Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Karola Saekel, pioneering female journalist, dies

The Chronicle reports that Karola Saekel, who helped lead the way for women journalists in the Bay Area, died on Monday of complications from cancer at age 81. From the obit:
    In 1955, after covering Munich as a young reporter in her native Germany, she applied for a job at The Chronicle. She was told that she seemed like "a nice girl," but that the metro section already had a female reporter. 
    Management "really believed back then that you only had one 'sob sister' in the newsroom," said William German, former Chronicle executive editor. "Karola gave the finger to that old-boy establishment." 
    The young journalist set her sights on working at The Chronicle. She wheedled her way in through a copy editor position in Women's World, a daily section focused primarily on society news. She used to tell younger reporters that she kept a pair of white gloves and a hat in her desk drawer if she had to run outside the building to do an interview.
Plans for a memorial service are pending.

Vince Young departs KRON parent company

Vince Young, the broadcasting executive who paid a record $832 million for KRON only to see the station’s value drop like a rock after it lost its NBC affiliation, has resigned from the company that bears his family’s name, according to TVNewsCheck.com. His exit isn’t a surprise after a group of creditors removed him as CEO last August and made him “non-executive chairman.” A lawsuit he filed for $2 million in compensation has been settled, board member Tony Cassara told TVNewsCheck. Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed. After Young Broadcasting went through bankruptcy, the company changed its name to New Young Broadcasting. It was founded by Young's father, Adam.

Old Marin County paper's editions now online

It is possible now to read an 1891 edition of the old Marin County Journal newspaper online thanks to the Marin County Free Library. The library has revamped its website to include a searchable database (www.marinlibrary.org) of local history including scanned editions of the old Marin County Journal newspaper, the predecessor of the Marin Independent Journal. The IJ reports that the online newspaper archive uses an "optical character recognition" technology that allows users to search for words within the scanned pages. The newspaper pilot project covers the periods of 1861-66 and 1919-20, although the library is seeking grants and donations to expand it.

Marin IJ celebrates 150th anniversary

Employees of the Marin County Journal, predecessor
of the Marin Independent Journal, gather for
 work in 1908. Photos from the IJ's website.

Speaking about the Marin IJ, that paper celebrated its 150th anniversary last week.

The first edition was just four pages, printed one at a time on a hand-operated press, according to an anniversary story that ran Wednesday. “Marinites eagerly bought the Journal for news of the Civil War and stories about the growing pains of California. The weekly's owners editorialized often and stoutly in defense of the Union,” the story said.

Later in the paper’s history, in 1970 and 71, a strike at the paper became “the biggest labor upheaval of the century in Marin County.”
    San Francisco Typographical Union Local 21 went on strike at the IJ in January 1970 in a dispute marked by riots, vandalism, firebombings and murder. The strike dragged on until fall 1971, when the union lost an election at the paper. Alan W. Daly, the IJ's 30-year-old production systems manager, was killed when two teens burst into his home and shot him. The two served three years in prison, and the union member who hired them got life. Daly's widow settled a suit with the union for $1.6 million, and the IJ collected $1.1 million after settling a conspiracy suit.
Here's a link to an editorial that the IJ ran on its 150th birthday.

Last year, the IJ was honored by the California Newspaper Publishers Association as the best newspaper of its size in the state. In addition to the award for General Excellence, the IJ also won top honors for Freedom of Information, best Opinion pages and best editorial cartoon.

The IJ's daily circulation today is about 30,000. Its website, www.marinij.com, averages more than 2 million page views a month. The combination of print and digital distribution means the IJ's readership has never been greater.

The IJ moved its operations from downtown
San Rafael to Novato in 1981. IJ photo by
Stuart Lirette.

