Monday, June 30, 2008

Former news director Terry McElhatton dies

Former long-time KNTV news director Terry McElhatton died over the weekend from a massive heart attack at age 52, according to KNTV and his current employer, Valley Christian Schools.

McElhatton, the son of former KPIX anchorman Dave McElhatton, was driving home with his son Chris after spending the day windsurfing when he collapsed. The station said he had no history of hearth problems.

After leaving Channel 11, Terry began a new career as television and video teacher at Valley Christian High School in San Jose. In 1996, he raised the legal bar for judges to find journalists in contempt of court. He nearly went to jail for refusing to reveal a source in a murder case. He leaves behind his wife Robin, son Chris and daughter Lauren.

Services are scheduled for July 12th, 10 a.m. at Calvary Church, 16330 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos. He is survived by wife, Robin; son, Chris; and daughter, Lauren, according to Valley Christian.

Metro Traffic plane lands on I-80 ramp

A pilot and a traffic reporter Alan Brooks suffered minor injuries when their Cessna 172 crash landed this afternoon crashed in a rock quarry near an Interstate 80 on-ramp in Oakland, according to BCN. The pilot of the aircraft, owned by Flying Vikings based at the Hayward Executive Airport, indicated that the aircraft's engine stalled somewhere over Berkeley. The pilot, a 35-year-old man, suffered minor lacerations to his head and was taken to a hospital for treatment, Oakland fire Capt. Melinda Drayton told BCN. Brooks, 37, works for Metro Networks, a subsidiary of Westwood One that provides traffic-reporting services to KCBS. Brooks declined treatment. The name of the pilot has not been released.

Merc lays off designer who did Flickr on layoffs

Martin Gee, the page designer who posted a Flickr photo essay on the emptiness created by layoffs at the Mercury News, was himself laid off by that newspaper last week, according to That Web site also reported that Gee's father died earlier this month following a battle with cancer. Apparently, Gee had been going around the Merc recently describing himself as a future layoff victim. (Photo from

Friday, June 27, 2008

Palo Alto paper fires 6, kills Monday edition

The Palo Alto Daily News today laid off five newsroom employees and one graphics department worker. The free daily will also eliminate its Monday edition in Palo Alto and its Tuesday edition in San Mateo County. (The Daily News cut its Monday edition in San Mateo County two years ago. The Palo Alto paper has printed seven days a week since 2003.)

The Daily News had a newsroom of about 20 before today's cuts, so the layoffs will eliminate a quarter of its staff.

Earlier this month the Daily News won 17 Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards from the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club.

Employees were told about the cuts today in a 4:30 p.m. meeting at the paper's offices in Menlo Park. In May, the paper moved from Palo Alto to Menlo Park.

The Monday edition of the Palo Alto Daily News had shrunk to 28 pages in the past few weeks. In May 2005, Monday editions ranged from 52 to 64 pages.

The Daily News is owned by the MediaNews Group's California Newspapers Partnership, which also owns the Mercury News. The Merc cut at least 17 people this week (see item below).

Full disclosure: Dave Price, the Press Club's Web master, co-founded the Daily News in 1995 and sold it to Knight Ridder in 2005. He now edits and owns the Daily Post, which competes with the Daily News.

BANG-EB intends to lay off 29 news people

MediaNews Group's East Bay newspapers, including the Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune, plan to lay off at least 29 newsroom workers due to a forecasted 10 percent decline in revenue and a 20 percent increase in paper, Publisher John Armstrong (pictured) said in a memo to employees today.

A story about the cuts posted tonight on the Contra Costa Times Web page suggests an undisclosed number of non-union jobs will also be cut as well. The reductions will bring the 226-person newsroom down to 197. The union-represented journalists who are being laid off will be notified on or before July 11, the company said.

The announcement comes less than a month after newsroom employees voted to unionize. Here is Armstrong's memo:

    As you all know, we are not immune to the financial challenges facing the economy in the East Bay and the newspaper business in general.

    We have just completed work on our budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. We are forecasting a 10 percent drop in revenue over the next 12 months, which comes on the heels of a 17 percent revenue decline in this fiscal year. In my nearly five decades in this business, I've never experienced a downturn so deep and so broad.

    Given this continued erosion of our revenue base — coupled with a more than 20 percent jump in the price of our most expensive commodity, newsprint — we found we had no choice but to take additional steps to sharply reduce our operating costs.

    Consequently, I write to let you know we have started a significant restructuring of our operations, including employee layoffs from the management and staff ranks in all divisions and other changes to bring our overhead in line with lower revenue.

    The employees subject to layoffs today were notified individually. Also, we sent a letter to the Media Workers Guild requesting a meeting to discuss our intention to lay off, on July 11, approximately 29 newsroom employees.

    You will recall we achieved a reduction in our workforce in March through a buyout program. At the time we hoped that our revenue base would stabilize and additional job cuts could be handled through natural attrition.

    Unfortunately, the decline in revenue accelerated in April, May and June, spurred by the prolonged real estate slump, its ripple effects on virtually all segments of the East Bay economy and the continuing migration of ad dollars to the Internet. When it became obvious that another reduction in workforce was unavoidable, we concluded we could not utilize buyouts this time because we needed to move quickly and we could no longer accommodate the randomness of buyouts.

    In making the decisions on which jobs to eliminate, we were guided by three objectives:

    Protect the core strength of our franchise, which is local news and information. Maintain advertising sales presence in the markets we serve. Minimize the impact on our web sites and other digital services.

    These are difficult times to be in the newspaper business. We are building audience and ad sales on the Internet, but our digital growth is far short of the level needed to offset our print losses. We'll get to that point, but the transition is proving to be challenging and at times painful.

    We are losing quality people in our organization, which is sad and unfortunate. We wish them every success in their new endeavors. I ask those of us who remain to roll up our sleeves, renew our commitment to our mutual goals and aspirations and support each other as one team moving forward.


    John Armstrong
    President and Publisher
    BayAreaNewsGroup-EAST BAY
    Vice President
    California Newspapers Partnership
BANG-EB includes the Contra Costa Times, Valley Times, East County Times, Oakland Tribune, The Argus in Fremont, The Daily Review in Hayward, The Tri-Valley Herald in Pleasanton and The San Mateo County Times.

Ex's Pimentel now an 'executive producer'

San Francisco Examiner Executive Editor James Pimentel (pictured) has been put in charge of the Web sites for the Examiner editions here and in Washington and Baltimore.

While remaining as executive editor he will gain the additional title of executive producer.

"As the executive producer of the three sites, Pimentel will manage them and help build them into leading destinations on the Web for local and national breaking news," an announcement from the Examiner said.

Pimentel has been at The Examiner for seven years, working as the sports editor and managing editor before moving to the executive editor position in 2006. Before moving to The Examiner, Pimentel worked at the Oakland Tribune for more than 12 years and at the San Francisco-based Internet company Quokka Sports for five years. At Quokka, Pimentel was the senior producer for several sites, including

Another round of layoffs at the Merc

Publisher Mac Tully (right) announced the layoffs in a somber meeting of the newsroom staff: "We have had a very challenging 2008."

The newspaper, controlled by Dean Singleton's MediaNews Group, said it was laying off nine newsroom staffers and an undisclosed number of employees from other departments. The Guild reports that 17 of its members at the Merc are losing their jobs — nine people from news, six from advertising support and two from marketing. The number of non-Guild employees being laid off was not available.

According to the Guild, management was planning to notify those who would be laid off last night (Thursday). The Guild said management would consider reducing the number of layoffs if there are members who will volunteer to reduce their hours and work in a job-share arrangement. No word yet on whether anyone volunteered.

The newsroom will number about 155 after the layoffs, according to a story on the Merc's Web site.

Singleton, in a speech in Sweden on June 9, said that 19 of the top 50 U.S. newspapers are in the red. But Merc Editor Dave Butler said in Wednesday's staff meeting that the Merc is not among the money-losers. Tully said the Merc will end the fiscal year June 30 with a profit, according to former Merc business writer Matt Marshall's VentureBeat blog.

Herb Caen's childhood home in foreclosure

Jim Wasserman of the Sacramento Bee reports that the childhood home of Herb Caen will soon be sold at a foreclosure sale. Caen's family hasn't owned the house at 1631 26th St. in Sacramento for years. Caen was born in Sacramento in 1916. He was a columnist in San Francisco from 1938 until his death in 1997. Wasserman talked to listing agent Paul Boudier, of Keller Williams Realty in Roseville, who confirmed the foreclosure.

Joe Rodriguez leads high school boot camp

Merc columnist Joe Rodriguez is leading a two-week boot camp for high school journalists in San Jose State's Spartan Daily newsroom. (Click here for a slide show.) Damian Trujillo of NBC11 did this report on Rodriguez's camp.
    He’s seen layoffs around him in the San Jose Mercury News newsroom. He’s seen his front page dwindle, along with the paper’s subscriptions. But there he sits, teaching kids the ropes, encouraging them to get into journalism.

    Joe Rodriguez (pictured) is a columnist for The Merc. But for the next two weeks, he’s a professor to aspiring journalists in a two-week boot camp.

    By July 4, they’ll produce their own newspaper in the newsroom of San Jose State University’s Spartan Daily, called Mosaic.

