Friday, April 30, 2010

Journalism innovation conference in SF today

Hundreds of working journalists, educators, recruiters, students and jobseekers will be at the University of San Francisco campus today for SPJ's Region 11 Spring Conference titled Journalism Innovations III. The confab lasts three days. Here's a link to the SPJ site. Cost is on a sliding scale.

A message to journalism advisers and educators

Please let your students know that the Press Club is accepting applications for its scholarships. The deadline has been extended until May 15. Please download this flyer and post it in your classroom, or hand it out to students. One way or another, please let them know that there's money for college.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Prosecutors review legality of searching editor's home

Two developments in the case of editor Jason Chen, whose home in Fremont was raided by police Friday after he obtained a prototype of Apple's next generation iPhone.

1. Steve Wagstaffe, San Mateo County chief deputy district attorney, said law enforcement won't examine any of the items taken from Chen's home until the legality of the search is reviewed by his office. Gizmodo's owner,, is arguing that since Chen worked out of his home, the residence should be protected from searches in the same way as newsrooms.

2. Several media outlets reported Wednesday that law enforcement has identified the person who apparently found the phone in a Redwood City bar. Wagstaffe said cops determined that person's identity before Friday's search. The prosecutor isn't saying who that person might be.

Journalists discuss survival skills

Frances Dinkelspiel, former Merc writer who freelances for the NY Times, reports on her blog that she visited an event put on by City College in San Francisco for journalists in transition.
    In the past few years, Bay Area newspapers have shed 400 reporting and editing positions, which means there are a lot of people trying to reinvent themselves. And that's what the conference was about -- how to survive in this somewhat hostile, yet very interesting, media environment. ...

    There were workshops on how to do multimedia reports using slides and sounds, and a keynote address by Davia Nelson, one of the "Kitchen Sisters," on creating compelling radio documentaries. There was a panel on writing books and on revamping your resume.

    To survive nowadays, journalists have to wear multiple hats. Not only must reporters write and produce traditional pieces for newspapers, magazines, and radio -- usually on a freelance basis -- they also have to write for websites, start blogs, or even create their own small businesses by producing neighborhood websites."

Longtime Monterey Herald staffer Tom Wieder dies

Tom Weider, who worked at the Monterey Herald for four decades, died Saturday at age 84, the paper reported. He was a reporter, copy editor, editorial writer and gardening columnist at the paper. He retired in 1997.

"He was a gentle man from the bygone era of newspapers," said Joe Livernois, executive editor of The Herald. "He was an unassuming fellow, so his humor really snuck up on you."

BANG to launch motherhood website

The Bay Area News Group will become an affiliate of Gannett's website, E&P online reports. BANG will sell local ads and make stories available to the site from its papers here, such as the Mercury News. BANG's papers will also promote the site. MomsLikeMe operates in 80 markets.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chron circ drops 22.7%; Merc combines numbers with sister papers

For the six months ending in March, the Chron's daily circulation plunged 22.7%, from 312,118 to 241,330, the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations report shows.

On the other hand, the circulation of the San Jose Mercury News surged, putting it at No. 6 among Sunday newspapers and No. 8 on the list of big dailies, because on Jan. 1 it began counting the circulation of the Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times as its own. The new combined circulation of the Merc is 516,701 daily. The three papers are owned by MediaNews Group of Denver.

The company hopes the move will wake up national advertisers to its reach in the Bay Area.

"Quite frankly, San Francisco is the fifth-largest DMA in the country, and you would expect the newspaper in the fifth-largest DMA to be in the top 10 ranking of newspapers," Mercury News Publisher Mac Tully told E&P.

The Chron said that the remaking of its business model by charging more for the newspaper was responsible for the drop, which was expected.

"Newspapers have traditionally relied almost exclusively on advertising, but the Chronicle has moved to a model in which circulation revenues produce a much larger share of the paper's income — a move [Chronicle President Mark] Adkins said has put the newspaper on sounder footing," the Chron reported today.

The Chron story quoted Adkins as saying "the worst of our newspaper circulation declines are now in the past."

He said that in recent weeks, the Chronicle has seen an increase in new subscribers.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tech blog editor's home raided over iPhone story

AP and the NY Times are reporting that San Mateo County investigators raided the Fremont home of Gizmodo editor and blogger Jason Shao Chen on Friday after he posted pictures and details of a lost iPhone prototype. Chen is shown at left holding the iPhone 4G in an image from Gizmodo.

A computer-crime task force, the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team, made up of multiple law enforcement agencies, searched Gizmodo Chen's house and car, seizing computers, digital cameras, a cell phone, an American Express bill and copies of checks.

A search warrant, issued by a Superior Court judge in San Mateo County, said the computers and other devices may have been used to commit a felony.

