Friday, June 24, 2011

High school newspaper staff kept Vargas' secret for six weeks

Mountain View's reports that former Chronicle and Washington Post reporter Jose Antonio Vargas told the Mountain View High School newspaper's staff that he was an illegal immigrant, and the young journalists kept it secret for six weeks. Writes Claudia Cruz of Patch:
    On that cooler than usual spring morning in Silicon Valley, Vargas sat across from 35 reporters ages 14 to 18 at Mountain View High School and told them his deepest secret, which he said only a few people knew. He also told them to keep it safe for a while. They did. For the next six weeks not a murmur, whisper, tweet or status update suggested the teenagers guarded privileged information for Vargas, 30, a former Oracle editor-in-chief and a 2000 graduate of MVHS.
One student, Kevin Troxell, is quoted in the Patch story as saying the class bonded with Vargas the day he met with them. "I think that especially because he was an Oracle and he went to MVHS, we felt camaraderie for him," Troxell said. "Oracle [the student newspaper] is a tight knit group and we are all friends. He's a friend and an Oracle, and that was the reason we wanted to keep his secret."

Los Altos High School newspaper posts video of a Los Altos Rotary Club Q&A with Vargas on Feb. 11, 2011.

Vargas wrote more stories for the Chron on illegal immigration than the one he acknowledged

Jose Antonio Vargas, the former Chronicle and Washington Post reporter who revealed this week he is an illegal immigrant, told Phil Bronstein that he realized in 2003 that he had a conflict of interest covering the immigration issue and wouldn’t do it anymore. But Julie Moos of Poynter Online found that Vargas continued to write stories on immigration for the Chronicle, and she provides links to them. Meanwhile, Michele Salcedo, president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, says the Vargas story will put newsroom managers under increased pressure to check the documentation of their workers.

Palo Alto Weekly asks readers for donations

The Palo Alto Weekly today asked readers to pay $5 a month to support the cost of operating its print and online editions. The Weekly, founded in 1979, operates in a competitive city with two daily newspapers. "As more residents turn online to stay informed about the community, and businesses rocked by the recession suspend their advertising or turn to inexpensive marketing alternatives, the traditional business model that allowed local journalism to be almost solely supported through advertising is quickly evaporating," said Weekly Publisher Bill Johnson.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pulitzer winner with local ties admits he's an illegal immigrant

Jose Antonio Vargas, who grew up in Mountain View, interned at the Chronicle and would later go on to share a Pulitzer as a Washington Post staff writer, has admitted in a New York Times Magazine story that he is an illegal immigrant. The AP reports:
    Vargas, whose mother sent him from the Philippines to live with his grandparents in California at 12, now wants to push Congress to pass the Dream Act, which would allow people such as him to become citizens if they go to university or serve in the military. 
    Vargas says he didn't know about his citizenship status until four years after he arrived in the U.S., when he applied for a driver's permit and handed a clerk his green card. "This is fake," the clerk told him. 
    Vargas confronted his grandfather, who admitted he purchased the green card and other fake documents. 
    But he convinced himself that if he worked hard enough and achieved enough, he would be rewarded with citizenship. University seemed out of reach, until Vargas told his school principal and school district Superintendent about his problem. They became mentors and surrogate parents, finding a scholarship fund that allowed him to attend San Francisco State University. 
    When the Washington Post hired him, the newspaper required a driver's licence, so Vargas's mentors helped him get one from Oregon, which has less stringent requirements. He used it to cover a state dinner at the White House. But he was always anxious that his secret would be found out. He tried to avoid reporting on immigration policy, but once wrote about then-senator Hillary Clinton's position on driver's licences for illegal immigrants. 
    Senior staff at the Post kept the secret until Vargas left the paper. Yesterday spokeswoman Kris Coratti condemned their actions. "We are reviewing our procedures, and believe this was an isolated incident of deception." 
    The Post originally planned to publish Vargas' story, but decided not to. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency prioritises cases that pose the most significant threat to public safety. 
    Vargas shared a Pulitzer Prize for the Post's coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings.
Among those who had hired Vargas was the Chronicle's Phil Bronstein, who wrote this morning "I was duped."
    Jose lied to me and everyone else he worked for, and that's not kosher, especially in a profession where facts and, more elusively, the truth are considered valuable commodities. In 2003 he wrote a story for us about illegals getting fake drivers' licenses in the Mission when he'd used phony documents to get his own. He told me last week that he decided then that was a serious conflict of interest and wouldn't cover immigration any more. But he later wrote on the topic for the Post.
After Vargas left the Chron in 2004, he kept in touch with Bronstein, who gave him job recommendations. Bronstein writes:
    For me, despite the subterfuge, he's done what he intended: given a surprising, articulate and human face to an important issue for at least some of those millions of people out there floating in terrifying limbo.
(Photo credit: Matthew Worden, The Washingtonian)

