Monday, December 15, 2008

Dr. Laura Has Left The Building!

The News-Press building that is. Dr. Laura has pulled the plug on her twice-a-week column that has appeared in Wendy McCaw's News-Press since August of 2006.

The nationally syndicated radio talk show host and Santa Barbara resident led her piece in Sunday's paper with the announcement that she is leaving.

Today will be my last Page 2 column for the News-Press. All the "problems" (aka: union issues) notwithstanding, I am appreciative and proud to have had the opportunity to contribute to my community's local paper.

She cited a number of other projects as taking her time and encroaching on her ability to research and write the column.

Well, if I was aboard the sinking ship called the News-Press I'd be taking a lifeboat to shore along with her.

But dismissing the "problems" at the News-Press as being "union issues" really does miss the boat. The real problem at the paper is that no one at the helm knows what they're doing. The two co-publishers have no previous newspaper experience. The advertising manager has no previous newspaper experience. The chief financial guy, has no newspaper experience. And there is no one in the newsroom who has the title of a full-charge editor. But lack of mature management is only the tip of the iceberg. Owner Wendy McCaw's determination to put out a paper that reflects her own interests at the expense of what readers want has resulted in a product that offers readers and advertisers little value.

And the only "union problem" at the News-Press is Wendy's stubbornness in refusing to reach an agreement with the union. Like death and taxes the union is here to stay, as S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsome so eloquently put it, albeit in another context; "Whether you like it or not."

* * *

For the second straight year, the Christmas Unity Telethon, a long-time fixture on KEYT, was aired on a different local channel. This year it was simulcast on Cox 8 and KCOY 12.

If you were watching the telethon Saturday night and thought you had tuned into KEYT you could be forgiven. Included among those making appearances on the show:
Lance Orozco, former KEYT anchor/reporter/weather
Bob Burton, former KEYT anchor
Debby Davison, former KEYT anchor
Roger Cooper, former KEYT anchor
Carlos Cerecedo, former KEYT Spanish translator
Ann Abernathy, former KEYT special feature reporter.

Once again the telethon was produced by Don Katich, the former KEYT production director and current News-Press director of news operation.

The crew for the telethon included many former KEYT production staff and camera people.

* * *

Ann Peyrat who, among other things, has been a former special sections editor at the News-Press, is profiled on Noozhawk this week talking about her business, designing clothing and fashion accessories for fellow diabetics.

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Over the weekend I was at the Santa Barbara Film Fest holiday party. Film Fest director Roger Durling was needling me about slacking off on my blogging lately.

Probably a fair criticism. Lately I've been trying to figure out how I'm going to live out of a suitcase, one small enough to be carried onto a plane, for the next 10 days. I'll be traveling out of the country during that time so the pace of my blog posts will probably slow down.

I promise to write though. As soon as I find a nice sidewalk cafe with a wireless Internet connection.