Steve Wagstaffe, spokesman for the San Mateo County District Attorney's office, confirmed the warrant's authenticity to the AP.

According to AP:
    Last week Gizmodo had one of the Web's hottest scoops when it posted photos of an Apple device that appeared to be a next-generation iPhone. 
    It had been found in a bar in Redwood City, and sold for $5,000 by an unknown person to Gizmodo, a gadget blog owned by Gawker Media Inc. 
    After Chen, 29, posted photos and details about the phone, Apple acknowledged the device belonged to the company, and Gizmodo returned it. 
    Gawker Media said California law, which protects journalists from having to turn over anonymous sources or unpublished material to law enforcement during a search, should apply to Chen's property. 
    "Are bloggers journalists? I guess we'll find out," Nick Denton, who runs Gawker Media, wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. 
    Wagstaffe said the district attorney's office is examining that issue. Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to comment.

Friday, April 23, 2010

El Camino High journalists win top award
in Press Club's high school contest

Thirty-eight awards for excellence in high school journalism were awarded Wednesday at a reception for the winners of the annual San Francisco Peninsula Press Club High School Journalism Competition.

First-time entrant, The Colt Quarterly of El Camino High School in South San Francisco, took the top prize in General Excellence. The adviser and staff of the Colt Quarterly are shown above. The San Mateo Hi from San Mateo High School and The Oracle of Gunn High School in Palo Alto also placed in that category.

Overall, students from The Oracle carried home eight awards, the most of any school.

The awards were presented by Press Club President Jon Mays in the ballroom of Ralston Hall on the campus of Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont.

Ten high schools in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties participated with 167 students submitting 329 entries, up 27 percent from last year’s contest. The entries were judged by professional journalists of the Press Club.

For many years, the contest has been co-sponsored by Hillsdale Shopping Center and NDNU university.

Here is a complete list of the winners:

Website design
First: The Oracle, Gunn High School
Second: The Bearcat, San Mateo High School

Website Content
First: The Oracle, Gunn High School

Personal Column
First: Steven Hansen, the Colt Quarterly, El Camino High School
Second: Eliot Storch, The San Mateo Hi, San Mateo High School
HM: Alex Leos, The Burlingame B, Burlingame High School

First: Jon Proctor, The Oracle, Gunn High School
Second: Phoebe Chao and Rachel Marcus, The Outlook, Aragon High School
HM: Ruben Robles, The Panther, Eastside College Prep
HM: Jael Campos, The Tom-Tom, Jefferson High School
HM Janelle Viray, The Tom-Tom, Jefferson High School

News photo
First: Missy Loeser, The Outlook, Aragon High School
Second: Rumaana Khan, The Panther, Eastside College Prep
HM: Eric Torres, The Outlook, Aragon High School

Sports story
First: Emma Tucher, Verde Magazine, Palo Alto High School
Second: Ken Wattana, Verde Magazine, Palo Alto High School
HM: Regina Ahn, The Oracle, Gunn High School,
HM: Dana Bloom, The Highlander, Carlmont High School
HM: Rebecca Gigi, The Colt Quarterly, El Camino High School

Feature photo
First: Hannah Chan, The Thunderbolt, Mills High School
Second: Henry Liu, The Oracle, Gunn High School
HM: Laney McGrew, The Highlander, Carlmont High School

News story
First: Christina Belasco, The Highlander, Carlmont High School
Second: Tiffany Hu, Niki Mata and Annie Shuey, The Oracle, Gunn High School.
HM: Chloe Chen and Patricia Ho, The Paly Voice, Palo Alto High School

Sports photo
First: Rumaana Khan, The Panther, Eastside College Preparatory
Second: Henry Liu, The Oracle, Gunn High School
HM: Kenan Chan, The Outlook, Aragon High School
HM: Marc Havlik, The Paly Voice, Palo Alto High School

Feature story
First: Manon von Kaenel, Verde Magazine, Palo Alto High School
Second: Alexandra Messick-Kopel, Verde Magazine, Palo Alto High School
HM: Mina Nilchian, San Mateo Hi, San Mateo High School
HM: Hannah Chan, The Thunderbolt, Mills High School

Layout and design
First: Sophie Cheng, The Oracle, Gunn High School
Second: Michael Wu, The San Mateo Hi, San Mateo High School
HM: The Panther, Eastside High School

General excellence
First: The Colt Quarterly, El Camino High School
Second: The San Mateo Hi, San Mateo High School
HM: The Oracle, Gunn High School

Metro celebrates 25th with party, new look

Metro celebrated its 25th anniversary with a re-design and a party at the Retro Dome theater in San Jose, according to Sal Pizarro of the Mercury News. The crowd of well-wishers included David Cohen, who cofounded Metro with Dan Pulcrano.

What's Metro's secret to survival? "It's a hard business," Pulcrano told Pizarro. "You have to love it. You have to be incredibly passionate about it."