MediaNews Group is buying newspapers again

Less than a year after emerging from bankruptcy, MediaNews Group, publisher of most of the dailies in the Bay Area including the Mercury News, is back in the business of buying newspapers. MNG announced yesterday it is buying the family owned Gardner News, a 6,000-circulation daily in Gardner, Mass.

Goodbye KTEH. New call letters will be KQED+

BANG TV writer Chuck Barney reports that last vestiges of KTEH 54, the San Jose public television station that has served the South Bay since 1964, will be wiped away on July 1 when the station changes its call letters to KQED Plus. Northern California Public Broadcasting, the parent of KQED 9, acquired KTEH in 2006. Research by NCPB found "brand confusion" among the public, with many viewers failing to make the connection that KTEH was managed and programmed by KQED.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Report: Kohara demanded an on-air farewell

Bay Area media blogger Rich Lieberman reports that Sydnie Kohara, who was let go by KPIX on June 3, demanded — and got — an opportunity to bid her audience farewell. He also reports that she was escorted out of the building by a security guard.

When KPIX let go her long time anchor partner John Kessler in October, there was talk that Kohara would also get the ax. But Lieberman said she took a pay cut and kept her job.

Kohara's Facebook page includes numerous comments from viewers who are upset she was fired. One comment is from Kessler, who writes, "Sydnie, is the nicest person you could ever want to meet. Her intelligence, grace and talent are unrivaled. Hell, she kept me in line! I am honored to be able to say I was (and hope to be again) her 'TV Husband.' Sydnie, I love you."

On that page, Kohara writes, "Thanks so much for all your support and kind words. I'll let you know what's next, as soon as I'm done sleeping in."

KCBS, KQED-FM top radio ratings

KCBS returned to the No. 1 position in the ratings in May after KQED-FM led the pack for a month in April. In May, KCBS led with a 6.3 rating among listeners 12 and older compared to 5.9 for KQED. In April, KQED was on top with a 6.6 and KCBS in second with 6.3. These cumulative ratings are meaningless to advertisers. They buy stations based on their appeal to various demographics. But they're good for conversation. The top 10 in May were KCBS, KQED, KOIT, Wild 94.9, KNBR, 99-7 Now, KGO, KMEL, KBRG and Kiss FM.

Singleton's newspaper hero? Hearst

Here's a link to a Q&A MediaNews CEO Dean Singleton did with one of his columnists at The Denver Post. Highlights include his praise for William Randolph Hearst, his love of chardonnay and his candid comments on how MS has reduced his mobility. He gets around on a scooter and worries that his body will become unusable before his brain deteriorates. He says he doesn't use Facebook or Twitter, and is still a print guy who likes reading a newspaper. As for the future, he says that he hopes his company shows growth in new media that equals its decline in print, "and I think we are a year away from that."

BANG gets a chief revenue officer

Jeff DeBalko, president of Reed Business Information's Business Media Division, has been named to the newly created position of senior vice president/chief revenue officer of the Bay Area News Group, publisher of the Mercury News and several other dailies. At Reed, the 47-year-old DeBalko oversees about 40 trade publications such as the Hollywood publication Variety. He's credited with transitioning Reed from a print-centric company to a digital b-to-b publisher. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing management from the California State University, East Bay. His new job starts Aug. 8.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

MNG's attempt to buy OC Register parent breaks down

Buyout discussions between MediaNews Group and Freedom Newspapers, owner of the Orange County Register, have broken down due to a disagreement over price, The Wall Street Journal reported this morning, citing “people familiar with the matter.”

Freedom, which owns the Register as well as 100 smaller newspapers and several TV stations, is now considering the idea of selling itself in pieces.

