Friday, August 31, 2007

Will a free lunch attract reporters?

Novato Advance columnist and business consultant Al Coddington has an answer for people trying to get news coverage for service clubs. "Make sure your press release boldly states that a 'free lunch' will be provided to members of the working press and address it to Al Coddington at the Novato Advance."

OK, he's kidding. But Coddington offers some down-to-earth tips for those submitting community news items to newspapers:
    • "[K]now in your target market. When you write a press release, think about who is going to be the user of this information and ask yourself what benefit they will derive from it."

    • "Organize an event that will provide any photographer with a target-rich environment."

    • "If your service club meets only to listen to speakers, you will need to find some newsworthy tidbit in the speaker's content ..."

The Quake 960 becomes Green 960

Clear Channel has changed the on-air identity of its liberal talk station in San Francisco from The Quake 960 (KQKE-AM) to Green 960 (KKGN-AM). Radio columnist Brad Kava writes:
    "The lineup of Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Rachel Maddow, Bill Press, Mike Malloy, Jon Elliot and Randi Rhodes is a liberal dream team, intelligent and entertaining. It is virtually tied in the ratings with conservative talker and sister station KNEW-AM (910), both down in the lower 20s for Bay Area audiences over 12.
Green 960 has also added a locally produced afternoon show at 3 p.m. daily called "Green Seed Radio," a primer for people who want to live with more concern for the environment.

Kava notes that Bob Agnew manages both the conservative KNEW and the liberal Green 960. "Can you believe this is what I'm doing?" Agnew asks. "But after two years of working with this station, I've moved dead center — from hardcore conservative. And I really think we are ahead of the curve on this movement."

Legislature urges federal shield law

In a rare unanimous vote, the California Assembly and Senate have passed a resolution calling upon Congress to enact a shield law for America's journalists. The Assembly passed it 74-0 on June 21 and the Senate voted 74-0 to approve it on Monday. [Here is the legislative history.] AJR24 was authored by Assembly members Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, and Mark Leno, D-San Francisco (both pictured).
    “We just sent Washington a unified message to protect a free press,” said Evans (according to California Chronicle). “Without a federal shield law enabling journalists to protect confidential news sources blowing the whistle for the public good, we cannot effectively govern ourselves and exercise the freedoms protected in our Bill of Rights.”

    Said Leno (same source), “Without a federal shield law, we live with a dramatic and chilling effect on our freedom of the press and journalistic integrity in America.”
Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia have either statutory or common law shield protections.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stanford grad ignites protests in Uganda

Katherine Roubos, who is interning at a Kampala, Uganda newspaper after graduating this spring from Stanford, has sparked a storm of controversy by writing three stories on gay and lesbian Ugandans, the Stanford Daily reports. The AP reports that protesters who gathered at a sports facility demanded the deportation of Roubos, 22, who is originally from Minnetonka, Minn. Demonstrators, who the AP said were a coalition of Christian, Muslim and Bahai groups, accused Roubos of advocating for gay rights in the country where homosexuality is illegal. Roubos said she has been impartial in her reporting, although she has worked with numerous advocacy groups in the U.S., including on gay rights issues. She declined to give details to the AP.

MarketWatch's Murphy starts Boomer site

Tom Murphy, the founding editor of MarketWatch, has launched a site targeting aging Baby Boomers who don't care about Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan. Murphy told the Examiner that he hopes becomes an online network that links timely national and international stories with issues that connect to Boomers, such as ways of dealing with recurring bouts of breast cancer for women older than 40, or investment advice for boomers dealing with the recent stock market fluctuations. Before MarketWatch, Murphy was supervisor of AP's San Francisco bureau for five years. A longtime San Francisco resident, he now lives in Marin County. Here's his "about us" statement on the new site. And here's a KGO-TV ABC7 story on RedwoodAge which notes:
    The challenge is whether advertisers will support boomer Web sites, and in the case of, whether venture capitalists will want to invest in content sites aimed at the over-40 crowd.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Coco Times cuts costs, kills TV magazine

The Contra Costa Times will abandon its popular TV book in order to cut costs, Publisher and President John Armstrong (pictured) says in a memo to employees.
    "The book has been a significant economic drain for several years. On September 14, the weekly TV grids will be inserted in a new Friday tabloid section that also will be devoted to movies. ... We can expect push-back from some Contra Costa Times readers, but the alternative was to eliminate weekly TV grids altogether.
Armstrong also says the copy desks of the Coco Times and the Alameda Newspaper Group papers will be combined next year when a new electronic front end system is installed.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Court: Government salaries are public info

The state Supreme Court ruled today that the salaries of government employees in California are a matter of public record and must be available upon request to "ensure transparency in government." The decision, stemming from a lawsuit the Contra Costa Times brought against the City of Oakland, ends a three-year-long legal battle.

The decision overrules a 2003 appellate court decision in a San Mateo County case that governments have cited to block access to salary data. In that San Mateo County case, Superior Court Judge Rosemary Pfeiffer refused to allow the release of salaries of government employees in five cities to the Palo Alto Daily News. Her ruling was upheld by an appeals court. The decision caused several cities in the region to stop providing salary data to the media.

"I think this is a landmark opinion affirming the public's right of access to information about how the government is run and how tax dollars are spent," said Karl Olsen, the attorney for the CC Times.

Some excerpts from today's ruling:
    Of course, we recognize that many individuals, including public employees, may be uncomfortable with the prospect of others knowing their salary and that many of these individuals would share that information only on a selective basis, even within the workplace. Nor do we question that public disclosure of an individual’s salary may cause discomfort or embarrassment. Nonetheless, in light of the strong public policy supporting transparency in government, an individual’s expectation of privacy in a salary earned in public employment is significantly less than the privacy expectation regarding income earned in the private sector. ...

    Counterbalancing any cognizable interest that public employees may have in avoiding disclosure of their salaries is the strong public interest in knowing how the government spends its money. ...

    The Newspapers submitted to the trial court numerous examples of articles published throughout the state that used information concerning public employee salaries to illustrate claimed nepotism, favoritism, or financial mismanagement in state and local government. For instance, one article disclosed that a city department manager’s wife was earning $80,000 as an information technology specialist assigned to that department while the department was suffering a budget shortfall requiring layoffs. Another article exposed the circumstance that a city assessor hired a number of individuals who had contributed to (or worked on) her election campaign. ... These examples, even when they reveal no impropriety, amply illustrate that disclosure of government salary information serves a significant public interest.
In a separate case, the state Supreme Court ruled today that public has the right to inspect the hiring records of police agencies throughout California and to learn the names and salaries of government employees. The Los Angeles Times sued after the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, which keeps a database on the employment history of all police officers in the state, refused to release such records. [Video of newsroom reaction] [PDF of the ruling] [CC Times story with a timeline at the end]

Friday, August 24, 2007

William Woo's book released

Informal essays Stanford journalism professor William Woo wrote to his students have been compiled in a new book, "Letters from the Editor: Lessons on Journalism and Life," now available at Woo died April 12, 2006 of colorectal cancer at age 69 in Palo Alto. Woo was the first person outside the Pulitzer family to edit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the first Asian American to edit a major American newspaper. After 40 years in the newsroom, Woo embarked on a second career teaching journalism at Stanford. This volume collects some of the best informal weekly essays he wrote to his students. Royalties from the book will go toward internships offered through the Asian American Journalists Association.

