Saturday, September 30, 2006

Stopping Examiner delivery isn't easy

The San Francisco Examiner has opened new editions in Washington and Balitimore, and residents in Balitmore are upset that they can't stop the free tabloid from being thrown on their lawns, according to an alternative weekly in Baltimore, City Paper. Some residents have threatened lawsuits or pretended to cry when they called the newspaper in an attempt to stop delivery. Some have even put up signs (see photos). "One of the most difficult things we encountered -- and this has happened in San Francisco and D.C. -- is getting stops stopped," circulation vp Michael Phelps told CityPaper. "Part of the problem, he says, is carrier turnover; another is that some carriers are delivering the papers in the dark." One man who says his daughter slipped and fell on an Examiner while walking school is now printing signs to tell Examiner drivers not to deliver. He is passing them out free to anyone who wants them. The Examiners, which have a right-wing political slant, are owned by Colorado billionaire Phil Anschutz, whose wealth is listed at $7.8 billion by Forbes Magazine.

Chron changes endorsement process

The Chron's editorial page editor, John Diaz, says the paper is changing the way it interviews candidates who are seeking the paper's endorsement. Instead of one-on-one interviews with major party candidates for statewide races, the paper is inviting them to participate in 60-minute debates before the Chron's editorial board.

The debates will be captured on video by KPIX Channel 5 and streamed live over They'll also be available afterward on that site. The new policy will apply to the six "down ballot" statewide offices, but not the gubernatorial race, where each candidate will get a separate interview.

The first debate is scheduled for Thursday (Oct. 5) at 2 p.m. between attorney general candidates Jerry Brown and Charles Poochigian. Another is set for Oct. 10 at 2 p.m. between controller candidates Democrat John Chiang and Republican Tony Strickland. On Oct. 11 at 2 p.m, insurance commissioner candidates Republican Steve Poizner and Democrat Cruz Bustamante will debate.

HP read instant messages of reporter

The New York Times is reporting today that Hewlett-Packard's effort to plug news leaks included monitoring at least one employee's instant-messaging exchanges with a reporter, according to documents provided to Congressional investigators. The Times story quotes a March 2 e-mail in which HP "ethics officer" Kevin T. Hunsaker asked HP security investigator Fred Adler to “do some monitoring on incoming and outgoing calls to Pui-Wing Tam,” a reporter at The Wall Street Journal's San Francisco bureau, “and keep a really close eye on her I.M. traffic with (Michael) Moeller” of Hewlett-Packard’s media relations team.

An e-mail sent by Adler some two weeks earlier appears to celebrate what was a new investigative tool for the team. “New monitoring system that captures AOL Instant Messaging is now up and running and deployed on Moeller’s computer,” Adler wrote to Hunsaker and others on the investigative team. “It instantly began to pay results.”

THE BILL:The Times story also says that Hewlett-Packard was billed a total of $325,641.65 for various services related to the leak investigation from January to April. That included $83,597.42 for surveillance, which was described as “Multiple Surv. And Sting Activity Palo Alto, Piedmont, SF, LA, CA & Denver CO.”

A parenthetical note clarifies that the surveillance included “trash re-con of all areas.”

Background investigations on several board members and their relatives, as well as San Francisco-based reporters for The Wall Street Journal and the online service CNet, did not come cheap, the Times reported. The bill was $66,688.

How HP bugged e-mail

Hewlett Packard tried to pull off a "sting" on CNET reporter Dawn Kawamoto by sending her an e-mail containing a bug in an attempt to uncover her source who was leaking information about the Palo Alto company, CNET reports. HP's investigators used a commercial service from a company known as which allows investigators to see who opened an attachment and where the attachment was forwarded. HP wanted to see if she would forward the attachment to a suspected leaker, then-board member George Keyworth.

BUGGING POLICY DOESN'T CHANGE: Even though HP CEO Mark Hurd (pictured) told Congress on Thursday that he was embarassed by the tactics his investigators used against reporters, and promise the company would change its ways, HP secuirty employee Fred Adler said at the same hearing that using bugged e-mails "was and still is current policy ... It still is sanctioned by my management as an investigative tool." (Reuters photo)

Verizon, Cingular sue over HP pretexting

Top Hewlett Packard executives might be confused about whether pretexting is illegal, but two phone companies aren't. Verizon Wireless and Cingular Wireless filed lawsuits Friday against investigators hired by HP, alleging they used fraud to obtain billing records in a probe of boardroom leaks. Pretexting is when an investigator poses as a phone company customer and tricks the company into providing customer records. The pretexter ususally needs the Social Security number of the victim. Verizon's suit, filed in New Jersey, seeks an order that immediately stops investigators from pretexting, according to Bloomberg news. Verizon claimed in its suit that the investigators “used fraud, trickery, and deceit to access confidential customer information.”

Named as defendants in the Cingular suit are rivate detective Charles Kelly and his Carrollton, Ga., firm, CAS Agency Inc. They are accused of fraudulently obtaining phone records of a reporter and providing them to HP. Verizon's suit doesn't name any defendants at this time, but will likely be amended as more information surfaces. Press reports say HP's investigators included, in addition to Kelly, Joe Depante of Action Research; Ron DeLia of Security Outsourcing Solutions; Darren Brost, Brian Wagner, Valerie Preston of InSearchOf Investigations; and Cassandra Selvage of Eye in the Sky Investigations.

New California law prohibits pretexting

Just in case you thought that posing as another person and using their Social Security number to obtain their phone records might be legal, California has officially made the practice illegal. Apparently people like former Hewlett Packard chairwoman Patricia Dunn were convinced that such activities, called "pretexting," were legal, or so she told a Congressional subcommittee on Thursday when asked to explain how her company got the phone records of nine reporters, seven HP board members and the relatives of those people. On Friday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill by State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, that bans pretexting, according to the San Jose Business Journal, which has details of the new law. Simitian's bill was moving through the legislature before the HP scandal broke, but Schwarzenegger, who is running for re-election, didn't miss the opportunity to hold a high-profile signing ceremony to emphasize where he stands on pretexting.

Bill Mann: Local dailies ignore TV coverage

Bill Mann, who writes about the media in the Hills Newspapers in Alameda County, said in his column Friday: "... if you want further proof that local dailies ignore local TV coverage, the story of [anchor Tom] Sinkovitz's departure [from KRON-TV] didn't appear in the San Francisco Chronicle until a week later, when a gossip columnist finally picked it up. Still nothing as of a week ago in the Oakland Tribune and other dailies. But an item on Sinkovitz's departure did, however, appear the following day -- in online encyclopedia Wikipedia, under the KRON entry. Whoever thought we'd see the day when encyclopedias scooped daily newspapers?"