With the anniversary, Metro now prints its cover on glossy paper and has a new logo.

Copy editor who wrote about cancer battle dies

A copy editor for the Chronicle who wrote about her battle with incurable cancer has succumbed to the disease.

The Chronicle reports that Alicia Parlette died just before noon Thursday at the UCSF Medical Center.

After being diagnosed in 2005 with a rare form of cancer in her hip and breast, Parlette covered her fight against the disease in her 17-part series, "Alicia's Story."

The series drew tens of thousands of followers, who read about Parlette's trips to the doctor's office and other personal details.

With her condition deteriorating, in mid-April Parlette and her medical team decided to end treatment. Days later, she and Lucas Beeler, the boyfriend she had met on BART in October, had a private commitment ceremony.

Parlette recorded her thoughts on a digital recorder, and friends are planning to transcribe them.

In her last days, she listened to friends read aloud from her favorite book, "To Kill a Mockingbird." She died 20 minutes after her high school English teacher finished the last chapter. (Photo credit: Penni Gladstone, Chronicle)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Northern California dominates CNPA contest

The California Newspaper Publishers Association's Better Newspapers Contest has five circulation categories for daily newspapers and four for weekly newspapers, which means nine papers can claim they're the best paper of their size in the state.

As a result, the Chronicle won the general excellence award for papers with a circulation of 200,000 and over while the Merc came up second in that category. They beat out the LA Times, Orange County Register, Sacramento Bee and San Diego Union Tribune, all in the 200+ category.

In the 75,001 to 200,000 category, The Press Enterprise in Riverside got a first place general excellence award and the Contra Costa Times was second.

In the 25,001 to 75,000, the Marin IJ was tops and the neighboring Santa Rosa Press Democrat was second.

A Northern California paper, the Daily Republic in Fairfield, was No. 1 in the 10,001-25,000 category, followed by Merced Sun-Star.

Among papers with a circ 10,000 and under, The Davis Enterprise was first and the Auburn Journal was second.

Moving on to weeklies, the Palo Alto Weekly won for general excellence for papers with 25,000 or more circulation. The Palo Alto Weekly stood out because of the number of first-place awards it got: best website, local news coverage, editorial comment, sports coverage, page layout & design and feature photo. Second for general excellence among the big weeklies was The Acorn in Agoura Hills in Southern California.

In the 11,001-25,000 weekly category, The San Francisco Business Times was first and The Almanac in Menlo Park was second.

In the 4,301-11,000 category, the Petaluma Argus-Courier was first and the Half Moon Bay Review was second.

Finally, in the 4,300 and less category, the first-place winner was the Los Banos Enterprise followed by the Santa Ynez Valley News in Solvang.

Here's a link to all of the winners. The statewide group handed out 480 awards at its annual meeting Friday night in Monterey.

Cupertino high school journalism adviser honored

Michelle Balmeo, left, journalism adviser at Monte Vista High School in Cupertino, received the California Journalism Education Coalition's Journalism Educator of the Year Award, High School Division, on April 16 at the Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Portland, the CNPA reports. Presenting the award was Sarah Nichols of Whitney High School in Rocklin, immediate past president of the Journalism Education Association of Northern California. (Photo credit: CNPA website)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Foster City resident starts community newspaper

A 20-year-old Foster City resident has started a community newspaper with $1,000.

Alexa Hemken, a former College of San Mateo student, is the driving force behind The Lagonian, which is published every other Monday. She launched the paper March 14 and is currently printing 5,000 copies. Those papers are available at 70 locations including two distribution boxes.

"I'm taking time off from community college to see if this will work out," Hemken tells the Press Club. "The truth is that I was not really sure where my education was going, and other than the great journalism classes I was taking (taught by Ed Remitz), I was not very interested in what I was doing there. So I though I'd take a break and do something else, and since there is a lot going on in Foster City, I thought a newspaper might be a good business. I'm about to find out if that's true I guess."

To get the paper started, Hemken dipped into her savings of about $1,000. After three issues, the paper is making enough money to pay for its printing, which has been running about $350 an issue, she tells the CSM student paper, The San Matean, which has a feature story about her today.

Not bad considering that her other expenses are low — she lives with her parents, has no employees, though she has been getting some help from June Bell, a veteran newsperson in Foster City who has worked at papers such as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Dallas Morning News. Hemken also gets help from her parents with delivery.

Hemken's only Foster City competitor is The Islander, owned by Sam Felser and his daughter Marge Felser, which runs press releases, columns by school board members and city council members, and is the official newspaper for printing legal notices for the city government.

(Photo credit: Christine Karavas of The San Matean)

Publisher sent to prison in tax case

The former publisher of a small group of newspapers in Contra Costa County pleaded guilty today to filing false income tax returns and was sentenced to five months in prison, according to federal prosecutors.