    Rodriguez said, “The Mosaic is run like a real newspaper. It’s not run like a high school journalism class.”

    Monica Chen went through the program last year and used the advice from her instructors at the Mosaic in covering an incident at Homestead High School in Cupertino.

    “At Homestead, one of the teachers was accused of having sex with a 16, 17 year old, so how do we go printing that story? So its useful to have all these people who know what they’re doing,” Chen said.

    While Chen helps out this year’s crop, Clara Jimenez is in an adjacent room, learning about photojournalism from Josie Lepe, a staff photographer at the Merc. Jimenez just graduated from Downtown College Prep in San Jose.

    “I knew stuff about the aperture and stuff, but she helped us learn a lot of stuff with these new cameras, which are very difficult to work with.” Jimenez said.

    For Dulce Martinez, the Mosaic is her only link to journalism right now. Like a lot of schools, Downtown College Prep dropped its journalism class. That also means no yearbook next year.

    “Well, it’s really sad … We want to write what we want to write about and publish it so other people can see it," Martinez said.

    So Martinez wants to use what she learned at Mosaic to start a journalism club at her school and fill the void.

    Rodriguez often gets out of his editor’s chair and walks the newsroom. He’s already seen so many changes to his profession; seen so many of his friends lose their jobs to the Internet, to the bloggers, and to the online services that have doomed many newspapers. Yet Rodriguez still stands in front of the class and encourages the 16 and 17-year-olds to stay the course, to become the journalists of the future.

    “Well, I like to think that they’re the generation that is going to save journalism. They’re going to save newspapers and television and radio, and all the current media that are in trouble. These kids are very much into online journalism. They are inventing as we speak. These kids blog. They write traditional news stories, take traditional photographs. But they also use multimedia and graphics to mix it . For them, it’s very very natural,” Rodriguez said.

    Teaching them is also natural for the veteran journalist, who is doing what he can to train and inspire the next gatekeepers of news and information.
The San Francisco Peninsula Press club also does a boot camp for high school journalists in the fall. We'll make an announcement about it in the next few weeks on this Web page, but e-mail us if you want to participate as a student, teacher or journalism professional.

Richmond benefit to fight child abuse

Dennis Richmond will highlight a July 19 benefit for the hild Abuse Protection Center of San Francisco. The evening of memories and outstanding dining will be hosted by Willie Brown. Tickets for the event are priced at $250 for an individual or $2,500 for a table for 10. To make reservations for the event call Denise Cohn at 510-874-0224 or email her at
    “The most difficult stories I’ve covered in my 40-year career are the ones that involved something bad happening to a child,” the recently retired KTVU mainstay said. “I am fortunate that I grew up in a home where I didn’t see or experience abuse. As adults, we get to choose our friends and associates. Children don’t get to choose their parents.”

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Photos from the Press Club awards banquet

Better late than never, right? Here's a link to some shots we took at this year's Press Club awards banquet on June 6 in Foster City.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Google News 'stuck in neutral' after 6 years

Miguel Helft of The New York Times writes today about the slow growth of Google News, based in Mountain View, and how it gets beat on big breaking stories, like the death of Tim Russert. Google News was about an hour late reporting his death, which Google News "blamed a technical problem for the delay and said it was not a sign that its news site, whose content is compiled entirely by computer programs, lacks timeliness. Helft quotes former Merc columnist Dan Gillmor, now director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at the journalism school of Arizona State University, as saying:
    “I’ve actually been surprised at how little it has evolved, at least on the surface ... I’m guessing that Google isn’t so sure what to do with it.”
While Helft says the site is "stuck in neutral," Google executives defend it, saying traffic is not their goal. Google News, they say, helps the company produce better search results and helps users find news sources that they might not know about otherwise.

Analyst gives odds on chains defaulting

San Francisco newspaper analyst, blogger and venture capitalist Alan Mutter (pictured) has come up with a tool that shows how close newspaper chains are to default. His Default-O-Matic shows that six of the 10 publishers are deemed to be in junk-bond territory. He also notes that the ratings of seven companies have been downgraded in the three months. Mutter uses ratings from Moody's, which show the bond ratings of MediaNews from B1 to B3. Standard and Poor's, another bond rating service, on Thursday downgraded MediaNews from B- to CCC. MediaNews is the Bay Area's largest newspaper publisher.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Likely choices for Hearst's top job listed

With Vic Ganzi (right) out as chief executive of Hearst Corp., speculation now turns to a successor. Fortune's editor at large Richard Siklos says "those who would logically be seen in the running are Cathleen Black and David Barrett, who run Hearst's magazine and television businesses respectively. (Barrett, unlike Black, is a Hearst trustee.) One person who will be closely watched is James Asher, the company's senior vice-president, who worked closely with Ganzi. Another name worth mentioning is Steven Swartz, the second-in-command in the newspaper division who is well regarded at the company and further from retirement than Barrett or Black - but perhaps is more logical as a second-in-command candidate." Siklos's article also provides an overview of how the top level of the Hearst Corp. operates:
    [I]ts highest echelons have the mystique of a kind of secret society. And one of the qualities of this society is that its members don't leave. This culture stems from the trust that The Chief, as William Randolph Hearst was known, set up. The trust is basically run for the benefit of heirs who The Chief would never know; it's meant to dissolve when the last remaining Hearst who was alive when he died passes on - actuaries hired by the company have pegged that at 2045.

Judge won't drop MediaNews antitrust case

Dean Singleton appeared to have little trouble obtaining antitrust approvals from the Department of Justice when he bought several daily newspapers in the Bay Area. The same can't be said for his efforts in Charleston, W.Va., where a federal judge on Thursday refused to dismiss a DOJ case against his MediaNews Group and a local newspaper company. According to the AP:
    The DOJ's lawsuit claims that the May 2004 purchase of the MediaNews-owned Charleston Daily Mail by the Daily Gazette Co. for $55 million violated antitrust laws. The Daily Gazette Co. owns the city's morning newspaper, The Charleston Gazette.

    The lawsuit also claimed the Daily Gazette Co. purchased the afternoon newspaper with the intent to close it. Both newspapers had been operating under a joint operating agreement since 1958, and under the terms of the sale MediaNews would be paid a set fee to operate the Daily Mail.

    In seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, both companies argued it harmed First Amendment principles and that the sale was protected by the Newspaper Preservation Act and various exemptions to antitrust laws.

    [U.S. District Judge John T.] Copenhaver rejected those arguments in a 30-page ruling issued Thursday.

Santa Rosa anchor gets 6 years in prison

A former Sonoma County radio newsman known as Ron Kirk was sentenced Friday to six years in prison after pleading guilty to molesting a child, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. Ron Kirk Kuhlmeyer, 49, a former KSO and KZST news reporter and anchor, will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He was accused of touching his daughter’s 11-year-old friend inappropriately on almost a weekly basis over three years, between July 2004 to August 2006. He left the air soon after his Oct. 23 arrest. The girl, now 15, told Press Democrat columnist Chris Smith in May that Kuhlmeyer “took the easy way out” with his guilty plea. (Photo credit: Santa Rosa Press Democrat, December 2007)

Cancer claims photographer Angela Pancrazio

Angela Pancrazio, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer who worked at the Oakland Tribune and San Jose Mercury News, has died of brain cancer at age 51, the Arizona Republic reported today. She won the Pulitzer as a member of the staff of the Oakland Tribune for her work covering the Bay Area earthquake of Oct. 17, 1989. She joined the Phoenix newspaper in 1999. Her obit in the Republic said:
    Pancrazio would embrace any method of telling a story. When pictures were not enough, she wrote. And when that was not enough, she used video.

    "Angela is symbolic of the 'renaissance' journalist. She had exceptional writing and storytelling skills, but she was able to bring her subjects to life through more than just words," said Randy Lovely, editor and vice president for news at The Arizona Republic.
(Photo credit: Carlos Chavez, The Arizona Republic)

Friday, June 20, 2008

MediaNews credit rating cut again

Standard and Poor's on Thursday cut MediaNews Group's credit rating cut two levels to CCC and warned that the company may face a restructuring "over the intermediate term."

Here's what S&P said, and the parenthesis are theirs:
    Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today lowered its corporate credit rating on MediaNews Group Inc. to 'CCC' from 'B-'. The rating, along with all other issue-level ratings on MediaNews' debt, was removed from CreditWatch, where it was placed with negative implications Feb. 28, 2008. The rating outlook is negative.

    We also lowered our issue-level rating on MediaNews Group Inc.'s senior secured credit facilities to 'CCC+' (one notch higher than the 'CCC' corporate credit rating on the company) from 'B-'. A recovery rating of '2' was assigned to these loans, indicating that lenders can expect substantial (70% to 90%) recovery in the event of a payment default.

    At the same time, we lowered our issue-level rating on MediaNews' subordinated debt to 'CC' (two notches lower than the 'CCC' corporate credit rating) from 'CCC'. A recovery rating of '6' was assigned to these securities, indicating that lenders can expect negligible (0% to 10%) recovery in the event of a payment default.