Editor's note: The PPC weblog (the thing you're looking at) had the Sinkovitz story the night he resigned on the air, and the tiny San Francisco Daily reported it on Monday, Sept. 18 -- two days before the Chronicle.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tribune Co. may be on Knight Ridder's path

The Sacramento Bee has a story today that says the Tribune Co., which has announced that it is considering the sale of some or all of its assets, could be following the path of the now defunct Knight Ridder, which caved to shareholders and sold off is 32 newspapers. Among the Tribune Co. assets that might be up for sale is the Los Angeles Times, where the editor and publisher are refusing to make cuts that were demanded by Tribune management.

Craigslist founder says he won't cash in

Criagslist founder Craig Newmark (pictured) of San Francisco, who is often blamed by newspaper employees for stealing their classified advertising revenues, tells Reuters that he's not interested in selling out. Reuters put the question to Newmark after a Wall Street analyst said MySpace is worth $15 billion. "Who needs the money? We don't really care," Newmark said in an interview at the Picnic '06 Cross Media Week conference in Amsterdam. "If you're living comfortably, what's the point of having more?"

Chron 2006 losses in 'tens of millions'

The Chronicle narrowly averted a strike with the mechanics who maintain the paper's presses and management disclosed that the paper will have losses in 2006 in the "tens of millions." A story Thursday by staff writer George Raine said a strike by the 31-member International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers District Lodge 190 was averted Wednesday by a seven-day contract extension. If the mechanics had walked out, the union representing 237 press operators would have supported the strike by not crossing the mechanic's picket line. The Chronicle had retained replacement machinists and press operators, and was prepared to publish the newspaper in the event of a strike, said Publisher Frank Vega (pictured). The press operators union is also negotiating a new contract with the paper. At the end of the story, the Chron notes that in 2005 the paper lost $65 million in large part due to shrinking classified advertising. Vega is quoted as saying the losses this year aren't as great but will be in the "tens of millions" of dollars.

10 HP figures take the Fifth before Congress

Hewlett Packard's effort to plug news leaks by spying on board members, employees, reporters and their families resulted in 10 figures in the scandal invoking their right to silence under the Fifth Amendment during Congressional hearings today (Sept. 28). Among those taking the Fifth was HP's top lawyer, Ann Baskins, who resigned minutes before the hearing after 24 years with the Palo Alto company. Also refusing to testify were attorney Kevin Hunsaker, HP's "ethics officer" until he resigned several days ago, and Anthony Gentilucci, HP's former head of global investigation. The others who took the Fifth were contractors hired by HP to investigate how board deliberations were leaked to reporters in 2005 and 2006.

CEO Mark Hurd and former chairman Patricia Dunn (pictured) both distanced themselves from the potentially illegal techniques used in the investigation. They both referred questions about the company's probe to HP's investigative team, most of whom had already taken the Fifth.

Coverage: Chronicle, CNN, San Jose Business Journal, Business Week and AP

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

'Will & Willie (Brown)' show canceled

Clear Channel's KQKE-AM "The Quake" 960 is dropping their morning duo of former SF mayor Willie Brown and comedian Will Durst, Radio Ink reports. "Keeping It Real with Will Durst and Willie Brown" lasted 10 months. The pair will still do special broadcasts and appearances for the station. They will be replaced by Stephanie Miller, a nationally syndicated liberal host and comedienne who is the daughter of former Congressman William Miller, Barry Goldwater’s running mate in the 1964 presidential election.

AP picks Denver newsman for No. 2 SF post

Mark Rochester, an assistant managing editor at The Denver Post, has been named assistant chief of bureau for The Associated Press in San Francisco. The appointment was announced Wednesday by John Raess, chief of bureau for Northern California, Northern Nevada and Hawaii. Rochester, 42, was put in charge of the Post's Sunday edition in 2002. He also has supervised national and international reporting desks, as well as investigative projects. He coordinated coverage of the war in Iraq, the space shuttle Columbia disaster and investigations into sexual assaults in the military. Previously, Rochester worked as enterprise editor at Newsday and as an assistant managing editor for investigations and special projects at The Indianapolis Star. He also worked as a reporter at The Milwaukee Journal, The Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press, and the Lafayette (Ind.) Journal and Courier. Rochester has served on the board of directors for Investigative Reporters & Editors Inc. He is a journalism graduate of Indiana University.

Most reporters targeted by HP change beats

Ken Spencer Brown, a columnist for Investor's Business Daily, points out that most of the reporters who were spied upon by Hewlett Packard have stopped writing about the company and are covering different beats. He suggests it might be out of a concern that personal grudges might taint coverage of the Palo Alto company. Brown says that CNET's Dawn Kawamoto and Tom Krazit wrote a few stories as the scandal broke, but soon their colleagues took over the story. One of the CNET replacement reporters, Stephen Shankland, wrote stories about HP until it emerged that he too had been targeted by the HP private investigators. Wing Tam and George Anders of the Wall Street Journal haven't written about HP since the scandal broke. Neither has John Markoff of the New York Times, although he was credited for helping in the reporting process for a Sept. 22 story. At BusinessWeek, only Peter Burrows has written about the scandal, but a tag line at the bottom of his story mentions that he was a target of the company. The other two BusinessWeek reporters who were spied upon by HP, Ben Elgin and Roger Crockett, haven't written about HP since the scandal began.

Brown quotes Brian Johnson, a public relations consultant, who says some journalists might not be too upset over the incident. "Imagine what's going through the reporter's mind," Johnson said. " 'Gosh! My work is so important, HP and its executives are willing to risk their reputation to find my sources and methods.' That's very flattering indeed."

Members asked to end board elections

KQED's management is sending out letters this week asking its 190,000 members to vote on a bylaws change that would eliminate direct election of board members and shift control of the stations to a self-appointed board, according to the Bay Guardian. The newspaper quotes KQED spokeswoman Yoon Lee as saying the change comes in the wake of the station's merger with KTEH 54 in San Jose, and is aimed at simplifying operations at the stations. Cost is also a factor -- board elections cost $250,000. The Bay Guardian link is to an editorial by that newspaper. We haven't been able to find any stories in the newspapers about this change. Nor is there any information on the KQED Web site about this proposal to do away with board elections. It would appear that if this proposal is approved, the current board would have the sole power to elect successors to those who depart the board. Here's a link listing the current board and senior staffers of KQED radio and TV.

Singleton hires former Merc circ director

E&P reports that Harold F. Woldt Jr., who most recently Mercury News circulation vp, has been named vp of circulation for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, which is controlled by Dean Singleton's MediaNews. His resume includes management positions at Long Island's Newsday, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Two sides to every story -- even this one

While sympathy amongst journalists is strongly in the corner of Chron reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada (pictured at left), who are willing to go to jail rather than name the source of grand jury transcripts in the Barry Bonds steroids case, there's another side to the story. So says Gregg Doyel (pictured below), national columnist for CBS, who says that whether we like it or not, the two reporters have broken a law -- and judges aren't free to decide which laws they'll enforce and which ones they'll ignore.

