Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Press Club's Christmas Party is Dec. 11

Members and friends of the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club are invited to the Annual Holiday Party, scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 11.

The board and annual meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by the party at 7 p.m.

For the second year, the Press Club will hold its holiday party at Chevy's Foster City, 979 Edgewater Blvd.

Bring a donation for the Second Harvest Food Bank and your first drink is on us. Invite your friends and colleagues to join you. It's a great way to introduce them to the Press Club.

You don't need to be a member to attend.
At the annual meeting, ballots will be due for the election of club officers. You can vote by return e-mail or bring your ballot to the Holiday Party at the Foster City Chevy’s on Wednesday, Dec. 11.

Here's the 2014 Ballot for officers
    Antonia Ehlers communications manager, Serra High School
    ▢ ________________________________________________
Vice President:
    Kristy Blackburn, adviser, The Oracle, Gunn High School, Palo Alto
    ▢ ________________________________________________
    Ed Remitz, writer and retired journalism professor
    ▢ ________________________________________________
    ▢ Melissa McRobbie, managing editor, Bay City News
    ▢ ________________________________________________
Marshall Wilson, communications director, San Mateo County, will serve as Immediate Past President in an ex-officio capacity.

Board of Directors: Vote for three. Top two will serve for two-years, the third, for a one year term. Write-in candidates are welcome.
    ▢ Peter Cleaveland, retired, SAG/AFTRA, ABC
    ▢ Jon Mays, editor, San Mateo Daily Journal
    ▢ Dave Price, publisher, The Daily Post
    ▢ ________________________________________________
Laura Dudnick, senior local editor,, will continue to serve as director through 2014. Director emeritus Jack Russell, retired, San Mateo Times, and executive director Darryl Compton continue as ex-officio board members.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

KQED news chief Raul Ramirez dead at 67

Raul Ramirez, executive director of news and public affairs at KQED and previously an editor and reporter at the San Francisco Examiner and Oakland Tribune, died Friday (Nov. 15) at his Berkeley home following a fight with esophageal cancer. He was 67.

The Chronicle said in its obit that Ramirez was a “defining force in Bay Area journalism.”

Ramirez, who was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in July, died days before the ceremony where he was to receive a Distinguished Service to Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists' Northern California chapter.

KQED-FM president and general manager Jo Anne Wallace said in a statement, “Raul’s commitment to journalism ethics was a major influence on all of the work we’ve done at KQED. He insisted on fact-based, accurate reporting that avoided the sensational and, instead, told meaningful stories about the impact of news and issues on the lives of ordinary people.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chron disputes NYT report that it plans to end standalone food section

The Chronicle is disputing a report in this morning’s New York Times that said the San Francisco newspaper plans to stop publishing its standalone food section. The Times said:
    “Now, The Chronicle, owned by the Hearst Corporation, is planning to eliminate its stand-alone food section and integrate it into a single lifestyle section — tentatively titled “Artisan” — with material from other parts of the newspaper, including the home section, according to employees who have been told of the plans.
    “Although the merger is set to take place by February, the decision has not been publicly announced. Staff members of the newspaper, who spoke to The New York Times about the plan, insisted on anonymity because they said they feared reprisals for disclosing it.”
Chronicle Managing Editor Audrey Cooper denied the Times report and said the Chron plans to “increase our investment in terms of digital and print offering.” Cooper writes:
    “We are exploring several opportunities, testing them with readers and conducting independent research to make sure we're delivering what our customers need and want. Once we decide on a path, we will make sure to celebrate it — just as we celebrate the amazing Northern California food culture.
    "I'd love to tell everyone right now what we're going to do. The truth is that we haven't decided it yet. But I can tell everyone unequivocally that our top priority is to continue doing the nation's best coverage of Northern California food and wine."

Press Club board meets tonight (Nov. 13)

The Press Club's board will meet tonight at 6:30 at the Daily Journal, 800 S. Claremont St., Ste. 210, and here's a look some of the items on the agenda:

• High School Boot Camp Debrief: What worked; what didn't; what can be changed for 2014

• Newsletter content

• New Board Member Update

• Monthly vs. Quarterly meetings for 2014?

•  Getting an intern for the website and social media

• Discussion of slate of officers for 2014. Marshall Wilson says he will not seek re-election as president.

All members are invited to attend the monthly board meetings.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Singleton retiring from MediaNews Group

William Dean Singleton, chairman of Mercury News owner MediaNews Group, is retiring as chairman of the company and as publisher of the Denver Post.

Singleton, 62, co-founded MediaNews in 1984 with Richard B. Scudder, and it grew to become the country's second largest newspaper company as measured by daily circulation.

