Friday, April 29, 2011

White House denies threat to Chron reporter

The Politico says the White House is denying that it threatened to exclude the Chronicle from presidential events in its coverage area after one of its reporters recorded a video of singing protesters at a fundraiser last week that was restricted to print reporters.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told the Politico today that the Chronicle’s claims are “not true,” and that no such threat was ever made, but he wouldn’t provide further details.

Because the White House chooses the local media outlets that are included in the “pool” during out-of-town trips, the White House Correspondents Association’s authority to police the actions of local media has been a murky subject.

Still, the association’s president, David Jackson, told the Politico that the board would take up the issue with the White House next week and would seek to clarify the rules governing “print pool only” events — after the long-awaited White House Correspondents' Association dinner on Saturday.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

White House boots Chron reporter from press pool

The White House has booted the Chronicle's Carla Marinucci from the approved pool of journalists who cover presidential visits to the Bay Area because she used a small video camera to record protesters who disrupted an Obama fundraiser at the St. Regis Hotel, the Chron's Phil Bronstein says in his column.

Bronstein chides the administration for thinking that print reporters shouldn't have video cameras with them. "Video is every bit a part of any journalist's tool kit these days as a functioning pen that doesn't leak through your pocket," he writes.

Another theory is that the video of the protest was an embarrassment to the president, and this White House is responding like other presidents have in the past.

Bronstein added, "more than a few journalists familiar with this story are aware of some implied threats from the White House of additional and wider punishment if Carla's spanking became public. Really? That's a heavy hand usually reserved for places other than the land of the free."

He suggested other members of the White House press pool lack bravery. "They live a little bit in a gilded cage where they have access to the most powerful man in the world but must obey the rules whether they make sense or not."

UPDATE, 8 A.M. FRIDAY: A Chronicle news report on the White House ban by Carolyn Lochhead says that Marinucci was in a "print-only" pool, and because she recorded a video, she violated the White House's rules.

Marinucci said she was one of several attendees, including protesters, who recorded the demonstration. "She said she felt professionally obliged to use the same tools that private citizens were using to report on it," Lochhead's story said.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

No charges in attack on TV crew

John Lobertini fends off an angry mob in February. (Screen grab from KTXL.)
The Sacramento County District Attorney's Office will not file charges against two people who allegedly were involved in an assault on a KTXL Fox 40 news crew outside a House of Pancakes in February, the Sacramento Bee reports.

The altercation occurred Feb. 20 outside the restaurant, where mourners had gathered for a vigil for a 27-year-old man who had been shot to death in the parking lot of the restaurant about 13 hours earlier.

According to a District Attorney's Office release, media members who approached the vigil were told mourners did not want to be interviewed or filmed.

When the Fox40 crew of reporter John Lobertini, formerly of KPIX, and photojournalist Rebecca Little approached the vigil, a mourner verbally attacked them, demanding that they respect the group's request for privacy, the release states.

The Fox40 crew did not retreat and declared their right to film in a public place, the release states. An argument ensued between the crew and members of the group, as the crew continued to film.

An altercation followed in which Little was pulled to the ground by her hair and kicked while on the ground, and a member of the vigil group appeared to swing a fist at Lobertini, the release states.

The D.A. was able to identify those who attacked the TV crew, but their actions "do not rise to the level of a prosecutable case for assault or battery," according to the release. A unanimous verdict reached by 12 jurors would have been "highly unlikely under the state of the evidence," the release states.

The woman who grabbed Little's hair "technically qualifies as a misdemeanor assault or battery," the release states, but the context of the attack and the fact that Little's injuries were minor made it "highly unlikely" that a jury would unanimously convict Jackson of battery.

Both victims initially declined to press charges, according to the release.

High school journalism awards reception May 2

The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club will present awards in its annual high school journalism contest next Monday, May 2, in the Ballroom of Ralston Hall on the campus of Notre Dame de Namur University, 1500 Ralston Ave., Belmont.

The event is sponsored by Hillsdale Shopping Center.

The contest attracted 459 entries this year, up 40% from last year. Fifteen schools and 221 individual students entered.