While the Journal says the talks are over, others are speculating that the two companies will return to the negotiating table.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Judge rules against copyright enforcement firm

Righthaven, the firm MediaNews Group uses to sue bloggers and websites for posting newspaper content without permission, suffered a serious setback today in federal court in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Sun and

Chief U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt ruled that Righthaven misled the court and doesn't have standing to sue on behalf of newspapers who claim their copyrights were infringed. Hunt threatened to impose sanctions against Righthaven.

Here's how Righthaven enforces copyrights. When a publisher feels its copyright has been infringed, usually by somebody on the internet, it sells the copyright of the story or photograph to Righthaven. Righthaven then sues the alleged infringer, seeking damages. Righthaven has filed 274 copyright lawsuits since March 2010.

In order to file lawsuits, copyright plaintiffs have to have actual control of the copyrights, not just the right to sue, Hunt found.

MediaNews Group's Denver Post and the Las Vegas Sun Review-Journal, owned by Stephens Media Group (a minority partner in MNG's Bay Area newspapers), used Righthaven to go after alleged copyright infringers. Today's ruling comes in a case against the political website Democratic Underground, which posted just four paragraphs of a 34-paragraph Las Vegas Review-Journal story about then-U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle. Democratic Underground credited the Review-Journal and provided a link to the paper's website containing the story. By providing credit and a link, the website argued that its use of the four paragraphs constituted "fair use" under the copyright law.

The Las Vegas Sun, in its news story about the ruling, said Hunt's ruling "could shut down Righthaven's lawsuit campaign."

<b>Correction: In the penultimate graf of the item above, the newspaper owned by Stephens Media was incorrectly identified as the Sun. It's actually the Review-Journal.</b>

KGO-AM, KCBS win Murrow Awards

KGO-AM and KCBS have won Edward R. Murrow Awards this year from the Radio Television Digital News Association (formerly the Radio-Television News Directors Association). Here's the list. KCBS won in the Audio Continuing Coverage category for its reporting on the San Bruno pipeline explosion (link to entry). KGO won in the category of Audio Sports Reporting for a Scott Littieri feature on a combination barber shop and boxer training gym (link.

East Bay Press Club honors journalists

The East Bay Press Club (no relation to the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club) handed out its awards over the weekend in Oakland. We haven't been able to find a list, but here's the Bay Area News Group story, which says the Chronicle got the most awards at 37 followed by 34 for BANG.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

College plans to put KCSM-TV up for sale

Marilyn Lawrence
The San Mateo County Community College District is planning to sell KCSM-TV to eliminate an ongoing drain on the district’s finances, the San Mateo County Times reports.

"I'm disappointed," KCSM General Manager Marilyn Lawrence said Thursday. "The station has been a legacy to the college. It'll be a great loss to the community."

KCSM-TV already has drawn interest from four possible buyers and could fetch about $5 million, Lawrence said. She noted by way of comparison that public broadcaster WMFE in Orlando, Fla., is being sold to a religious group for more than $3 million.

District board members lamented having to put the station on the market — the school has owned the TV station since 1964 — but they said they had no choice. It’s losing about $800,000 a year despite reducing its budget. KCSM even dropped its PBS affiliation in order to save money.

"As much as we would like to have the TV station, it seems peripheral to our mission as a higher-education, career-training institution," board President Richard Holober said. "We can't continue to carry it as a costly item."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Eric 'Dr. Rock' Isralow, 67, dies

Eric 'Dr. Rock' Isralow
Eric "Dr. Rock" Isralow, a longtime Bay Area radio personality and one of the first rock historians, has died at age 67, the Chronicle reported this morning.

Isralow wrote academic papers on rock 'n' roll and traveled across the country giving lectures on the subject. In the 1980s, he worked at several Bay Area radio stations, including KYA-FM and KSFX-FM.

The night John Lennon was killed, he spoke on KCBS-FM for almost five hours.

"That was an important night for he and I," his brother, Les Isralow, told the Chronicle. "It was the worst thing that had ever happened in music. He was so eloquent. That night, Eric and I became true brothers. In death, as horrible as it is, he made it clear that there was there was still hope and a future."