Harry Warren Green, 52, was the operator of a group of papers including the Clayton Pioneer, Brentwood Bee, Bethel Islander, and the Oakley Herald.

Green admitted in his plea that he under-reported $400,000 in income that he received while operating these newspapers, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello and Scott O’Briant, special agent in charge, IRS Criminal Investigation Unit.

Green failed to account for all of the income received while operating those businesses, real estate commissions he received, and income received from the sale of the Clayton Pioneer newspaper in 2003, according to prosecutors.

Green cashed the checks, rather than depositing the funds, so his bank account did not reflect the income, according to prosecutors. 

Green’s intent to conceal the income for the express purpose of evading payment of federal taxes was confirmed by a bank employee and one of his co-workers, according to prosecutors.

Judge Sandra Brown Armstrong sentenced Green to five-months of incarceration, five-months of community confinement and ordered him to make $75,005 in restitution for filing false tax returns and pay a $2,000 fine. 

Green is ordered to surrender on or before June 4.

Press Club awards banquet set for June 19

Save the date. The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club will present its Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards on Saturday, June 19, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1221 Chess Drive, Foster City. Cocktails will start at 6 p.m. with the program at 7. The annual banquet draws the leading lights of Bay Area journalism. Award-winners will be contacted via e-mail, though they won't be told if they won first-, second- or third-place awards. That information will be kept under wraps until the banquet. For tickets, contact Press Club Executive Director Darryl Compton at (650) 341-7420 or via e-mail.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sam Williams, former Trib city editor, dead at 68

The Oakland Tribune reports that Samuel Guy "Sam" Williams III, its former city editor and a real-life Oscar Madison figure, died April 1 at Oakland's Kaiser Hospital after a brief illness. He was 68. From the obit:
    "He was Oscar Madison to the nth degree," said his friend, Kristin McCloy, referring to the disheveled sports writer depicted in the "Odd Couple" movie. 
    "He was a big man in every way — his size, his spirit, his laugh and, most of all, his heart," she added. "He was as generous with his booming laugh as he was with a drink, and had one of the most agile minds one could ever hope to meet." 
    Williams was a newspaperman for 45 years, the last 20 with the Tribune, where he became city editor in 1988. 
    "He was knowledgeable and diligent in his love of Oakland," said Tribune reporter Cecily Burt. "I'll always remember how he could sit and yak about anything and everything under the sun — a book, movie, world history, the arts, science, whatever. And when the copy came in, the chatter stopped and he was all business." 
    McCloy, a novelist, met Williams seven years ago and was living with him when he passed away. "He mentored all manner of younger people in every kind of way," she said, "doing everything possible to make their dreams come true. He was an amazing editor who helped me make my third book more readable."
There will be no funeral, but a memorial service for Williams will be held at 9 p.m. April 24 at McNally's Irish Pub, 5352 College Ave.

In the photo, Williams helps copy editor Tim Loughman with his Halloween costume in the Oakland Tribune newsroom. (Photo credit: Flickr / allaboutgeorge 2000)

Investigative reporters talk about being sued

Chris O'Brien, blogging for's MediaShift site, reported in real time on today's 4th Annual Reva and David Logan Investigative Reporting Symposium at UC-Berkeley. The theme was "Collaboration, Consequences, and Cash," but the most interesting part of O'Brien's post is at the end, when a number of veteran reporters talk about being sued:
  • Brian Ross of ABC News: I was sued by Wayne Newton once. It bankrupted him. Cost ABC millions. And we lost. But won on appeal. Taking on the powerful will always has risks.

  • Omoyele Sowore, Sahara Reporters: One source tried to sue me by claiming we didn't really have an interview, it was just a man-to-man discussion.

  • Dana Priest, The Washington Post: The good thing about covering the CIA is that they don't want to take you to court. ... When the secret prison story was coming out, the big hoopla: I got death threats and terrible messages left on the phone from the public, and hate mail. No one was calling up and saying, "Great job!" except some human rights groups. Congress started calling for investigations of the Post (not the secret sites). Message: There would be a cost for dealing with the media. That created a chill. Caused a quandry for me. So I decided to stop doing this reporting for awhile. That led to working on the Walter Reed Hospital stories. But it was upsetting.
  • Diana Washington Valdez, El Paso Times: The biggest threat came from President Bush who once threatened to sue me during an interview. ... But anytime a truck with tinted windows slows down next to me, I get nervous and wonder who it is. And we've had reporters in El Paso kidnapped. And I have colleagues in Mexico who have not been so fortunate as me. And I've thought about getting a concealed weapons permit.
  • John Smith, Las Vegas Review Journal: My first big lawsuit was from by profile of Steve Wynn. He said publicly he wanted to bankrupt the publisher and take my house. He filed the suit in Kentucky. It was a nuisance lawsuit, filed because I had embarrassed him. We tangled. I was dismissed early on. My publisher litigated for nine years, and it did drive publisher into temporary bankruptcy.