Proposal would increase access to information

Santa Clara County may soon get a sunshine law that would increase public access to information, the Mercury News reports. Dave Cortese, president of the county board of supervisors, said he would like to see county reports posted a week before public meetings, fewer last-minute memos that the public doesn’t see before a meeting, and expanded video coverage of public hearings.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

NASA Invites Media to Open Source Summit

Journalists are invited to attend NASA's first open source software development summit Tuesday and Wednesday, March 29-30, at the agency's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PDT on both days.

The event will bring together engineers, policy makers and members of the open source community. They will discuss challenges within the existing open source policy framework and propose modifications to enhance NASA's development, release and use of software.

Tsengdar Lee, the agency's acting chief technology officer for information technology, Nicholas Skytland, director of NASA's Open Government Initiative, and other participants, will be available for interviews from noon to 1 p.m. on both days.

To register for the event, reporters should contact Cristina LeClerc at 650-604-2303 or cristina.k.leclerc@nasa.gov by 4 p.m. on Monday, March 28. All other inquiries and interview requests should be directed to Jessica Culler at 650-604-4789 or jessica.culler@nasa.gov.

For information about the summit, including speaker biographies and the agenda, visit:

For more information about Ames, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ames

Bomb in newspaper explodes in Vacaville

Initial reports this morning suggested that bombs had been placed in newspapers delivered to Vacaville residents, and that one had gone off, injuring a resident.

Police evacuated the residents of 12 homes near the explosion and called homes in several other neighborhoods to warn them not to pick up their Sunday paper.

Turns out, after further investigation, that only one bomb was placed in a newspaper. The man who picked up that paper was airlifted to a hospital, and his injuries were not life-threatening, police told KTVU.

Vacaville PIO Mark Mazzaferro denied reports of multiple explosives being discovered, as was reported earlier.

Travis Air Force Base personnel and bomb-sniffing dogs were brought in, as were Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives personnel and the California Highway Patrol's bomb squad, Bay City News reported.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Google corrects bug that removed Berkeley news site from search rankings

Google News is once again indexing the local news site Berkeleyside.com after dropping it on Saturday.

Google changed its algorithm on Feb. 24 to lower the search rankings of content farms and other low quality websites, but Berkeleyside shouldn’t have been hurt since it is run by three professional journalists, Lance Knobel, Frances Dinkelspiel and Tracey Taylor.

Berkeleyside tried to contact Google to find out what happened and correct the situation, but they weren’t able to reach anyone.

“There is no real way to communicate with Google so we are trying to spread the word. If this happens to us, it can happen to other hyper local sites,” Dinkelspiel wrote on Wednesday morning in an e-mail to other journalists with the subject line, “How Google can squeeze a hyper local news site.”

Soon several journalists covering social media and online journalism began tweeting the story, including Felix Salmon of Reuters, David Carr of the NY Times and Scott Rosenberg of Wordbugs, Dan Gillmor and Dave Winer.

The fusillade of tweets worked.

Wednesday afternoon, a Google engineer and Berkeleyside reader contacted Berkeleyside's Lance Knobel and told him that a bug in the system caused the problem. It wasn’t a deliberate snub by Google to hurt a local news site.

Knobel lists the lessons he learned from this experience on his davosnewbies.com blog. He points out it was “helpful to be producing a vital news source in the Bay Area, where we’re almost bound to have readers who work at Google (and just about any other tech giant you can think of). If we were somewhere else in the world, perhaps we could have gathered the same forces in support, but I think the direct connection to at least one Googler who looks to us for news helped.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

'Don't ever touch me again, Pretty Boy'

Matier & Ross report that a couple of the reporters covering the Chauncey Bailey trial got into a heated argument at the Alameda County Courthouse. Witnesses tell M&R that KTVU's John Sasaki tugged Bay Area News Group reporter Tom Peele with his hand, hoping to get the reporter out of the line of sight of his photographer. "Peele glowered at Sasaki, then sputtered, 'Don't ever touch me again, Pretty Boy,'" M&R wrote. Sasaki kept his cool but after the news conference, Peele got into the TV newsman's face and let loose with an expletive-laced tirade. Peele was eventually pulled away by another reporter, M&R reported. Sasaki later told M&R that it was "no big deal" and Peele called it a "minor incident ... the sort of thing that happens all the time" when reporters jockey for position during a news conference.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chauncey Bailey murder trial opens