Isralow was soon asked to be a replacement on the "Old Gold Show" on KCBS-FM. On his show, he interviewed rock stars such as Little Richard, Eric Burdon of the Animals and Phil Everly.
He also wrote a weekly column for the Examiner called Dr. Rock where he tied in music genres of the day with rock 'n' roll history. (Photo credit: Trish Kettering via Chronicle)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bey IV convicted in Chauncey Bailey murder

Bey IV
Jeff Shuttleworth of Bay City News reports that former Your Black Muslim leader Yusuf Bey IV was convicted today of three counts of first-degree murder for the shooting deaths of journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men in Oakland in the summer of 2007.

Bakery associate Antoine Mackey was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, but jurors deadlocked on a third murder charge against him. A mistrial was declared on that charge.

The seven-woman, five-man Alameda County jury delivered its verdict against Bey and Mackey, both 25, after deliberating for 10 days.

Prosecutor Melissa Krum told jurors that Bey ordered the killing of Bailey, 57, to prevent him from writing an article about the bakery's financial problems.

The bakery was in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings when Bailey was gunned down near the corner of 14th and Alice streets in downtown Oakland on Aug. 2, 2007, and closed its doors later that year.

Krum said Bey was also upset at Bailey for writing articles about the child molestation charges that his father, bakery founder Yusuf Bey, was facing at the time of his death at age 67 in 2003. (Photo credit: AP for both photos.)

Sales rep says won't work

"Sales have dropped dramatically so there's a tremendous morale problem within Patch," said one of the hyperlocal website's sales people told "The editorial staff has been worked to death and they've already changed it over once, effectively. The same thing is going on the with sales force."

BusinessInsider didn't name the sales rep who spoke out about The anonymous rep is also quoted as saying:
    • "When it gets down to paying the editors, paying the sales staff, paying the management and the requisite expenses that go along with that, the numbers just do not compute. The advertising cannot support the local Patch model the way it stands. From a dollar standpoint, it simply will not add up."
    • "The problem with Patch is that if you really look at the model, banner ads have been around for 15-20 years online, and it's essentially an old product with a new twist on it from a local news standpoint." 
    • wants to launch a Groupon-like product but hasn't been able to figure out the phone app part.
The anonymous rep blamed a lack of leadership for Patch's problems, saying the company was so hasty in trying to be the first to market in the hyperlocal segment that they "forgot that quality people are essential to getting anything off the ground."

"I've never seen anything as bad as Patch, ever," the rep said.

Patch declined to comment to BusinessInsider.

Jim Romenesko of Poynter has postedM an e-mail from Patch communications vp Jannie Iamunno that gives the company's point of view. Major points include:
    • "Patch is filling the gaps in local journalism. In analyzing study findings for your readers, I hope you’ll consider the below facts on Patch’s growth, commitment to providing hyperlocal news coverage in a prolific and consistent way, and editorial accomplishments via its nearly 1,000 professional journalists." 
    • "Patch currently publishes nearly 5,000 articles per day across its 827 sites, and posts new content every 12 seconds." 
    • "Last week, Patch broke the story of Gov. Chris Christie’s use of a state-funded helicopter to attend his son’s high school baseball game; national outlets including the NYT, WSJ, CNN, NBC News, ABC News, Fox News picked up the story and credited Patch."

Oakland to pay $175,000 to manhandled TV photographer

Oakland's City Council has agreed to pay $175,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a former KGO-TV photographer who claims several police officers attacked him and broke his camera as he tried to film outside a hospital on the day four officers were killed in 2009.

Douglas Laughlin said the incident on March 21, 2009, outside Highland Hospital in Oakland left him traumatized and led to his retirement. He argued that he had a First Amendment right to film from the sidewalk as an ambulance delivered one of the mortally wounded officers to the hospital.

According to the Chronicle:
    The video shows off-duty Officer Fred Shavies running toward Laughlin and yelling, "Hey! Get the f- out of here!" Shavies then knocked Laughlin against a parked car, breaking the camera's viewfinder, according to Laughlin's suit. 
    A group of officers then forced Laughlin away from the hospital and onto East 31st Street. Police proceeded to rope off a section of the street and declare the hospital's emergency-room area a crime scene, which Laughlin's suit said was "manufactured to rationalize" the officers' actions.
    "You guys can't do this to me," Laughlin protests on the video. Sgt. Rich Vierra, who at the time was chief of staff to then-acting Chief Howard Jordan, tells Laughlin, "Sir, look at what we're doing here, man. Sir, that's one of our police officers that got shot. You need to leave."
Laughlin's attorney, Chuck Bourdon, told the Chron, "If these guys would simply acknowledge that they acted unprofessionally on an emotional day, he would have understood. ... Instead, they tried to make him feel like he was wrong."

