Monday, November 17, 2008

Fire Flames Out, And So Does News-Press' Coverage Of It

By most accounts, the Tea Fire started at about 5:45 pm Thursday. Plenty of time to get stories and articles about it into the next morning's newspaper. So which Santa Barbara paper had the most extensive coverage of the fire on Friday?

The News-Press had great photos, but only one story about the fire in its Friday edition.

In fact, it almost seemed as though they thought Paula Poundstone coming to town, (upper right hand corner) was the bigger story.

Both the Daily Sound and the Daily Nexus, the student newspaper at UCSB, had two stories on the fire that day.

Saturday's edition of the News-Press was the pinnacle of its fire coverage with four stories.

The Daily Sound once again had two stories.

Sunday, meant that the News-Press had fire coverage all to itself, at least among the print outlets. There were two articles on the fire, along with a page 1 photo of Gov. Schwarzenegger surveying the damage with Sheriff Bill Brown standing at his side. The photo was credited to Scott Steepleton.

By 3 pm Sunday, the Daily Sound had what is presumably Monday morning's fire story posted on its website.

In contrast to the front page of its print edition, if you looked at the website on Friday, you wouldn't have had a clue that this was the web page of the "major" newspaper in a town where over 200 residences were lost to a fire. There was a link to the paper's fire coverage on the front page of the website but you had to click on a link in the "News-Press TV" window to go to it.

Once on the fire page, there were links to stories that appeared to be web only updates. But if you wanted to learn about the Dire water warning as reservoir levels drop to less than 10 percent, or even where the Info kiosks (are) up in Santa Barbara, you either had to have a subscription to the physical paper or a willingness to "purchase" the article.

At the News-Press, fire coverage means that it's the readers who get burned.

* * *

Over on page 3 of the Sunday News-Press A section, there was an article on the News-Press Lifetime Achievement Awards Dinner which was held at the Bacara Resort. The article was accompanied by a big photo of Arthur and Wendy posing with the three honorees, Gail Rink, Penny Jenkins and Keith Berry.

I have it on good authority that Jenkins was initially reluctant to accept her award from the News-Press but did so only after being talked into it by one of the past honorees.

* * *

Arthur must have been pretty pleased with how he handled all of those "tough" questions on the Ernie Salomon show the other night. The News-Press ran a house ad in Saturday and Sunday's editions of the paper promoting the replays of the hour long show.

If he was so grateful you'd think that the least he could do was see to it that Salomon's last name was spelled correctly in the ad.

* * *

Over the weekend, Tony Strickland widened his lead over Hannah-Beth Jackson in the 19th State Senate District Race.