A spent shotgun shell fired from the gun that killed journalist Chauncey Bailey was found in the bedroom of former Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV the next day, a prosecutor said today during opening statements in Bailey's murder trial in Oakland, according to the Contra Costa Times. Bey IV and bakery member Antoine Mackey Mackey are on trial for Bailey's death and the unrelated killings of two other men in summer 2007. Deputy District Attorney Melissa Krum said Bey IV's motive in having Bailey killed was to stop him from writing about the bakery's financial troubles in the Oakland Post, where Bailey was editor.

Entries wanted for California Journalism Awards

Sacramento State's Center for California Studies is accepting entries for its annual California Journalism Awards. The awards were established in 1994 to recognize excellence in reporting on California state government and politics. Awards will be given in three print divisions – daily coverage, enterprise reporting and blogs – as well as radio and television. A cash prize of $500 will accompany each award. Also, the Katharine M. Macdonald Award will be given to a student journalist and is accompanied by a $300 prize. The deadline to enter is April 14. Here's a link with details.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Storify offers new way to tell stories

A San Francisco startup Storify, which represents a new way of telling stories using online media, appears to be gaining momentum with an infusion of $2 million in angel funding. Storify allow journalists (or anyone else) to put together a story around a gathering of Tweets, Flickr photos, Facebook status updates, YouTube videos and other materials. Once you’ve created the story, you can embed it in your blog, Facebook page or other content management system.

“This little company has built a revolutionary new platform for publishing and distributing stories. More than any other tool out there, it makes it easy for you, the writer, to add content from Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and other social media sites to your story with a simple "drop and drag" function,” writes David Weir of 7x7.com.

Local congresswoman fights for NPR

Palo Alto Congresswoman Anna Eshoo led the opposition in the House on Thursday against a Republican move to strip National Public Radio of federal funding. Eshoo is the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology which oversees broadcasting. “We have many emergencies to deal with in our country, but attacking and crippling NPR is hardly an emergency,” Rep. Eshoo said, according to TheState.com While the measure passed in the House, it is unlikely to win approval in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

KQED filmmaker Allen Willis dies

Allen Willis, a pioneering African-American filmmaker who documented significant periods in San Francisco Bay area history, died Feb. 23 in Oakland at age 94, according to Variety.

According to the East Bay Media Center, which houses his archives, Willis became the first African American in California broadcast journalism when he took a job at San Francisco's KQED television in 1963. Before that, he studied under photographer Ansel Adams.

Variety says that in Willis’ 25 years at KQED, he made films chronicling major events and cultural movements, including "The Other America," about Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1967 "white backlash" speech at Stanford; 1970 documentary "Stagger Lee," an interview with incarcerated Black Panther leader Bobby Seale; and a film exploring the psychedelic drug experience.

Hank Rubin, food and wine journalist, dies

Hank Rubin, the longtime wine editor for Bon Appétit magazine, as well as a wine columnist for the Chronicle in the 1970s and '80s, and host of a KQED radio show, died Feb. 24 at age 94, according to the Bay Area News Group.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Job opening at Bay Area Parent

The Press Club is pleased to post job openings for news organizations in the Bay Area. Bay Area Parent is seeking a part-time (20 hours a week) associate editor:
    Work with a great team in planning, assigning, editing and writing content on a range of parenting topics for print, website, social networking sites and enewsletters. 
    Duties include: editing local stories and calendars, writing newsletters, copyediting, working with designers and contributing to a variety of online publications. Flexible hours and most of the work done from home. Very occasional in-person meetings. 
    Qualifications: Knowledge/interest/passion in parenting and child-related issues. 
    E-mail cover letter, resume and work samples to jill.wolfson@parenthood.com (No phone calls, please). Bay Area Parent, a division of Dominion Enterprises, is an equal opportunity employer and supports a diverse workforce. Drug Testing Employer.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

SFPD revokes press passes from several online media outlets

The San Francisco Police Department has revoked press passes from several online news outlets after receiving complaints from major media organizations. The online journalists are calling for an agency that's separate from police to decide who should receive the passes.