    "The downgrade of the corporate credit rating to 'CCC' reflects our expectation for a meaningful year-over-year increase in the rate of cash flow decline in 2008," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Emile Courtney. "In addition, the company may not be able to avoid violating covenants in the company's bank facility over the near-to-intermediate term without recurring
    liquidity-enhancing transactions with its business partners."

    While we had previously stated on several occasions that we believed MediaNews' liquidity position could potentially be enhanced by transactions with partners of solid credit quality, we now expect that the company intends to manage its liquidity position by pursuing a series of incremental support transactions. Even though this may reduce the likelihood of a near-term
    covenant violation, it is unclear whether business partners will continue to support MediaNews if the operating environment continues to deteriorate.

    Moreover, we believe that the company is unlikely to maintain its current capital structure over the long term. At the current rate of cash flow decline, it appears increasingly likely that MediaNews will pursue a restructuring of some kind over the intermediate term.

    In April 2008, MediaNews amended bond indentures to end its obligation to publicly file its financial statements. We do not anticipate that the company will publicly announce future liquidity enhancement actions, nor is it likely to announce cash flow trends; however, we would incorporate any such developments into the ratings if they happen.

Bay Area suffers from less direct reporting

"One of the great ironies of these times ..." writes East Bay journalist J. Douglas Allen-Taylor in the Berkeley Daily Planet, "is that we are experiencing an explosion of information and internet discussion concerning local events while simultaneously seeing a drying up of direct news media reporting on those events.

"The Berkeley Daily Planet, bless our hearts, has two reporters covering Berkeley city government, and another to cover the Berkeley Unified School District and the various dealings of the Berkeley School Board. But that is a rarity. Across the border in Oakland, no media outlet—aside from the East Bay News Service’s Sanjiv Handa—regularly covers Oakland City Council or Oakland city government, no media outlet at all regularly covers the Oakland Unified School District, or the Peralta Community College District, or the Alameda-Contra Contra Costa Transit District, and so on, and so on." (More)

Memorial Sunday for Publisher Al Burgin

Al Burgin, who worked for almost 20 years for the Hearst Examiner and was actively involved in the San Francisco Press Club, died June 6 at Kaiser Hospital in Terra Linda. He was 78. He held a variety of jobs in advertising, PR and news. In 1992, Mr. Burgin founded the Commuter Times, a Novato-based weekly newspaper that covers transportation issues. He served as the publisher.

A celebration of Burgin's life will be at 4 p.m. Sunday at the First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael at 1510 Fifth Ave. in San Rafael. Donations may be made to the Pastor's Discretionary Fund at the church, 1510 Fifth Ave., San Rafael 94901.

Here are obits from the Chronicle and Marin IJ. (Photo credit: family photo)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hearst CEO quits after dispute with board

The chief executive of the Hearst Corporation, Victor F. Ganzi, is leaving the privately held publishing empire after nearly 30 years because of irreconcilable differences with its board of trustees over the company’s future, Reuters is reporting. Those differences weren't disclosed by the privately held company which owns the Chronicle. Former chief executive Frank Bennack Jr., 75, who stepped down in 2002, will reassume his role as chief executive while a search committee looks for a successor. Hearst is one of the nation's largest magazine publishers and it owns a piece of cable networks such as ESPN, A&E and Lifetime, and a controlling interest in a group of TV stations. Its newspapers include the Houston Chronicle, The Times Union in Albany, N.Y., and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Should the media avoid a gay kiss?

Until a few years ago, the networks wouldn't show gay couples kissing. Today, some newsrooms still have policies that discourage running photos or video of same-sex couples kissing, says Poynter's Kelly McBride in a piece headlined "Gay Marriage Images: How Will You Play the Kiss?"

KPIX CBS5 reporter Joe Vazquez talked to McBride. She says that there was a negative backlash four years ago when same sex marriage first made a national splash. People said they didn't want to see that image on TV or in their local newspaper.

Now, she says photo editors are trying to find ways to tell the story beyond the kiss: "The kissing photo is one image of many that represents this moment in time, so editors are thinking about how to create the deepest understanding of this issue for the largest number of people."

Because of the backlash, McBride says photos of the kiss had the potential to turn viewers away, so editors are now trying to find a way to tell the story so that their audience can hear it. (Photo credit: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images via CBS5 Web site)

Luncheon celebrates women in broadcasting

Wanda Ramey, the first woman news anchor in the western United States and the second woman news anchor on local television in America, is scheduled to be present Thursday when for the quarterly gathering of the Broadcast Legends. Everyone interested in local broadcasting is welcome to attend.

The subject of the program is Bay Area women in broadcasting, with a look back at some of the pioneering women in local radio and TV — including Sybil True, Evangeline Baker, Wilda Wilson Church, Edna Fisher and Wanda Ramey.

Ramey worked at a number of radio and TV stations in the Bay Area in the 1940s and 50s, hosting programs such as "The Woman Behind the Man," where she would interview the wives of well-known men.

Her big break came in 1959 when she was hired to co-anchor Channel 5's new noon newscast. From the Broadcast Legends Web site:
    There had never before been a half-hour of midday news. The anchors were John Weston, "Channel 5's Guy on the Go," and Wanda Ramey, "Channel 5's Gal on the Go."
    Wanda was one of the first women news anchors in the country and talented enough to survive the title they hung on her. That may not be entirely accurate. In a videotape of one of the early Noon News broadcasts, the program ends with a superimposition over Wanda Ramey of "Girl on the Beat" as Ramey closes by saying, "Wanda Ramey, Woman on the Beat."
Click here to see a Kate Kelly report from 2006 on the history of KPIX, which includes clips of Ramey on the "Noon News."
    Within the year, KPIX "promoted" Wanda from "girl" to "woman." The spoken introduction to the Noon News became, "Now, live from San Francisco, it's the Channel 5 Noon News, all the news from all the world, with exclusive features from your man and woman on the beat, Wanda Ramey and John Weston."
    ... Within six months the "Noon News" on KPIX had become the highest rated 30-minute newscast in the Bay Area!

    One reason the "Noon News" became the top rated half-hour news show in six months was that viewers found the Channel 5 news exciting with Ramey's style of broadcasting. She put on a workman's helmet and from a construction elevator beamed out a KPIX special on the progress of the newest, tallest building in San Francisco. She rode with the S Squad at midnight to give KPIX Noon News viewers the lowdown on San Francisco Detail Police. She brought her viewers face to face with one of their new neighbors, a bearded beatnik recently moved to North Beach from Greenwich Village. She wanted to find out just what makes a beatnik tick.
Rosie Allen, KGO-AM's afternoon co-anchor, will host Thursday's luncheon with Terry Lowry as emcee. Belva Davis, Melanie Morgan, Cammy Blackstone and Trish Bell taking part in the presentation. Here's how to RSVP. (Photo credits: Top, Broadcast Legends; The rest, KPIX)

MediaNews disputes 'default' talk

MediaNews Group, the Bay Area's largest publisher of daily newspapers, is disputing newspaper industry analyst Emile Courtney's assertion that the chain is in danger of default. If anything, MediaNews contends, its debt situation should improve this year, not get worse.

MediaNews issued its retort through a story in its flagship paper, The Denver Post. The story quotes company president Jody Lodovic (pictured at left) as saying MediaNews will weather this storm as it has survived in the past. "This is not our first rodeo," Lodovic said. The quote sounds oddly like something that would be said by Lodovic's boss, chief executive Dean Singleton (right), owner of four cattle ranches.

As the Press Club Web site reported April 11, MediaNews has stopped releasing its financial information to the public. Yet the Post article provided some insight into the highly leveraged MediaNews empire:
    MediaNews reported carrying $645.7 million under its senior debt facilities as of Feb. 14. Its banks require that debt not exceed 6.75 times the cash flow the company generates.

    That ratio ratchets down to 6.5 on June 30 and 6.25 on Sept. 30.

    Publishers can pursue several strategies to avoid a default, including selling off assets, raising outside capital or cutting costs to boost their cash flow.

    MediaNews has increased ad staff companywide in a "feet on the street" sales strategy, has reduced page counts to save on newsprint and is sharing editorial content with other publications.
Meanwhile, a commentator for the online newspaper the Minnesota Post (which is competing with Singleton's St. Paul newspaper), says yesterday's brink-of-default report about MediaNews is old news. However, commentator David Brauer says he's concerned about the company's decision to stop reporting its financials to the public:
    I asked Courtney if Standard & Poors could continue to follow the company as closely, given the circumstances. He said his firm will still rate MediaNews debt, but "we may not likely publish financial statements to the same extent as in the past, which often happens when we have a public rating for a company with private numbers."

    In other words, if bankruptcy comes, the public may have less warning.
(Photo credit: MediaNews Web site)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Report: MediaNews 'in danger of default'

Bloomberg News quotes Standard & Poor's analyst Emile Courtney as saying that Sam Zell's Tribune Co. could face default by the end of the year, and that other newspaper companies in danger of default include MediaNews Group, the Bay Area's largest publisher.
    Newspapers are selling today for about six times earnings, said Sammy Papert, chairman of Belden Associates, a newspaper consulting firm in Dallas. This is below the 11.5 times earnings that MediaNews and Hearst Corp. paid in a $1 billion deal for the Mercury News and three other newspapers in 2006.

