Saturday, December 22, 2012

Don Sanchez retires after 40 years at ABC7

Don Sanchez said so long last night after 40 years at KGO ABC7. In a farewell story, he relates how one news director told him to shave off his trademark mustache and another news director three years later told him to grow it back. Below is the script of Cheryl Jennings' story about his career:
    This is a bittersweet day for all of us at ABC7 News as our beloved colleague Don Sanchez is retiring, packing away his microphone after 40 years on the job here. In those four decades, Don really has done it all -- news, sports, and for the last several years, entertainment.

    From the anchor desk to the red carpet, to wherever the assignment takes him, Don has spent four decades sharing the world with ABC7 News viewers.

    Don got his start at KSBY in San Luis Obispo as a fresh faced kid with a big voice. Even back then, Don interviewed celebrities, and like other small town reporters, he did commercials.

    After nine years, it was suddenly over.

    "One day they fired the entire news department, all five of us," Don said.

    Just a few days later, Don landed at KGO-TV.

    "They said, 'Well, we can maybe give you three weeks' worth of work,'" Don said.

    But once Don put on that mandatory Circle Seven sport coat he never looked back.

    Don loved the Bay Area and the Bay Area loved him. Actor Benjamin Bratt grew up watching Don.

    "You are legend, you are certainly legend in my family," Bratt told Don once during an interview.

    Don replied, "Want to play me in your next film?"

    To which Bratt said, "You know if I could grow that kind of mustache I certainly would."

    In the early 70s, Don's trademark mustache almost disappeared for good.

    "The news director said, 'We don't have mustaches here, you'll have to cut it off,'" Don said. "Three years later a new news director said, 'We want you to start doing sports, but you look too young, have you ever thought about growing a mustache?'"

    Don made a dashing sports anchor and he was willing to take risks. His meeting with a sumo wrestler was so captivating the station ran it slow motion and added music. Don got hurt pretty badly, but that didn't stop him from taking a white water raft trip -- another adventure in terror set to music.

    Later Don hosted a live morning show. And for seven years anchored with Cheryl Jennings. Don and Cheryl worked together during some of the Bay Area's biggest news events. Don's office is packed with mementos of those stories -- good and bad.

    When the Loma Prieta earthquake hit in 1989, ABC7 News crews were first on the scene at the hardest hit locations. There was a make shift studio set up in the newsroom and ABC7 News got back on the air with critical information for viewers and non-stop reporting that earned a Peabody Award.

    "And that has always been my proudest moment here; not what I did, but what everybody who was working here did,' Don said. "It was extraordinary."

    Don eventually became ABC7 News' arts and entertainment reporter.

    He's done hundreds of celebrity interviews, been made up like young Frankenstein and even done a cameo on General Hospital.

    Through it all, Don has remained true to his risk taking roots.

    In Scotland he tried sword fighting and he was one of the very first to visit Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure.

    Don still races out to cover news stories when needed and every week he does a movie review with a bucket of popcorn to rate the show.

    Don, your friends and fans have loved you for 40 years, so we'll give you a really full bucket. And we'll see you on the aisle.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

3-month sentence for spying on reporters

Bryan Wagner, right, stands next to Mathew DePante
and Ronald DeLia in a San Jose courtroom in
October 2006. Photo by Paul Sakuma of AP.
The scandal over Hewlett-Packard’s scheme to spy on journalists ended Thursday when a former private investigator was sentenced to three months in jail to one count of aggravated identity theft.

Bryan Wagner is the only figure in the case to get any jail time in the scandal that began in 2005 when then-HP Chairwoman Patricia Dunn launched a secret campaign to uncover boardroom leaks to the media, according to’s Robert McMillan. He wrote:
    Criminal charges against HP executives were eventually dropped, and the only other people to be convicted in the case, Wagner’s bosses, Joseph and Mathew DePante, were sentenced to three years probation in July.

    Speaking before his sentencing, an unemotional Wagner, his hair now salted with grey, said he was guilty of “moral ineptness,” and he apologized to his victims, including former CNET reporter Dawn Kawamoto, the only victim to address the court on Thursday. “I made mistakes and I apologize for these,” he said. “I was raised differently from what this would show.”
Wagner obtained information about calls between journalists and HP sources though a method called “pretexting,” in which he assumed the identity of journalists to get their calling records from phone companies.

Wagner could have received two years in prison but it is believed he got leniency because he assisted the FBI. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge D. Lowell Jensen in San Jose.

After the sentencing, Kawamoto emailed Wired to say she was unsatisfied with the outcome. “I think they should have gone for the maximum.” She told the judge she was “very disappointed” that no one from HP had been convicted of any crime in the matter.

Chronicle trims printing contract

The Chronicle plans to cut back on its printing and has renegotiated its deal with the company that prints the newspaper.

In July 2009, the Chronicle shut down its presses and outsourced printing to Transcontinental, a Canadian company, which built a highly automated plant in Fremont under a 15-year, $1 billion contract.

Transcontinental will continue to publish the Chronicle, but will only do about two-thirds of the printing that the contract originally demanded, saving the Hearst-owned paper an estimated $30 million a year.

In exchange for the long-term savings – which Transcontinental said would come from using two printing presses instead of three to print the paper – Hearst will pay Transcontinental $200 million, according to a press release from Transcontinental.

The Chronicle’s average daily circulation has dropped from 251,782 in 2009 to 156,500 today.

Meanwhile, Transcontinental said that it will try to attract new customers now that it has additional press capacity due to the Chronicle’s retrenchment. Transcontinental’s plant at 47450 Kato Road in Fremont is only 9 miles from the Mercury News plant at I-880 and Brokaw Road.

Gilroy Dispatch drops Tuesday edition

The Gilroy Dispatch has dropped its Tuesday edition and is now charging $88 a year for an annual subscription to its online edition. Print subscribers will be able to access the website for no additional charge. Here’s a link to the Patch story about the changes and a letter to readers from Anthony Allegretti, the CEO of the Dispatch’s parent company, Mainstreet Media Group.

Bill Lane Center branches out into news

The Stanford News Service reports that the university’s Bill Lane Center for the American West is moving into the news business, by working with reporters on major projects or producing its own original reporting. Perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising since Bill Lane, who died in 2010, owned Sunset Magazine for many years with his brother Mel from 1952 to 1990 when the company was sold to Time Warner.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dana King leaving CBS5 on Friday

Dana King
After 15 years at KPIX and 25 in TV news, Dana King is leaving the anchor desk on Friday to pursue a career in art, though SF media blogger Rich Liberman says she was cut because she was making too much money — $800,000 a year.

Here's what King is saying, according to the CBS news release: “I am leaving the business to build my next life as an artist,” said King, who a few years ago began working toward earning a Master’s Degree in classical sculpture from San Francisco’s Academy of Art University. “In order to do it right, I am making a commitment that requires a choice between continuing an already amazing career and starting a brand new one. KPIX has been my second home. I am honored to have worked beside everyone here and to have had the privilege of serving the people of the Bay Area by reporting the news during these last 15 years of enormous change. I will miss it all more than you know.”

Her last newscast will be at 11 p.m. Friday.