High school students to receive journalism awards

The Press Club is pleased to report that the number of entries in its high school journalism contest has increased 26% this year — from 260 to 329. Ten high schools submitted entries, which is also a record.

Press Club director Micki Carter said that every one of the 10 schools won at least one award.

Carter and others from the Press Club will present the awards at a reception on Wednesday, April 21, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Notre Dame de Namur University's Ralston Hall, 1500 Ralston Ave., Belmont.

At the reception, Daily News Editor Mario Dianda will tell the students and their advisers about the Youth Opinion section his paper has launched.

The increase in entries comes at a time when the Press Club has made it a priority to help high school journalism programs. Many high schools have eliminated student newspapers and journalism classes to cut costs.

Friday, April 16, 2010

2 Bay Area reporters win Edgar A. Poe Award

Contra Costa Times reporters Suzanne Bohan and Sandy Kleffman have won the Edgar A. Poe Award from the White House Correspondents' Association for excellence in coverage of news of national or regional significance.

The Times reported that President Obama will present the award to Bohan and Kleffman at the association's annual dinner in Washington on May 1.

The two were honored for their four-part series, "Shortened Lives: Where You Live Matters," which delved into the reasons behind the striking gap in health and life expectancy between East Bay neighborhoods. The award was issued to the Contra Costa Times, and includes a $2,500 prize.

"Bohan and Kleffman stand conventional wisdom on its head, providing powerful evidence that variations in disease rates and life expectancies between neighborhoods "... are not — as widely assumed — the result of poor people making bad choices about diet and exercise," the judges wrote. "Rather the discrepancies stem from multiple forces that deny those living in poor communities access to the basic resources necessary to engage in a healthy lifestyle, however great their desire to do so. (Photo credits: both by Dan Rosenstrauch, Contra Costa Times)

Whitman accused of manipulating TV stations

Steven Harmon of the Contra Costa Times reports that Meg Whitman's opponents are accusing her of trying to manipulate the media by providing selective footage of a campaign event to television stations around the state.

Whitman has advised television stations in all markets that she will be providing footage for events they are unable to attend for the rest of the campaign. The campaign sent its first footage Tuesday — eight minutes from a Riverside event in which she is shown talking to an audience.

Republican primary rival Steve Poizner's campaign called it another attempt by Whitman to buy the election.

The Coco Times says Whitman spent 40 minutes Tuesday being interviewed by four TV stations through a satellite hookup the campaign engineered by hiring a satellite truck, at $5,000 for half a day.

KPIX was one of the stations that refused to take Whitman's video feed. News director Dan Rosenheim said taking video feeds directly from campaigns raises ethical considerations:
    "It's an issue of balance," Rosenheim said. "If a candidate can provide large quantities of material through their ability to pay for it, is there the risk that station's coverage becomes unbalanced in that candidate's favor?" 
    He also said he believes smaller stations with fewer resources would be tempted to use the material, which, while not prepackaged in a story form, is edited carefully by the Whitman campaign. 
    "It was edited in the sense they decided what to include and what not to include," Rosenheim said. "It has the potential to create some very unbalanced coverage. In our case, we're not going to use that, and hopefully news stations in general won't."

Josh Wolf in trouble again

Josh Wolf, who served 226 days in prison for refusing to give federal authorities out-takes from the video of a San Francisco protest he shot, is now a journalism student at UC-Berkeley — and he's in trouble again, the NY Times reports.

Wolf was arrested in November inside Wheeler Hall, which had been occupied and barricaded by students protesting tuition hikes. Now he's facing a seven-month academic suspension (and a 10-page essay).

But Wolf says he entered the building as a member of the press, and the video he shot was later used by Democracy Now!
    "... the situation poses interesting questions for the educators teaching Mr. Wolf’s very craft. The Berkeley school is one of the nation’s finest and a pride for the broader university; a central tenet of its philosophy is teaching through real-world practice through its array of school publications and partnerships with professional organizations. 
    In this instance, as Mr. Wolf’s footage from inside Wheeler Hall held undoubted news value, does the school give him a wink and a smile even if he broke the rules? 
    Mr. Wolf claims to have “the support” of journalism faculty.
Robert Gunnison, the director of school affairs for the journalism school, told the Times that Wolf's status as a member of the press may be irrelevant, arguing that shield laws do not protect reporters when police issue dispersal orders, which is effectively the threat of a trespassing charge.