Not only will awards be presented at this reception, but students will be able to mingle and share stories about their newspaper endeavors. Students are encouraged to bring their newspapers to the reception to share with others. Members of the Press Club will also be on hand for what is always a fun event. Food and soft drinks will be served.

Driving instructions: When you turn off Ralston Avenue into the university, you immediately need to make a sharp left turn around the sign in the road divider and take Laxague Drive which runs parallel to Ralston on the left side of the chapel in front of you. Follow that road until you see Ralston Hall on your right. Park and come on in.

Open government advocate Richard McKee dies

Richard McKee, a co-founder of the open-government watchdog group CalAware, died of natural causes Saturday at his Southern California home at age 62, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

McKee was a retired chemistry professor and planning commissioner in the city of La Verne. But his interest was in keeping the government transparent through open records and public meetings.

McKee waged battles to open government records and public meetings statewide including, most recently, in San Carlos. On behalf of CalAware, he complained that the City Council has violated the Brown Act when it selected in closed session two council members to negotiate a fire contract in March. San Carlos officials eventually saw the error of their ways and did the appointment over again, in an open session.

He filed nearly 30 lawsuits against public agencies in the past 16 years, winning the vast majority.

In the mid 1990s, McKee founded the nonprofit group Californians Aware with Terry Francke, the group's general counsel. Francke described McKee as an outspoken and dedicated advocate for public participation in local government.

"He was a big guy in personality, in generousness and in enthusiasm for opening up government to public participation," Francke said. "He was very good humored and very gentlemanly. He was a skilled persuader."

CalAware has posted a statement on its site.

Report: Marin IJ to move to San Rafael

The IJ has been in Novato since 1981.  IJ file photo by Stuart Lirette.
The Marin Independent Journal appears poised to abandon its Novato home for the last 30 years and move to less expensive digs in San Rafael, reports’s Brent Ainsworth, a former IJ editor.

Ainsworth said he has been told by unidentified sources that an announcement is expected “in the coming weeks” because the move is anticipated during the summer. He doesn’t know where in San Rafael the IJ will land.

MediaNews Group, owner of the 23,000-circulation IJ, shut down the paper’s presses last fall and moved the printing to Concord. The shutdown happened after Gannett Co. moved the printing of its Bay Area USA Today edition from the IJ to a contract printer in San Jose, Southwest Offset.

The IJ, which just celebrated its 150th anniversary, once had a staff of 300 people, but now is down to about 100, according to Ainsworth. The shutdown of the pressroom last fall resulted in the layoffs of about two dozen employees, he said.

Secret Service asks to monitor Chronicle calls

Why does the Secret Service want to monitor phone traffic to the San Francisco Chronicle? That’s the question Chronicle editors asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano yesterday when she appeared before the paper’s editorial board.

Carla Marinucci, at the end of a story about the Napolitano interview, writes the following:
    Napolitano was also asked about the Secret Service's request to The Chronicle for permission to monitor phone traffic to the newspaper's headquarters. 
    The request was denied, said David Byers, the newspaper's director of facilities and real estate.
    Napolitano was asked if the request was part of a new protocol in her agency. "I don't know the answer," she said, adding that she would look into the matter and get back to the paper.

CNBC bureau has a new chief

CNBC has named former Fox News producer Paul McNamara as its California bureau chief, overseeing reporters in Los Angeles and San Jose, according to a memo from CNBC business news managing editor Nick Dougan. McNamara was a line producer of “The Fox Report with Shephard Smith” and then joined the TV Guide Network about a year ago. In his new role, McNamara will be based in L.A. “but will have soon memorized the flight schedules to San Jose,” Dougan wrote. Jim Goldman, who was CNBC’s Silicon Valley bureau chief for several years, left the network last July to join the Burson-Marsteller PR firm.

Bee editor leaves, managing editor promoted

After several rounds of layoffs, the executive editor of the Sacramento Bee is out the door. But Melanie Sill wasn't laid off. She resigned to enter a six-month executive-in-residence program at USC's Annenberg School. Joyce Terhaar, who has been at the Bee since 1988 and is currrently managing editor, will replace Sill and will hold the title of senior vice president.