    Since then, Denver-based MediaNews, the second-largest closely held U.S. newspaper company by circulation, had its credit rating slashed four levels by S&P to B-, or six levels above default. Debt rated B is likely to become impaired in adverse business, financial or economic conditions, S&P notes.

    Singleton expects the company, with average weekday circulation of 2.6 million in fiscal 2007, to remain in compliance with debt covenants, the chief executive officer said in a June 12 telephone interview.

    On June 30, if MediaNews has the debt-to-cash flow ratio of 6.53 times it reported on Dec. 31, 2007, it would be in violation of its loans, according to S&P.

    ... Newspaper companies are trying to conserve cash. ... MediaNews is sharing editorial content with other publications to save money, Singleton said. It has also cut pages and lowered the weight of its newsprint. ``We plan ahead,'' Singleton said. ``We've been doing that for 25 years. That's not going to change just because we're going through an economic downturn.'' (More)

People meters return to SF this fall

Arbitron says it will bring its controversial "people meters" into the San Francisco radio market this fall.

The meter picks up signals from radio broadcasts automatically and is aimed at providing more accurate ratings than the diary method, which relied on listener recall instead of registering what they heard. But in New York, some panelists stopped carrying the meters during the survey, which forced Arbitron to recruit new panelists and increase the amount they're paid.

Arbitron says: "On Oct. 8, 2008 ... the company’s diary-based radio ratings will be withdrawn from those eight markets and radio transactions among Arbitron-subscribing stations and agencies will take place solely using PPM-based radio ratings."

Vallejo bankruptcy shows need for openness

What's wrong with secret meetings by government leaders when they negotiate labor contracts? Peter Scheer, a lawyer and journalist who heads the California First Amendment Coalition, writes:
    If no one is watching, it’s easy for public officials to give generous pay and benefit increases without having a clue how to pay for them. That’s not so easy to do in a public session, where voters demand to know how much taxes will have to be raised, and how much other expenses cut, in order to make good on the promised increases in compensation. Such resistance is called political accountability, and it obviously depends on public access to the meetings in which elected representatives make their decisions. more
If you don't know about the California First Amendment Coalition, here's a link that will tell you more.

ADL goes after West Marin newsapper

The West Marin Coastal Post is taking heat from the Jewish Anti-Defamation League for printing this piece by Russian Israeli writer Israel Shamir. The Marin Independent Journal quotes the ADL's Jonathan Bernstein as saying said he's heard complaints for years about the Bolinas-based Coastal Post, but it wasn't until the Post published an article in May by writer Israel Shamir that the league decided to take action. "They printed a front-page story that reiterated every anti-Semitic ancient canard that ever existed. We got quite a few phone calls by people who were quite upset. We decided to send a letter directly to him and call into question his reasons for running this piece," Bernstein told the IJ. The IJ says Coastal Post publisher Don Deane has not directly responded to the letter nor returned phone calls about the controversy.

Allan Newman led a different KSFO

Former KSFO program director Allan Newman stands between Kennedy press secretary Pierre Salinger and Phyllis Diller at a KSFO softball game in the early '60s.

Ben Fong-Torres's Sunday Radio Waves article in the Chron highlighted Newman, now 81, who kept the reins on a lineup led by Don Sherwood and, at one point in 1963, including Jim Lange, Jack Carney, Del Courtney, Al "Jazzbeaux" Collins and Herb Kennedy, along with Aaron Edwards, Carter B. Smith, and solid news, traffic and sports. Back then, KSFO broadcast the Giants and 49ers.

How big was Sherwood? "He had a go-to-hell attitude," Newman said. "There was nothing like Sherwood and Herb Caen. They were the voices of the city."

Sherwood apparently engineered Newman's departure from KSFO, which wasn't entirely bad: "After I left, my whole life changed," Newman said. "It was scary at first, but it was the best thing that ever happened. It was a big story around town. The Examiner did a story, and this photographer leaned into me and said, 'Don't forget: One door closes, another one opens.' "

Stall in KRON sale hurts parent company

Young Broadcasting's credit rating was cut again by Standard & Poor's over "concerns about the company's lengthening search for a buyer for KRON-TV, its underperforming MyNetworkTV affiliate in San Francisco, and the company's dwindling cash balances against the backdrop of a soft economy," Thompson Financial reports.

Ron Riesterer retires after 50 years

Retiring Oakland Tribune photographer Ron Riesterer, 69, "chased squawks on the police scanner, shot three Super Bowls and five World Series, photographed celebrities and every U.S. president from Kennedy to Bush. There were the riots in the '60s, the sit-ins at Cal, the Black Panthers, Patty Hearst, wildfires, floods, city council meetings, Democratic and Republican conventions, and pets of the week. ... Oh, and did we mention the Pulitzer Prize awarded in 1990 to Riesterer and the Tribune photo staff for coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake?"

Now, after 50 years at the Tribune — the past 10 as director of photography for Bay Area News Group-East Bay's chain of newspapers — Riesterer says he's ready for a quieter life with his wife, Jan, in their Brentwood home. It's conveniently situated on the fringe of a golf course, which is one of Riesterer's favorite places to be. More (Photo credit: Jane Tyska, Oakland Tribune)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

East Bay MediaNews workers vote for union

In a 104-to-92 vote, newsroom employees at the Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune and other East Bay newspapers controlled by MediaNews have voted for representation by the Northern California Media Workers Guild. About 90 percent of the participating staff cast ballots, according to the Chronicle, which said the union spent more than 18 months and $500,000 on a campaign to strengthen its hand at MediaNews.

The Chron said management declined to be interviewed, but issued a written statement: "We feel a union-free environment is best for our employees," said John Armstrong, president and publisher of Bay Area News Group-East Bay, the company that operates the newspapers. "This has been an emotional experience for everyone involved." But he said he and other newspaper executives were committed to "moving in a positive direction" with staff.

The Chronicle story contained an unusual disclosure statement at the end: "Full disclosure: Reporter James Temple worked at the Contra Costa Times during and after the MediaNews purchase. Another Chronicle reporter, Carl Hall, went on leave to oversee the organizing drive."

CORRECTION: We originally reported that only 53 percent of participating staff members cast ballots in the election. That was based on the Chroncle's report. Sara Steffens, a leader of the union movement, tells us the actual percentage was nearly 90 percent — 196 votes out of a unit of 225 people. The item above has been corrected.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wildfire traps photographer, intern

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that photographer Dan Coyro, intern Lisa Hirschmann and a strike team of firefighters were trapped yesterday during a wildfire in the Santa Cruz County town of Bonny Doon.

Coyro, a 29-year veteran of the Sentinel, was with homeowner Doug Stewart who was watering down his house with a hose when the fire raced up to them.

"The fire was getting ready to sweep over the house and we were getting ready to jump in the pool," Coyro said.

Coyro said the head firefighter said "jump in pool or run in the house if it heats up." Firefighters were able to clear an area around the driveway allowing Coyro and Hirschmann to escape.

"It was ... nuts," Coyro said. "It's the most wild one I've ever seen."

Chronicle increasing price to 75 cents

The Chronicle hasn't announced anything officially, but carriers have been told that the paper is raising its single-copy price from 50 cents to 75 cents at the end of the month. That means changing the coin mechanisms in thousands of Chronicle's news racks. We've got an e-mail into Publisher Frank Vega seeking comment on the price increase. No word on whether the subscription price is going up too.

Dana King murdered, set on fire?

In this YouTube video, which has been viewed more than 200,000 times, KPIX CBS5's Ken Bastida seems to report that his co-anchor, Dana King, has been murdered and set on fire. Then it becomes clear that he's talking about somebody else., which posted an item about this yesterday, called it a Freudian slip. Let's hope not.

'Five Minute Merc' now the 'Quick Read'?

Monday and Tuesday editions of many newspapers are becoming thinner as ads move to editions later in the week. Merc editor Dave Butler, in a memo to staffers (posted by Romenesko), says: "One thing we're exploring — as are a number of other [MediaNews Group] newspapers — is to produce 'Quick Read' Monday and Tuesday newspapers. As you all know, we've been moving down this path for some months and would likely continue to do so, particularly tightening up Monday."

In 2005, the Merc was considering a concept called "The 5 Minute Merc." Then editor Susan Goldberg described it in a speech at a college newspaper convention: "[W]e're looking at the idea of introducing a quick-read, tabloid version of the paper called the Five Minute Merc, which would publish daily in addition to the traditional paper. Maybe that's one answer for time-starved readers. There are probably a dozen other answers just as good."

Who was that airbrushed Bay Area Murdoch girl?

Former Channel 2 anchor Leslie Griffith writes in the Bay Guardian:
    On the very day it was leaked that Scott McClellan's book reveals the country went to war based on known lies, the sweetest, shiniest, dimple-faced, airbrushed Bay Area Murdoch girl began a broadcast by announcing: "Another American has given his life for his country today."

    I was once that girl. Today I know that soldier was one of thousands who bravely believed in what the president said — and died believing a lie the press helped promote.

    What if this anchorwoman — and hundreds of others like her, all of whom I imagine to be nice people — read instead: "Another American has died in Iraq today. He was a beloved brother and child, and he was number 4,084."

    Then perhaps follow that with the number of wounded Iraqi veterans: 30,329.