Wolf has several more days to decide whether to accept the suspension or take his case to a hearing panel consisting of two faculty, two students and one university staff member.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

SF's Spot Us expands to Seattle

San Francisco-based Spot Us, which helps free-lancers connect with donors to fund journalism projects, is expanding to its third city, according to Seattle's Post Globe (a news site started by former employees of the Seattle Post Intelligencer). After launching in San Francisco in 2008, Spot Us opened up in Los Angeles and now is adding Seattle to its domain. Spot Us says it has raised close to $100,000 from donations averaging around $65 each, funding more than 60 reporting projects.

April 2010 Press Club board minutes

April 14, 2010 -- Board Room, San Mateo Daily Journal

Present: Jon Mays, Micki Carter, Dave Price, Melissa McRobbie,
Darryl Compton, Kristy Blackburn, Antonia Ehlers, Peter Cleaveland, Marshall Wilson
Absent: Jamie Casini, Ed Remitz

The meeting was called to order at 6:55 p.m.

Minutes of March were approved as read.

Treasurer’s Report
Darryl noted that $12.50 in interest was added to income. Some contest income still hasn’t been received. Report approved as read.

Evening of Excellence
We are on for Saturday, June 19, at the Crowne Plaza in Foster City. Still nothing definitive on a speaker. Dave suggested Bay Area journalist Matt Richtel of the New York Times who won a Pulitzer. Other names included Bob Dugoni, editor of the Bay Area Citizen or Knight Fellow Dawn Garcia.

High School Journalism Contest
Micki thanked everyone for their super quick turn-around of judging for the High School Journalism contest. Alpine Awards will have the plaques ready by Monday, April 19, She announced that Mario Dianda of the Daily News will come and speak for a few minutes about that paper’s Youth Opinion Pages. Micki will order pizza for the group, and Darryl will handle drinks, plates and napkins. Antonia volunteered to come and help set up.

CSM newspaper situation
Nothing new to report except that the journalism classes ARE in the fall catalog and students are now able to enroll in them.

Darryl handed out packets from the Southeast Texas Press Association for judging by May 7.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Micki Carter, Secretary

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bay Area emerges as center of nonprofit journalism

Frances Dinkelspiel, writing for the New York Times, reports that the Bay Area has become a hot bed for nonprofit journalism organizations, such as the Bay Citizen (previously known as the Bay Area News Project), San Francisco Public Press and California Watch. They join long established organizations such as Mother Jones and the Pacific News Service.

    A convergence of forces has made this area particularly conducive to the non-profit model, explained Ann Grimes, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and acting director of the Graduate Program in Journalism at Stanford University. 
    She believes that the chemistry includes a high concentration of technically savvy people, an abundance of highly skilled journalists looking for work, ample philanthropic dollars, an entrepreneurial spirit as well as a willingness to try to new things. 
    “It’s a market that has gone from one of the best news markets to one of the worst in the last five years,” said Ms. Grimes. “The market isn’t being served by its local news vendors so there is a lot of pent up demand for local news.” 
    “There has been a sea change on the part of legacy media organizations as well as these jumpstarts to partner and collaborate,” added Ms. Grimes. “Those who have suffered cuts in their reporting ranks are eager to collaborate. A lot of these new organizations are staffed by well-seasoned veterans so the legacy organizations know that the quality of the copy is well-vetted.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pulitzer winner restrains bank robber in San Jose

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Kim Komenich, who is now an assistant professor at San Jose State University, helped foil a bank robbery, according to SJSU's Spartan Daily.

Komenich told the paper he was waiting in  a line at the Wells Fargo at San Fernando and Market streets on Monday when the two robbers walked inside.

According to the Spartan:
    "The guy next to me starts having what I thought was a normal transaction with the teller, and then his voice went up and I started paying attention to him and it was 'Give me your money,'" Komenich said. "I looked down and he had a note too, a note that says, 'I have a gun, give me your money' on a Wells Fargo deposit slip." 
    Komenich said he didn't notice a gun, but as the man went for his pocket, Komenich proceeded to restrain him. "I figured if he did have a gun that's where there was going to be a gun," Komenich said. "So I clamped a big bear hug on him from behind and held him." 
    The man, who Komenich said was in his 40s or 50s, didn't resist until the police arrived. 
    "It took a few minutes for the police to arrive and then two officers showed up immediately and then I let go of him and they immediately put handcuffs on him as I let go," he said.
Komenich was awarded the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Spot News Photography for photographs of the Philippine Revolution he made while on assignment for the Examiner.

He was a photographer at the Chron from 2000 to 2009. He is now as assistant professor of new media at San Jose State. (Photo credit: SJSU)

UPDATE, 1 A.M. WEDNESDAY: The Merc picked up the story.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Two in Bay Area win Pulitzers

SFGate cartoonist Mark Fiore and NY Times writer Matt Richtel, a San Francisco resident, won Pulitzer Prizes today.