Friday, April 22, 2011

KCBS remains on top, KQED climbs to second

While KCBS AM-FM remains firmly on top of the San Francisco radio ratings heap, KQED-FM has made gains in the past three months to secure the No. 2 spot. KOIT, which sprints to the top of the ratings during the holidays with its all Christmas music format, fell back to third place in January, where it remained in February and March.

Here's the usual disclaimer: Advertisers don't use these numbers when buying air time. They use ratings for particular demographics.
Personal People Meters for listeners 6+
                       San Francisco Radio Metro
                      Monday-Sunday 6am-Midnight

                Format        Licensee       Jan.  Feb. March   Cume  
1.  KCBS-AM/FM  News          CBS Radio      6.5   6.9   6.8  1,278,500  
2.  KQED-FM     News/Talk     KQED Inc.      5.2   6.1   6.5    857,000 
3.  KOIT-FM     Adult Contp.  Entercom       5.2   5.5   5.1  1,557,100  
4.  KGO-AM      News/Talk     Citadel        4.9   5.0   4.8    633,500
5.  KMEL-FM     Urban         Clear Channel  3.6   3.8   4.4  1,000,700
6.  Wild 94.9   Rhythm/CHR    Clear Channel  4.0   4.2   4.3  1,357,200
7.  Movin 99.7  Rhythm/AC     CBS Radio      4.8   4.0   4.2  1,404,800
8 . Kiss-FM     Urban oldies  Clear Channel  3.4   3.2   3.6  1,131,000
9.  KBRG-FM     Span. hits    Univision      3.7   4.0   3.5    648,100
10. KSOL        Reg'l Mex.    Univision      2.8   2.8   3.2    638,700

11. KIOI        Hot AC        Clear Channel  3.1   3.4   3.1  1,178,600
12. KSFO        Talk          Citadel        3.1   3.0   3.0    354,000
13. KSAN        Classic rock  Cumulus Media  2.6   2.7   2.8    711,300
14. KNBR        Sports        Cumulus        2.9   2.4   2.5    492,100
15. KFOG        Adult altern. Cumulus        2.5   2.5   2.4    691,500
16. KBLX-FM     Urban AC      Inner City     2.5   2.7   2.3    537,700
17. Alice       Hot AC        CBS Radio      2.6   2.0   2.3    876,800
18. KRZZ-FM     Spanish       Span. Broad.   1.8   1.8   2.1    498,400
19. KBAY        AC            Next Media     1.8   1.7   1.8    566,200
20. KCSM        Jazz          SMC College    1.2   1.6   1.8    246,700

Pay $45 and skip the KQED-FM pledge breaks

Who isn't annoyed by pledge drives on public broadcasting that interrupt your favorite shows. KQED-FM today announced a solution. For $45 ($5 more than a basic membership) you get access to a pledge-free stream of KQED programming. The stream will be available through the end of the May 2011 pledge drive, and is only available on smartphones and other Internet connections. Here's a link.

KTVU's Jim Vargas to retire next week

Veteran TV newsman Jim Vargas will retire April 29 from KTVU after 41 years in the news business, media blogger Rich Lieberman reports. He's worked at KGO, KRON and has had two stints at KTVU, from 1993-98 and for the past 10 years.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

NBC 11 turns over sports to Comcast Bay Area

The Bay Area News Group reports that NBC Bay Area (KNTV-11) will begin using Comcast SportsNet Bay Area to provide content on its 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts starting in June.

NBC Bay Area president Rich Cerussi told BANG's Jonathan Okanes that the sports segments won't be like what viewers are used to seeing on a local newscast. Instead of scores and highlights, NBC Bay Area plans on airing live interviews.

"Everybody knows the scores by the time the sports segment comes on," Cerussi said. "But if something unusual happens at a Giants game, we will have a reporter right there. It's going to allow us to go much more in-depth."

Comcast acquired NBC in January, and the move will allow Channel 11 to leverage SportsNet's resources.

CSNBA already produces a nightly sports news show, "SportsNet Central," which focuses almost exclusively on Bay Area sports. CSNBA plans to build an additional set strictly for its NBC Bay Area segments.

