Saturday, November 19, 2011

Two groups honor College of San Mateo Journalism students, newspaper and website awarded for General Excellence

College of San Mateo Journalism students captured the highest honors Saturday for their newspaper and website, along with individual awards, at a regional conference in Sacramento, just days before presentation of another honor for their coverage of the San Bruno Pipeline Fire.

The first awards were presented during the annual Northern California conference for the Journalism Association of Community Colleges, a statewide group serving community college journalism programs.

The college’s newspaper and website, The San Matean, were honored with General Excellence, the highest awards possible. The awards result from detailed assessments of the newspaper and website in numerous categories, including writing, editing, photography and graphics. The newspaper also was honored last spring for General Excellence by the JACC at its state conference.

Staff writer Jeffrey Gonzalez captured the first place award in the individual, on-the-spot contest for Opinion writing for his coverage of the event’s keynote speaker. Kayla Figard, Editor of The San Matean, also captured second place in the on-the-spot News category for her report on the keynote.

Gonzalez also garnered a second place for Photo Illustration. Yasmine Mahmoud, Managing Editor for The San Matean, received an Honorable Mention in the on-the-spot Copy Editing contest.
“It was excellent to meet other aspiring journalists, participate in workshops with professionals and compete with our future colleagues,” Figard said about the conference. "Our staff walked out of there inspired with ideas they could bring back to the newsroom."

JACC hosts northern and southern conferences each fall and a statewide conference each spring. Nearly 250 students and advisers from 18 colleges attended the event Saturday at Sacramento State University that featured a range of workshops and competitions. The event includes mail-in contests, for which work over the last year is sent in advance for judging, and on-the-spot contests that run during the conference under deadline pressure.

“This kind of honor helps students develop strong portfolios that help them in their four-year studies and in reaching their career goals,” said Ed Remitz, Journalism Professor and Adviser for The San Matean. “It is wonderful that our students were able to react quickly to this devastating event with diligence and compassion, and that professional’s chose to recognize their work.”

CSM Journalism students attended another event Tuesday night in San Francisco when the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter, presented them an Excellence in Journalism award for their coverage of last year’s San Bruno Pipeline Fire coverage. The award was announced on Oct. 18.

“This multimedia package, produced in the midst of a difficult-to-report disaster, demonstrates tenacity, accuracy and fairness,” the SPJ judges wrote about The San Matean’s entries. “The photographs and video captured the impact of the moment, and the reporting was thorough and highly detailed.”

The students who produced the coverage are Margaret Baum, Alex Farr, Raymond Cheung, Mario Ayala, Tyler Huffman, Sylvia Vasquez, Jeffery Gonzalez, Bruno Manrique, Jason Pun, Roger Boucher, Khiry Crawford, Petero Qauqau and Shine Gao.

The SPJ is a respected organization for journalism professionals providing a range of resources, including an ethics code considered fundamental to proper practices within the field. SPJ’S awards are for professionals, but CSM Journalism students collected top honors in its college journalism category — Student Project. About 200 Bay Area print and broadcast professionals attended the event Tuesday night.

The JACC and California College Media Association and Journalism Association of Community Colleges have honored CSM Journalism students in the past year for their San Bruno Pipeline Fire coverage.

This might be the best correction ever

This came over the AP wire Friday night:
    The Associated Press has withdrawn the 12th and 13th Ld-Writethrus of its story about the Natalie Wood investigation. The story mistakenly quoted Christopher Walken as telling Washington, D.C., sports talk radio station ESPN980 about his recollections from the night that Wood died. An Associated Press reporter mistook what was actually a station employee's impersonation of Walken as a real interview.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hearst unveils plans for Fifth and Mission

Hearst Corp. and a developer it hired, Forest City, on Thursday filed plans to redevelop four acres it owns at Fifth and Mission in San Francisco that would include 1.3 million square feet of commercial space. “Probably” the Chronicle would remain on the site, a story by David R. Baker said.