"Next time there's a secret grand jury testimony, what if the target isn't a muscular jerk of a baseball player but a mobster?" Doyel writes. "And what if the testimony isn't about something relatively benign like a syringe to the buttocks, but about something evil like murder? And what if, because the testimony was leaked to a newspaper, the witness who testified against the mobster gets killed in retaliation?" Doyel wraps it up by saying this to Judge Jeffrey White: "I hate it that you ordered Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wade to jail. But I understand why you did it. The reporters were doing their job. So were you." (Photo credits: Top, Brad Mangin, Sports Illustrated; middle and bottom from their Web sites)

David Whitley (left), a columnist at the Orlando Sentinel, says that in reporting the contempt-of-court proceedings against the two Chron reporters, some journalists have forgotten that there are two sides to every story.

"Grand jury testimony is kept secret for a lot of good reasons, like protecting the innocent and encouraging people to speak freely. If you want a threat to society, get rid of those," Whitley writes. "Everybody knows a free press is vital to a democracy, and confidential sources are vital to a free press. But this concerns only grand jury testimony, not a tipster calling from a pay phone or Mark Felt whispering to Bob Woodward in a parking garage."

Singleton hires KR's labor attorney

Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group has hired another former Knight Ridder executive -- Marshall Anstandig (pictured), KR's vice president and senior labor and employment counsel. On Aug. 25, MediaNews announced it was hiring former KR chief financial officer Steve Rossi to be the company's chief operating officer. On Aug. 11, MediaNews announced that George Riggs, publisher of MediaNews's recently acquired Merc, would be given the additional duties of chief executive of the California Newspapers Partnership, a group of 32 dailies whose majority owner is MediaNews Group. Anstandig will be senior vice president and general counsel for the partnership.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Singleton warns Guild of 'dramatic' cuts

In the first contract negotiations since Dean Singleton's MediaNews bought control of the Mercury News, The San Jose Newspaper Guild says management has proposed creating a two-tier pay scale, eliminating the paper's pension plan, increasing health care costs and cutting other benefits and protections. The Guild's online bulletin quotes MediaNews Group CEO Dean Singleton (pictured) as telling the Guild bargaining committee that prolonged negotiations "could lead to dramatic reductions in staff as you are seeing elsewhere" in the newspaper industry. The Guild, while not presenting a counter proposal, said it is seeking wage increases, improvements in retirement and preservation of current health care benefits. The Merc's newsroom has gone from 404 people to 280 in the past few years.

The Guild is holding a membership meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, and the agenda includes approval of an initial contract proposal.

Here's a link to the existing contract (which expired June 30) and Singleton's initial proposal. Singleton's proposal (at least the version posted on the Guild's Web site) didn't include any salary proposals. Under "Article V -- Minimum Salaries" it says "proposal on revised wage scales forthcoming." Current Mercury News salary information is missing from the Guild's Web site.

[PPC, June 4: A former union negotiator at Singleton's ANG newspaper describes a 12-year effort to obtain a new contract at those newspapers]

HP spying is 'creepy,' says wife of target

Elizabeth Corcoran (pictured), a senior editor with Forbes' Silicon Valley Bureau, says in a commentary: "Hewlett Packard has my number. Not only my work and cell phone number, but probably also the numbers of my father, the nanny of my son’s best friend and a host of others. My husband, George Anders, works for The Wall Street Journal. He was one of the nine journalists targeted by private investigators hired by HP to figure out who was leaking corporate information to the press. For us, the story has gone from weirdly funny to downright creepy as more details have emerged. Ultimately, there are going to be quite a few casualties from this hit-and-run demolition of HP’s ethical standards." She notes how companies have become more aggressive in plugging leaks and the result is that journalists and their sources have little or no privacy left. She writes: "Zero privacy -- and zero trust. These are poignant legacies for HP to give to the Valley."

Federal shield law killed by DOJ

Walter Pincus of the Washington Post reports that the Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed consideration of a federal shield law for journalists after hearing strong new objections to the measure from the Justice Department. "The postponement all but guarantees that there will be no Senate action on the measure until Congress returns after the November elections. Even then, passage of the legislation is doubtful given powerful opposition in the House and from the Bush administration, according to congressional aides and non-government supporters of the measure," Pincus writes. A federal shield law would have kept San Francisco journalist Josh Wolf out of jail after he refused to turn over a videotape he shot of a political protest, and a federal shield law would have protected Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, who are facing as much as 18 months in jail for refusing to disclose the source of grand jury transcripts in the Barry Bonds steroids case.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Food, wine writers win national awards

Writers for the Chronicle, East Bay Express and SF Weekly all received first-place awards from the Association of Food Journalists for her story on the challenges of following the federal dietary guidelines. Bay Area winners include:
    Michael Bauer of the Chron took second place in Restaurant Criticism;
    • The Chron's Carol Ness won a first place award in the category Food News Reporting;
    • The East Bay Express's Jonathan Kauffman won a first place for restaurant criticism;
    • Ron Russell of the SF Weekly won a first place for Food News Reporting.
    • Chron Staff photographer Craig Lee took third place in both studio food photography and nonstudio food photography;
    • Chron Food Editor Miriam Morgan won second place in the Special Section category for an issue devoted to 100 summer food ideas;
    • Critic Bill Addison, a new addition to the Chronicle staff, took second place for his restaurant critiques published in Atlanta's Creative Loafing newsweekly;
    • Julie Kaufmann of the Mercury News won a third-place award for Best Newspaper Food Section;
    Carolyn Jung of the Merc received a third-place award for Food News Reporting;
    • Aleta Watson of the Merc took second place for restaurant criticism, and
    Tom Sietsema, formerly of the Chron, took first place in Restaurant Criticism for The Washington Post.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Talk about timing: Fiorina to start book tour

With Hewlett Packard furiously attempting to get its spying scandal off the front page, former CEO Carly Fiorina (pictured) is about to begin a book tour to promote her 336-page memoir, "Tough Choices." The Times of London says the book will include Fiorina's public firing, which was instigated by Patricia Dunn, who was forced to resign as HP chairman on Friday. Dunn hired investigators who obtained the phone records of seven board members, nine journalists, two HP employees and those people's family members. The investigators planned to put spies in the San Francisco newsrooms of the Wall Street Journal and CNET. On the book tour, it's possible Fiorina will be asked whether HP investigators spied on people during her tenure and what she thinks of Dunn's actions. The Times said: "As one of the most famous women in American business, Fiorina’s book would have gathered widespread interest before the fracas. But now she is a very hot property." Fiorina is lined up for all the big TV shows before the official release date of Oct. 9 including an Oct. 8 appearance on "60 Minutes."