CSNBA general manager Ted Griggs said the NBC Bay Area segments won't be an abridged version of the content airing on CSNBA. The content that airs on NBC Bay Area will be original.

"This is not a revolutionary move. It's an evolutionary move," Griggs said. "The thing we're bringing to KNTV is not just content but context."

Jurors to see video mocking Bailey's death

Thomas Peele of the Bay Area News Group reports that a judge ruled Tuesday that large portions of a secretly recorded police video on which former Your Black Muslim leader Yusuf Bey IV laughed about the 2007 killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey can be shown to jurors.

The Alameda County Superior Court jury in Bey IV and co-defendant Antoine Mackey's triple murder trial could see the video as early as Wednesday, after other witnesses testify in the case.

Judge Thomas Reardon ruled that the probative nature of Bey IV's comments outweighed any unfair prejudices they may give jurors.

On the tape, Bey IV laughs about Bailey's Aug. 2, 2007, killing and imitates the effect of shotgun wounds the 57-year-old reporter suffered. "Pow, pow, poof!" Bey IV said, throwing his head back, rolling his eyes upward and breaking into laughter.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bay Area to get an all-sports FM station

It looks like KNBR, "The Sports Leader," is going to get some competition.

Entercom Corp. is changing the format of its country 95.7 "The Wolf" (KBWF-FM) to an all-sports format, "Sports Radio 95.7 FM."

The station recently obtained the A's broadcast rights and the company's KFOX already holds rights to the San Jose Sharks. Entercom will move the Sharks from KFOX to the new FM sports station.

As of this hour, the country music is gone on 95.7 FM, replaced by announcements about the new format, classic sports highlights and sports-oriented music, such as Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll." says that with the changes, the entire staff of The Wolf was shown the door. They included program director Mike Krinik, assistant program director and music director Micki Gamez, afternoon drive host Joey V, morning host Eddie King, and parttimers Sue Hall, Ali Wilder and JD.

Singleton gets 3 more years on AP board

Dean Singleton, who is stepping down as CEO of MediaNews Group, has nonetheless been re-elected to the Associated Press Board of Directors for a three-year term. He's currently chairman of the news cooperative's board and there's no indication that his status will change. Word of his re-election was carried in the last paragraph of an AP story about new additions to the AP board.

MediaNews, owner of several Bay Area daily newspapers including the Mercury News, announced in January that Singleton would be giving up the CEO job as soon as a replacement could be found. Late last year, a hedge fund, Alden Global Capital, acquired a major stake in the privately held chain, and began making changes starting at the top. Singleton, who had been CEO for 23 years, said he would take a new position at the company, "executive chairman," and continue in a strategic and deal-making role.

The AP also announced that it lost $14.7 million in 2010 as its revenue fell for the second straight year. AP's 2010 revenue totaled $631 million, a decline of 7% from the previous year. Last year was the first time since the Great Depression that revenue had fallen two consecutive years. Part of the loss was due rate reductions for members hit hard by a downturn in advertising.

Meanwhile, AP union members say managers have told them that mass layoffs — 80 to 100 staffers — would start immediately if the News Media Guild didn't accept AP's proposals in the next few days, according to Romenesko.

April 2011 Press Club board minutes

April 6, 2011 — San Mateo Daily Journal offices

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

The meeting was called to order at 6:40 p.m. and Marshall provided pizza for the meeting.

MINUTES: February minutes approved as read. (Note: No March 2011 meeting.)

FINANCIALS: Darryl’s report indicated that the club brought in $15,366.79 as a result of the contest entries and new memberships. The reporr was approved as presented.

JOURNALISM AWARDS CONTEST: The contest drew 523 entries, up 129 or 33% over last year. Darryl noted that the 95 entries in the broadband category (primarily thanks to was a huge boost from previous years. Magazine entries, on the other hand, were low along with radio and TV. The entries are out to judges, and Darryl is beginning to get winners back. He will continue to use the West Contra Costa Jail as the source for plaques and he thinks he will be able to order plaques for first, second and third place this year.

