools about having journalism students and reporters for school newspapers contributing updates on what's going on at their respective schools.

And readers of Noozhawk will be invited to contribute their own news, photos, and videos to the site.

Noozhawk has been over a year in the making but really got into the fast lane in August of this year.

Macfadyen is a former news and front page editor of the News-Press who escaped from the asylum early on during the Wendy McCaw reign. He later started the South Coast Beacon with former News-Press editor Tom Bolton, who is now editor of the Santa Maria Times. The weekly Beacon folded up in the Summer of 2005.

Noozhawk will be advertiser supported and Macfadyen told me last night that he has some big advertisers lined up.

Noozhawk is Macfadyen's baby although he is being assisted on the business end by Jim Farr, former owner of the Goleta Valley Voice. Christina Wilson, another former Valley Voice employee, will be among those selling ads for the site.

* * *

Yesterday's News-Press had an article announcing this year's winners of its annual Lifetime Achievement Awards.

I won't keep you in suspense, the winners are Robert and Christine Emmons, Perri Harcourt and local attorney Joe Howell.

In a change of venue, the award dinner will be held at Bacara Resort and Spa instead of the Biltmore, where it had traditionally been held.

I can't help but think that the change in location may have been prompted by a desire on McCaw's part to foreclose the possibility of another candlelight village outside of the dinner by union members and supporters as was the case last year outside of the Biltmore.

With access to the remote Bacara being by private road demonstrators can undoubtedly be kept well away from the November 17th event.

* * *

Author and Carpinteria resident Annie Bardach has an article in Sunday's Washington Post.

Prompted by the haunting death of the mother of three while in the custody of the TSA at the Phoenix airport last month (she was taken into custody when she became agitated and upset when she was not allowed to board a flight for which she had a ticket) Bardach tells her own story of exasperation when she tried to fly out of the Santa Barbara Airport on a U.S. Airways flight that was way overbooked.

* * *

I noticed a headline in Friday's News-Press saying that UCSB is getting $3 million for an endowed chair.

I thought an "endowed chair" was any chair Pamela Anderson happened to be sitting in.

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