In agreeing to pay the money, the city did not admit any wrongdoing. Council approved the settlement Tuesday.

SF Weekly accuses Examiner of sexist hiring

Melissa Griffin's
column photo
According to the SF Weekly’s Erin Sherbert, only eight of the 35 newsroom workers at the Examiner are women — way below the average of 35% women in newsrooms nationally, according to the American Society of News Editors.

What’s more, Sherbert says the last nine people hired in the Ex newsroom have been white men.

The Ex, owned by billionaire oilman Phil Anschutz of Denver, has only one female columnist, Melissa Griffin. But the Ex uses a full-body photo of her to accompany her column while the male columnists only get head shots.

One of the Ex's eight women is executive editor Deirdre Hussey, who didn’t respond to Sherbert’s questions. Sherbert pointed out that she used to work in the Ex newsroom, and it was a male dominated place back then, too.

The winner to get the first Jaycee Dugard interview is ...

AP reports that kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard has agreed to give her first interview to ABC’s Diane Sawyer. The "World News Tonight" anchor plans to tape a conversation with Dugard to air in July, just before publication of Dugard's memoir, "A Stolen Life." The book is due out July 12.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Marin IJ confirms it is moving to San Rafael

The Marin Independent Journal announced today that it will abandon its home for the last 30 years in Novato and move into rented space in San Rafael this summer.

Publisher and President David Rounds said in a story printed today the IJ has signed a lease for office space in a four-story building at 4000 Civic Center Drive, across Highway 101 from the Northgate mall.

"This is an exciting move for us. Over the past year the IJ has moved printing to our parent company's (Bay Area News Group) Color Liner presses in Concord. This gives us the ability to publish more color than before," Rounds said in the story. "At the same time, much of the back office work for the IJ has been moved to Bay Area News Group's shared services center. As a result of these moves we have four to five times more space than we need."

The IJ's 60,000-square-foot complex at 150 Alameda del Prado will be put up for sale, he said.

The 23,000-circulation paper's editorial, advertising, circulation, finance and human resources departments will be based at 4000 Civic Center Drive in San Rafael.

The announcement confirms a report in April by's Brent Ainsworth, a former IJ editor. The paper once had a staff of 300 people, but is now down to about 100.

The IJ, Marin's only daily newspaper, was based in downtown San Rafael for most of its 150 years. The newspaper moved from Fifth Avenue and B Street in San Rafael to a new Novato campus in 1981 after it was purchased by Gannett. The IJ was acquired by Denver-based MediaNews Group in 2000.

Marijuana ads helping many publications

Advertising for medical marijuana is taking off, and that's good news for alternative publications such as the Bay Guardian, SF Weekly and East Bay Express, reports Anna Rendall of the nonprofit SF Public Press. And now such ads are cropping up in more staid publications, such as the Chronicle. Rendall says that weed advertising is growing in part because they face fewer regulations than the advertising of cigarettes and alcohol.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tom Raponi to head KTVU/KICU

Tom Raponi, currently vice president and general manager of KICU and director of sales of KTVU and KICU today was named vice president and general manager of KTVU/KICU. 

Raponi will succeed Tim McVay who will become vp and gm of WSB in Atlanta. Raponi’s new role will be effective immediately. 

“Tom has been a part of the Bay Area community for 16 years. He’ll do an outstanding job leading KTVU to deliver the quality news, programming and sales excellence that our viewers and customers have come to expect,” said Jay O’Connor, group vice president of Cox Media Group, which owns KTVU and KICU.

Prior to his roles at KTVU/KICU, he was the general sales manager at KMOV in St. Louis. He also worked as the director of sales for WNYT in Albany, national sales manager and local sales manager of KCNC in Denver, and as a broadcast representative at KATZ Communications in New York. A native of New York, Raponi grew up in Queens and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication Arts from St. John’s University. 