EVENING OF EXCELLENCE: Darryl reported that the Crowne Plaza in Foster City has reserved our room for May 21 and the entrees will stay at $35. He asked if anyone had a wine connection who might donate wine for the dinner. Marshall will check for some possibles. If we have wine donated, we will have to pay $10/table corkage fee. That would bring the cost up to $60 for members, $65 for non-members. If there is no wine, we can probably stay at $50 for members and $55 for non-members.

Our speaker will be Mike Sugerman of KCBS Radio. He will talk for about 15 minutes on carving out one’s own niche in the new world of journalism and have fun at the same time.

Because the dinner is earlier in the year than in the past, award orders, invitations and emails to winners will all be moved up.

HIGH SCHOOL JOURNALISM CONTEST: Micki reported that 459 entries were received, a 40% improvement over last year which was the previous high. Fifteen schools and 221 individual students entered. Micki handed out the entries for judging and requested to have the winners emailed to her by April 15 so she can order the plaques and receive them by the awards reception on Monday, May 2, 4-6 p.m., in the ballroom of Ralston Hall on the campus of Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont. Hillsdale Shopping Center again has agreed to sponsor this event.

FOSTER CITY INTERNATIONAL WRITING CONTEST: Jon passed out entries for judging and requested that winners be reported by April 15. Jack Russell will attend the awards presentation as a representative of the Press Club.

SOUTHEAST TEXAS CONTEST: Darryl distributed entries for judging. They must be completed by April 29.

HERB CAEN SCHOLARSHIPS: Only one application was received by the deadline, so the deadline was extended to April 15. Micki will send the announcement of the extended deadline to the high school advisers and to the advisers of the colleges in the Bay Area. She will join Ed and Jack in interviewing the applicants.

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

Respectfully submitted, Micki Carter, Secretary

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

49ers fire commentator after risque radio show

Plummer (from
Former 49er Gary Plummer has been fired as the team’s radio color commentator after a podcast of a risque late night KSJO-FM radio interview began making the rounds online. In the interview on the show “Ladybrain” in February, Plummer discusses his open marriage, how to perform oral sex, how the 49ers staff helped players find women and other very graphic subjects.

Plummer apparently convinced the show’s producers to take the podcast off the Internet, but copies remain such as this one at

Plummer tells Matier & Ross that the interview was only part of the reason for his dismissal after 13 years as color commentator. “They talked to me four or five times during the year about being too hard on the team, and they needed to fill the stadium,” he told the Chron’s Matier & Ross. “I don’t think that’s my job as an analyst. My job is to state the facts, and the team was 0-5, and three players had quit and they had fired their offensive coordinator. and fans had a right to know why.”

Students honored for pipeline fire coverage

College of San Mateo Journalism students were honored Saturday with prestigious awards for print and video coverage of last fall’s San Bruno Pipeline Fire.

“ … This is awesome,” wrote the judges about the students’ print coverage of the San Bruno catastrophe. “It’s a story that got national coverage. Your staff was there, tackling various angles. You related it to students/campus and showed how students were impacted.”

Judges awarded the students “Generally Excellent” in the Enterprise Story/Series category for the coverage. The category is not ranked otherwise and only cites the most outstanding work. Judges also honored the students’ newspaper, The San Matean, with a General Excellence award and selected students for additional honors in video, photography and advertising.

The Journalism Association of Community Colleges, a statewide organization, presented the awards during a three-day conference last week in Sacramento. JACC enlists journalism professionals to judge the contests. The annual event features an array of workshops, including sessions on reporting, design and photography.

CSM Journalism students also were honored in March for the same fire coverage in competition with four-year colleges hosted by the California College Media Association.

The winning team’s students include Margaret Baum, Roger Boucher, Raymond Cheung, Alex Farr, Jeffrey Gonzalez, Tyler Huffman, Bruno Manrique, Jason Pun and Sylvia Vasquez.

Students also captured third place honors in the Web/Broadcast News category for their video coverage of the fire.

“Timely and informative,” wrote the judges of the video report. “Excellent footage, good cross-section of people, equal to professional news stories.”

The students are Mario Ayala, Jeffrey Gonzalez and Jason Pun.

