Sunday, March 13, 2011

Local Journalist Scott Hadly Leaving Town

Scott Hadly, who for many years was an investigative reporter for the Santa Barbara News-Press, is leaving Santa Barbara and newspaper journalism.

He is going to work for a personal genetics company in the San Francisco Bay Area called, 23andMe where he will be a content editor and science writer.

To many people here in Santa Barbara Hadly is best remembered for what he did in the wake of the July 2006 meltdown at the News-Press when the paper's top editors either resigned or were forced out. On that day in early July when the paper was in very grave danger of not being put out at all Hadly, along with reporter Anna Davison, took charge of organizing those remaining in the newsroom, assigning stories and producing a newspaper for the next day and for a time after that until others were put in charge.

Hadly also wrote an article that gave an account of what transpired in the newsroom the day of the meltdown. However the story never ran in the News-Press. Acting publisher Travis Armstrong killed it. Shortly after that Hadly himself resigned feeling that he could no longer in good conscience work for the paper's owner Wendy McCaw.

Hadly later took a job as a reporter for the Ventura County Star where he worked until accepting the position in the Bay Area. The last story to carry his byline in the Star appeared this weekend. It is about a 27-year-old woman who was abandoned as an infant in a trash dumpster and who is seeking answers about the mother who left her there.

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As a reporter for the Star, Hadly spent the better part of July 2008 on assignment in Iraq, embedded with a unit of Seabees from Port Hueneme. Also in 2008, he did a major story on a police scandal in Oxnard.

Hadly, who is a graduate of Berkeley's journalism school worked for the L.A. Times before coming to work for the News-Press. Among his major investigative features for the News-Press was one that ran in 2005 called, "Family Business," a three-part series that told the stories of six families whose lives were changed forever by the kidnapping and brutal murder of 15-year old Nicholas Markowitz. The horrendous crime would later be dramatized in the movie Alpha Dog.

As for why he's leaving the Star and Santa Barbara where he has made his home Hadly told me:
It's a good opportunity for me. I'm hoping to make a better future for my family. It was a very hard decision for me to leave Santa Barbara. I did have an offer to work at another job here but it was hard to beat the position being offered to me. As for leaving journalism it's tough to see the silver lining in everything that's been happening over the last five years or so.

That said, the Star was great to me and I'll miss the people I worked with, but it's time for me to move onto something new.

Every so often people ask me why I spend time blogging when there's not much money it. I'd say one of the reasons is the opportunity to meet and get to know great journalists like Scott Hadly. I'm sorry that he's leaving print journalism but even sorrier that he is leaving town. He will be missed around here both as a journalist and as a neighbor.
© 2011 by Craig Smith and