HP ethics officer sought phone records

Marcy Gordon of the AP has obtained e-mails written in February by Hewlett Packard "ethics officer" Kevin T. Hunsaker in which he asks detectives to obtain the phone records of the wife of board member George Keyworth and the phone records of people Keyworth was with in January. Federal and California prosecutors are pursuing criminal investigations of the company's leak probe in which investigators hired by HP obtained the phone records of seven board members, nine journalists, two employees and family members of those people. Several high-ranking executives are expected to testify next week before a hearing by a House panel that includes Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto.

Friday, September 22, 2006

CBS Radio dumps KFRC's oldies format

CBS Radio pulled the plug on KFRC-FM's oldies format at 10 a.m. today (Sept. 22) and replaced it with a "Rhythmic Hot Adult Contemporary" format (think Madonna, En Vogue, Destiny's Child) in an attempt to draw younger listeners. The switch comes a couple of days after the summer Arbitron ratings came out, showing KFRC's audience had continued to shrink despite a format change last year when the station switched from a 50s-70s format to 60s-to-80s music. For the record, the last song KFRC played as an oldies station was Don McLean's "American Pie," which ended at 10:03 a.m. The new "Movin' 99.7" began immediately with "Gonna Make You Sweat" by C+C Music Factory. No word yet on whether any of KFRC's talent will be retained. KFRC, which switched from AM to FM a few years ago, had been an oldies station since the early 1990s. In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, it was a wildly successful Top 40 station led by morning man Dr. Don Rose from 1973-1986. The station operated today without live announcers. The switch leaves KFOX 98.5 as the closest thing to an oldies station in the San Francisco market.

HP CEO admits approving sting on reporter

Hewlett Packard CEO Mark Hurd, (left) during a packed news conference at the company's Palo Alto headquarters today, acknowledged that he approved sending an e-mail to a reporter as part of a sting operation to track down corporate leaks in a scandal that today forced out Chairman Patricia Dunn. Hurd said he would replace Dunn as chairman immediately.

Hurd apologized to the nine reporters who were investigated by detectives hired by the company. Hurd also admitted he approved a plan by private detectives to send an e-mail from an anonymous source to a reporter, but wasn't aware that spyware was attached to the e-mail that would give the detectives access to the reporter's computer. Hurd said he is also volunteering to testify before a House committee next week that is investigating the company.

Dunn hired detectives to find out who was leaking board room conversations to reporters. The investigators illegally obtained the phone records of board members, HP employees and nine journalists by using a technique called "pretexting" where investigators pose as phone customers to get confidential phone records. Dunn called the investigator's tactics "very disturbing." In the photo above by Benjamin Sklar of AP, Hurd speaks as Mike Holston, an HP attorney, listens in the background. Hurd took no questions at yesterday's news conference. [New York Times] [CNET] [Associated Press]

Journalist Josh Wolf returns to prison

Josh Wolf returned to a federal prison in the East Bay city of Dublin yesterday after refusing to surrender the video outtakes he shot of a San Francisco political protest. Wolf, 24, was jailed for 31 days in September on a contempt conviction for refusing to give the video to a federal grand jury, but was released by a three-judge panel of appeals court judges who ruled that his appeal had a chance of succeeding. At the urging of prosecutors, that three-judge panel changed its mind Monday and revoked his bail. Two Chronicle reporters, who are refusing to identify the source of a grand jury transcript in the Barry Bonds steroids case, were sentenced yesterday to 18 months in prison, but will remain out of jail while their case is appealed by their employer, the Hearst Corp. In Wolf's case, he has been receiving pro bono help from lawyers while friends have attempted to raise money through a legal defense fund. (Chronicle photo by Paul Chinn)

Fainaru-Wada hopes to win on appeal

E&P says that Mark Fainaru-Wada (pictured) is confident that he will not be going to jail even though a judge yesterday sentenced him and fellow reporter Lance Williams to 18 months in jail for refusing to reveal the source of a grand jury transcript in the Barry Bonds steroids case. "I continue to hope and feel that we are going to win at some point," Fainaru-Wada told E&P this morning. "We hope that someone is going to find some argument in the law. We have a good case and someone is going to recognize we have room here." He plans to be back at work Monday, where he and Williams will continue their BALCO investigation, jail and hearings not withstanding. [Bronstein plans to keep 'stress' watch on BALCO reporters]

Judge tells paper it can't have salary data

The Marin Independent Journal has been handed another setback in its quest to obtain the salaries of county govenment workers. First, the county supervisors refused to release the salaries and then changed their minds. Now a union representing the county's 300 management employees has convinced Judge Michael Dufficy to block the release of the salaries of all 2,100 county employees to the newspaper, the IJ reports. The IJ's attorney, Roger Myers, is considering an appeal. A suit the Contra Costa Times filed against Oakland for refusing the release the salaries of employees who make more than $100,000 is pending before the state Supreme Court. The Coco Times won at both the trial and appellate levels against heavy opposition by public employee unions. The unions argue that salaries should be private. Proponents of disclosure say the taxpayers should have the right to see how their money is spent and having actual salaries for individual employees will prevent political cronies from popping up on the public payroll.

KGO-AM, KOIT-FM win Marconi awards

At the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Dallas last night (Sept. 21), KGO-AM 810 received two Marconi awards for Major Market Station of the Year and News/Talk Station of the Year. KOIT-FM 96.5 won a Marconi for Adult Contemporary (AC) Station of the Year. Both stations were recognized for their high ratings, high billings and charity work. KGO was singled out for airing 8 hours a day of local news and 16 hours of local talk. The NAB handed out 21 Marconi awards last night.

"These accolades make KGO Radio the most honored radio station in Marconi history with an unprecedented 10 awards including the prestigious Legendary Station of the Year in 1995, awarded to a station only once," a statement from KGO said. "KGO’s 2006 awards are based upon the station’s 28 years at number one in Arbitron Ratings, an award-winning reporting team delivering local, national and international news, a dynamic and distinguished group of talk show hosts and a forceful commitment to the community, raising over a million dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for Cancer Research."