Students were provided plaques and certificates during the event which counted 567 students and faculty from 47 colleges.

Two other students, Cecile Basnage and Nick Zirbes, were awarded Honorable Mention in the Video Journalism category for their coverage of last year’s student protests over budget cuts.

“ … Captured the energy of the day,” the judges wrote. “The viewer got a feel for different aspects of the protest.”

Basnage also was awarded third place honors in Photo Story/Essay for her print and photo coverage of a campus dance event.

Student Petero Qauqau was awarded Honorable Mention for his photo of a football play.

Another student, Ben Ebrahimzadehgan, was awarded second place for Student-Designed Advertisement for his full-page cartoon of a journalist as superhero. The ad publicized the value of enrolling in journalism studies.

Kayla Figard, editor of The San Matean, was awarded a $100 scholarship as part of the JACC event. She led the team of three attending the conference.

“The CSM Journalism program is under financial pressure and required donations for its students to attend the event,” said Journalism Adviser Ed Remitz. “Even then, unfortunately, the number of students who could participate was reduced from years past.”

“It was a very inspirational experience,” said Figard. “It was amazing to be able to connect with other colleges going through the same financial problems."

“I'm proud of our staff's hard work and achievements despite our budget limitations," she said.

“Our students gained much from the workshops with the awards and judges’ comments a tremendous resource for them,” said Remitz. “It is especially rewarding to see that our students met the demanding challenge of covering a major local event at a level professionals have singled out for honors.”

Bonds trial draws more reporters than Bailey case

Bob Butler, in an article for the Maynard Institute, says there is a disparity in how the Barry Bonds and Chauncey Bailey trials are being covered by the media. More reporters, particularly from national media outlets, are covering the Bonds trial. But Butler quotes media experts who say the Bailey trial is much more significant when you look at how both cases impact society. Butler, a KCBS reporter, is part of the Chauncey Bailey Project, which has been investigating the Oakland Post’s murder four years ago.

Tech startups are filling up Chron building

Gerry Shih of The Bay Citizen reports that the Chronicle building at Fifth and Mission is rapidly filling up with technology startups and “San Francisco’s most influential paper is finding itself increasingly isolated in the building it has called home since 1924.” The Chron is now on the third floor, while startups occupy the rest of the building. “I sometimes look out the window. There are all these interesting-looking people down there and I don’t know what they’re doing,” said the Chron’s Carl Nolte, who has worked there since 1959. “But they bring vitality to the place. I like that.” Shih attempted to find out what developer Forest City Enterprises has in mind for the building, but plans seem to be pretty hush-hush. Apparently the building will stay, but the rest of the site, including the old pressroom, will eventually be redeveloped.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Palo Alto High journalism teacher honored

Palo Alto High School journalism and English teacher Esther Wojcicki has won the "excellence in teaching" award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the Palo Alto Weekly reports. Wojcicki received the Charles O'Malley Award for Excellence in Teaching, which is named after a director and benefactor of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and signifies "stellar achievement in the teaching of student journalists," according to the association.

The award was presented March 18 at Columbia University's conference on high school journalism in New York.

At the same conference, Palo Alto High School's student newspaper, the Campanile, and student magazine, Verde, won a silver crowns, while the online website The Paly Voice received a gold crown.

The Berkeley High Jacket Online from Berkeley High School won a silver crown in the national competition.

Above, Esther Wojcicki, right, and the staff of the Palo Alto High School Campanile receive an award from C. Bruce Watterson, chair of Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Committee on Judging Practices. Photo by Rebecca Castillo, CSPA staff.

Project investigates the decline of local news

A group of reporters is looking for financial support to do a multi-story project on the decline of the news industry in the Bay Area.

“This multi-story package — to be published online and in the spring print edition of the San Francisco Public Press — will examine how the slashing of staffs at news outlets have muffled city and county public policy debates; how new, niche news websites are attempting to fill some coverage gaps; and how journalists themselves have adapted,” according to a pitch on Spot Us, a website that raises money for reporting projects.

The project team includes David Weir, Liz Enochs, Jeremy Adam Smith, John McManus, Saheli Datta, Shawn Gaynor, Mineko Brand and Samuel Morrell.

