Tuesday, December 27, 2005

S.F. battle of weeklies heats up

The quest for dominance by San Francisco's two alternative weekly papers, Bruce Brugmann's Bay Guardian and the New Times-owned SF Weekly, has reached angry and almost comic levels, writes the Sacramento Bee's Herbert A. Sample, with a New Times editor calling Brugmann "bull-goose loony." Brugmann (photo right) says New Times has unfairly lowered rates in order to force him to sell ads at below cost, a charge the chain denies. Brugmann says the chain's execs don't like San Francisco and, "They don't really belong here."

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Moment of truth for Tony Ridder

L.A. Times writer Joseph Menn writes that the shareholder battle for control of Knight Ridder is also a referendum on the management style of CEO and Chairman Tony Ridder, who desperately wants his company to remain independent but has been unable to keep its stock price high enough to satisfy major institutional investors. Ridder, 65, a resident of Woodside, "is known for his love of expensive cars and vacations," Menn writes. "He received $4.6 million in total compensation last year — down 41% from 2003 — ranking 63rd among CEOs of California's 100 biggest public companies."

Friday, December 23, 2005

Daily News publishers ride into sunset

Dave Price (left) and Jim Pavelich, co-publishers of the Palo Alto Daily News and its five sister daily newspapers, are stepping down from the company they started 10 years ago. Knight Ridder bought the Daily News in Feburary and the two publishers stayed on during the transition. KR also asked them to start free dailies in other U.S. cities. But in November, a group of shareholders demanded the sale of KR, which stopped all corporate expansion. As a result, Price and Pavelich decided to leave KR to move forward with their own newspaper projects elsewhere. (E&P's coverage) (AP story)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Examiner editor transferred to D.C. paper

Vivienne Sosnowski, who has been executive editor of billionaire Phil Anschutz's SF Examiner for the past 17 months, has been transferred to a similar post at his "Examiner" in Washington, D.C. (AP report), ("Revolving door" at Washington Examiner)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Retired KR exec to head ANG newspapers

Fred Mott, who retired last year after a 26-year career with Knight Ridder, has been named the new publisher and chief executive of ANG Newspapers, the owner of the Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County Times, Tri-Valley Herald and other Bay Area papers. Mott replaces John Schueler, who quit ANG in September to take a job in Florida. Mott's background is in accounting. He earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Florida State University in 1972, then worked for six years as a CPA for Deloitte and Touche. He joined Knight Ridder in 1979 as director of financial reporting. He was general manager of the Tallahassee Democrat from 1984 to 1991 and publisher of the Gary (Indiana) Post-Tribune from 1991 to 1995, when he was named publisher of The (Columbia, S.C.) State. His last stop with KR was as president and general manager of the Philadelphia Inqurier and Philadelphia Daily News.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Top 10 SF media blunders of 2005

The way SF's alternative online daily Beyond Chron sees it, "Big media in San Francisco has been awful for years. Shoddy local coverage, lack of diverse perspectives, and weak analysis of issues have all conspired to make the daily offerings brutal reads. 2005, however, introduced new lows to the local media scene. From drops in circulation to blatant plagiarizing, from firing the best to hiring the worst, our city’s corporate media presented a field day for anyone looking for proof that to find the real scoop, you need to head online."

Chronicle may outsource printing

SF Chronicle Publisher Frank Vega (photo left), known as "Darth Vader" by friends and foes, says the paper "has been in discussions with a third party" about contracting out its printing. That would leave the Chron's 450 union printers and mailers without jobs. Newspapers & Technology, a printing trade publication, says a Canadian firm, Transcon, may be a contender for the job. Locally, the San Mateo Daily Journal and the Daily News Group (Palo Alto Daily News, San Mateo Daily News, etc.) outsource their printing to Southwest Offset in Redwood City. Southwest also prints the 70,000-circ Daily Breeze of Torrance, Calif, at its Southern California plant.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Bay Guardian wins ruling in New Times suit

The Bay Guardian has won a pair of pre-trial victories in its lawsuit against the chain that owns the SF Weekly and East Bay Express, according to a report in the Guardian. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer ordered the New Times Media chain to immediately begin producing internal documents that the Guardian had been seeking. The judge also rejected a request by New Times to close the hearing in the case. The Guardian has accused the SF Weekly and East Bay Express, both owned by New Times, of selling ads below cost in an effort to drive the locally owned Guardian out of business.

UCLA study finds media bias is real

In what's billed as possibly the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in the news media, a UCLA-led study found that the news pages of the Wall Street Journal are even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

KRON merges reporting, photography jobs

Two articles describe how Channel 4 has turned all of its reporters and photographers into one-person news crews. The change was first reported by TVWeek.com on Nov. 14. The journalism blog site gradethenews.com posted its own version Dec. 13.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Chron may sell Fifth & Mission offices

Chron Publisher Frank Vega, according to a Matier and Ross column item, has confirmed that a developer is interested in buying the newspaper's Fifth and Mission offices, including its clock-tower building and the adjoining old Examiner offices. Vega says the building isn't for sale and that those offices would only be moved if it made financial sense.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Chron struggles as Internet siphons readers, ads
Los Angeles Times reports that SF paper's problems are being watched closely in the battle between old and new media.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Anchor Doug Murphy dies in fire
Doug Murphy, who had anchored KPIX Channel 5 newscasts since the 1980s, was killed Dec. 4 in a fire that swept through his Lafayette home. The cause of the fire, which began in the attic, has not been determined, according to the SF Chronicle.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

New PPC Newsletter is out
The new Peninsula Press Club newsletter is available here online. Ballot for club officers appears on page 3; please mail by Dec. 15.