Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Another News-Presser Thrown Overboard

Are things getting so bad at Wendy McCaw's News-Press that even the loyalists are getting tossed overboard?

On Tuesday morning, the paper's advertising director Steve Nakutin made the commute into Santa Barbara from his home in the Santa Clarita area only to find out he was being fired from his job.

Well it figured that someone had to take the blame for the mess that McCaw has created and it ended up being Nakutin.

Of course if you could sell ads in the News-Press in the climate that McCaw has created then you could probably sell a bikini to an Eskimo and with the prospect of the arctic circle only getting warmer while the News-Press' relations with the outside world only gets chillier, I'd say the bikini salesperson job in Alaska has more of an upside.

Anyway, the firing of Nakutin was a surprise to some observers who believed he was fairly tight with the paper's co-publisher, Arthur von Wiesenberger.

And Nakutin was one of the signers of the Valentine's Day 2006 ad in the paper which listed the names of 60 or so "non-newsroom employees" who were "fed up with the protests, public displays of disparagement and advertising campaigns" and would like to "thank Wendy McCaw who supports our efforts each day."

I wonder if he thanked her when he was let go today?

In the end neither being buddy-buddy with Santa Barbara's best kept man or signing the loyalty ad was enough to save his job.

Although Nakutin had been in newspaper advertising for a long time he had only been with the News-Press since March of 2006.

Nakutin was told he was being let go shortly after arriving at work Tuesday morning. However, unbeknownst to him, News-Press management sent out a letter to advertisers last Friday announcing the hiring of a new advertising manager, Fred Mariea.

Mariea previously worked with Cox cable and his own company, First Move Media.

After Nakutin had been let go, Yolanda Apodaca, the "angel of death" called a meeting of the advertising staff in the third floor conference room of the News-Press building. Once assembled, staff had to wait for what seemed like an inordinate amount of time until the new guy, Mariea, was brought into the room and introduced to staff as "your new ad director."

Keep in mind this was before anyone had been told that Nakutin had been let go.

Without a doubt, there's a curious order of things at the News-Press these days.