Rita Williams wins TV reporter of year award — local winners of AP awards listed below

Rita Williams
Veteran KTVU reporter Rita Williams received the Chris Harris Reporter of the Year Award at the AP Television and Radio Association's 64th annual Mark Twain Awards in Anaheim on Saturday. The winner of numerous Emmys during her 30 years at Channel 2, she is known for her digging as a reporter. She faced tough competition in the category. Also nominated were Julie Watts of KPIX and John Lobertini, a former PIXer now at KTXL Fox 40 in Sacramento.

Other Bay Area TV winners included:

• Frank Somerville, Julie Haener of KTVU for Best Anchor or Anchor Team.

• Thuy Vu of CBS5, who tied in the best news writing category with Julio Cesar Ortiz of KMEX in Los Angeles.

• Dennis O'Donnell, Kim Coyle, Brian Stittes, Anthony Catchatoorian, Gregg Welk of CBS5 for Best Sports Segment.

• Roberta Gonzales of CBS5 for Best Weather Segment.

• Darren Alan Zulberti, Michael Kelly, Heather Yugo, Julie Haener, Frank Somerville of KTVU for Best Live Coverage of a News Event.

• Julie Watts, Jennifer Casillan of CBS5 for Best Spot News Story for their coverage of a Feb. 17 plane crash in East Palo Alto that killed three people.

• Anna Werner, Abigail Sterling, Gerard Watson, Greg Marasso of CBS5 for Best Investigative Reporting for a story titled "Pupils or Pawns?"

• Anna Werner, Abigail Sterling, Gerard Watson, Greg Marasso of CBS5, who tied for Best Coverage of an Ongoing Story (Smart Meters) with KTVW Phoenix.

• Thuy Vu, Vince Garrido, Greg Marasso, Gerard Watson, Don Fernandez, Sandy Lee, Julie Montes of CBS5 tied for Best Special Program ("Vietnam Revisited") with KNBC Los Angeles.

• Rita Williams, Shannon Oliver, Ron Acker, Anne Onate, Cristina Gastelu of KTVU for Best Serious Feature ("ID Theft").

• Julie Watts of CBS5 for Best Light Feature ("Outsourced: Silicon Valley Students in India").

• Dean C. Smith of KGO-TV for Best Videography of Hard News.

• Abe Mendoza of KGO-TV for Best Videography of Sports.

• Angela Baray, Todd Miyazawa of KNTV NBC Bay Area for Best Assignment Team/Live Breaking News ("San Bruno Explosion").

• "CBS5 Eyewitness News at 11" and Producer Kristine Flores for Best News Broadcast-30 minutes.

• "CBS5 Eyewitness News at 5" and Producer Wilson Walker for Best News Broadcast-60 minutes.

In the radio competition:

• Doug Sovern of KCBS received the Pat Davis Radio Reporter of the Year

• Sovern also won the Bill Stout Award for Enterprise Reporting ("Aftershock: The Ongoing Crisis in Haiti").

• Hal Ramey, Steve Bitker and John Madden of KCBS for Best Sports Segment.

• Bret Burkhart, Chris Brecher, Laura Podolak, Sandra Firpo, Nicole Grigg, Terry Conway, Katy Leaver, Stan Burford, Gary Hansen, Jenna Lane, Rob Artigo of KGO-AM for Best Live Coverage of a News Event (San Bruno Explosion).

• Holly Quan of KCBS for Best Special Program ("After the Fire").

• Doug Sovern of KCBS for Best Serious Feature ("Fire Hero")

• Bret Burkhart and the KGO Radio News Team for Best Use of Sound-Feature ("Believe")

• Bret Burkhart, Chris Brecher, Laura Podolak, Sandra Firpo of KGO for Best News Broadcast More Than 15 Minutes ("The KGO 5 O'clock News")

• Curtiss Kim of KSRO Santa Rosa for Best Radio Serious Feature in the smaller market competition ("North Bay Trails: Homeward Bound")

In the Website division, won the award for Best Use of News Website and the same entry won in the TV category of Best Use of a News Website. KGO-AM won Best News Promo.

Friday, June 3, 2011

David Dietz, investigative reporter, dies at 70

David Dietz, an investigative reporter and editor who worked at the Examiner, the Chronicle, and Bloomberg News, died Wednesday of cancer at his home in Healdsburg. He was 70.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat’s obit said that Dietz's last in-depth article for Bloomberg Markets in March showed how some corporations took federal tax credits meant to reduce poverty and used them instead for developing office buildings and luxury hotels. His report, “Gaming the system,” led the U.S. Treasury Department to announce that it would make changes.