Guild cuts dues to $12/month for ANG unit

When MediaNews Group decided it would no longer recognize the Guild as the representative of its employees at its ANG newspapers, it also stopped deducting union dues from those workers' paychecks. So the Guild has announced that effective immediately dues for all employees in that unit will be reduced to a flat $12 a month, regardless of salary. Previously the dues were 1.659 percent of an employee's after-tax pay. "This money, plus lots more from the local and international union, will be financing our union-building campaign," the Guild says on its Web site.

The ANG unit covers about 125 workers, and "almost 80 of those are dues-paying members," said Carl Hall, a Chronicle reporter who heads the Guild's local unit in a Aug. 14 Chron story. MediaNews has merged the ANG reporters with 170 non-union newsroom employees from the Contra Costa Times.

The Guild says:
    Even as we fight to protect our 20-year-old unit’s negotiating rights, we have begun discussions with our Contra Costa Times colleagues to gauge interest in expanding our unit and bargaining power. We’re explaining to them that we need a strong voice to deal with Dean Singleton and his cronies. The new BANG “umbrella” means a lot of changes — and promises management may be making now won’t necessarily be remembered six months from now. Only by sticking together can we have a fair chance at meaningful raises, improved benefits, and protection against arbitrary firings. Already, we’re seeing that [Contra Costa Times] people understand why we need to find common ground — and fast!
Press Club, Aug. 22: Guild will attempt to organize Coco Times

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tracy Press cuts Tuesday, Thursday editions

The 19,000-circulation Tracy Press announced today that it is dropping its Tuesday and Thursday editions and will now print just three days a week — Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. A "to our readers" note from Publisher Bob Matthews and Editor Cheri Matthews said:
    We don’t take this change lightly. We know some of you would prefer to have the paper delivered to your home every day. But it’s a new world in the newspaper business, and we’re embracing it as quickly as we can, with the resources we have. Economic necessity is driving this decision as much as the changing realities and challenges of the business we’re in. If we could deliver the printed newspaper every day, we would. But it no longer makes economic sense for us to do so.
They emphasized that the paper's Web site,, would be updated seven days a week.

The 109-year-old, family-owned paper evolved over the years from a weekly to a twice a week paper, and then, in 1986, to a five-day daily, according to the Tracy Press Web site. In 1995, it added a Saturday edition. Last year, the Tracy Press dropped its Monday edition and returned to a five-day publishing schedule (Tuesday-Saturday). The Record competes with Dean Singleton's Tri-Valley Herald and Dow Jones' Stockton Record. In June 2006, it switched from paid circulation to free delivery to local homes.

Guild will attempt to organize Coco Times

The Guild will attempt to organize newsroom workers at MediaNews Group's Contra Costa Times in the wake of the company's decision to decertify the union at the ANG newspapers, the East Bay Express reports. Carl Hall, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter and rep for the Northern California Media Workers Guild, says the union is also fighting the company's attempt at decertification by filing grievances with the National Labor Relations Board. Hall is quoted as saying the company may have deliberately depleted its ANG unit over several months while expanding operations at the nonunion papers in order to take away their union status prior to the merger.

Viewers chat with anchor during newscast

The Chron reports that KNTV NBC11 now is enabling viewers to interact online with anchor Jessica Aguirre during the 5 p.m. news. As the Chron's Joe Garofoli puts it, "The experiment is an example of how mainstream media outlets are belatedly trying to embrace a fundamental value of the Web: Listen to your audience." Garofoli also writes:
    The online chatter among NBC11 viewers isn't always a colloquium of Rhodes scholars. One poster asked during a newscast, "Is (technology reporter) Scott Budman nice?" Another asked why there was an NBC11 truck outside the Santa Clara County jail. (A reporter was there to pick up a mug shot of an inmate, was the answer.)
(Photo credit: Lance Iverson, Chronicle)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Judge sides with Merc over sealed document

A judge has granted a request by the Mercury News to unseal two arrest affidavits in the murder of a Cambodian woman in San Jose, over the objections of both prosecutors and the defense, the newspaper reported today. But Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Jean High Wetenkamp said he would keep the documents secret until at least Friday in order to allow for an appeal. The defense didn't want the affidavits released, saying it feared that "inflammatory" statements made by the defendants would make it impossible to find jurors who would have an unbiased view of the case. The legal skirmish involves a potential death-penalty case against two transients, Julio Jovel, 30, and Luis Alvarado, 18, who are accused of snatching Sany San, 46, from a street July 22, raping and stabbing her to death. The Merc's attorney, First Amendment specialist James Chadwick, said after the hearing that the newspaper brought the motion "because it's important for people to know what's going on" in the courts.

SF papers show split in alt-weekly industry

E&P's Mark Fitzgerald says there's a split in the alt-weekly community nationally, and San Francisco's two alt-weeklies are emblematic of that divide. On one side, you have the Old Guard represented by Bruce Brugmann's (left) Bay Guardian, defined by Fitzgerald as "loud, aggressive, left-leaning -- and a scourge of the hometown dailies." On the other extreme there's the Village Voice Media chain, owner of the SF Weekly. Its executive editor, Michael Lacey (right) tells his journalists to keep their opinions to themselves and write local news. "Our readers already have opinions -- they don't need someone who is posing as the sophomore in the dorm room philosophizing on what it means," Lacey tells E&P. "Our guy isn't going to sit there and gas on about something. He's going to dig something up." The article also notes:
    At the same time alt-papers are engaging in this soul-searching, they're confronting generational turnover and an audience that doesn't necessarily share Boomer preoccupations, notes Abe Peck, an underground newspaper pioneer in Chicago now teaching at Northwestern University: "You get readers who are less committed to reviews of Persian films, or learning about the war, or a 6,000-word expose of landlords -- they want to know where to go on a Friday night."
(Photo credits: Brugmann, CNPA; Lacey, NYT)

Monday, August 20, 2007

KRON to air 'retro' shows on multicast channel

KRON announced today that it will use one of its digital multicast channels to air a new network that will feature classic shows from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s starting Oct. 1. The new Retro Television Network, or RTN, is owned by Equity Media Holdings Corp. and it is signing up affiliates nationwide. RTN's schedule will include "Hawaii 5-0," "Matlock," "Mission: Impossible" and "Streets of San Francisco."