Tim Hunt to leave Tri-Valley Herald

Tim Hunt, associate publisher and long time columnist at the Pleasanton Tri-Valley Herald, is leaving the MediaNews-owned newspaper after a 37-year career that dates back to when Floyd Sparks owned the paper. "I've just decided now is a good time to move into a new chapter in my life," Hunt, 56, said in a story printed this morning in the Tri-Valley Herald. "I'm really excited to find out what that next chapter will be." The story included comments such as this one by David Rice of the Tri-Valley Community Foundation: "Tim is like the eyes of the community. He's not only someone people know, but many have seen him grow up here and take a leadership position in the community."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

2 Chron reporters to be jailed

A federal judge this afternoon (Sept. 21) sentenced two Chronicle reporters to a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail after they refused to tell a grand jury who leaked them confidential records in the BALCO steroids case. But they won't go to jail until an appeal is heard, which could take months. Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White ordered reporters Lance Williams (center left) and Mark Fainaru-Wada (center) to reveal who leaked them the grand jury testimony of baseball stars Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi. The reporters said they would go to jail to protect their sources. Both sides have agreed to stay the ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White pending an appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Above, Williams and Fainaru-Wada are surrounded by media outside the federal courthouse in San Francisco as they arrived for today's hearing. (Photo by Darryl Bush of the Chronicle.)

Coverage and Commentary:

Do you live in a good neighborhood?

The Chronicle has a weekday circulation of about 400,000, but a new insert called SFiS went out today to only 100,000 of the paper's readers. That was intentional. SFis, a guide to luxury living, is only intended for those readers in the most expensive Zip codes of the Bay Area. So if you got an SFis today, congratulations. The folks over at the blog Sfist didn't get their SFiS this morning, and they're not happy. "We over here at SFisT have been waiting on tenterhooks -- tenterhooks! -- for the launch of the Chronicle's totally not trademark-infringing new glossy publication focusing on travel, design, and fashion -- called "SFiS." You know, SFiS.... exciting! SFiS.... glamorous! SFiS... nothing at all like the name of a certain local blog! Oh no, not at all!" Later on, SFist notes that they're just kidding about suing Hearst.

HP chair jokes about spying scandal

Hewlett-Packard chairwoman Patricia Dunn (pictured) told a business group in San Francisco last night that she hoped the Pope would keep making controversial comments so that her company's spying scandal wouldn't get so much media attention. Dunn was inducted into the Bay Area Council's Business Hall of Fame at the Westin St. Francis Hotel. "All I will say about the maelstrom is that I look forward eagerly, in the near future, to setting the record straight and going back to leading my life as discretely as possible," Dunn said during her acceptance speech. "And in the meantime, it wouldn't hurt if the Pope continued to make controversial comments to grab the attention of the press." She also said: "I am fully alive to the irony of being inducted into the Bay Area Council Hall of Fame at this time. If you want to know how you too can be inducted one day into the Hall of Fame, my advice is to keep your name from being bandied about in the press with the word 'gate' afterwards." (AP photo)

    CNET's Charles Cooper (commentary): "The perfect media event. Dunn was guaranteed to get gobs of publicity for a speech to a sympathetic crowd -- and nobody was allowed to ask uncomfortable questions."

    BusinessWeek Online: HP press conference set for 1:05 p.m. Friday in Palo Alto. CEO Mark Hurd says, "We plan to give as much clarity as we can to these matters."

Latest SF radio ratings are released

A Spanish station, KSOL 98.9, and a urban hip-hop station, KMEL 106.1, are making steady gains in the latest Arbitron ratings for the San Francisco market. Before saying much more about these numbers (which are from the radio industry site All Access) we should point out that cumulative ratings (listeners 12 and older) are considered to be a beauty contest -- nice to look at, but advertisers don't care about these overall figures. They're more interested in how stations perform in particular demographics.

Returning to the beauty contest, NewsTalk KGO-AM was No. 1 again, as it has been since Marconi, although its numbers are slightly down from a 6.1 last fall to a 5.5 this summer (June, July and August).

KOIT was No. 2, drifting downward from a 4.9 last fall to a 4.1 this summer.

The surprise is KMEL, which came the closest ever to beating KOIT with a 4.0.

No. 4 was Univision Radio's KSOL, which has steadily gained audience in every book in the last couple of years, registering a 3.8 this summer. KSOL in San Francisco and sister station KSQL in Santa Cruz carry a combination of talk shows and Mexican music.

No. 5 was All News KCBS 740 with a 3.5.

Showing growth were KFOG, 98.1 KISS (KISQ), KRZZ (La Raza Radio), Live 105 (KITS) and Univision Radio's KVVF/KVVZ.

[Ben Fong-Torres explained the Arbitron ratings in his Aug. 13 Chronicle column, where he discussed the spring report.]

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

September 2006 Press Club board minutes

Call to order at 6:19 p.m.

Meeting was brought to order by Board President Micki Carter at 6:19 p.m.

Board members present: Jamie Casini, Peter Cleaveland, Darryl Compton and Dave Price.

Absent: John Kane, Jon Mays, Ed Remitz, Jack Russell and Aimee Lewis Strain.

Minutes of August meeting approved unanimously.

Treasurer's Report: Balance sheet showed total assets of $34,142.41. Price asked whether that high of a balance should be of concern, since it was his understanding that assets exceeding $25,000 would require the club to file a Form 990 with the IRS. Compton agreed that was a concern and also said that the IRS wants a 990 for previous years. Compton said he is working to comply with that request.

Compton also said the board shouldn't have $20,000 in a checking account, which doesn't earn much interest. He would like to move it to an account or fund that would yield higher interest. Cleaveland noted that one bank has a short-term 5% CD. Carter said moving funds to a new account doesn't make much sense before the club changes officers in December. She indicated that the current president would have to be a signatory on the account and then the signatory would have to change after the officers change in December. There was some discussion about having multiple officers on the bank's signature cards. No decision was made on moving funds to a higher-yield account.

Price thanked Compton for including the check register in the Treasurer's Report.

The treasurer's report was approved unanimously.

Old Business

Bench Bar Media. Casini said she would talk to Aimee Lewis Strain about setting up a future meeting.

Roster. Following a discussion, the board decided unanimously to send electronic versions of the club's roster to members. However, those members who wanted a printed roster will receive one.

Request for donation from Student Press Law Center. No action taken.

San Francisco Press Club Scholarship. The SF Press Club has decided it will seek a national press program to handle their environmental journalism scholarship.

High School Journalism. The board discussed what it could do to help high school journalism programs. Board members were concerned that Hillsdale High School has apparently canceled its student newspaper because it no longer has a journalism advisor. Cleaveland says all of the area's public schools are in similar trouble. The board discussed offering grants to high schools in order to keep their programs going. Carter said she is considering taking a part-time position as a journalism advisor to a public high school. An amount as small as $500 might keep some of these programs going, she said. The board asked Carter to contact high schools in the area and create a "wish list" of items or grants necessary to keep high school journalism programs going.

Christmas Party. Cleaveland said the party room at Harry's Hofbrau in Redwood City is available on a number of dates in early December. The board picked Wednesday, Dec. 6, as the date. The hours will be 6-8 p.m. The cost is $10. Donations accepted for food bank. No host bar. The party will be combined with the club's annual meeting.