From the Spot Us pitch:
    Over the past decade, the San Francisco Chronicle’s newsroom staff has shrunk to 175 from a high near 575, the San Jose Mercury News has seen its copy desk outsourced to Walnut Creek, and one conglomerate has gained control of almost all of the daily newspapers in the Bay Area.
    All told, hundreds of local broadcast, online and print journalists have been kicked to the curb since 2000, resulting in decades of lost institutional memory and merged coverage of beats —meaning that some communities go without consistent media attention until a crisis breaks. 
    How many school board debates and behind-the-scenes lobbying efforts by termed-out politicians have gone unmentioned? The disappearance of watchdogs leaves policymakers to spend or cut millions of taxpayer dollars with minimal oversight. 
    ... In a thorough look at how consolidation is affecting local news coverage, a team of reporters working with the San Francisco Public Press will provide concrete examples of the civic side effects of the dismantling of the journalism infrastructure. 
The SF Weekly’s Matt Smith, in his piece about the pitch, went back and compared old copies of the Chron and Examiner to see what readers today are missing.
    Seeing a facsimile of the physical papers -- rather than individual articles retrieved from web archives -- provides a sense of how richly served San Francisco used to be when compared to the present. 
    A typical front page -- of both publications -- had multiple local exposes that might involve weeks of work, sometimes from several reporters. Likewise, the local sections were filled with hard news that took intense reporting to produce.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

44.7% of Bay Area journalists hit by downsizing

A new survey finds that 44.7% of Bay Area journalists say they have been laid off, accepted a buyout or voluntarily left their job during a period of downsizing during the past 10 years.

More than 700 current and former Bay Area journalists participated in the survey, called the San Francisco Bay Area Journalist Census. The chart below shows how many of them lost their jobs by year.

The survey attempted to assess the job experiences of journalists. A couple of points from the summary:
    • Only 3% of respondents categorized themselves as currently unemployed, 2% were retired, and 15% described themselves as workers or students in fields other than journalism. More than 70% were working as journalists or journalism entrepreneurs.
    • More than two fifths of respondents said they were employed as much as they wanted between Jan. 1, 2000 and Dec. 31, 2010. About one quarter of respondents reported experiencing less than one year of unemployment or underemployment; less than 5% of survey takers said they were unemployed or underemployed for more than five years during the same period.
    • The vast majority of respondents who were currently employed reported “effective written communication” (85%) as a skill that helped them get or keep their current job. More than two thirds of respondents said they believe they need to acquire or develop multimedia skills to improve their employment prospects.
Here’s a link to the summary. The entire 20MB survey can be downloaded here. Click “regular download” for a free download.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

33% increase in journalism contest entries

The number of entries in the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club’s annual Greater Bay Area Journalism Contest jumped by 33% this year. Entries submitted in the club’s high school contest are up by 40%.

The figures were revealed by Press Club executive director Darryl Compton at the club’s board meeting Wednesday.

This year, the professional contest received 523 entries, up from 394 last year. It was the most entires since 2006, when the club got 578.

The increase is due largely to more entries by online news operations, a category that had lagged in previous years. The number of “new media/websites” entering this year hit 95, up from 14 in 2010.

But there was also a rebound in the newspaper category. The press club received 220 entries from newspapers this year, the most since 2006 when the club received 251 submissions.

This year’s awards will be presented at a banquet May 21 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City.

This was also a great year for the high school journalism contest, which received 40% more entires. More importantly, the number of students participating increased by 33%, from 167 in 2010 to 221 this year.

One reason for the increase is that there is a resurgence of high school newspapers locally. For instance, in 2008, school administrators shut down the student paper at Carlmont High School in Belmont after it printed a sexually suggestive opinion piece. The Press Club’s board members asked the school to bring back the paper. They did. And now it appears Carlmont’s journalism program is going strong. This year, 15 students submitted a total of 40 entries to the high school contest.

The high schools participating in this year’s contest are Aragon, Burlingame, Eastside Prep, El Camino, Gunn, Hillsdale, Menlo-Atherton, Mills, Palo Alto, San Mateo, Serra and Sequoia.