As part of the transition to digital television, a single station can now provide multiple channels of separate programming simultaneously, free and over the air. Each separate program stream is called a multicast. In June, KBWB-TV 20 announced it was going to air the Azteca America network on one of its multicast channels. Other stations are expected to announce how they will use their multicast channels as the Feb. 17, 2009 deadline to switch to DTV nears.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Call for entries for First Amendment award

The California First Amendment Coalition and the California Society of Newspaper Editors are seeking nominations for the 2007 Bill Farr Award, given each year to an individual or group for exemplary work to further principles of free speech, free press and public access to government. The award is given in honor of former Los Angeles Herald Examiner reporter Bill Farr, who went to jail in 1971 after refusing to reveal the names of confidential sources for his reporting on the infamous Charles Manson case. Deadline for award nominations is Sept. 25. Here are the details and here's a list of last year's recipients.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Another interesting Tom Snyder story

In all of the obits and remembrances of Marin County resident Tom Snyder a few weeks ago, we missed this story by Rem Rieder in the American Journalism Review about Snyder's reporting skills. It was about Richard Nixon's attempt to show off his foreign policy views in 1967 (a year before he would be elected president) in a Philadelphia news conference. Nixon was probably betting that none of the Philly reporters could lay a hand on him. That was true except for one guy in the crowd, TV newsman Tom Snyder. Rieder recalls:
    Snyder was enough of a player that he could act like he belonged there. He wasn't intimidated, and he knew enough to ask intelligent questions. Much to the relief of the rest of the press gaggle. ...

    The reporters weren't the only ones who were clueless. Nixon assured us that, based on his first-hand observation, there was no imminent danger of armed conflict in the Middle East. Weeks later, the Six-Day War broke out.

James Risser prizes announced

The 2007 James V. Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism has been awarded to Judy Pasternak (left) of the LA Times for her series "Blighted Homeland," which revealed how the federal government took uranium from Navajo land to build its nuclear arsenal during the Cold War and then abandoned the Navajo people when they began to die. Sacramento Bee writers Matt Weiser, Deb Kollars and Carrie Peyton Dahlberg were recognized with a special citation for a series about the California capital's vulnerability to flooding because of levee problems. Stanford's John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists and Bill Lane Center for the Study of the North American West co-sponsor the prize, which will be formally awarded during the Society of Environmental Journalists' annual conference. This year's conference will be held Sept. 5-9 at Stanford. Here's the release on the awards. Risser (right) is a two time Pulitzer winner who was on the Pulitzer Prize board from 1990 to 1999. (Photo credits: Stanford News Service)

Readership at most newspaper sites flatlines

Traffic at most newspaper Web sites has been flat or is falling, says a new Harvard study that is mentioned on Alan Mutter's Reflections of a Newsosaur blog. The study looked at 160 newspapers and found that the growth in newspaper site readership was produced almost entirely by the NY Times, USA Today and Washington Post. Small- and mid-size paper Web sites are losing ground. At the bottom of Mutter's blog entry is a NielsenNet ratings chart that shows SFGate readership fell 14.6 percent from April to July. Also, E&P notes that the Mercury News has fallen out of the Top 30 list of newspaper Web sites in July. Mutter (pictured) is a former Chron assistant managing editor in the 1980s who now is involved in venture capital for new media.

San Jose backpedals on city transparency

The city of San Jose has decided to stop producing a list of retired emploees who are receiving city pensions, the Merc reports. The move followed a Merc request for updated copies of the lists, which aided the newspaper's October investigation that found San Jose has the highest proportion of retired police and firefighters on disability pensions among big California cities. The Merc hasn't said whether it will fight the move. Ironically, the city's move comes as officials have been holding hearings on propoals to make the city government more transparent in the wake of scandals stemming from excessive secrecy at City Hall.

Government salary secrecy ruling due soon

California's Supreme Court has two weeks to issue a decision on whether the salaries of city government employees are public record. While 49 other states make public the compensation of city employees, a 2003 ruling by San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Rosemary Pfeiffer shut off access to the salaries of unionized city employees in five cities. The state Court of Appeals upheld her ruling. The decision came in a case that began when the Palo Alto Daily News attempted to get the data so it could print lists of city employees and how much they made. Unions and city officials fought the paper, and won.

In an attempt to reverse that decision, the Contra Costa Times requested the salary data of all Oakland city workers who made over $100,000. When Oakland refused, the Times sued and won at trial and on appeal. That case is now before the state Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on May 30 and has 90 days from that date to issue a ruling.

Stevenson quits as Dellums spokeswoman

The East Bay Express reports that Karen Stevenson is resigning as spokeswoman to Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums so she can devote more time to her PR firm, Core Communications, which she has run for the past seven years. Her contract with the mayor was to end June 30, but was extended on a temporary basis. Stevenson is a former KPIX producer.

Bay Area media critic tests copyright law

Bay Area media critic Norman Solomon (left) hopes to test federal copyright laws with his new documentary "War Made Easy," which includes TV network news file footage that was used without permission or payment, the Chron reports. Among the unauthorized clips is one of Walter Cronkite (right) on a bombing run over Vietnam in 1965. The former CBS anchor steps out of the plane, turns to a crew member and says, "Well, Colonel, it's a great way to go to war."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Merc's Rich Ramirez's death ruled a suicide

After a police investigation and a coronor's autopsy, the death of Rich Ramirez of the Mercury News has been ruled a suicide, the newspaper reports. No suicide note was found, police said.

"Any time you have an unattended death, you have a number of things you have to look into," said Livermore police Lt. Scott Trudeau. Ramirez, 44, was discovered in his Livermore back yard June 20 with a fatal knife wound to the midsection.

The Merc reported that his wife, Janet Dalke, and co-workers said he had been under stress and was despondent over personal issues. Ramirez was assistant to executive editor Carole Leigh Hutton, a job that was to be eliminated in the paper's most recent round of layoffs, however Hutton said it was "extremely unlikely" he would be laid off. (Photo credit: Ramirez, right, stands by a stack of awards the Merc won at this year's Press Club Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards banquet.)

3 reporters sue HP in spying case

Three reporters from CNET's San Francisco newsroom -- Dawn Kawamoto (shown above), Stephen Shankland and Tom Krazit -- filed suit yesterday (Aug. 15) against Hewlett Packard, alleging the Palo Alto company invaded their privacy by obtaining their phone records to trace boardroom leaks.

