Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop

It's a bad week to be in the newspaper business.

The latest nationwide circulation numbers are out and show a decline of almost 5 percent from the previous year.

No word yet on how Wendy McCaw's News-Press has fared in this latest reporting period.

It's a double whammy south of us at the L.A. Times which experienced the largest decline in circulation and has just laid off 75 more staffers from the newsroom.

Even ABC News has cancelled its subscriptions to newspapers as part of an overall plan for belt tightening.

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The General Counsel of the NLRB is going to prosecute the News-Press for unlawfully firing sports writer Dennis Moran.

The paper fired him because it claimed he told someone who had asked why the News-Press hadn't covered a particular golf tournament that the paper didn't have the resources to send a reporter there. Moran has denied the paper's claim. The Union suspects that the real reason behind his firing was that he was the labor union's representative in the newsroom.

Several months ago, the News-Press filed charges against the Union, claiming that it was bargaining in bad faith. The Los Angeles regional office of the NLRB dismissed those charges back on July 30. The News-Press appealed that dismissal to the NLRB in Washington, D.C. According to Union attorney Ira Gottlieb that appeal has been denied, meaning that the News-Press is batting 0 for 14, with respect to the unfair labor practice allegations it has made against the Union over the past two years.

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Former News-Press sports writer Blake Dorfman, who left the paper to start the local sports website Presidio Sports, tells me that his website has joined the ranks of those that are blocked from the computers in the News-Press building.

If Wendy is going to staff her sports department with a skeleton crew, at least she should make it easy for them to find out what the latest scores are.

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Seems like I was the only person in town who didn't know that the statue in front of the Conley home on Anacapa Street is of St. Barbara.