Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Is There A "No Bird Left Behind" Policy at the News-Press?

The front page above-the-fold story in Tuesday's Santa Barbara News-Press was about somebody's pet bird who "flew the coop in Carpinteria, and later turned up in Pasadena.

Since when is a bird flying south for the winter news?

Now that it's been established that Wendy McCaw's paper is willing to do front page stories on fleeing birds it will be interesting to see how thoroughly the News-Press covers chickens coming home to roost.

And yes, we figure to see our fair share of roosting chickens returning to the vicinity of De la Guerra Plaza in the form of some court rulings that are due to be rendered in the near future or, in some cases, flat out overdue.

On Thursday, a court of appeal in Santa Ana is going to hear oral argument in the News-Press' libel suit against Susan Paterno, author of the American Journalism Review article that recounted the days and events that precipitated the meltdown at the paper. At stake is whether the case, which is still in the initial discovery stages, will be permitted to proceed. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the case ends up getting dismissed.

Hopefully, the third time will be the charm on the hearing for the NLRB's request for an injunction to have the eight fired News-Press reporters immediately reinstated.

The hearing which has been twice postponed is back on calendar for Monday, March 24 at 1:30 p.m. at the federal district court in Los Angeles. And of course, an order for reinstatement would be huge news.

So, should the rulings in these cases be adverse to the News-Press, it will be interesting to see if it gives these stories the same type of front page above-the-fold coverage it gave the wayward bird.

* * *

The News-Press lost another great employee Monday, which was the last day for Bill Collyer, a 23-year veteran. He resigned to become the new Executive Director of Santa Barbara's Downtown Organization.

Bill ran commercial printing, which is where the News-Press prints other publications, such as weekly newspapers, including the Montecito Journal.

Bill built the printing operation on hard work and personal relationships. As of now, the News-Press doesn't have a replacement.

* * *

It was pointed out on one of the national news broadcasts the other day that the $47 million Heather Mills was awarded in her divorce from Paul McCartney, worked out to $1400 an hour for every hour she was married to the former Beatle.

That's still a little short of the $4,300 former New York governor Eliot Spitzer allegedly paid for three hours with a high-priced call girl.

Kind of makes you want to vote for a fiscal conservative.