In addition to the reporters, Kawamoto's husband and Shankland's wife and parents filed their owns suits, CNET reports. HP said a "substantial settlement offer" it made to the plaintiffs was rejected. The plaintiffs' attorney, Kevin Boyle, said: "We think the biggest component is going to be punitive damages, which we hope will deter HP and other companies from ever doing this again." While several HP figures, including then-chairwoman Patricia Dunn, were charged criminally, nobody went to jail and the company paid a $14.5 million settlement with the state.

In May, The New York Times reported that four other reporters — Peter Burrows, Ben Elgin and Roger Crockett from BusinessWeek and John Markoff from the NY Times — were pursuing settlement discussions as a group, together with The New York Times Company. Two Wall Street Journal reporters investigated by HP, Pui-Wing Tam and George Anders, declined to seek compensation, the Times said. The Wall Street Journal indicated in December that it would not take part in settlement talks or any legal action.

[Press Release from Panish, Shea & Boyle, representing plaintiffs] (Photo credit: Peter DaSilva for The New York Times, May 2007)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

August 07 Press Club board minutes

President Jamie Casini called the meeting to order at 6:25 p.m.
Present: Jamie Casini, Micki Carter, Peter Cleaveland, Diana Diamond
Absent: Darryl, Aimee, Jon, Ed, Jennifer, Dave and Jack
• We approved the July minutes
• Florida Press Club stories were distributed for judging. Winners need to be emailed to Jennifer by Sept. 20.
• Please hold onto actual entries until October. You can dump the rest.
• PPC BBQ @ Micki’s is Sept. 8
• We discussed the logistics for the upcoming Oct. 5 high school journalism boot camp
Meeting was adjourned at 6:55 pm

Merc in the process of 'reinventing' itself

The Mercury News has launched an initiative called “Rethinking the Mercury News" where employees of the paper will, among other things, shadow ordinary people to watch how they use the news media. Details of the project can be found at and the effort is being spearheaded by Deputy Managing Editor Matt Mansfield.

The introduction to the project includes these statements:
    "We all look at our slumping circulation and revenue numbers and wonder what kind of changes it will take to grow – or even keep – our audience. The good news is that we can find out. The answers lie in the people who walk, talk, drive, shop, and read among us every day. ...

    "We’ll also be listening for what they don’t say, along with what they do. We’ll also observe them — how they interact with our printed pages and Web site, how they find information in general, and how the media weave into the fabric of their days.

    "Think of this as going out on a story assignment or cold calling customers — but rolling that process back a notch. Rather than selling a specific product or researching a specific story, we’re simply looking for insights. Later on, we’ll work on turning those insights into ideas. Our only agenda is to discover what our agenda should be."
The photo above is apparently from the Merc's library and was posted by Mansfield on the Facebook site that has been established for this reinvention project. The picture shows Merc veteran Willys Peck on the copy desk. Anyone know the year?

Aug. 7: Chron is also reinventing itself under the slogan "Journalism of Action"

Newsman Bob Gowa back on the air at KTRB

Bob Gowa (pictured), a familiar name and voice to Bay Area radio listeners, is now doing afternoon newscasts on KTRB-AM 860. As David Ferrell Jackson noted in his Bay Area Radio Digest, Gowa actually works for Metro Networks, which provides local newscasts to the new 50,000-watt AMer as well as other stations. Gowa has been in the market since 1980 working at stations such as KSAN, KMEL and KGO-AM. He also does audiobooks and narrations, according to his personal Web site. While other AM stations such as KCBS, KGO, KSFO and KNEW air network newscasts at the top of the hour, KTRB is counterprogramming by starting each hour with local news headlines.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Merc ad vp Jeff Kiel appointed publisher

Jeff Kiel, who has been vice president of advertising at the Mercury News since 2002, was promoted today to publisher, replacing George Riggs, who will continue as president of the MediaNews Group's California Newspapers Partnership, the Merc announced.
    (In this Feb. 2 photo, Riggs is standing at left and Kiel, with the blue tie, is standing in the middle. The photo was taken at the Santa Cruz Sentinel when the partnership announced it was buying that daily paper. Below is a photo of Kiel posted by the Merc.)
Before arriving at the Merc, Kiel was chief financial officer of the Miami Herald, then owned by Knight Ridder. Prior to that, he was a CPA. Kiel, 48, lives in Los Gatos.

Riggs, who had been publisher of the Contra Costa Times since 1993, was named publisher of the Merc in December 2004. A year ago, he was appointed president of the newspaper partnership but continued as head of the Merc. Today's announcement said Riggs, 61, will step down from the Merc post to concentrate on his duties as partnership president.

The partnership includes the Merc, Coco Times, Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County Times, Palo Alto Daily News and other dailies in northern and southern California. MediaNews, headed by Dean Singleton, owns 54.2 percent of the partnership. Gannett Co. owns 19.5 percent and Stephens Newspapers of Little Rock, Ark. owns 26.3 percent.

SV/SJ Business Journal names new publisher

James MacGregor, director of advertising sales at the San Francisco Business Times, has been named publisher of the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, replacing Vintage Foster, who is resigning to start a business. Both the San Francisco and San Jose business publications are owned by American City Business Journals. Foster is leaving the paper on Aug. 31 to launch a communications and media services business, Armanino McKenna Foster, with San Ramon-based accounting and consulting firm Armanino McKenna LLP.

Monday, August 13, 2007

MediaNews cuts ties to Guild at ANG papers

MediaNews Group, headed by Dean Singleton, announced in an e-mail to employees today that it will no longer recognize the Guild as the representative of its workers at its offices in Alameda, Hayward, Fremont, Dublin, Danville, Tracy, Martinez, Livermore, Pleasanton, Oakland and San Mateo.

The Guild, in a letter by Chron writer and union official Carl Hall, called the move a "grave error. Your citing of numbers and percentages doesn't mask what I consider to be a blatant attempt to destroy a 20-year tradition of progressive labor relations in the East Bay news industry."

Hall told Marisa Lagos of the Chron: "They're not going to get away with this ... We're going to fight this ... the company thinks they can rub us out, but we're going to be even stronger."

MediaNews has combined its 170 non-union newsroom jobs at the Contra Costa Times with 130 union jobs at its ANG papers, which include the Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County Times, Hayward Daily Review, Fremont Argus and Pleasanton Tri-Valley Herald. Since most of the employees of the new combined Bay Area New Group-East Bay are not Guild members, the company no longer has to recognize the union, said Publisher John Armstrong in the e-mail. The Coco Times staffers generally make more than the unionized ANG employees.

"... We have carefully considered the impact of the consolidation on the Guild bargaining unit at the former ANG newspapers. That group now constitutes significantly less than 50% of the newly consolidated editorial group of BANG-East Bay," Armstrong's e-mail stated.