December Board Election. Carter said she cannot serve another term as president. She suggested that the board start looking for a replacement.

Meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.

Next meeting is Oct. 18 (note that it is not on the usual second Wednesday of the month) at 6:15 p.m. at the San Mateo Daily News.

Minutes submitted by Price.

Wolf gets 48-hour reprieve from prison

Freelance photographer and blogger Josh Wolf (pictured), who was supposed to return to federal prison today for failing to give authorities a videotape he shot, received a 48-hour reprieve, the Chronicle is reporting tonight. Attorneys for Wolf, who has already spent a month behind bars before being released on bail Sept. 1, had hoped to keep their client free while he appeals the case. They plan to ask the full Ninth Circuit appeals court in San Francisco next month to review the case and may also take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the Chronicle. Wolf, who photographed a 2005 anarchist protest in San Francisco and sold footage to local TV stations, is refusing to honor a grand jury subpoena to turn over the rest of the tape. California's shield law for journalists would normally allow a photographer to ignore such a subpoena. But prosecutors argue that since a portion of a police car damaged in the protest was funded with federal dollars, the investigation should be carried out by federal authorities, and the federal government doesn't have to abide by state shield laws. [Huffington Post blogger Anthony Lappe sits down with Wolf for what both thought would be Wolf's last meal before prison on Monday night]

BALCO reporters face judge on Thursday

Chronicle reporters Lance Williams (left) and Mark Fainaru-Wada (right) are due to appear in U.S. District Court in San Francisco at 1:30 p.m. Thursday to tell Judge Jeffrey White why they shouldn't be jailed for refusing to reveal who leaked to them confidential grand jury testimony about the use of steroids by pro athletes including Barry Bonds. In the middle of this August 2006 photo by Michael Maloney of the Chron are Chron editor Phil Bronstein and Hearst Corp. General Counsel Eve Burton. The Chron today printed an extensive story that explains the issues in the case and mentions that today the Senate Judiciary Committee is hearing testimony on a federal shield law for reporters to protect the identity of confidential sources except in cases involving national security.

Related stories:

HP was planning to spy on newsrooms

The extent of Hewlett Packard's spying on reporters seems to be dribbling out, day by day, with one unbelievable headline after another. Here's this morning's shocker: The New York Times says HP conducted feasibility studies on planting spies in the San Francisco news bureaus of CNET and the Wall Street Journal as part of an investigation of leaks from its board. Plans called for placing investigators posing as clerical employees or janitors in the offices of the two publications. Documents indicate that Chairwoman Patricia Dunn was told that investigators had plans for the "placement of agent in close proximity to the person of interest." It is not known whether the plan was implemented. The story is based on an anonymous source who was briefed about the spying operation. CNET reported yesterday that its reporters who were spied upon by HP were briefed by government investigators about the HP case. Among the nine reporters targeted by HP was John Markoff of the New York Times.

Also, the Washington Post reported that HP CEO Mark Hurd personally approved a "sting" operation where private detectives would ure the reporter to open an e-mail attachment with software that would let HP see where the e-mail was forwarded, hoping it would pinpoint board member George Keyworth as the source. Keyworth has since resigned from the HP board.

Previous PPC postings:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

HP probed reporters before they published

Hewlett Packard was so anxious to plug news leaks that a CNET reporter who simply called the company's spokesman for a comment was targeted by the company's investigators before the reporter's story was published, reports. It had been previously thought that HP began spying on reporters after CNET's Tom Krazit published a story on Jan. 23 on private discussions at an HP board meeting. But government investigators told Krazit that his phone records were accessed by HP's detectives on Jan. 20, the day he asked company spokesman Robert Sherbin for a comment on the board meeting. Sherbin said he doesn't remember who he notified about his conversation with Krazit, but said he had been asked to flag other HP officials about news leaks. The CNET story also says that Dawn Kawamoto's phone records were obtained by HP on Jan. 17, and that she was physically followed by the company's detectives in February. Documents the government has obtained from HP include a surveillance photo of Kawamoto.

HALL OF FAME: The CNET story also notes that HP board member Patricia Dunn (pictured), who has agreed to step down as chairwoman because of the spying scandal, is scheduled to be inducted tonight (Sept. 20) into the Bay Area Business Hall of Fame by the Bay Area Council, a local business and civic organization.

Josh Wolf ordered to return to jail

Josh Wolf (pictured), a freelance journalist who spent a month in a federal detention center because he refused to provide a federal grand jury with outakes from a video he shot of an anarchist protest, has been ordered to return to jail by a three-judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The San Francisco-based panel ruled that a 1972 Supreme Court precedent requires everyone, including journalists, to appear before grand juries if they have been summoned. The court wrote: "The Supreme Court has declined to interpret the First Amendment to 'grant newsmen a testimonial privilege that other citizens do not enjoy.'" Wolf, who is depending on donations to fund his legal defense, told the AP through his attorney that he plans to turn himself in at the federal prison in the East Bay city of Dublin before his 1 p.m. Wednesday deadline. Wolf's attorney, Jose Luis Fuentes, said that jailing Wolf won't result in the federal government getting his videotape -- "It's just punishment." [PPC, Sept. 1: Wolf released from prison]

Monday, September 18, 2006

Murphy replaces Sinkovitz at Channel 4

With zero advance promotion, KRON tonight filled anchor Tom Sinkovitz's (right) seat on the anchor desk with Chris Murphy (left), a Bay Area native who has been at Channel 4 for four years. Sinkovitz, longtime co-anchor with Pam Moore on the 6 and 11 p.m. news, announced Friday that he was leaving the station after 17 years. On Friday, Sinkovitz suggested he was headed to another local station. During tonight's 11 o'clock news, no mention was made of Murphy's promotion, although sports anchor Gary Radnich looked at the other three people on the set and declared, "You guys are young. Pam just belies her age. I'm now like the oldest guy at KRON. I'm the only guy who limps at KRON. ... I used to be young and frisky." Murphy grew up in the Bay Area, and worked at stations in Bakersfield, Eureka, Reno and Portland before joining Channel 4. Here's his bio. For the past four years, Murphy has been on Channel 4's morning news. But he's lucky. The show has changed its starting time from 5 a.m. to 4 a.m. at the same time Murphy is leaving for the evening newscasts.

Yahoo's new journalism fellowship is ironic

Yahoo, which has helped the Chinese government prosecute journalists and acquiesced to its censorship demands, announced today that it will fund a $1 million fellowship for journalists in countries where press freedoms are restricted. Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, is giving the money to Stanford's John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists. The first Yahoo International Fellow will be the BBC's Imtiaz Ali, a reporter in Pakistan, where Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered in 2002. The San Jose Business Journal provides details of the fellowship.