Blogger Michael Petrelis appears to be the first journalist to report that police were revoking press passes, and his report includes an e-mail from Lt. Troy Dangerfield explaining the revocation. Here's a link to the SF Appeal's report. Independent journalist Josh Wolf has looked into the problem and sent the Press Club the following report:
    While police policy specifically states that press passes are reserved for outlets that regularly cover fires and breaking police news, these official passes also allow reporters access to government events and entitle them to sit in the press section during Board of Supervisor meetings. 
    “I was literally in shock when they were saying that I wouldn't be able to use my press pass,” said Bill Wilson, a freelance photographer who has covered San Francisco for more than five years, and used his press pass to cover President Barack Obama's flight into San Francisco International Airport. 
    Lt. Troy Dangerfield, a police spokesman, told me that although the police hold press conferences in a room that's big enough to hold every interested reporter, other facilities, such as the room the mayor uses for press conferences, are much smaller. People from the major networks complained that they were being crowded out by their independent counterparts, and the police department responded by revoking the press passes of any reporters who hadn't recently covered a breaking news story involving the police or fire departments, said Dangerfield. 
    Reporting for the San Francisco Sentinel, one of several outlets now without a police-issued press pass, Pat Murphy writes that Dangerfield told him the complaints were “from, but not limited to, KGO and KTVU.” 
    But when reached by phone, both KGO-TV news director Kevin Keeshan and KTVU senior assignment editor Tony Bonilla were adamant that their stations never requested the police revoke anyone's press passes. 
    When asked about the conflicting stories, Dangerfield said that all he told Murphy was the complaints came from “the major media.” He said that he cited only KGO and KTVU as examples of major media, and that he never suggested they were the specific source of the complaint. 
    Dangerfield would not identify the media outlets that complained. He said they had approached him in confidence, and he would only tell me it was “major news organizations and individuals.”
    When I suggested that the information should be available under the California Public Records Act, Dangerfield implied my request would likely be fruitless and compared it to requesting the identity of someone who tips off the police to a crime. In this case the crime would be abusing the police press pass, he suggested. 
    Dangerfield said that the passes issued by his department could potentially be abused by dishonest reporters and said that the passes can even be used to get discount tickets to Disneyland. 
    He said that any reporters who want to have their press pass reinstated simply must begin covering fires and police events. Dangerfield said that this is the purpose of the police press pass, and that journalists can always print their own press passes to help identify themselves as reporters. 
    He said that the police press passes are not designed to gain access to events at City Hall and that other city agencies are free to create their own press accreditation procedures. 
    But Dangerfield offered no evidence that the major media's complaints had anything to do with their struggle to cover fires or other incidents involving the police — the specified function of the passes. Instead, he said mainstream media complained to him that “we always have to be in the back,” a gripe far more common during scheduled press conferences than when news breaks.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Has anybody seen Neil Henry?

The last we heard about the dean of the UC-Berkeley j-school was in October 2010 when he had been hospitalized for an undisclosed illness. If you know anything, please send us an e-mail.

Karel returning to KGO

Karel, who was fired by KGO NewsTalk 810 in 2008 after shouting obscenities on the air during a news report about "Joe the Plumber," is returning to that station.

Listeners heard about it last night from Marty Nemko, a career coach, said he wanted to talk about lessons he had learned from being fired from previous jobs. At that point, Nemko noted that he was being let go by KGO, and that his last show would be on Sunday, March 20. He said that Karel would be getting the 7-10 p.m. slot on Saturdays and Sundays beginning March 26. (Here’s KGO’s new schedule.)