    In an attempt at truly unbiased journalism, they could end with the number of Iraqis who have lost their lives: 1,217,892.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Former Examiner editor Rosenhause retires

Sharon Rosenhause, who was managing editor of the Hearst-owned Examiner from 1992 to 2000, is retiring from her current job as managing editor of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. According to the AP, Rosenhause said she will initially will take several months off work, but that the decision was a "natural step in life."

"We've been through a lot of changes here and I just don't want to go through any more cuts," Rosenhause said of staff reductions. "I am ready to do something else."

The Tribune-owned Fort Lauderdale paper plans to eliminate her job once she retires and have other editors handle her responsibilities.

At the Examiner, Rosenhause was second in command to Editor Phil Bronstein, but she called the shots as the paper was put together every morning on deadline. When Hearst bought the Chronicle and sold off the Examiner in 2000, she became managing editor of a short-lived Chronicle afternoon edition. In March 2001, she became managing editor of the Sun-Sentinel. (Photo credit: APME)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Examiner owner faces trial on tax charges

The Wall Street Journal reports that the IRS is fighting with Examiner owner Philip Anschutz to force the Denver-based billionaire oilman to pay back taxes totaling $143.6 million. Trial is set for June 23.

Not a word about the case has appeared in Anschutz's papers — the San Francisco, Baltimore or Washington Examiners or the San Francisco City Star.

The Chronicle hasn't mentioned the upcoming trial either.

But the papers in Anschutz's hometown of Denver are going wild with the story. Here's what The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News are saying. (Illustration credit: Wall Street Journal)

MediaNews union vote set for Friday

Some 300 newsroom employees at the Contra Costa Times and former ANG newspapers will cast secret ballots on Friday to decide if they will be represented by the Guild. Below are some links to stories about the vote. If you know of other stories we should include here, please e-mail us because we'd like to have both sides.
    Berkeley Daily Planet: By Richard Brenneman:, "Singleton has acquired the reputation of being a ruthless manager, and he pink-slipped workers at his earlier regional buys, rehiring some of the workers but invariably reducing his workforce in the process and eliminating seniority."

    E&P: By Joe Strupp: Less than two weeks after MediaNews Group employees at nine newspapers outside San Francisco petitioned to unionize, a union vote date has been set. Union-eligible employees at the Bay Area News Group-East Bay (BANG-EB), which includes nine MediaNews Group dailies in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, will vote on June 13 whether or not to be represented by a bargaining unit, according to a memo from John Armstrong, the group's publisher.

    Guild Web Site: By Josh Richman: "This Friday we face a momentous opportunity to take control of our own destinies as we move forward with our careers, our company and our industry. We expect the company’s e-mails, one-on-one lunches, group meetings and special events to continue until the last moment, making every effort to talk you out of this."

    Guild Web Site: By Rick Tulsky, Mercury News: "I’ve been on the staff of different newspapers for more than 30 years, both union and nonunion. And I can say unequivocally that reporters and editors are treated better at union papers. There is more protection built in for staff members against arbitrary decisions. There is less favoritism. And there is a sense among the staff that we have more of a voice."

When did "news hole" become one word?

The folks at Poynter have posted Merc editor Dave Butler's latest e-mail on the paper's budget situation in which he says, "I've had lots of people ask about our budget for the next fiscal year in light of the drastic cuts that Sam Zell is proposing for the Tribune Company newspapers, both in terms of people and newshole."

OK, we try to read the rest of his memo. But we keep thinking, "When did news hole become one word?" Then we try to suppress that thought. It shows how many years we spent on the copy desk.

Butler's memo continues: "It is CRITICAL that we all work together to reduce the length of stories so we can get in as much information as possible for our readers." Butler says he's trying to avoid layoffs through attrition, but can't predict how much money the newsroom can spend in the coming year due to the unpredictable advertising environment.

Still, we can't stop thinking about the term "newshole." Maybe soon it will become a new word in the dictionary. Kind of like the government bureaucrats who have compressed "health care" into one word. Or the rookie reporters who think "council member" is one word.

Certainly eliminating that space between two words saves space, something MediaNews Group applauds.

As Butler points out, "It has never been more important than it is today for all reporters and editors to demonstrate their outstanding writing and reporting skills by cramming the same information — or what's essential for the story — in less space."

KLIV's Bud Kelly signs off after 60 years

KLIV-AM 1590 morning news anchor Bud Kelly signed off for the last time on Friday after 60 years in the radio business. He's headed to Arizona where he will be spending time with his grandkids and catching some spring training games next year, says the Merc's Sal Pizarro. Kelly's bio on the KLIV site notes that he's done everything from morning DJ to play-by-play sports. He worked in Boston and Chicago before joining KBAY in the early 1980s. He's been at KLIV since 1997. He has also served as the stadium announcer for the annual Siebel Open tennis tournament at San Jose's HP Pavilion.

Craig says it's a myth he hurt newspapers

The Seattle Times did a Q&A with Craig Newmark of San Francisco, the founder of Craigslist.
    Question: Speaking of emulation, newspapers are belatedly responding to competition from Craigslist. They are offering free merchandise listings, they're trying to build community around their classifieds similar to what you did a decade ago. Are you seeing effects on your traffic from those efforts?

    Newmark: Can't tell in terms of traffic, because we just get continuous slow growth. You know, it's just slow but steady. It's like in the race between tortoise and hare, and we're always the tortoise. It's hard to read much out of our traffic.

    Regarding our effect on newspapers, for the most part it's an urban myth. I've spoken to a lot of publishers, editors, industry analysts who say we do have a measurable effect on classified revenues.

    But the niche sites, which have teams of aggressive sales people, they're the big problem.
His answer ignores research showing that Craigslist costs the Bay Area's traditional newspapers, and their online divisions, between $50 and $65 million annually in revenues from employment ads alone. That study was done by Bob Cauthorn, former digital media VP at, the site for the San Francisco Chronicle.

What happened to George Riggs?

If you've met George Riggs, you know that he has a Southern accent. The former president of MediaNews Group's California Newspaper Partnership and former publisher of the Contra Costa Times and Mercury News stepped down in January at age 61. What is he doing now? (George, e-mail us and let us know.) But here is an excerpt from his essay "Growing Up in Mississippi" posted by the Hattiesburg American newspaper:
    I had always been drawn to dangerous work, figuring, I suppose, that it was the quickest way to make money. After high school, I had worked the summer following graduation as a deckhand on a riverboat, moving wheat barges up and down the Mississippi. Later, I worked as a strikebreaker, crossing picket lines at a Masonite plant in Laurel, Mississippi. It was a tough strike in which at least one strike breaker, a former classmate of mine, was killed.
And about the draft for the Vietnam War ...
    The tears flowed more freely around the room as the reality of what was about to happen sunk in. My head pounded and I had dry mouth, even though I knew I would not be boarding the buses. I showed one of the staffers my papers, and asked what I should do next. He told me to get dressed and meet him back there. I dressed as if I were in a fog, not quite fully comprehending what had just happened. Out of the entire group, I was the only one that had failed the physical exam. When I returned to meet the staffer, the others were already lining up at the rear door to board the buses. The staffer led me through the line and down the hallway to the front door. He opened it and I walked out, alone, into the late afternoon Mississippi sunshine.

    I started walking toward my mother's apartment, still dazed and trying to grasp my good fortune. Some of those I had just spent the afternoon with would die. Others would be wounded, some physically, others emotionally, by what they were about to go through. But by some inexplicable twist of fate I had been spared. I didn't know why, but I made up my mind as I walked down State Street that afternoon that I would not squander the opportunity I had just been given.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards

FOSTER CITY — Bay Area print journalists, photographers, radio and television personnel and public relations professionals were presented with 224 awards of excellence in 94 categories at the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club's 31st annual Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards dinner here tonight.

The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club's annual Professional Journalism Awards Competition dinner was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Foster City.

The winners were selected from 519 entries from media professionals in the 11 Greater Bay Area counties. Competition was for work done in 2007. Entries were judged by the Bakersfield Press Club, Florida Press Club, Milwaukee Press Club, the Press Club of New Orleans, and the Press Club of Southeast Texas. The Print Photography dvision was judged by the Press Photographers of Greater Los Angeles and coordinated by Paul Sakuma of The Associated Press.

The San Jose Mercury News took top honors with 31 plaques folowed by the San Mateo Daily Journal with 23.

Three $1,500 scholarships in the name of the late San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen were awarded to Caroline Hodge, Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Alto; Manal Ahmad and Brittney Johnson, University of California, Berkeley.