MediaNews has yet to combine the unionized Mercury News with its other Bay Area publication. Today's move raises the question about whether the same thing will happen to the Merc's Guild unit.

E&P: As We Predicted: MediaNews Pulls Plug On ANG Guild

Chron's Marisa Lagos: Singleton boots out newspaper union at Tribune, etc.

MediaNews no longer recognizes Guild at its Bay area papers

Carl Hall's letter to MediaNews

Friday, August 10, 2007

High school journalism boot camp planned

The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club is planning a boot camp for high school newspaper editors on Oct. 5 on the campus of the College of San Mateo. This is one step in the club's continuing effort to bolster journalism at the high school level.

High school advisers, editors and staffers, including reporters, photographers and designers are invited to the afternoon event where they will hear from professionals in their field.

The Press Club intends to cover the following topics:
    • Motivating a staff

    • Finding stories

    • What's an editorial and why do we need them?

    • Page design

    • Podcasting

    • Online publishing

    • Photography

    • Selling advertising

    • Headline writing

    • Convergence: How print, online and broadcast work together

    • So you're an editor! Now what?
Those interested in attending, or professionals who wish to help lead seminars, should contact Micki Carter of the Press Club. The event will be co-hosted by the Press Club and the College of San Mateo Journalism Department.

MediaNews may challenge ANG union

An update to our item on July 27 about fears of union-busting at MediaNews Group's ANG papers: This morning E&P is quoting MediaNews vp and general counsel Marshall Anstandig (pictured) as saying the company might try to end Guild representation for its 130 ANG newsroom employees once they're merged with 170 news staffers from the non-union Contra Costa Times. “The union has to represent a majority of a bargaining unit,” Anstandig told E&P. “The issue that gets presented in a consolidated group is that it impacts representation rights. We are looking at it, we have met with them several times and we have been very open about it. We haven’t made a decision of what will happen.”

The Guild's ANG unit last week filed an unfair labor charge with the National Labor Relations Board against MediaNews related to the consolidation, E&P reports. In addition, the Guild is asking its members at papers nationwide, including the Merc, to wear red on Monday, the day the consolidation takes place.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Report: Bey kin threatened Bailey in 02

Former East Bay Express reporter Chris Thompson, who now writes for the Village Voice, says slain Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey (whose casket is seen here) told him in 2002 that he had been threatened by the family of Your Black Muslim Bakery owner Yusuf Bey. An employee of the bakery is now charged in Bailey's murder.

Thompson, in this piece in the Village Voice, also tells about the threats he personally received after investigating the bakery and Bey. In one case, he wrote, a suspicious man came to the Express's offices, interested only in getting a good look at his face. Thompson said he felt uneasy about the encounter and asked editor Steve Buel to drive him home.
    "While waiting for his car outside the office, I noticed a red minivan that looked out of place, but no one appeared to be behind the wheel. When I jumped in the car, the same man rose up from underneath the dashboard. He was trying to follow me home.

    "Buel gunned the engine and trapped the car in place, told me to memorize the license-plate number and swung back to the entrance. We jumped out and called the cops, and I spent the night at what you might call an undisclosed location."
After a series of frightening phone calls, Thompson said he decided to hide out for several months in a hunting lodge in Northern California.
    "Eventually, the goons got bored with hunting for me, and I slowly returned to the office full-time. Chauncey Bailey wasn't so lucky, but he fought the good fight against bad men. Despite the ongoing homicide epidemic, Oakland has slowly been emerging from its long, dark era of corruption, crime, ineptitude, and poverty. If city leaders manage to successfully prosecute the Bey family, they'll have cut a big tumor out of the city's heart."
Above, friends and family follow the casket out of St. Benedict's Catholic Church for the funeral of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey. (Photo credit: Lacy Atkins, Chronicle)

Newsweek: Oakland officials supported Bey's organization

ABC7: Bakery had political help from Dellums, Lee

Publisher says Bailey's story will be told

Veteran journalists Harry Harris, Martin G. Reynolds and Emil Guillermo talk about Bailey's legacy in SFGate podcast

Bailey's fiance: People who were afraid but had a story to tell put their trust in him

Bailey championed freedom of the press

Judge orders bakery to liquidate

An update on two Dean Singleton lawsuits

In Salt Lake City, Dean Singleton's MediaNews has settled a complex, seven-year-long lawsuit over the ownership of the Salt Lake City Tribune. The family that had previously owned the paper was suing to get it back. MediaNews will keep the paper, the family will drop the lawsuit and terms weren't disclosed. In Minnesota, MediaNews, which operates the St. Paul Pioneer Press, is suing that paper's former publisher, Par Ridder, who quit to run the rival Minneapolis Star-Tribune. MediaNews claims Ridder took a laptop full of confidential data with him and shredded noncompete agreements for some top Pioneer Press executives. E&P has posted transcripts [Part 1 and Part 2] from the three-day trial including testimony of Ridder's father, Tony, former chairman of Knight Ridder.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Updated list of those leaving the Chronicle

Here's the latest list of Chronicle staffers who have left the paper during the current round of layoffs by either attrition or buyout. This list is drawn from public sources as well as information from about a dozen people who have contacted us via e-mail.
    Anna Badkhen, foreign/national correspondent
    Gail Bensinger, foreign editor
    Colleen Benson*, business editorial assistant
    Catherine Bigelow, society columnist
    Darryl Bush, photographer
    Mark Camps, sports reporter
    Neva Chonin, pop music critic
    Rob Collier, reporter
    Karola Saekel Craib, food reporter
    Stephen Cook, assistant managing editor for enterprise/projects
    Will Crain, copy editor
    John Curley, deputy managing editor
    Keay Davidson, reporter
    Christine Delsol, deputy travel editor
    Janine DeFao, reporter
    Rick DelVecchio, reporter
    Ed Epstein, reporter, Washington bureau
    Paul Feist, statehouse editor, Sacramento Bureau
    Chris Feldhorn, copy editor
    Jim Finefrock, editor, Insight section
    David Finkelstein, editorial assistant
    Gary Fong, director of editorial graphics technology
    Dan Fost, technology reporter
    Louis Freedberg*, columnist
    Penni Gladstone, photographer
    William Blake Gray, wine reporter
    Leslie Guevarra, deputy managing editor
    Patrick Hoge, reporter
    Ken Howe, business editor
    Jessica Guynn*, reporter
    Vanessa Hua*, reporter, demographics team
    Laura Impellizzeri, assistant metro editor
    Fran Irwin, copy editor food
    Lance Jackson, graphic artist
    Jason Johnson, reporter
    Heather Jones, copy editor
    George Judson, assistant managing editor for enterprise
    Daniel King, editorial assistant features
    Marshall Kirkland, Sacramento bureau editorial assistant
    Christina Koci-Hernandez, photographer
    David Lazarus, business columnist
    Ilene Lelchuk, reporter
    Trisha Lisk, executive assistant
    Greg Lucas, reporter, Sacramento Bureau
    Kevin Lynch, sports reporter
    Elizabeth Mangelsdorf, photographer
    Glen Martin, reporter, environmental issues
    Mark Martin, reporter, Sacramento Bureau
    Scott Mattoon, nation/world editor
    Paul McHugh, outdoors writer
    Ross McKeon, sports writer
    Wendy Miller, Sunday editor
    Hulda Nelson, art director
    Laura Perkins, librarian
    Suzanne Pullen, reporter
    Ed Rachels, graphic artist
    Rick Radin, copy editor
    Wanda Ravernell, features copy editor
    Robert Rosenthal, managing editor
    Joan Ryan*, columnist
    Steve Sande, features editorial assistant
    Marc Sandalow, reporter, Washington Bureau
    Pia Sarkar, business reporter
    Kathy Seligman, features reporter
    Anne Schrager, photo technician
    Joe Shoulak, info graphics artist
    Chuck Squatriglia, Reporter
    Thor Swift, photo technician
    David Tong, assistant business editor
    Kat Wade*, photographer
    Diana Walsh, reporter
    Mike Weiss, features writer
    Paul Wilner, editor, Style section
    Narda Zacchino, deputy editor
*leaving this week or next