Merc's Patty Fisher announces retirement

Patty Fisher is retiring at the end of the week after 30 years at the Mercury News. She announced her departure in her column today (Monday). “Yup, I'm giving up my wonderful columnist gig and going to work for The Health Trust, a foundation committed to making Silicon Valley a healthier place. I'll still be working for the community and for the causes about which I care (note my proper grammar!) but I'll be more directly involved in shaping policy, which I find exciting.” The grammar comment was in response to a reader who claims he stops reading her column as soon as he finds a grammatical error.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Former Santa Rosa publisher Evert Person dies

Evert Person
Evert Bertil Person, former publisher of The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, died Tuesday at his winter home in the Palm Springs area of Riverside County at age 96. The PD reported that he had been in failing health for a month and died of complications from pneumonia. He retired from the newspaper business in 1985. His family started the paper and he sold it to The New York Times Co. in 1985 for an undisclosed amount. Through two charitable foundations and on his own, Person donated about $40 million to the community including the city of Santa Rosa, Sonoma State University, Sonoma County Museum, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and the Burbank Center for the Arts.

MediaNews accused of selling paid links

The UK-based eConsultancy, which focuses on best practices for digital marketing and e-commerce, has accused three MediaNews Group newspapers of selling links on their websites to boost their page rankings by search engines. The paid links are featured at the bottom of pages on the San Jose Mercury News, Marin Independent Journal and Oakland Tribune websites under the headling "Featured Links" (See below). Such links, eConsultancy says, are a violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines. The links are for things like "Payday Loans," "Psychic Reading" and "Private Jet Sales." Patricio Robles of eConsultancy points out that this isn't the first time a publisher has been caught selling links. But "in the case of MediaNews Group, there's little more than a shameless 'stick-a-bunch-of-links-in-the-footer' approach, which in my opinion, reflects a total lack of respect for readers."

The bottom of the Merc's main page.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

CSM journalism students land top awards

College of San Mateo Journalism students were honored Saturday with a trio of prestigious awards for their coverage of last year’s San Bruno fire, a fatal East Palo Alto plane crash and a First Amendment controversy on their campus.

The California College Media Association presented the awards during a presentation in Hollywood. The CCMA, which serves four-year colleges and universities, began allowing two-year community college journalists to compete against its members in 2010.

The CSM students captured the first place awards for Best Special Section for coverage last September of the San Bruno fire. The students published an array of stories and photographs to cover the event in a four-page section of their newspaper, The San Matean. The newspaper’s website also carried timely coverage and video reporting.

“Well-written and thoughtful coverage of a disaster stands tall against entries submitted by four-year schools,” the judges wrote about The San Matean’s team coverage.

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

Students Alex Farr and Bruno Manrique also collected first place honors in the Best Breaking News Story category for coverage in February 2010 of a plane that crashed into an East Palo home, killing all three on board. The residence was home to a CSM student.

“The story provided a good campus link to a very big local story,” the judges wrote. “The writers provided a mix of first-hand reaction from the student victim and information about the status of the investigation. …”

Former CSM student Margaret Baum, now a journalism major at San Jose State University, received a third place in the Best Editorial category for her writing about a longtime First Amendment controversy involving the administration and campus press. Another journalism group, the Journalism Association of Community Colleges, honored Baum last November for the same work. The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club honored Baum with a $1,500 Herb Caen Scholarship last year.

This is the second year of CCMA awards for CSM Journalism students. They won last year for ongoing coverage of the stabbing death of a Skyline College student, in-depth reporting on budget woes, feature writing and column writing. The San Matean, which is produced every two weeks, competes in the less-than-weekly newspaper category. Journalism advisers submitting work for competition are required to sign an oath ensuring they have not edited work by the students.