The complete list of Journalism award winners follows:

Newspapers-Dailies over 75,000 circulation

General Excellence
  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “San Jose Mercury News,” Mercury News Staff

  FIRST PLACE: The Press Democrat, “Karr Case: Taxpayers deserve to see results,” Press Democrat News Staff

  FIRST PLACE: The Press Democrat, “Columns by Paul Gullixson,” Paul Gullixson
  SECOND PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “In My Opinion,” Scott Herhold
  THIRD PLACE: The Press Democrat, “Columns by Ann DuBay,” Ann DuBay

  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Male Call,” Jeff Thomas
  SECOND PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Columns by Brad Kava,” Brad Kava
  THIRD PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “East Side/West Side,” Joe Rodriguez

  FIRST PLACE: The Press Democrat, “Columns by Lowell Cohn,” Lowell Cohn

Breaking News
  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “No Charges in DeAnza Case,” Rodney Foo, Sean Webby
  SECOND PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Missing Woman's Body Found in Car,” Lisa Krieger, Brandon Bailey, Sean Webby
  THIRD PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “What Went Wrong? Oil Spill in the Bay,” Paul Rogers, Mary Anne Ostrom

Continuing Coverage
  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Silicon Valley's Changing Demographics,” Mike Swift

  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Why the State's Eco-Friendly Cars Aren't Doing the Job,” Kimberly Kindy

Feature Story of Light Nature
  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Eat My Sports,” Daniel Brown
  SECOND PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “What If No One Calls,” Brad Kava

Feature Story of Serious Nature
  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Red-Hot Rails,” Patrick May

  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Auditor Firing Tests S.J. Mayor,” Deborah Lohse

Business Story
  FIRST PLACE: The Press Democrat, “Risky Loans, Broken Dreams,” Mary Fricker, Michael Coit
  SECOND PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “The Harsh Side of the Housing Boom,” Pete Carey

Entertainment Review
  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Feuding Philadelphians Never Sounded Better,” Richard Scheinin
  SECOND PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Revamped Plumed Horse Rides High,” Aleta Watson
  THIRD PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “An Impressionistic Trip "To the Lighthouse",” Karen D'Souza

Specialty Story
  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Abalone farming-life in the slow lane,” Carolyn Jung
  SECOND PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Could L.A. Be the Next Great Downtown?,” Michael Martinez
  THIRD PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “"High School Musical" is Disney's Accidental Icon,” Charlie McCollum

Sports Story
  FIRST PLACE: The Press Democrat, “"Coach, I don't know where I am:" High School Concussions,” Eric Branch
  SECOND PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Irreconcilable Differences,” Dennis Georgatos, Daniel Brown
  THIRD PLACE: The Press Democrat, “A one-team town,” Bob Padecky

Page Design
  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Legal Illegal,” Mercury News Staff
  SECOND PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Parking Downtown?,” Janet Kim
  THIRD PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Coach. Leader. Legend,” Mercury News Staff

Newspapers-Dailies under 75,000 circulation

General Excellence
  FIRST PLACE: Palo Alto Daily News, “Palo Alto Daily News,” Daily News Staff
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “San Mateo Daily Journal,” San Mateo Daily Journal

  FIRST PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Immigration raid protests send wrong message,” Jon Mays
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Overcrossing closure plan hurts two communities,” Jon Mays

  FIRST PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Columns by Jon Mays,” Jon Mays
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Columns by Michelle Durand,” Michelle Durand
  THIRD PLACE: Santa Cruz Sentinel, “Reporter at Large,” Jondi Gumz

  FIRST PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Columns by Jon Mays,” Jon Mays
  SECOND PLACE: Palo Alto Daily News, “Columns by LJ Anderson,” L.J. Anderson
  THIRD PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Columns by Michelle Durand,” Michelle Durand

  FIRST PLACE: Palo Alto Daily News, “Columns by John Reid,” John Reid
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Columns by Emanuel Lee,” Emanuel Lee
  THIRD PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Columns by Nathan Mollat,” Nathan Mollatt

Breaking News
  FIRST PLACE: San Mateo County Times, “Dispatch straight from the front line,” Michael Manekin
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Driver jumps curb, plows into crowd of middle-schoolers,” Michelle Durand, Dana Yates
  THIRD PLACE: San Mateo Daily News, “Big rig crashes; Mother dies after big rig crash,” Shaun Bishop

News Story
  FIRST PLACE: Oakland Tribune, “Butt Out,” Suzanne Bohan
  SECOND PLACE: Santa Cruz Sentinel, “Determined to Prevail,” Jondi Gumz
  THIRD PLACE: San Francisco Daily, “White kills, black arrested,” Richard Cole

Continuing Coverage
  FIRST PLACE: Hayward Daily Review, “Power Play,” Matt O'Brien
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo Daily News, “Belmont bans smoking,” Will Oremus
  THIRD PLACE: San Mateo County Times, “Campus Shake-Up,” Suzanne Bohan

  FIRST PLACE: San Mateo Daily News, “Out of the Shadows,” Jamie Casini, Melissa McRobbie, Jason Green
  SECOND PLACE: Hayward Daily Review, “The Mayan Way,” Matt O'Brien
  THIRD PLACE: Santa Cruz Sentinel, “Medical Innovations,” Jondi Gumz

Feature Story of Light Nature
  FIRST PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Looking for the 12 days of 'green' Christmas,” Dana Yates
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo County Times, “Between the Lines: For Menlo Park woman, you are what you write,” Neil Gonzales
  THIRD PLACE: Palo Alto Daily News, “Teen comes clean 50 years later,” Kristina Peterson

Feature Story of Serious Nature
  FIRST PLACE: Oakland Tribune, “Mother's slaying fuels daughter's devotion,” Kristin Bender
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo County Times, “Palestinians, Jews unite at Yosemite Camp,” Christine Morente
  THIRD PLACE: San Mateo County Times, “There's oil in them thar hills,” Julia Scott

  FIRST PLACE: Santa Cruz Sentinel, “Buyers snapping up $2M homes,” Jondi Gumz
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Supreme Court splits on special education debate,” Heather Murtagh
  THIRD PLACE: Palo Alto Daily News, “The Greatest,” Grag Frazier

Technology Story
  FIRST PLACE: San Mateo Daily News, “Mixed review for new meters,” Shaun Bishop
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo Daily News, “Carports could alleviate parking woes,” Will Oremus
  THIRD PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “School tests new way to access Web,” Heather Murtagh

Business Story
  FIRST PLACE: Santa Cruz Sentinel, “Enjoying the Ride,” Jondi Gumz
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo County Times, “Now Hiring,” Tim Simmers
  THIRD PLACE: San Mateo County Times, “Stuck in the Housing Slump,” Tim Simmers

Entertainment Review
  FIRST PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Book Beat, October 19, 2007,” Cheri Lucas
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Book Beat, November 23, 2007,” Cheri Lucas
  THIRD PLACE: Palo Alto Daily News, “Have you heard the news?: Dewey Cox is already a legend,” Bernadette Harris

Specialty Story
  FIRST PLACE: Hayward Daily Review, “Might as well jump,” Matt O'Brien
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “'Froyo' all the rage,” Michelle Durand
  THIRD PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Another man's treasure,” Heather Murtagh

Sports Story
  FIRST PLACE: Palo Alto Daily News, “The Bisordi Bunch,” Vytas Mazeika
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Attaway rises above,” Emanuel Lee
  THIRD PLACE: Palo Alto Daily News, “Walsh remembered by friends,” Vytas Mazeika

Sports Game Story
  FIRST PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Woodside wins thriller,” Emanuel Lee
  SECOND PLACE: Palo Alto Daily News, “Palo Alto claims its   SECOND CCS title in a row,” Vytas Mazeika
  THIRD PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “M-A's CCS dream crushed,” Emanuel Lee

Page Design
  FIRST PLACE: Palo Alto Daily News, “Campus massacre,” Greg Frazier
  SECOND PLACE: Palo Alto Daily News, “Fall Guys,” Greg Frazier
  THIRD PLACE: San Francisco Daily, “Marina Crime Spree,” Dave Price

Ad Design
  FIRST PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Late Bloomers,” Nicola Zeuzem
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Ducky's,” Nicola Zeuzem

  FIRST PLACE: San Francisco Daily, “'igasm' makes Apple shudder,” Jamie Morrow
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Grand Slammed,” Jon Mays
  THIRD PLACE: San Francisco Daily, “Thou shalt obey the speed limit,” Dave Price


General Excellence
  FIRST PLACE: San Francisco Business Times, “San Francisco Business Times,” Business Times Staff
  SECOND PLACE-TIE: Palo Alto Weekly, “Palo Alto Weekly,” Palo Alto Weekly Staff
  SECOND PLACE-TIE: San Francisco Weekly, “San Francisco Weekly,” Tom Walsh, Editor

  FIRST PLACE: San Francisco Business Times, “S.F. Activists Find Kink in Plans,” Jim Gardner
  SECOND PLACE: San Francisco Business Times, “Hospital Helipad Needs to Land,” Jim Gardner
  THIRD PLACE: Palo Alto Weekly, “Make 2007 the "Year of Openness," Jay Thorwaldson

  FIRST PLACE: San Francisco Bay Guardian, “Editor's Notes,” Tim Redmond
  SECOND PLACE: San Francisco Weekly, “Columns by Matt Smith,” Matt Smith
  THIRD PLACE: Bay Area Reporter, “Political Notebook by Matthew Bajko,” Matthew S. Bajko

  FIRST PLACE: The Community Voice, “Columns by Yanran Lu,” Yanran Lu
  SECOND PLACE: San Francisco Business Times, “Columns by Steve Symanovich,” Steve Symanovich
  THIRD PLACE: The Community Voice, “Columns by Yiren Lu,” Yiren Lu