Fiore, 41, won "for his animated cartoons appearing on ... where his wit, extensive research and ability to distill complex issues set a high standard for an emerging form of commentary," the Pulitzer committee said. (Here's SFGate's report, and here's an archive of his work. An example of his work is below.)

Fiore's bio says that his cartoons, which he self-syndicates to news Web sites across the country, "are seen by millions and possibly even scrillions." He began freelancing cartoons to SFGate in 2000. He was previously a staff cartoonist at the Mercury News.

Like Fiore, Richtel is a cartoonist -- he does the strip "Rudy Park" in his spare time under the pen name Theron Heir -- but that's not why he won the Pulitzer. The Pulitzer committee said Richtel and the staff of the Times won the prize for national reporting "for incisive work, in print and online, on the hazardous use of cell phones, computers and other devices while operating cars and trucks, stimulating widespread efforts to curb distracted driving."

"The series generated the biggest impact of anything The Times published in 2009," the Times said yesterday. "By the end of the year, state legislators had proposed more than 200 bills variously barring drivers from texting or phoning or requiring hands-free headsets."

Richtel is the author of "Hooked," a novel centered on technology and published in 2007. Born in Los Angeles, Richtel grew up in Boulder, Colo. He received a B.A. degree in rhetoric from the UC-Berkeley in 1989 and an M.S. degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1990.

Richtel lives in San Francisco with his wife and their son.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Merc editor and writer Holly Hayes dies at age 53

Mercury News editor and writer Holly Hayes, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in June but hardly stopped working turning out stories from home, died on Friday at age 53, the paper reported on its Web site.

"Holly died shortly after midnight — very peacefully and in her own bed, as she wished," said her husband, Charlie McCollum, who edits Eye, the section Hayes helped inaugurate.

From her home, the 21-year Merc veteran wrote stories and marshaled reporters and photographers to put out another edition of Wish Book, the series that raises money from reader donations to help the less fortunate and social agencies. Through her efforts, it set a record for donations this year, $450,000. (Photo credit: Charlie McCollum via Merc.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Daily News launches Youth Opinion page

The Daily News has started a Youth Opinion page featuring columns from students at mid-Peninsula high schools.

Editor Mario Dianda says the students can write about pretty much whatever's on their minds.

"It's a chance for them to get published while sharing their views and perspectives not only with their peers but also with our older readers. For us it's a chance to get some younger perspectives in our op-ed pages and to try to connect with a generation that most pundits say gets the bulk of its news from online social networking instead of newspapers," Dianda tells the Press Club in an e-mail.

He says the Daily News has lined up about 30 students who have committed to contributing columns. On April 13, for example, there'll be a column on how school districts need to do a better job of incorporating online lessons into their teaching curriculums and another on how Gunn High School sports don't get their due.

The new page appears every other Tuesday in the Daily News. At left is the March 30th edition of the Youth Opinion page.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Chron's Stienstra arrested for weed in Weed

Chronicle outdoors writer Tom Stienstra, 55, his wife were arrested for investigation of possessing marijuana for sale and released March 26 on $75,000 bail after sheriff's deputies found a large marijuana growing operation in his barn in the town of Weed, according to the AP and the Sacramento Bee.

Officers seized 31 mature marijuana plants and 21 immature plants, 11 pounds of dried marijuana, packaging materials and scales from a barn on Stienstra's property, said Siskiyou County Sheriff's spokeswoman Susan Gravenkamp.

However, prosecutors have sent the case back to the sheriff's office for more investigation and have not filed any charges.

The AP reported:
    Scales, packaging material and other paraphernalia were confiscated from Stienstra's barn and home, ... Gravenkamp said.

    Deputies found medical marijuana recommendations for Stienstra, his wife and her 18-year-old son, who was not arrested, Gravenkamp said.

    Until recently, California law limited medical marijuana users to possessing six mature or 12 immature plants, and 8 ounces of processed dried marijuana unless individual counties set higher limits. The state Supreme Court struck down those limits in January, sending police, prosecutors and users into a state of confusion over how much marijuana will not count as too much.

    Chronicle editor-in-chief Ward Bushee said the newspaper knew little about the allegations against Stienstra and hoped the case was resolved quickly. In the meantime, the Chronicle would continue to publish his columns, Bushee said.
The SacBee had more information about the medical marijuana angle:
    Legal observers say police can still make arrests based on local plant standards but likely have to establish in court that the marijuana quantity exceeds what is needed for reasonable personal use or that there are other factors indicating criminal behavior. 
    "In an case involving medical marijuana that has a (physician's) recommendation, you can be sure that is something we would be looking to document," [Siskiyou County District Attorney J. Kirk] Andrus said. "It's an absolute defense in the state of California as long as it can be proven to be reasonable."
(Photo credit: Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office)

Unpaid internships may be illegal

With an increasing number of newsrooms using unpaid interns, this article might interest local media managers: The New York Times reports that officials in California and other states have stepped up enforcement of minimum wage laws.