Bey's son-in-law says he was Bailey's source

The Oakland Tribune and the SF Chronicle report that the son-in-law of Your Black Muslim Bakery founder Yusuf Bey was secretly assisting slain Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey (pictured) prepare an expose on the bakery's finances. Ali Saleem Bey, 43, who married one of the late Bey's daughters, said he was surprised Bailey was killed over the story, which had yet to be published. "I thought it was dangerous for me, not him," he said. Oakland Post attorney Walter Riley would not confirm that Saleem Bey was Bailey's source for the unpublished series.

Chron hopes to solve problems it covers

A follow up to our item last week about Chron Editor Phil Bronstein's new vision for the paper in the wake of massive newsroom layoffs. Bronstein (pictured) tells E&P that the paper wants to go beyond merely covering a story to suggesting ways readers can seek changes and improvements.
    "How does the story affect people? What can they do about it?" Bronstein told E&P in explaining the approach. "There has been a bit of a tradition of saying, 'Here is the information -- good night, see you tomorrow.' We will deal more with the solutions, get involved and tell people what they can do.”
The approach (which will be called "Journalism of Action") is like the ChronicleWatch feature, which reports on government-related problems such as potholes and cracked sidewalks, and prints the pictures of the bureaucrats who haven't fixed them. The Chron took such an approach during the Alameda County trash lockout, where it identified places where replacement workers weren't picking up the garbage and then used the paper to try and get Waste Management to respond. Bronstein is calling the approach watchdog journalism, which he says is different from advocacy journalism "which is telling people what to think."

• An updated list of departing Chron staffers will be posted later today.

National coverage of Bailey killing muted

Richard Prince (pictured) of the Maynard Institute says in his blog that black journalists are troubled by the paucity of coverage of the Chauncey Bailey killing by the national media.

"It seemed like the major white media as a whole didn't respond to the shooting of a black journalist the way I KNOW they would [have] responded had it been a white journalist murdered (a la Daniel Pearl)," former Washington broadcast journalist Rudolph Brewington told Prince.

"[I]f a white American editor had been gunned down, you bet it would have been a bigger story. There is no excuse other than race, Oakland and Muslims, all intertwined," said Paul Delaney, a former senior editor at the New York Times and founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Prince said black journalists have noted that Bailey's killing has received far less coverage than the murder of retired NY Times editor and reporter David E. Rosenbaum or the 1976 car-bomb killing of Don Bolles of the Arizona Republic. Even journalists who were injured in Iraq have received more coverage than Bailey, Prince notes.

Muslim bakery intimidated weekly in 2002

Chauncey Bailey, who was gunned down allegedly by a member of Your Black Muslim Bakery, wasn't the first journalist to investigate that organization. In 2002, the East Bay Express published a series of articles documenting a history of violence by bakery members. "When we first published our stories, we received a bunch of letters-to-the-editor congratulating us on writing a story that had long needed to be written, but we also got a brick through our window and had a number of folks start shadowing the building and driving around and following some of our employees after they left the building," Express editor and co-owner Stephen Buel tells the Chron. Buel said the threats caused the alt-weekly to quit writing about the group and the reporter, Chris Thompson, worked in a different county for months after the series ran.

Bob Anderson to step down from TV20

Bob Anderson, a 28-year veteran of the Bay Area TV market, plans to step down as president and general manager of KBWB Channel 20 at the end of the third quarter, station owner Granite Broadcasting Corp. has announced. Anderson had been at KNTV Channel 11 for many years, and when Granite sold that station to NBC, he decided to take the helm at the company's other Bay Area station, TV20. Programs he created and launched at Channel 11 include "Tech Now," "Sports Sunday" and "Wine Country Living" (which is now being syndicated nationally as "In Wine Country"). At TV20 he created "Your Green Report," and a half-hour lifestyle program called "Your Green Life," which will soon be expanded into a weekly program. Anderson hasn't announced his future plans.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Journalists urged to continue bailey’s work

KCBS reports that publisher of the Oakland Post is urging Bay Area journalists to continue pursuing Chauncey Bailey’s search for the truth that ended abruptly when he was murdered execution style last week. Post Publisher Paul Cobb, seen here at the shooting scene last Thursday, has vowed that Bailey’s work won’t stop with his death. "This is a moment of disaster for journalism, nationally and internationally. One of the few journalists ever killed on American soil and he was in the pursuit of stories that were controversial," Cobb told KCBS. "I hope that this is an opportunity for us to continue the work he was doing and to step up." (Photo credit: Top, D. Ross Cameron, The Oakland Tribune)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Tip from newspaper led to child porn arrest

The arrest of a Novato Unified School District bus driver and a Cub Scouts den leader began with a tip to police from the Novato Advance newspaper. The Advance says in a story on its Web site that it received an anonymous e-mail tip about Remsen McGinnis Benedict, 52, from "a parent and concerned citizen." The e-mailed tip included a link to a Web site that sex offenders Web site that contained biographical information about Benedict and his photograph. The Web site identified Benedict as a school bus driver with the
Novato school district and a pack leader with the Boy Scouts and it contained postings allegedly by Benedict, also known as "Wolfman," that reveal his preference for boys, Bay City News reported. Novato police said the school district and the Marin Council of the Boy Scouts of America received similar e-mails. Benedict has been arrested and is being held in the Marin County Jail under $500,000 bail, BCN says.