  FIRST PLACE: Los Gatos Weekly Times, “Columns by Dick Sparrer,” Dick Sparrer

Breaking News
  FIRST PLACE: Pacifica Tribune, “Pacifica Beaches Closed/Reopened,” Jane Northrop
  SECOND PLACE: Alameda Journal, “City is owed $1.7 million in back rent,” Jeff Mitchell

News Story
  FIRST PLACE: San Francisco Bay Guardian, “SF's housing psychosis: our three-point plan to save SF,” Tim Redmond, Sarah Phelan
  SECOND PLACE: Almaden Resident, “Change in bus routes will force seniors to wait in dark,” Emilie Crofton
  THIRD PLACE: Bay Area Reporter, “Castro boosters see over the rainbow,” Matthew S. Bajko

Continuing Coverage
  FIRST PLACE: The Cupertino Courier, “Continuing Coverage of proposed Hanson Permanente Cement Plant and quarry expansion,” Cody Kaatz
  SECOND PLACE: Palo Alto Weekly, “Palo Alto Family Caught in Deportation Strife,” Sue Dremann, Jay Thorwaldson
  THIRD PLACE: West San Jose, Winchester Resident, “Calabazas Library,” Tiffany Carney

  FIRST PLACE: India-West, “Arnav: A Toddler's Transplant Story,” Lisa Tsering

Feature Story of Light Nature
  FIRST PLACE: Saratoga News, “Air Male,” Marianne L. Hamilton
  SECOND PLACE: Pacifica Tribune, “The Last Farewell,” Elaine Larsen
  THIRD PLACE: The Willow Glen Resident, “Last Stop,” Mayra Flores De Marcotte

Feature Story of Serious Nature
  FIRST PLACE: Almaden Resident, “Alyssa Mori bit by politics of Lyme Disease,” Emilie Crofton
  SECOND PLACE: Pacifica Tribune, “MIA no longer,” Elaine Larsen
  THIRD PLACE-TIE: Los Gatos Weekly Times, “Step Family,” Marianne L. Hamilton
  THIRD PLACE-TIE: Saratoga News, “Stitch in Time,” Marianne L. Hamilton

  FIRST PLACE: Palo Alto Weekly, “Water, water anywhere?,” Sue Dremann
  SECOND PLACE: San Francisco Bay Guardian, “Mayor Chicken,” Steven Jones, Sarah Phelan

Technology Story
  FIRST PLACE-TIE San Francisco Bay Guardian, “Where are all the payphones?,” Diana Scott
  FIRST PLACE-TIE: San Francisco Weekly, “The Day the Music Dies,” David Downs
  SECOND PLACE: San Francisco Business Times, “Cash pours into clean tech,” Lizette Wilson

Business Story
  FIRST PLACE: San Francisco Business Times, “Israelis' time arrives,” Adrienne Sanders
  SECOND PLACE: Almaden Resident, “Out of Time,” Stephen Baxter
  THIRD PLACE: San Francisco Business Times, “Fred Reid got Virgin America into the air,” Eric Young

Entertainment Review
  FIRST PLACE: Palo Alto Weekly, “In the Valley of Elah,” Susan Tavernetti
  SECOND PLACE: Palo Alto Weekly, “Reel World: Tyler Hanley's top flicks and pans,” Tyler Martin Hanley
  THIRD PLACE: Berkeley Daily Planet, “The Life of Reilly,” Justin DeFreitas

Specialty Story
  FIRST PLACE: Saratoga News, “Funny Lady,” Marianne L. Hamilton
  SECOND PLACE: Los Gatos Weekly Times, “Social Climbers,” Marianne L. Hamilton
  THIRD PLACE: Palo Alto Weekly, “Classy Clown,” Rebecca Wallace

Sports Story
  FIRST PLACE: San Francisco Weekly, “Full Nelson,” Martin Kuz
  SECOND PLACE: Los Gatos Weekly Times, “Making a Racquet,” Marianne L. Hamilton
  THIRD PLACE: The Campbell Reporter, “Campbell Rules,” Emilie Crofton

Sports Game Story
  FIRST PLACE: Saratoga News, “Spencer takes center stage in 'Toga win,” Dick Sparrer
  SECOND PLACE: Los Gatos Weekly Times, “Kalpin starts it,” Dick Sparrer

Page Design
  FIRST PLACE: Palo Alto Weekly, “A history of behaving badly,” Allen Clapp
  SECOND PLACE: San Francisco Business Times, “Fast 100,” Craig Blanchard
  THIRD PLACE: San Francisco Business Times, “Cheers!,” Craig Blanchard

  FIRST PLACE: West San Jose Resident, “Sole Survivors: Cobblershop still in shoe biz after 50-plus years,” Lisa Sibley
  SECOND PLACE: Los Gatos Weekly Times, “Cruz Control,” Dick Sparrer
  THIRD PLACE: Pacifica Tribune, “A midsummer's night shopping,” Tribune Staff

Magazines/Trade Publications

General Excellence
  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Magazine, “San Jose Magazine,” San Jose Magazine Staff

  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Magazine, “Up Front,” Larry Gerston

  FIRST PLACE: Gentry Magazine, “Columns by Glen Putman,” Glen Putman
  SECOND PLACE: San Jose Magazine, “Weimers' World,” Leigh Weimers
  THIRD PLACE: San Jose Magazine, “Off the Wall,” Murry Frymer

Feature Story of Light Nature
  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Magazine, “Bay Area Billionaires,” Jennifer Roberts

Feature Story of Serious Nature
  FIRST PLACE: San Francisco Magazine, “Zodiac: the Killer who will not die,” Charles Russo
  SECOND PLACE: Valley Life Quarterly, “Are Valley Schools Failing Our Kids?,” Diana Diamond
  THIRD PLACE: New York Times, “A Chance to Hike the Sutter Buttes (Maybe),” Don Knapp

Business Story
  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Magazine, “Best Places to Work,” Martin Cheek
  SECOND PLACE: San Jose Magazine, “Beyond Business,” Martin Cheek

Specialty Story
  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Magazine, “Everything for Everyone,” Martin Cheek
  SECOND PLACE: Gentry Magazine, “Bearing Down on British Columbia,” Glen Putman
  THIRD PLACE: San Jose Magazine, “Creature Comforts,” Mandy Major

Page Design
  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Magazine, “A Bloom Above,” Terry Price

Editorial Cartoons
  FIRST PLACE: West Marin Citizen, “Tarred and Feathered,” Justin DeFreitas

Print Photography

Spot News Photography
  FIRST PLACE: San Mateo County Times, “Train Fatality,” Matthew Sumner
  SECOND PLACE: The Press Democrat, “Firestorms,” Kent Porter
  THIRD PLACE: San Mateo County Times, “SF Landslide,” Matthew Sumner

General News Photography
  FIRST PLACE: San Mateo County Times, “Train Fatality Memorial,” Matthew Sumner
  SECOND PLACE: Associated Press, “Illegal Immigrants Rally,” Paul Sakuma
  THIRD PLACE: San Mateo County Times, “Cage Sitters,” Matthew Sumner

Feature Photography
  FIRST PLACE: San Mateo Daily News, “VIP's have a bowl at new luxury lanes,” Konstandinos Goumenidis
  SECOND PLACE: San Francisco Business Times, “The Carnivore's Dilemma,” Najib Joe Hakim
  THIRD PLACE: The Press Democrat, “A one-team town,” Kent Porter

Sports Action Photography
  FIRST PLACE: Associated Press, “The Save,” Tony Avelar
  SECOND PLACE: San Mateo County Times, “Head to Head,” John Green
  THIRD PLACE: Associated Press, “Almost,” Tony Avelar

Sports Feature Photography
  FIRST PLACE: San Mateo County Times, “All Hands,” John Green
  SECOND PLACE: Associated Press, “Unhappy Raider Fans,” Paul Sakuma
  THIRD PLACE: San Mateo County Times, “Tough Loss,” John Green

Photo Series or Picture Story
  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “Uprooted,” Dai Sugano, Geri Migielicz


Breaking News
  FIRST PLACE: KCBS Radio, “Tiger Attack,” KCBS News Team

Feature Story of Light Nature
  FIRST PLACE: KCBS Radio, “Cable Car,” Mike Sugerman
  SECOND PLACE: KQED Public Radio, “Greywater Guerrillas,” Amy Standen, Andrea Kissack

Feature Story of Serious Nature
  FIRST PLACE: KQED Public Radio, “Jessica's Law,” Judy Campbell, Kat Snow
  SECOND PLACE: KCBS Radio, “Alvord Lake,” Doug Sovern

Interview or Talk Show
  FIRST PLACE: KQED Public Radio, “Writer Calvin Trillin,” Michael Krasny,
Robin Gianattassio-Malle, Hermione Gee, Kevin Guillory

Special Program
  FIRST PLACE: KCBS Radio, “When the Levee Breaks,” Doug Sovern

  FIRST PLACE: KQED Public Radio, “Sneak Out: One Community's Rebellion for Better Education,” Kathryn Baron, Victoria Mauleon
  SECOND PLACE: KCBS Radio, “Keeping the Faith,” Doug Sovern

Sports Story
  FIRST PLACE: KCBS Radio, “Green Grass,” Doug Sovern
  SECOND PLACE: KQED Public Radio, “Hockey Victory Boosts Anaheim's Image,” Rob Schmitz