    The Labor Department says it is cracking down on firms that fail to pay interns properly and expanding efforts to educate companies, colleges and students on the law regarding internships.

    “If you’re a for-profit employer or you want to pursue an internship with a for-profit employer, there aren’t going to be many circumstances where you can have an internship and not be paid and still be in compliance with the law,” said Nancy J. Leppink, the acting director of the department’s wage and hour division. ...

    Lance Choy, director of the Career Development Center at Stanford University, sees definitive evidence that the number of unpaid internships is mushrooming — fueled by employers’ desire to hold down costs and students’ eagerness to gain experience for their resumes.

    Employers posted 643 unpaid internships on Stanford’s job board this academic year, more than triple the 174 posted two years ago. ...

    In California, officials have issued guidance letters advising employers whether they are breaking the law, while Oregon regulators have unearthed numerous abuses. ...

The Bay Area Citizen to start May 26

The Bay Citizen, the nonprofit formerly known as the Bay Area News Project, plans to launch its online news service on May 26, Editor Jonathan Weber announced on his blog.

Weber said the Citizen's managing editor for news, Steve Fainaru, starts next week, and then the nonprofit will begin hiring reporters. Weber said the project is also looking to hire a "community editor," and that position will be posted by the end of the week.

Weber told the San Francisco Business Times that while some of the Citizen's content will come from volunteers and UC Berkeley journalism students, "the core of the operation is a professional newsroom." And the pros will be the ones whose stuff will be sent over to the New York Times for its Bay Area edition.

Merc slammed for A's poll

The East Bay Express is criticizing a poll the parent company of the San Jose Mercury News funded which found that 62% of San Jose residents favored moving the A's to San Jose.

The Express says the Merc didn't tell respondents that taxpayers would have to pay more than $46 million to make improvements that A's owner Lew Wolff is demanding in order to move the team. The Express asks:
    So why didn’t the pollster ask a more realistic question? Such as, “Would you support giving the A’s public land that the city paid $46 million to acquire, plus spend tens of millions of dollars more in redevelopment funds for infrastructure needed for the team’s new stadium — as long as it does not include raising taxes?” The answer is obvious. Because they never would have gotten 62% of residents to say yes.
The Express points out that the poll was conducted by San Jose State University’s highly respected Survey and Policy Research Institute, but it was paid for by the Bay Area News Group, a division of the newspaper chain MediaNews, which owns the Mercury News, the Oakland Tribune, and the Contra Costa Times. The Express says:
    The newspaper chain also put together the slanted wording of the poll — not San Jose State. Which leads one to believe that the owners of Oakland’s hometown daily may not mind a bit if the A’s move to a city where it also owns a newspaper.

Raiders to be heard on AM and FM

The Raiders have dropped KSFO-AM 560 and signed a deal with a syndicator, Compass Media Networks, that will put them on both AM and FM in the Bay Area this fall.

Compass has contracted to air its coverage of the Raiders on KFRC-AM 1550 and KITS-FM "Live 105," both owned by CBS Radio.

The Raiders had been on KSFO for five years, but that station decided against getting into a bidding war to keep the team, the station's marketing director, Anthony Licciardi, told the Oakland Tribune. Raiders chief executive Amy Trask said Compass will put the AFC team on a "broad affiliate network in California and beyond."

KTVU wins a Peabody for BART shooting coverage

KTVU has landed a Peabody award for its coverage of the New Year's Day 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. Channel 2's coverage included extensive use of video shot by the camera phones of BART riders. The Peabody, awarded by the University of Georgia's Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications, honors broadcasters for on-air and online excellence. The awards will be presented at a luncheon at New York's Waldorf-Astoria in New York on May 17.

Bay Guardian to get some more cash

It looks like Bruce Brugmann's Bay Guardian will soon be getting regular payments from T Mobile, which has won approval from the San Francisco Planning Commission to put antennas on the Guardian's rooftop.

The unanimous approval came despite an attempt by the Guardian's rival, the SF Weekly, to get residents to oppose the project.

Michael Lacey, executive editor of the weekly's parent company, Village Voice Media, went so far as to send a letter to Brugmann's neighbors to tell them to attend the planning commission hearing. Lacey said in the letter in part:
    This cell phone tower could have a negative impact on your neighborhood for decades to come. If you have concerns about the possible effect on your health or your property values, we suggest you read the stories included and attend the meeting to voice your opinion.
The T Mobile money is in addition to the $21 million Brugmann is trying to collect after winning a predatory pricing lawsuit against the SF Weekly and Village Voice Media. The case is being appealed, but the court has granted Brugmann 50% of the Weekly's revenues to pay off the award.