The historic Chron building would stay, something that pleased Mayor Ed Lee. But the former Examiner building on Fifth would be torn down and replaced with an office tower “slightly higher that the InterContinental hotel across the street.” The InterContinental, with 32 stories, is 340 feet and can be seen from miles away. In other words, Hearst and Forest City want to put up a skyscraper (at least by SF standards) next to the Chron.

According to the Chron story:
    “Forest City wants to turn the site into a home for the young tech companies that San Francisco is trying hard to attract and keep. They would share the space with arts organizations - some of which are already housed in the Chronicle building - and small retail shops. A public space on the Chronicle rooftop and a small plaza on the block's interior would give residents and workers spots to relax and meet.”
Of course the plans filed Thursday with the city are just the opening salvo in what could be a battle over the development. One concern is that the project could lead to the gentrification of the South of Market neighborhood to the southwest.

However, the plans don’t include the Chieftain Irish Pub or the Tempest, two well-loved bars near the Chron.

Marin County’s Commuter Times sold

The Commuter Times, a weekly distributed at ferry terminals in Larkspur and Sausalito as well as to news racks near bus lines in Marin County, has been sold to the former executive of USA Today and the Marin IJ.

According to the IJ, Doreen Burgin of Novato, who had been running the paper after her husband Al Burgin died three years ago, sold the paper to Fred Conner of Petaluma. Conner served as field operations manager for USA Today, director of operations for the Marin Independent Journal, and briefly as publisher of the Marinscope community newspapers. He’s now co-owner of Marin Sun Printing Inc. in San Rafael, which has been printing the Times.

The paper was founded in 1992 by Burgin and her husband, Albert "Al" Burgin, who had a long career at the San Francisco Examiner before founding the Commuter Times and the San Francisco Real Estate Journals.

The Commuter Times stopped printing in August, but Conner resumed publishing this week.

The paper features transportation-related articles, local news, a crossword puzzle, games, movie and local theater reviews and a club-and-pubs feature.

Conner said the paper's low overhead makes its advertising rates affordable to small businesses on tight budgets. The paper has no permanent employees; all of the work is done by independent contractors.

More layoffs may be coming to MNG

Ouch! After a painful round of layoffs at the MediaNews Group papers in the Bay Area, more be on the way. At least that’s one way to read a New York Times profile of CEO John Paton. He came from the Journal Register Company, which has papers in Ohio, New Jersey and other states in that part of the country.

His strategy is “outsourcing most operations other than sales and editorial, focusing on the cost side that might include further layoffs, stressing digital sales over print sales with incentives, and using relationships with the community to provide some of the content in their newspapers.”

While print ads pay the bills at most newspapers, Paton “is absolutely convinced that if newspapers are to survive, they will all but have to set themselves on fire, eventually forsaking print and becoming digital news operations.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Did you get a BANG buyout offer? Reporter is trying to figure out what happened

The website, which tracks buyouts and layoffs in the U.S. newspaper industry, is trying to track down information on the BANG layoffs a few weeks ago. Walnut Creek Patch reported that 24 employees were laid off and 10 more "voluntarily resigned." Erica Smith of wants to know if those 10 who supposedly resigned on their own actually accepted a buyout offer. So if you were one of those 10, or if you know what happened, you can contact her at

Design director promoted to publisher of the Half Moon Bay Review

Montara resident and Half Moon Bay Review design director Bill Murray has been named publisher of that newspaper, replacing Debra Hershon, who is retiring.

Murray has worked at the Review since 2005 and a story about his promotion noted that he has deep roots in the community and is a well respected newspaper man with a

host of design awards.

In 1997, he was hired as a designer and illustrator for the Palo Alto Weekly and was quickly promoted to design director for the Weekly's sister newspapers, the Mountain View Voice and Menlo Park Almanac.

"Working for a weekly newspaper is very satisfying," Murray said. "There is an intense amount of work, but the payoff is being able to see evidence of your labor around town and in the hands of readers."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chinese, Japanese journos in Hawaii pressured not cover Falun Gong protests, says news site

A reporter for Honolulu’s Civil Beat website, which has won journalism awards, says that journalists working for Chinese and Japanese media from New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco won’t report on protests by worshipers of the Falun Gong sect at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Honolulu. Apparently some are fearful of retaliation by their censors in China.