Report: Suspect in Bailey murder confesses

The Oakland Tribune reports that one of the men detained in Friday morning's raid on Your Black Muslim Bakery has confessed to murdering Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey. In his confession, 19-year-old Devaughdre Broussard told detectives he considered himself to be "a good soldier" when he shot and killed Bailey Thursday morning for writing negative stories about the bakery, where Broussard was a member and worked as a handyman, authorities told the Tribune.

Broussard said he tried to track Bailey down on Thursday by going by the Oakland Post's downtown offices to confront him there, the Tribune reported. When he found that Bailey had not yet arrived at work, Broussard began driving around in a van looking for him and spotted him in the 200 block of 14th Street. He stopped and approached Bailey on the street, shooting him several times with the shotgun.

A FUNERAL MASS will be held for Bailey at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Benedict's, 2245 82nd Ave. at Bancroft in Oakland. The public is welcome. An educational fund is being established for Bailey's 13-year-old son, according to the Rev. Jay Matthews at St. Benedict's.

Longtime radio personality Ron Lyons dies

KCBS is reporting that its former morning traffic anchor Ron Lyons, who blended warmth and humor with reports of back-ups, has died after a battle with cancer at age 69. Lyons retired from the KCBS traffic studio in 2004 after a 49-year career in radio. He then settled with his wife on the Oregon coast. He died in a Medford hospital Friday night. His natural talent as a broadcaster made him a star in all formats, from music to talk to news. Before joining KCBS in the 1980s, he worked at KEWB, KNBR and KNEW.

Lyons was born in Asheville, North Carolina. His radio career began in 1955, when he was in high school, spinning rock 'n' roll records, his KCBS bio says. He hit the San Francisco airwaves in 1962 after the Army drafted him and assigned him to the Presidio. The stars he interviewed over the years included Frank Sinatra and the Beatles.

His love of music stayed with him after his days as a disc jockey. In a note on his Web site he said, "No matter how much you love people and how much they love you, there are just simply places and things you have to go through alone. Sometimes, the music is the only candle that lights the darkness." The KCBS Web site has comments from recent co-workers who not only worked with him but, in some cases, listenend to him when he was a music disc jockey. (Photo credits:, at KEWB in 1962, KNBR in 1965 and KCBS in 1999)

Friday, August 3, 2007

No more 'buffet-style' journalism at Chron

The East Bay Express reports that Chron Editor Phil Bronstein held a staff meeting this morning where he outlined the paper's new vision in the wake of layoffs that forced him to reduce his newsroom from 400 to 300 people. Bronstein didn't return EBX's calls for comment, but those at the meeting said the Chron will drop "buffet style" journalism (attempting to cover everything in the region) and instead will have a handful of "master narratives" each day on topics such as local politics, green living, real estate and technology. Writes the EBX's Eric Klein:
    "Details are a little vague, but essentially the new slogan is: 'Journalism of Action.' Call it the ChronicleWatch-ification of the Chron: Bronstein reportedly envisions a paper whose staff will not simply report, but seek to effect positive change in the community and drive public policy."
A partial list of departing Chron staffers

Muslim bakery linked to editor's death

Oakland police say that evidence recovered during this morning's raid at Your Black Muslim Bakery links members of the organization to the ambush killing of Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey, according to the Oakland Tribune.

Officials would not say what the evidence is, but the Tribune quoted sources as saying the shotgun used to kill Bailey was seized at the bakery.

Joseph Debro, an Oakland businessman who writes a column for the Post, told the AP that Bailey (right) had recently asked him for information about Your Black Muslim Bakery's financial troubles for a story Bailey was writing.

In this morning's pre-dawn raid by more than 200 law enforcement officers, 19 arrests were made and numerous weapons were seized. The raid followed a yearlong investigation into a variety of violent crimes including two other murders, Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan said. In the photo above, an unidentified suspect is arrested in the raid. (Photo credit: Laura A. Oda, Oakland Tribune)

Muslim bakery raided after editor's murder

Heavily armed Oakland police officers raided three locations this morning including the Nation of Islam's Your Black Muslim Bakery hours after it was reported that Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey was investigating the group when he was gunned down by a masked man yesterday. Police would not say if the raids this morning were linked to Bailey's murder. KTVU says officers used flash grenades as they entered the bakery and detained as many as 19 people. Police said a "small armory of weapons" was found inside. Police said the raids were part of a year-long probe into several violent crimes, including "murder, robbery and kidnapping." Here's the AP report. A news conference is planned later today.

Oakland murder reminiscent of 1976 killing

Yesterday's murder of Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey (left) by a masked gunman brings to mind the best known killing of a journalist in the United States, the 1976 car-bomb murder of Don Bolles (right), an Arizona Republic reporter who was investigating the Mafia.

His murder shocked journalists nationwide. Nearly 40 reporters and editors from 23 newspapers as varied as Newsday and The Milwaukee Journal descended upon Phoenix to complete the story Bolles had been investigating. The thinking was that that mob might be able to kill one reporter, but it couldn't stop 40 of them, backed by the nation's biggest newspapers. The result was a blockbuster series of stories on organized crime in Arizona and how the Mafia was infiltrating the justice system. Here's an Arizona Republic story about that effort, which was called the Arizona Project.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, which usually focuses its attention on murders of reporters overseas such as the beheading of Daniel Pearl, issued a statement yesterday expressing alarm over Bailey's murder and calling on Oakland police to conduct a "prompt and vigorous" investigation. The statement included these two paragraphs:
    "Few journalists haven been killed in the line of duty in the United States in recent years, CPJ research shows. In 2001, freelance photographer William Biggart was killed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, and Robert Stevens, a photo editor at The Sun, died of inhalation anthrax in Boca Raton, Fla.

    "The last targeted assassination of a journalist occurred in 1993 when radio reporter Dona St. Plite, a Miami radio reporter of Haitian descent, was gunned down at a benefit. The period from 1976 to 1993 saw a total of 12 journalist killings. A CPJ report issued that year, Silenced: The Unsolved Murders of Immigrant Journalists in the United States, found that in all but one case, the victims were immigrant journalists working in languages other than English. Most received little or no national media attention."

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Slain editor was working on big story

Oakland Post Publisher Paul Cobb says Chauncey Bailey, who was gunned down by a hit man this morning, had been investigating a controversial story before his death that Cobb decided to withhold from publication, according to KTVU. Police want to know if that story got him killed.

Cobb declined to say what the story was about except to say, "it involved stuff like what happened here." But KTVU reported tonight that sources say Bailey was writing a story about the Nation of Islam, which operates the Your Black Muslim Bakery store chain. A leader of the Nation of Islam denied any involvement.