“It’s really cool that we’re competing against four-year colleges and still winning first place,” said Kayla Figard, editor of The San Matean. “Even if we hadn’t won awards, we would have still been proud of the coverage we did because it prepared our students for working in professional news organizations.”

“Our students continue striving to learn by developing their skills and applying them in service to their community,” said Ed Remitz, CSM Journalism Professor. “It is pleasing to see our students perform so well in a four-year college environment. These student successes demonstrate why authentic journalism programs are vital for colleges in offering rich learning opportunities.”

Jack Craemer, led IJ for three decades, dead at 94

Jack Craemer, former editor and co-publisher of the Marin Independent Journal, died Thursday (March 3) at his San Rafael home. He was 94.

He joined the IJ in 1947 and became its managing editor in 1949. From 1966 to 1980 he was the paper's editor and shared co-publisher duties with Wishard Brown. The two men sold the paper in 1980 and retired from the newspaper business.

The IJ says a service is planned for 11 a.m. Thursday (March 10) at Trinity Lutheran Church in San Rafael. Trinity Lutheran Church is at 333 Woodland Ave. The family requests memorial donations be made to a favorite charity.

Chinese paper: Sheen ignored 'presidential' father's advice

Charlie and Martin Sheen
This has nothing to do with the Bay Area journalism scene, but we thought we'd pass along a link to a remarkable column in the main Chinese Communist Party newspaper, Global Times, and its take on Charlie Sheen. The point of the column is that the Sheen controversy would have never happened in China because of their superior culture. In the second to the last graf, the editorial says:
    He ignored his own father's advice to keep quiet, who was once the president of the US. Sheen is a disgrace, unfilial to his father and his fatherland.
Well, Martin Sheen did play the president on "The West Wing."

Other quotes from this column:
    Sheen attracted 1 million Twitter followers in just 24 hours, yet more evidence that microblogs spread the most unhealthy contagions in society like a disease. Chinese family, coworkers, or the authorities would have taken firm steps to make sure someone like Sheen did not make a public spectacle of himself. ... 
    His employers are unhappy that he was distracted with prostitutes and drugs, and didn't show up to work on time. Why not take a tip from the Chinese business community, and make visits to a KTV parlor part of Sheen's workday? 
    And instead of epic parties at his home with porn stars, why not keep Sheen occupied with business banquets? 
    Sheen goes on television and boasts that he has two girlfriends, who both sleep in the same bedroom. Is he too poor to set up his wives and mistresses in different houses?
Global Times concludes by advising readers that "Racism, spousal abuse, addiction, politics, mental illness, boasting about mistresses -- these are all subjects best dealt with behind closed doors."

Bids due on Orange County Register parent

The Wall Street Journal reports that final bids are due this week in the auction of Freedom Communications, owner of the Orange County Register, and among the possible bidders is MediaNews Group, which owns several Bay Area dailies including the Mercury News. Other possible bidders, according to WSJ, are Tribune Co. and Platinum Equity, owner of the San Diego Union Tribune.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sinkovitz leaves NBC Bay Area anchor desk

Tom Sinkovitz anchored his last newscast on NBC Bay Area Friday at 5 p.m., but he hasn't cut his ties to the station.

"I agreed a couple months ago to anchor the five only through the end of February," Sinkovitz told Bay Area media blogger Rich Lieberman. "In a few weeks time, the station and I will be discussing other avenues. For now, I'm looking forward to life without the daily commute."

"I felt the time was right to do other things and no single factor led to that decision."

Sinkovitz added, "I have only admiration and good wishes for my co-workers at NBC Bay Area. They are some of the most professional people in the market. I know. I've been around."

Sinkovitz has been at NBC Bay Area for three years. He was at KRON for 17 years. Sinkovitz's career began with the Armed Forces Vietnam Network when he was in Saigon in 1969. Since 1970, he has worked in WHP-TV in Harrisburg, Pa., WCPO-TV Cincinnati, WBAL-TV Baltimore and WXIA-TV Atlanta. He joined KRON in January 1990 when the station was still an NBC affiliate. He moved up to the weeknight co-anchor spot when Pete Wilson left Channel 4 for KGO in late 2000. He left KRON in September 2006 and landed at NBC Bay Area in January 2008.