NBC Bay Area to launch i-team, hires 2 reporters

Look out Dan Noyes! NBC Bay Area is launching an i-team early next year. A press release from NBC Bay Area says the station has hired two reporters for its investigative efforts:

• Tony Kovaleski, an investigative reporter at KMGH-TV, the ABC affiliate in Denver, since 2001. Previously he worked for KIEM-TV in Eureka, KTVN-TV in Reno, KTVK-TV and KNXV-TV in Phoenix, and KPRC-TV in Houston. He was born in Michigan but grew up in San Jose. Here's how the Denver Post covered his departure.

• Jenna Susko, a general assignment reporter for WPMI-TV, the NBC affiliate in Mobile, Ala. Here’s her bio.

Richard Cerussi, president and GM of NBC Bay Area, said, “As we increase our investment in high-quality local journalism, we are very pleased to welcome these two investigative journalists to the Bay Area and into our newsroom. … Tony and Jenna are the first of many new team members who will allow us to bring Bay Area viewers more of the kind of in-depth investigations that result in positive change.”

Valari Dobson Staab, who employed Noyes when she was GM of ABC7, jumped to NBC in May to become its president of its O&Os. And now NBC is launching an i-team. Maybe it's just a coincidence.

Private investigators in HP spying case may get jail time, company execs skated

The HP execs who told their security personnel to snoop on reporters covering the company were either let off the hook or given hand-slaps. But the Florida father-and-son team of private investigators who were hired by a contractor for HP went before U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of San Jose on Wednesday (Nov. 9), where their plea agreement (which is apparently secret) was discussed. CNET quotes Judge Koh as saying, “There’s no reason to do this hastily.” It’s only been four years since HP began snooping on journalists. “This could be 10 [months], 12 [months], a year in jail.”

CNET’s Michelle Meyers wrote:
    The DePante's Melbourne, Fla.-based private investigation firm, Action Research Group, was hired indirectly by HP (through another contractor) and used the now illegal practice of "pretexting," which involves obtaining personal information under false pretenses. 
    Among the journalists and board members targeted were three CNET News reporters and one reporter's father, according to court documents filed by assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Cheng. Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Business Week reporters were also targeted in the HP investigations. 
    The two directed other investigators, who posed as account holders or employees of phone companies, to fraudulently obtain personal information including phone numbers, date of birth, Social Security numbers, call logs, billing records and subscriber information, according to the court documents.
HP's chair at the time, Patricia Dunn, had all charges against her dropped even though she ordered the company's security team to find out who was leaking information about private board of director meetings.

Dunn claimed she didn't know about the methods HP's investigators used to spy on journalists. After she was charged, Dunn argued that she was dying from Stage IV ovarian cancer, which was a factor in the decision by Santa Clara County prosecutors to drop charges.

Dunn remains alive today, four years later. She is married to William Jahnke, a former head of Wells Fargo Investment Advisors. The couple owns a winery in Australia, a home in Hawaii and property in Orinda.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Examiner sold to group that includes Canadian publisher

Billionaire oilman Phil Anschutz has agreed to sell the San Francisco Examiner to an investor group that includes the owner of Black Press, a Canadian firm that owns more than 170 community papers in Vancouver and northern Washington state as well as the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal and the Honolulu Star Advertiser in the U.S.

Black Press also has a stake in the private equity group that bought the San Diego Union Tribune from the Copley family in 2009.

The company is headed by David H. Black (no relation to disgraced Canadian publishing mogul Conrad Black), who has been looking for newspapers to buy, now that their prices have declined.

"Black has a reputation for operating leanly but with some imagination and business flair," said the Poynter Institute's Rick Edmonds in this piece about the sale of the Union Tribune.

In 2008, the Examiner
put its endorsement of
John McCain and Sarah
Palin on its cover
"I sat at the same table as Black during the luncheon where Hillary Clinton spoke at last year’s Newspaper Association of America convention, awkwardly overhearing a business conversation with a colleague before I realized who he was," Edmonds wrote. "The talk confirmed what I had heard secondhand — that Black was an optimist about the business and a potential buyer when many were bailing out."