A sense of right and wrong helped make Dietz the “outstanding investigative reporter” he was, said Matthew Winkler, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Bloomberg News.

“Like all great reporters, he had an instinctual awareness of injustice,” Winkler told the Santa Rosa PD. “He never flagged in attempting to infuse that sense of injustice into all of his reporting.”

Dietz had been with Bloomberg News since 2001. Previously he worked at the Chronicle, where he was special projects editor for investigative reporting, and the Examiner, where he met his wife of 24 years, Joanne Derbort, now the Press Democrat’s features and Savor magazine editor. (Photo credit: Bloomberg News)

Stan Whitty, a hands-on circulation director, dies

Stan Whitty, who ran the circulation departments at the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Marin Independent Journal and other newspapers during his career, died May 5 in Lompoc after a long illness. He was 64. The Press Democrat’s obit notes that Whitty wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, and when a carrier wouldn’t show up, he’d deliver the route himself. He was also known for his unique prizes for paperboys who signed up the most subscribers, said Darrell Bertacco, a circulation supervisor at the Press Democrat. One year, he promised to deliver the winning carrier’s route on Easter Sunday morning in a bunny suit. “And he did,” said Bertacco.

Police search newspaper for missing woman

Police searched the offices of the Daily News in Menlo Park and the adjoining warehouse of the San Jose Mercury News in a search for a woman Thursday night who later was found safe at her home in East Palo Alto, the Daily News reported today.

The woman is the wife of a Merc circulation employee. He was concerned that she had disappeared after he had dropped her off hours earlier to use a computer in the warehouse.

Two bloody razors and a cell phone were found next to a computer in the Merc’s warehouse, the Daily News reported.

After the woman was found, she was taken to a hospital for a 72-hour psychiatric hold, police told the Daily News.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Story examines Chron's retreat from suburbs

In its series on layoffs in the Bay Area news business, SF Public Press has posted two more stories today:

The decline of suburban news bureaus. Angela Hart reports that the number of local offices of the Chronicle has gone from nine to one in the past decade. “Now just two bureau reporters, Lee and East Bay columnist Chip Johnson, remain in one office in Oakland that once accommodated nine. All the other satellite offices have shut down, most between 2005 and 2009, leaving Lee to cover breaking news (mostly crime) from Santa Rosa in the north to San Jose in the south to Pittsburg way out east — hundreds of square miles.”

Santa Cruz Sentinel maintains civic coverage despite cuts. Tom Honig describes the secret trip MediaNews Group CEO Dean Singleton made to Santa Cruz to check out the Sentinel before he bid on the newspaper. Honig details the changes at the Sentinel — 30 full-timers compared to 43 in the old days, but the number of stories per edition is up from 25 in 2000 to 33 in 2010. And there has been a sharp drop in wire stories and light features. “One could argue that the Sentinel’s shift to hard news has happened in spite of the paper’s ownership — not because of it,” Honig writes.

Weatherman out of a job over strip club story

Jack Church is no longer the weatherman on KERO 23 (ABC) in Bakersfield after he decided to skip a broadcast to protest a story about strip clubs that he felt was inappropriate for a 5 p.m. newscast, the Bakersfield Californian reports. His contract prohibits him from taking a day off during sweeps, so the station decided he was in breach and let him go.

The newspaper said Church is regarded in some Christian circles as a hero because he put his faith ahead of his career. Church said he thought that appearing on the same newscast as the story implied that he endorsed the story, which he felt was little more than an ad for a strip club.

"I just thought about the young mom who's sitting at home out of work watching that and thinking, 'That's how I can ride out the recession, go work at a strip club.' It just sent the wrong message," he told the Bakersfield paper. News director Todd Karli said he felt the story wasn't promotional but just straightforward coverage. (Photo credit: Alex Horvath, The Calfornian)

Gene Burns has medical scare prior to show

KGO-AM talk show host Gene Burn had a medical scare prior to this show on Wednesday night that resulted in paramedics showing up to the station on Front Street, according to Bay Area media blogger Rich Lieberman. Lieberman said Burns fell to the ground during his pre-show prepping. He was OK, however, and able to do his 7-10 p.m. program. Burns has suffered a number of medical problems in the past year, prompting speculation about whether he's going to be retiring soon.