A year ago, the New York Times reported on Yahoo's role in the prosecution of a Chinese journalist, Shi Tao, who is now serving a 10-year prison sentence. Here's another version of the Shi Tao story from the Christian Science Monitor. And here's Yahoo's Jerry Yang explaining in the Washington Post that his company had no choice but to cooperate with the government if it wanted to do business in China.

HP spying more elaborate than first thought

The New York Times says that private detectives working for Hewlett Packard, in its attempt to track down news leaks, followed CNET reporter Dawn Kawamoto and tried to plant software on a CNET reporter's computer that would communicate back to detectives. The Times report is based on anonymous sources, people who were briefed on the company's review of the operation. The story also says the investigation into leaks began in January 2005, earlier than previously thought.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Santa Cruz daily attracts 3 bidders

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that its owner is considering bids from three potential buyers — MediaNews, the chain headed by Dean Singleton that bought the Mercury News earlier this summer; Freedom Newspapers, owner of the Orange County Register, and a local group led by Geoffrey Dunn, a real estate consultant and former owner of Santa Cruz magazine. Dunn and fellow developer William Brooks are leading a group of 12 local investors who say they have the backing of a New York financial firm. Their consultant is Rowland Rebele, former publisher of weekly papers in California and the Midwest. Owner Dow Jones & Co. wants to sell by Dec. 31 to take advantage of a tax break expiring that day.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Tom Sinkovitz leaving KRON after 17 years

Tom Sinkovitz, co-anchor of Channel 4's 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts, announced tonight that he's leaving KRON after 17 years. But the three-time regional Emmy winner suggested local viewers will see him again. "I'm not saying 'good-bye' tonight. I'm just saying I'll see you later," he said at the end of the 11 p.m. news. Co-anchor Pam Moore cried during the 6 p.m. news when Sinkovitz said he was leaving. Sports anchor Gary Radnich said, "Class just went out the door." No word on who is replacing Sinkovitz or where Sinkovitz is going. His bio has been pulled from KRON's web site. Sinkovitz's career began with the Armed Forces Vietnam Network when he was in Saigon in 1969. Since 1970, he has worked in WHP-TV in Harrisburg, Pa., WCPO-TV Cincinnati, WBAL-TV Baltimore and WXIA-TV Atlanta. He joined KRON in January 1990 when the station was still an NBC affiliate. He moved up to the weeknight co-anchor spot when Pete Wilson left Channel 4 for KGO in late 2000. In addition to the 6 and 11 p.m. news, Sinkovitz was co-anchor of the station's 9 O'Clock News, which was instituted in 2000 to replace some of the NBC programming that left for Channel 11. The 9 O'Clock News was cancelled effective Sept. 5 to make way for primetime soap operas produced by the new MyNetworkTV. Trivia: Sinkovitz is one of very few broadcasters in the country with a twin brother who is also a TV journalist. His brother, Jim Sinkovitz, is a news anchor in Philadelphia.

HP even targeted its own spokesman

It wasn't just Hewlett Packard board members and journalists whose phone records were illegally obtained by the company's private investigators -- they got the phone records of the company's spokesman, MIchael Moeller, CNET is reporting tonight. The investigators were trying to find out who was leaking information to the press, but it wasn't Moeller, according to HP vp of external communications Robert Sherbin, who told CNET: "The investigators' suspicions were misplaced and baseless." Is Moeller upset? "(CEO) Mark Hurd and (Chairman) Patty Dunn both personally apologized to me," Moeller said. "I think it should speak volumes that I am still doing my job."

Details on Hearst-MediaNews secrecy order

A day after the Chronicle mentioned, in the eighth paragraph of a business section story, that all records in the Clint Reilly's antitrust lawsuit against MediaNews and Hearst would be kept secret unless they're alread public, George Avalos of the Contra Costa Times has come along with a full blown story on the secrecy order. Avalos story makes the following points:

    • An attorney for Reilly, Dan Shulman, said Reilly had little choice but to agree to the confidentiality in order for a trial in the case to proceed swiftly and begin Feb. 26.

    • Shulman said it was ironic that the publishing companies were anxious to keep much of the information in the case confidential. "Newspapers believe the public should know about everything, unless it is information about newspapers," Shulman said.

    • Nobody from Hearst or MediaNews wanted to be quoted by name for the story (even though the story was being written by a MediaNews employee). So the newspaper companies' point of view was represented by a person who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The story did not indicate whether the source worked for Hearst or MediaNews.

    • That anonymous spokesman said that allowing the public to see court records might reveal "trade secrets, or proprietary financial or strategic information."

Eshoo committee to probe HP scandal

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, whose members include Palo Alto Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, has announced that it will investigate Hewlett Packard's spying on its own board of directors and nine reporters. CNET, which had three reporters whose phone records were stolen by HP investigators, said that it was told by a committee aide to expect a two-day investigative hearing on the legality and prevalence of telephone "pretexting," the tactic of posing as someone in an attempt to obtain their calling records. The committee is headed by Joe Barton, R-Texas, and also includes Eshoo, a Democrat whose district includes HP's headquarters. [LA Times: State's HP case may be tough to win] [Society of American Business Editors and Writers condemns HP snooping] [Jerry Ceppos: HP scandal shows leaks can work both ways]

MediaNews bidding for Santa Cruz daily

MediaNews, the newspaper company led by Dean Singleton (pictured), is bidding on the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the Merc reports. On Aug. 28, Sentinel owner Dow Jones (also owner of the Wall Street Journal), put the 25,000-circulation Sentinel on the block to take advantage of a tax break that expires Dec. 31. Bids were due at the close of business on Thursday (Sept. 14). The Merc says that the standard practice would be for Dow Jones to select second-round bidders, who would hear management presentations and get tours of the paper before submitting final bids. The paper has 169 employees including 40 in the newsroom. MediaNews owns 12 dailies in the Bay Area including the Mercury News, Marin Independent Journal, Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times. [PPC, Aug. 29: Santa Cruz Daily Sentinel up for sale]

ZDNet: Why isn't Dunn out of HP now?

Russell Shaw, in his ZDNet column, says the mainstream media have gotten the story about Patricia Dunn's (pictured) ouster from Hewlett Packard "completely wrong." He says that since she was "front and center in a full-blown scandal that has involved HP using investigators using shady 'pretexting' practices to pry into the personal calling records of nine reporters" why is the media content with her remaining as chairwoman until January, and with her remaining on HP's board after that. Shaw asks, "What I want to know is, why the hell isn't she out of there RIGHT NOW??"

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Documents sealed in Reilly's antitrust suit

Newspapers usually fight attempts to suppress public records, but it appears all documents in Clint Reilly's antitrust lawsuit against Hearst Corp. and MediaNews will be sealed unless they are public record, the Hearst-owned Chronicle reported today (Sept. 14).