Publisher Cobb says he and Bailey regularly received hate mail. "I think this is a wake-up call for all of us in the media because I routinely get hate letters (from) people who want to do something all the time," Cobb said.

Also, a $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to Bailey's killer. Shown here is the shooting scene. (Photo credit: David Paul Morris, SF Chronicle, via AP)

Los Gatos News to cease publication

(Note correction at the end) MediaNews Group, owner of most of the dailies in the Bay Area, announced today that it will shut down one of its smallest papers, the Los Gatos News, which began five years ago as the Los Gatos Daily News. It will be replaced by a weekly, home-delivered publication called the Los Gatos Weekender.

The Palo Alto Daily News launched the Los Gatos Daily News on May 15, 2002. [Click here for a 1.8 MB PDF of the first 8-page edition.] The paper, competing against the Los Gatos Weekly-Times and the San Jose Mercury News, grew to as large as 52 pages and expanded from five days a week to six.

Among its scoops was the revelation by reporter Christina Bellantoni that Superior Court Judge Bill Dancer had tried to fix two parking tickets for his son using judicial stationery. The story snowballed and Dancer was later thrown off the bench for doing judicial favors for his friends on the San Jose Sharks.

In 2005, the Palo Alto Daily News chain, including the Los Gatos paper, was sold to Knight Ridder, owner of the Mercury News. Later in 2005, Knight Ridder acquired the chain that included the Los Gatos Times-Weekly, thereby gaining control of all three newspapers in Los Gatos. In 2006, Knight Ridder, under pressure from shareholders, sold all of its newspapers to McClatchy Co., which subsequently spun off KR's Bay Area papers to MediaNews, headed by Dean Singleton of Denver.

In January 2007, then-Daily News Group Publisher Shareef Dajani announced he was reducing the Los Gatos Daily News publishing schedule to three days a week — Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Sept. 7, it will be replaced by the Weekender, which will be distributed on Fridays. The Weekender will be a second edition of the Weekly-Times, which comes out on Tuesdays.

The current head of the Daily News Group, Michael Gelbman, is quoted in today's announcement as saying: "We've listened to what the community wanted, and that's what we're providing them with."

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post said that the paper had been reduced from three times a week to two. That is incorrect. It is published three days a week, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and will continue to be until Sept. 7.

Hit man suspected in killing of editor

Longtime Bay Area journalist Chauncey Bailey was shot and killed this morning on a downtown Oakland street by a masked man who jumped into a waiting van that sped off, police said. Police said they suspected it was a contract killing by a hit man, according to the LA Times. The Times quotes Oakland police spokesman Roland Holmgren as saying investigators were treating the crime as a contract killing "because of the witness statements, the shooter's mannerisms and how the crime was committed."

Bailey (right) was a reporter for 12 years at the Oakland Tribune and this summer became editor of the Oakland Post, a black newspaper. Friends and colleagues at both papers were shocked by his murder. Above, Oakland Post publisher Paul Cobb stands near the corner of 14th and Alice streets, where Bailey was gunned down.

The following is from the Oakland Tribune's report posted at 2:27 p.m.:
    Friends and co-workers from the Oakland Post arrived on the scene when they heard the news, and were at a loss to explain the brazen attack.

    "I can't believe this is Chauncey,'' said local filmmaker and community activist Dedoceo Habi, who lives and works in the downtown area. "I worked with him on a couple of projects in the community, working to create opportunities for youth to get them off the streets,'' he said. "I know there was some controversy in his past, but he was working hard to do something good.'' ...

    "He wrote about politics. He was a good writer. I don't know if he made somebody mad or something,'' said a tearful Gwendolyn Carter who works in advertising at the Post and had known Bailey for about a year in the small 10-person office of the weekly newspaper at 14th and Franklin streets. "He was just promoted as the editor. He was so nice to me. I don't understand this,'' she said. ...

    Tribune Managing Editor Martin Reynolds talked with Bailey last week, when they saw each other at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza outside Oakland City Hall. "Chauncey was a unique and dedicated journalist who always captured the essence of the stories on his beat,'' Reynolds said. "He was passionate about his work, he loved his son and would often bring him into the Tribune newsroom.''
Sign a condolence book for Chauncey Bailey (established by the Oakland Tribune)

(Photo credits: Top, D. Ross Cameron, The Oakland Tribune; middle, Oakland Tribune file)

Oakland editor Chauncey Bailey shot dead

Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey was gunned down this morning in downtown Oakland by a masked man who ran to a waiting van and drove off, police said. The shooting happened about 7:25 a.m. in the 1400 block of Alice Street. MediaNews reports that police have no motive for the killing, except that it appeared to be a deliberate attack, and no suspects have been arrested. Bailey, 57, had been a reporter at the Oakland Tribune for 12 years and was named editor of the Oakland Post a few months ago.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Wilson entered ER before fatal operation

KGO's Pete Wilson was admitted to Stanford Hospital's emergency room for an anxiety attack the night before he was to undergo a hip-replacement operation that turned fatal, the Merc reports. Wilson also expressed his anxiety during the final hour of his KGO-AM 810 talk show, during which he gave this monologue [MP3 or text] about his grave fears about what was supposed to be a routine operation.

"He was anxious, so they put him in there," Wilson family spokesman Chapin Day told the Merc. "His wife was with him the whole night."

Day said Wilson was monitored in the ER, and an electrocardiogram revealed no unusual heart rate patterns. Surgery began at 11 a.m. the next day, with Wilson under general anesthesia, Day said. Within about 30 minutes, Wilson suffered a massive heart attack. Efforts to revive him failed, and Wilson died the next day.

"If you have such an anxiety attack that you end up in the emergency room, it might have warranted a little more intervention or possibly postponing the surgery a couple of days to understand the anxiety before operating," said nurse Teresa Corrigan, who teaches the center's "Prepare for Surgery" class at UCSF's Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.

KR headquarters leased, signs stay for now

The palatial 15th floor headquarters of the now-defunct Knight Ridder chain have been leased to a law firm, but the company's signs aren't changing, the Merc reports. Rights to the two signs, weighing a total of 57,000 pounds, would have gone to the company that leased at least four floors in the 17-story tower at 50 W. San Fernando St. in San Jose. But since none of the incoming tenants took that much space, the signs stay.

Stanford to host enviro journo conference

The Society for Environmental Journalists is taking reservations for its 17th annual conference, which will be held Sept. 5-9 at Stanford. Many of the nation's top environmental reporters will gather at this event. Last year's conference in Vermont drew more than 800 attendees, the organization says. The conference will consist of reporters assigned to environment or a related beat; general-assignment reporters who sometimes cover environment; and faculty or students interested in environmental journalism. Also in attendance are policy makers, advocates, scientists and experts. Here's a link to the registration page.