The high school journalism awards will be announced at a reception May 2, 4-6 p.m., at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont.

Press Club is offering scholarships

April 15, 2011, is the deadline for submitting entries to the 2011 scholarship competition sponsored by the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club.

Competition is open to high school, community college, college and university students from the 11 Bay Area counties who are planning a career in print, broadcast or photo journalism.

Typically the Press Club selects one high school student and one college student to receive the $1,500 scholarships named for Herb Caen, the late San Francisco Chronicle columnist.

Scholarship funds will be paid to the schools the winners plan to attend, or are attending, to defray any college-related expenses.

Print and photo entrants should send:
    • A one-page resume. 
    • Three to five clippings mounted on letter-sized white paper; photos CD; and video on DVD-R. 
    • A letter of recommendation from an instructor in journalism, communications or English.

Entries should be sent to:
    Peninsula Press Club Scholarships 
    Attention: Darryl Compton 
    4317 Camden Ave. 
    San Mateo CA 94403-5007

Finalists will be interviewed in person by the Press Club’s Scholarship Committee. Winners will be honored at the Press Club’s 30th Annual Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards Dinner in June 2011.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

KGO-TV's Staab to head NBC station group

Valari Staab, president and general manager of KGO-TV ABC7 for the past nine years, is jumping to NBC to become president of its owned and operated stations group, which includes KNTV, according to Broadcasting & Cable and TVNewsCheck.

“Throughout her career in local television she’s had tremendous success growing the businesses she’s worked for and placing a premium on creating quality local news that resonates with viewers,” said Staab's new boss, NBC Chairman Ted Harbert, in a statement. “She will do an outstanding job building on the great work of our Local Media group as we continue to invest in our stations and establish them as leaders in their markets.”

Staab starts her new job in June. She is replacing John Wallace, who becomes head of NBC Universal Media Works. In addition to the TV stations, Staab will be responsible for NBCU's local online properities and digital out-of-home division. She will also oversee the local lifestyle programming production company, LX.TV, and the In-house marketing and promotion company, Skycastle Entertainment.

Press Club board meets Wednesday (April 6)

The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club's board of directors will hold its monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6, at the San Mateo Daily Journal, 800 S. Claremont St., Suite 210. Here is a proposed agenda:

1) Approve Minutes

2) Memberships and Finance

3) Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards Update
    BNC evaluation 
    Judging – trades 
    Winner notification 
4) Awards Dinner Update/Speaker Confirmed
5) Foster City International Writing Contest

6) Herb Caen Scholarships
    Need to extend deadline – only one application
7) Other business

Anything else?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Panel discusses survival of nonprofit journalism

Lisa Frazier, president and CEO of The Bay Citizen, said Saturday she doesn’t know if nonprofit journalism online will be able to sustain itself. Frazier was one of the panelists for a discussion on nonprofit journalism at the 12th International Symposium on Online Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.

According to, Frazier said The Bay Citizen can be a “test kitchen” for journalism, technology and business models. To make the model sustainable, takes time but also takes money to make money, she said. “The community will decide if nonprofit is sustainable,” said Frazier.

The Bay Citizen reaches 150,000 unique readers a month and additional 61,000 readers through its stories appearing in the Bay Area editions of The New York Times on Friday and Sunday.
Frazier said Bay Citizen has 27 people working in editorial and “innovation.” She pointed to one example of innovation — a web application that helps bikers in San Francisco avoid places where there have been a high number of bike accidents.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hearst planning Chronicle pay wall

Bay says that more than half the stories now available for free at the Chronicle's would be cordoned off by a new pay wall under consideration by the paper's owner, Hearst Corp.

Bay Citizen quoted Chronicle employees, speaking anonymously, who said Hearst is leaning toward a "hard" pay wall rather than one like the New York Times implemented this week that lets readers click on a certain number of articles before access is cut off.

"Employees said they were told the pay wall could be rolled out by the end of this month (April), although the plan is understood to be in flux," Bay Citizen reported.

Short, daily news and breaking stories would likely remain free of charge under the new plan, but the fee to read other content would cost $9.95 a month.