News of the self-imposed secrecy order appeared as a single sentence in the eighth paragraph of a Chronicle business section story that explained Hearst will become a major shareholder of MediaNews, which owns all of the Bay Area's major dailies except for the Chroncle. Initially, Hearst would own a special type of stock in MediaNews that would not include the company's Bay Area publications, but later that stock could be exchanged for common stock in MediaNews.

Today's Chron story states: "Hearst and MediaNews have not disclosed what size stake Hearst would own in MediaNews properties outside the Bay Area." However, MediaNews said in an Aug. 2 filing with the SEC: "The equity investment will afford Hearst an equity interest of approximately 30% (subject to adjustment in certain circumstances) in the Company’s publications outside the San Francisco Bay area."

The Chron story today repeats much of what the MediaNews papers reported Sept. 8. And that story echoes a Bay Guardian article from a few days earlier.

Reilly (pictured), a San Francisco real estate developer and one-time candidate for mayor, has filed a civil suit alleging the deal would create an illegal newspaper monopoly that would result in higher subscription and advertising prices and diminished journalism quality. A Hearst lawyer is quoted as saying the deal won't create a monopoly because newspapers face intense competition from a wide range of competitors. A trial is set for February. [PPC, Sept. 8: New details in Hearst-MediaNews deal] [PPC, Aug. 23: Anti-trust suit against newspapers isn't over] [PPC, Aug. 10: Hearst to own 30% of MediaNews]

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Former KR executive Schneider joins Yahoo

Hilary Schneider, a former senior vp of Knight Ridder who was seen as a possible successor to chairman Tony Ridder before the company's demise, has landed at Yahoo as a senior vp of a new business unit called Marketplaces. Schneider, a South Bay resident who will be based in Sunnyvale, will develop an overarching classified and listings strategy for Yahoo, the company said in a press release. She will look for new ways "monetizing transaction listings across Yahoo!, as well as have day-to-day oversight of Yahoo!'s Marketplaces properties in the U.S., including Autos, Classifieds, HotJobs, Personals, Real Estate, Shopping & Auctions, Travel and Yellow Pages." At Knight Ridder, she oversaw half of the company's newspapers including those on the West Coast, and supervised KR's digital division. Before that she was president and chief executive of Red Herring Communications. Previously, she was in top management at the Baltimore Sun.

250 students, advisers attend j-day

Journalism Day at Palo Alto High School attracted more than 250 high school students and advisers representing 18 Bay Area school publications, according to the California Newspaper Publishers Association bulletin. They learned how newspapers are covering their communities and how the delivery of news is changing. Segments at the Sept. 9 workshop covered newswriting, photography, design, press law, adviser issues, advertising and marketing, multimedia, internships, college newspapers, printing and InDesign. J-Day sponsors included the CNPA, Peninsula Press Club, Journalism Education Association of Northern California, California Scholastic Journalism Initiative, the journalism departments of College of San Mateo, Chabot College and Ohlone College, and The Campanile newspaper and Verde magazine at Palo Alto High School. The second of four journalism days produced by CNPA is Saturday, Sept. 30 at Riverside City College. Details at

The upside of spying by HP

Chron columnist Jon Carroll says it's good news that Hewlett Packard has been secretly spying on print reporters. Print reporters usually have to go to jail before anybody finds them newsworthy, he says. Carroll also explains "pretexting" -- "It's called 'pretexting,' apparently, because the investigators use a pretext to get the information requested. That is, they lie. They could call it 'lying,' but that's such a harsh word."

Ex-KR executives start consulting firm

Three former Knight Ridder executives have launched a consulting firm to help companies with management assessment and training, strategic planning, succession management, and workplace diversity, according to Editor & Publisher Online. Larry Olmstead (left), who was in charge of recruiting, training, and leadership development at Knight Ridder until last June, is president and executive consultant of Leading Edge Associates of San Jose. He is joined by former Merc executive editor and KR news VP Jerry Ceppos (right) and Marty Claus (photo unavailable), also a retired VP of news at Knight Ridder. Ceppos and Claus are consultant associates. Rafael Gonzalez, an organizational consultant and executive coach, Rebecca Kuiken, an ordained minister who is current moderator of the San Jose Presbytery, and Robyn Fernandez Parmley, a former training coordinator and human resource analyst for Knight Ridder, are serving as managers of administration at LEA, according to E&P.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

HP done with Dunn as board chair

Hewlett Packard Chairman Patricia Dunn (pictured), who launched an investigation into media links that resulted in phone records of board members and reporters being obtained illegally, has agreed to resign in January following a meeting of the company's board. Chief operating officer and president Mark Hurd will take over the chairman's post. Dunn will remain on the board as a director. In a statement, Hurd sought to distance himself from the scandal in which phone records of reporters and board members were obtained illegally by private investigators hired by Dunn. "I am taking action to ensure that inappropriate investigative techniques will not be employed again. They have no place in HP," Hurd said. Also, the board member accused of the media leaks, George Keyworth, is resigning immediately. Coverage includes CNET, Reuters, Mercury News, Chronicle and Bloomberg

Ex-HP board member enjoys press coverage

A private e-mail obtained by the New York Times suggests former Hewlett Packard board member Tom Perkins (left) and his lawyer are apparently enjoying news stories that skewer HP Chairwoman Patricia Dunn (right).

Perkins, 74, resigned from HP's board amid a controversy over Dunn's investigation into leaks about discussions at private board meetings. He has since gone on to harshly criticize her for hiring private investigators who illegally obtained the phone records of HP board members and nine journalists who cover the Palo Alto-based company.

According to this morning's Times, Perkins’s lawyer, Viet D. Dinh, sent a message Sunday with the subject line “This is funny” to Perkins and George A. Keyworth II (right), the director at the center of the board controversy after being identified as a source of news leaks.

The e-mail passed along a humorous column from the Houston Chronicle which portrayed the computer company as falling apart because of Dunn's actions. It also referred to the cover story of this week's Newsweek, which skewered Dunn.

"Kaplan’s piece was perfect,” the e-mail said, referring to David A. Kaplan, the author of the Newsweek article. “Tom, loved the helicopter story — perfect color,” it added, referring to an anecdote about a prank Perkins had played on Dunn at a dinner party with a remote-controlled miniature helicopter.

Perkins forwarded his lawyer's e-mail to two dozen people. Among them were publisher Rupert Murdoch, HarperColllins publisher Judith Regan, two of Perkins' partners in the venture capital firm he built, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, and Kaplan, the Newsweek reporter.

One of the 12 recipients forwarded the message again to the New York Times, apparently in error, though Perkins' spokesman didn't dispute the message's authenticity.