The Examiner was founded in 1863 as the Democratic Press, a pro-slavery paper that opposed Abraham Lincoln. Its offices were burned down two years later and the paper resumed publishing as the Daily Examiner.

According to legend, mining engineer and entrepreneur George Hearst acquired the Examiner in 1880 as partial payment of a poker debt. When he was elected to the U.S. Senate, he turned the money-losing paper over to his son, William Randolph Hearst, who went on to build a newspaper empire with the Examiner as its flagship. Among the writers whose bylines appeared in the paper were Jack London and Mark Twain.

Fast forward to the 1950s. At the start of the decade, San Francisco had four daily newspapers. Within a few years though, the San Francisco Call-Bulletin would merge with Scipps-Howard's San Francisco News, becoming the News-Call Bulletin. Then, in 1965, the News-Call Bulletin merged with the Examiner.

At that point, the Examiner and Chronicle entered into a joint operating agreement in which the two would share the same advertising staff and presses but operate separate newsrooms. The Chronicle would continue to print in the mornings, Monday-Saturday. The Examiner remained an afternoon paper. On Sundays, two papers put out one edition, with the news sections being produced by the Examiner and the feature pages by the Chronicle.

That arrangement lasted until 2000 when Hearst bought the Chronicle for a reported $660 million and was forced by the U.S. Justice Department's Antitrust Division to sell the Examiner to the politically connected Fang family, then publishers of the Independent newspapers in San Francisco and San Mateo County. Hearst was also forced to pay the Fangs a subsidy of $66 million.

Paid circulation dropped and in 2003, the Examiner became a free daily and switched from a broadsheet to tabloid. A year later, the Fang family sold the Examiner and its printing plant to Anschutz. He brought a conservative voice to San Francisco media, going as far as to endorse John McCain and Sarah Palin on the front page.

Anschutz's newspaper company, Clarity Media, used the Examiner name to start similar papers in Baltimore (which closed in 2009) and Washington, D.C. The Examiner name is also used on the company's national website, which has thousands of bloggers who are paid based on the number of pageviews their stories get.

In September, Anschutz bought the daily paper in Oklahoma City. With that acquisition and Clarity's Washington Examiner, it was "clear that owning a single newspaper asset on the West Coast was no longer consistent with our evolving business plan," said Clarity CEO Ryan McKibben in a statement yesterday.

The deal is expected to close on Nov. 30. The sale price hasn't been disclosed, and may not become public since both the buyer and seller are privately held.

The group buying the Examiner includes David Black, Todd Vogt and Pat Brown. Vogt will be President and CEO while Brown will be chief financial officer.

Correction: An earlier version of this posting incorrectly said that Black Press was buying the Examiner. Actually, it is the investor group described in the previous paragraph.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November 2012 Press Club board minutes

Nov. 2, 2011 — San Mateo Daily Journal offices

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

The meeting was called to order at 6:40 p.m. by Marshall.

MINUTES: September minutes Approved as submitted.

FINANCIALS: Darryl reported that the Boot Camp refreshments cost $250.38, but we received a $100 donation from SFBAPPA through Paul Sakuma. He said he hasn’t received any receipts from the picnic yet, so the costs for it remain at zero.

Darryl reported that membership is up to 140. The report was accepted as presented.

BOOT CAMP: ed reported that everyone at the College of San Mateo was happy with the way the event went. He added that the club will not be charged for any services since the event was considered to be co-sponsored by The San Matean.

Micki estimated that 167 students attended from the following schools: Sequoia, Serra, Burlingame, Carlmont, Gunn, San Mateo, Notre Dame, Aragon, Washington Fremont, Mercy, Mills, Santa Clara, Jefferson, Eastside Prep and Summit Prep. There didn’t appear to be any glitches and everyone felt the “bookended” presentations (speaker R.B.Brenner and the student panel) worked very well. It was suggested that we try to book Jim Wagstaffe now and choose our date for next year around his availability. Topics suggested for next year: AP style, ethics and video-editing.
Micki noted that Dave Price suggested posting speaker handouts on our website along with links to resources.