Wall Street Journal closing Palo Alto plant

Dow Jones & Co., the company that produces The Wall Street Journal, will close its Palo Alto plant, which has printed the newspaper for Northern California for 45 years, the Daily Post in Palo Alto reported Saturday.

A spokesman for Dow Jones, Howard Hoffman, declined to comment to the Post on the number of jobs that would be leaving Palo Alto when the plant shuts down.

The Journal has contracted with the Bay Area News Group to print the Journal's Northern California edition at BANG's Contra Costa Times pressroom in Walnut Creek. The move will occur in about two weeks.

The plant at 1701 Page Mill Road in the Stanford Research Park was built in 1966 and is believed to be the last manufacturing facility in the research park. At one time, several companies in the park were involved in manufacturing, including the Journal's neighbor, Hewlett Packard. Over the years, the park has shifted toward R&D.

Dow Jones' lease with Stanford for the 8.5-acre site expires in 2015, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

The Post calls to Stanford Management Co. weren't returned Friday.

Every night, Dow Jones uses 17 printing plants across the country, including the one in Palo Alto, to print the Journal. The plant churns out about 100,000 newspapers, which are delivered in the middle of the night to subscribers and newsracks. Some of the papers are trucked to San Francisco International Airport, where they are flown to Hawaii and other locations in the Pacific.

When the plant opened in 1966, the technology of transmitting finished pages from the Journal's Manhattan office to remote printing plants via phone lines and microwave relays was considered revolutionary. In the early 1970s, transmission switched to satellites, again considered cutting edge.

A decade later, USA Today would build a similar network of printing plants across the country, copying the Journal's transmission concept.

At one time, the Journal had a news bureau and television studio located in the Page Mill Road building, but has since moved those jobs to San Francisco.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Writer says websites exploit freelancers

We want to call to your attention an article by Sarah Henry, posted at KQED’s Bay Area Bites, about the plight of freelancers in an era when news websites are often paying their writers next to nothing, or nothing at all.

Henry says that the sale of Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million “was fabulous news for the already fabulously wealthy Arianna Huffington and her cronies, but a slap in the face for the army of unpaid wordsmiths on which the HuffPo has built a blog empire using, essentially, the slave labor of journalists who wrote posts for free in the hope it may make a difference, including to their cash flow, down the track.”

Later on in the piece, Henry says:
    But I've taken to adopting the mantra "adapt or die," and find myself -- like many mid-career scribblers -- struggling to find a way to make a living in a field where the landscape has changed dramatically. Although I shifted to food writing two years ago, a notoriously under-paid beat, I've been able to eke out an income by diversifying and carving out a niche. 
    The jury is out on whether this experiment will work, and there are days when I wonder if I should go fill out an application at Trader Joe's. I know scores of writers, both freelancers and those who used to be staffers, who feel the same way.
And this ...
    [W]hat we have going on here is sweatshop conditions akin to the old economy's industrial capitalism: Poorly paid piecework and huge profits for the owners. Something has to shift.
Not only is Henry’s article spot on, but the comments are worth reading, too. P.S. We stole the graphic, top right, from her posting on the KQED site.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Contest deadline extended until Friday

The Press Club has extended the deadline for the submission of entries to its contest until Friday, March 4.

The good news is that Press Club received more than 500 entries through Monday's deadline — an increase from the 394 submitted last year.

The bad news is that a few people had trouble uploading documents to our new online entries system, so we have added a grace period until this Friday, March 4th.

Those who have submitted entries can modify submissions or add new entries.

The site to upload entries is betternewspapercontest.com. Click "contestant login" and, under "contest," choose "2011 Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards."

For information on categories within those divisions and how to enter, visit here.