Use of Sound
  FIRST PLACE: KCBS Radio, “Sgt. Pepper,” Doug Sovern
  SECOND PLACE: KQED Public Radio, “Climate Change and California's Water,” KQED News Staff


Feature Story of Light Nature
  FIRST PLACE: KNTV NBC 11, “In Wine Country: Tipsy Winery,” Mary Orlin, Mark Oltz, Mary Babbitt
  SECOND PLACE: KNTV NBC 11, “In Wine Country: Wine, Women & Shoes,” Mary Orlin, Jonathan Drum
  THIRD PLACE: KQED 9, “Quest: Coffee & Pi: Bay Area Science Cafes,” Paul Rogers, Amy Miller, Sheraz Sadiq

Feature Story of Serious Nature
  FIRST PLACE: KDTV Univision 14, “Alta Traicion,” Catalina Garcia
  SECOND PLACE: KQED 9, “Quest: Nanotechnology Takes Off,” Paul Rogers, Josh Rosen, Joan Johnson

Public Affairs Program
  FIRST PLACE: KQED 9, “Earth Day Special: Where We've Been, Where We're Headed,” Paul Rogers, Gabriela Quiros, Rachel Raney, Joan Johnson
  SECOND PLACE: KPIX CBS 5, “The Real Deal on Going Green,” Jeanette Pavini, Shane Calvert

Special Program
  FIRST PLACE: KNTV NBC 11, “In Wine Country: Wine & Dine,” Mary Orlin, Mark Oltz, Barb Moffatt, Jonathan Drum, Mary Babbitt
  SECOND PLACE: KPIX CBS 5, “The Wireless Runaround II,” Jeanette Pavini, Craig Franklin, Jeff Harris, Paul Morrill

  FIRST PLACE: KTEH Public Television, “Riding the Storm: Landslide Danger in the San Francisco Bay Area,” Karen Adams, Douglas DeVore, Wendy Van Wazer, Bryan Coleman

Sports Story
  FIRST PLACE: KFTY 50, “MMA,” Chris Bollini
  SECOND PLACE: KQED 9, “Out of the Park: The Physics of Baseball,” Paul Rogers, Chris Bauer, Sheraz Sadiq

  FIRST PLACE: KNTV NBC 11, “Drum Videography Composite,” Jonathan Drum
  SECOND PLACE: KNTV NBC 11, “In Wine Country: Oltz Videography Composite,” Mark Oltz
  THIRD PLACE: KFTY 50, “Bollini Composite,” Chris Bollini

  FIRST PLACE: KNTV NBC 11, “In Wine Country: Oltz Editing Composite,” Mark Oltz
  SECOND PLACE: KNTV NBC 11, “Drum Editing Composite,” Jonathan Drum

Public Relations

  FIRST PLACE: National Television Academy, “Off Camera,” Bob Goldberger, Keith Sanders, Linda Giannecchini, Darryl Compton
  SECOND PLACE: Broadcat Legends, “Broadcast Legends,” Jim Schock, Peter Cleaveland, Darryl Compton

Press Kit
  FIRST PLACE: KQED 9, “KQED Quest Press Kit,” Sevda Eris, Yoonhyung Lee
  SECOND PLACE: National Television Academy, “Emmy 2007 Press Kit,” Deanne Moenster, Cassandra Chavez, Darryl Compton

New Media

General Excellence
  FIRST PLACE: San Jose Mercury News, “,” Mercury News Online Staff
  SECOND PLACE: GreatSchools, “,” Bill Jackson, Linda Strean, Jasmine Stirling, Christopher Pickslay
  THIRD PLACE: KNTV NBC 11, “,” Mary Orlin, Barb Moffatt, Mark Oltz, Jonathan Drum

General News
  FIRST PLACE:, “Susan's Story,” Maria Avila
  SECOND PLACE:, “Friday Night,” Linda Goldston, Dai Sugano
  THIRD PLACE:, “A Chance to Hike the Summer Buttes (Maybe),” Don Knapp

Multi Media
  FIRST PLACE:, “Uprooted,” Dai Sugano
  SECOND PLACE:, “Double Happiness,” Allen Clapp, Norbert von der Groeben
  THIRD PLACE:, “Red Hot Rails,” Richard Koci Hernandez

  FIRST PLACE:, “School Choice: One Mom's Journey,” Marian Wilde

Scholarship Winners

$1,500 Herb Caen Scholarships
Caroline Hodge, Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Alto
Manal Ahmad, University of California, Berkeley
Brittney Johnson, University of California, Berkeley

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Barbara Rodgers loves 'crazy' business

Barbara Rodgers signed off Friday after 29 years at KPIX Channel 5 and 36 years in TV news. "People always ask me how did I choose this career. I didn't choose this career. This career chose me. It kept chasing me until finally it caught me. And then I realized, 'Hey, this is what I was supposed to do. I didn't have sense enough to know it,'" Rodgers said on one Channel 5 program Friday.

On another she said: "When I got here in 1979, I thought I'll be here a couple of years and move on — but this is crazy this business, but I love it. And the craziness is what makes me love it. Where else do you get to jump out of a plane at 10,000 feet, go to the White House and visit with the president and also live in a housing project where you get shot at. Who wouldn't want this job?!"

She said: "I won't say that I'm retiring, just that I'm moving on to the next phase of my life."

Here's some video:
The Chron's Chris Cadelago did an in-depth story on Rodger's career. His story included this quote from recently retired Channel 2 anchor Dennis Richmond: "She was able to get to the facts, and when it came time to deliver the news, she left Barbara out of it, ... The only time I saw Barbara emotional was when she came on the air to report the death of her colleague," co-anchor Doug Murphy, who died in a house fire in December 2005.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Singleton has changed his tune

“Lean Dean” Singleton has switched from his theory a couple of years back that newspaper financial woes were cyclical and everything would get back to normal once the economy picked up, writes Philip M. Stone of "No longer, his theme these days is 'Newspapers are not a dying business; they are a changing business,' and he told media executives Monday at an international media meeting that it is time to move to a print model that matches the times."

Early sportswriter Marjorie Kinder dies

Marjorie Hovey Kinder, one of the first female journalists to cover a college football beat, filed her stories under the byline Mike Hovey because at that time female sports reporters were frowned upon, the Chronicle reports. As Mike Hovey, she was able to score national scoops on Stanford's poor academic performance and the university's alleged recruiting violations in 1939. Kinder died May 23 at Sunrise Senior Living of Sunnyvale at age 87.

Want to see a Fry's ad on your computer?

The Mercury News is offering a new "eEdition" that allow online viewers to look at every page of the paper, ads and news. Here's a link to the demo. The Audit Bureau of Circulations now allows papers to include online subscribers as readers, so subscribing to the online edition helps the Merc when it comes to advertisers. And using this interface allows readers to see how both the stories and the ads look in print. Boulder, Colo., media pundit Amy Gahran has this take on the Merc's e-Edition.

Union intervenes in KQED pledge drive

NABET-CWA Local 51, which represents most of the employees at KQED Channel 9, is in a contract dispute with management over health insurance costs. The union says its members pay twice what management pays for health care, and that the station has created a two-tier health care program that reduces benefits for new employees. So, until the dispute is resolved, NABET is asking those who contribute to the Channel 9 pledge drive to send their funds to an account at a bank address given on the graphic above. The union is also asking people to contact management.

Who is stealing those newspapers?

An item from the Daily Post's police blotter for San Mateo:
    1100 BLOCK OF TROUSDALE: An employee of the San Mateo Daily Journal reported at 11:43 a.m. on Wednesday that an unknown person driving an SUV picks up bundles of their newspaper after they are dropped off by the distributors.
Jumping across the Bay, here's a story from the May 29 Berkeley Daily Planet:
    An early riser at 5:30 on Wednesday morning thought he’d spotted a thief in the act of committing a crime which is the subject of legislation that has passed the state Assembly and is now headed for the Senate. He saw a man loading many copies of newspapers from distribution boxes on College Avenue near Ashby into a pickup truck, and he called the Berkeley Police Department with a full description of the man and the truck, complete with license number.

    Officer Andrew Frankel, spokesperson for the Berkeley Police Department, told the Planet on Wednesday afternoon that an officer was dispatched to the area, but there was no sign of a thief when they got there.
The Planet's story, by Judith Scherr, goes on to say:
    Incidents like this one are why there’s a great deal of support among publishers of local free papers — the Examiner, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the East Bay Express, the Berkeley Daily Planet and more — for AB 1778, sponsored by Assemblymember Fiona Ma, which passed the Assembly 45 to 24 on May 22 and is now headed to the State Senate.

    Under AB 1778, recycling companies would be required to identify those who bring recyclables and newspapers worth $50 or more to sell. The bill also requires the recycling company to pay by check for recyclables worth $50 or more.

    “This should give us the ability to cut off the [poachers’] money supply,” Express Publisher Hal Brody told the Planet.

    A full pick-up load of newsprint will fetch $80 to $100, Brody said, noting that he would have preferred that the bill require identification and payment by check at the $25 level. He said he fears that the bill could be weakened in the senate by those who want the threshold set at $100.