BOARD ELECTION: Officers and board members for the coming year were discussed. Marshall agreed to continue as president for a second year, and Ed will continue as treasurer. Since Micki is leaving the board, Antonia volunteered to be secretary. Marshall will contact Melissa to see if she wants to continue as vice president and Dave and Peter to see if they will continue as directors. There will be at least one open director’s slot.

As far as committee assignments, Micki will be giving up responsibilities for the newsletter, high school awards and high school Boot Camp. Ed agreed to take on the Boot Camp and Laura will assume the production of the newsletter after the next edition. Antonia will assist Darryl with the high school competition.

The ballot will be distributed with the newsletter next week, and returns will be counted for the annual meeting Dec. 14.

CHRISTMAS PARTY: The party will be in the Janet Parker Beck Press Room at the Hall of Justice from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 14. This will also be the club’s annual meeting.

SAN MATEO TIMES WAKE Micki announced that the wake at The Broadway in Redwood City was a great success. More than 45 people attended.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Micki Carter, Secretary

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bill Mann’s TV-radio column ends

Bill Mann’s column today for BANG will be his last after 28 years of covering the local radio and TV beat. He was told by his editor in Alameda that he was part of this most recent wave of layoffs at BANG.

Mann was the Oakland Tribune’s radio-TV columnist under publisher Bob Maynard for over a decade, then went to the Hearst-owned Examiner as TV-radio columnist. He also worked as a newswriter at KTVU Channel 2.

He still does a radio show on the media Tuesdays at 4 on KSRO-AM 1350 in Santa Rosa as well as working as the senior media analyst on Norman Goldman's national radio show (heard here on KKGN-AM Green 960).

Mann has moved to Port Townsend, Wash., where he now covers Canada for San Francisco-based Readers can see his MarketWatch columns here.

BANG newsroom cuts: 10 quit, 24 laid off

Of the 34 newsroom positions cut by BANG this week, 10 were by voluntary resignations and the rest were firings, according to a report by Walnut Creek Patch.
Patch said those who left BANG include:
    • David Newhouse, longtime sportswriter and columnist for the Oakland Tribune; 
    • Steve Waterhouse, editor of the (Fremont) Argus and the (Hayward) Daily Review; 
    • Barry Caine, former movie critic for the Oakland Tribune and an entertainment editor for the Contra Costa Times; 
    • David Boitano, editor of the Berkeley Voice and El Cerrito Journal.
If you know of other names, email the Press Club at

One point overlooked in the news about the cuts is that BANG will halt home delivery on Mondays of the Oakland Tribune, The (Fremont) Argus and The (Hayward) Daily Review, starting sometime in November. The Monday papers will still be available at retail outlets, news racks and other locations, and there will also be electronic versions.

UPDATE: Nov. 8:, edited by Ron Russell, has identified additional layoff victims. We added their titles. Let us know if any of these titles are incorrect.
    • Karim Amara, CC Times multimedia producer;
    • Patrick Brown, copy editor;
    • Dottie Burdine, San Mateo County Times editorial assistant;
    • Chris Campos, Hayward Daily Review managing editor;
    • Laura Casey, features and arts writer, Oakland Tribune;
    • Dean Coppola, CC Times photographer;
    • Andrea Daum, state/regional editor;
    • James Gayles, graphic artist;
    • Anthony Gonzalez, Hayward sports desk;
    • Emmanuel Lopez;
    • Eric Louie, San Ramon Valley/Alamo/Danville reporter;
    • Shelly Meron, El Cerito/Albany/Kensington Journal;
    • Jennifer Modenessi, arts writer;
    • David Morrill, business reporter;
    • Tony Nguyen, sports copy editor;
    • Jonathan Okanes, Cal football writer;
    • Rick Radin, reporter, Pittsburg, Bay Point;
    • Nicholas Roth;
    • Jack Rux, Mercury News copy editor;
    • Vicki Walker, copy editor
Patch has one more name to add to the list -- Chris Metinko, who covered Alameda County for BANG.