After MediaNews went through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, and Alden Global Capital became a major shareholder of the company, Singleton left the position of CEO in January 2011 but remained as chairman and publisher of the Denver newspaper. At the same time, his heir apparent, company president Jody Lodovic, stepped down.

Jon Paton, head of Digital First Media, now oversees MediaNews and the Journal Register chain.

MediaNews Group owns the Bay Area News Group chain of newspapers and websites, which include the Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times, Mercury News, Palo Alto Daily News, San Mateo County Times, Marin Independent Journal and other dailies.

Mac Tully, formerly head of the Bay Area News Group, will take over Singleton's job as publisher of the Denver Post.

Singleton said that multiple sclerosis, a condition he was diagnosed with 26 years ago, has slowed him physically.

"Fighting MS has actually caused me to be healthier in some aspects of my life," he said. "But it makes it more difficult to do the things you want to do."

Singleton said he will spend more time with his family and at his Colorado cattle ranches.

(Photo credit: Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Press Club's high school boot camp is Friday

The Press Club's High School Journalism Boot Camp is this Friday at the College of San Mateo, and high schools from throughout the area are bringing students to this annual event.

The guest speaker is Martyn Williams, a multimedia journalist covering technology and business news in the San Francisco Bay Area. From 1995 to 2011 the native of the United Kingdom was based in Japan and reported on tech stories from across Asia.

During the 2011 Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster he "refocused his energy on broadcasting information about the nation's human tragedy," according to Time Magazine, "becoming the handle of record for outsiders who want to know more about the crisis gripping Japan."

Time named his Twitter feed as one of the "140 Best" of 2011.

 He has traveled extensively, including a 2002 trip to North Korea where he learned how isolated its citizens were from outside information. In 2010 he turned an interest in North Korea into a website focusing on North Korea's slow adoption of technology.

In 2011-12 he was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. The fellowship, awarded to only 20 journalists a year, allowed him to work on projects related to innovation in journalism and tools allowing news organizations to securely connect with citizens in authoritarian countries.

Here's the schedule for the boot camp.

12:30 pm Registration and Refreshments 

12:45 pm Welcome and Student Panel

  • Carlmont High School: Sabrina Leung, Editorial Director 
  • East Side Prep: Vanessa Martinez, Features page editor, and Amanda Russell, In-Dept page co-editor
  • Sequoia High School: Simon Greenhill, Editor-in-Chief, and Araceli Efigenio, Feature Editor 
  • Aragon: Brandon Liu and Annika Ulrich, Editors-in-chief 
  • Gunn: Nabeel Chollampat, News Editor, and Mitch Donat, Managing Editor 

2 – 2:50 and 3-3:50 pm Breakout Sessions News 

  • Photography (REPEATED) Nic Coury and others, Bay Area Press Photographers Association 
  • Writing Leads that Grab the Reader (REPEATED) Michelle Carter, former Managing Editor San Mateo Times 
  • Online Journalism: Multimedia Reporting (REPEATED) Laura Dudnick, Patch Editor 
  • Clean Your Copy: Tips to Improve Your Style (REPEATED) Leslie Guevarra, former Deputy Managing Editor, San Francisco Chronicle; Asian American Journalists Association, Bay Area Chapter founding member 
  • Breaking News: Get the Story as it Happens John Cote, reporter, San Francisco Chronicle 
  • Headlines and Layout that Engage Readers (REPEATED) Dave Price, Editor, Daily Post Column Writing, Caille Millner, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle 
  • Transition to College Journalism (REPEATED) Ed Remitz, former Journalism instructor, College of San Mateo Margaret Baum, Kayla Figard, Yasmine Mahmoud, students 
  • Careers in Journalism (REPEATED) Antonia Ehlers, former Journalist, Communications Manager Serra High School 
  • Newspaper Critiques (Send copies of your current paper to be critiqued) Press Club Members 
  • Advisers Gathering Kristy Blackburn, Henry M. Gunn High School

Monday, September 30, 2013

2 arrested in robbery of KRON crew

The Bay Area News Group reports that two men have been arrested in connection with an attempted robbery of a KRON 4 news crew Friday night in San Francisco.

Police said the KRON 4 crew was at Third Street and La Salle Avenue in San Francisco's Bayview district when the robbery was reported around 7:58 p.m. A short time later, a person with a gunshot wound arrived at San Francisco General Hospital.

On the station's 11 p.m. newscast, KRON 4 anchor Pam Moore read a statement saying journalist Jeff Bush had been the target of the robbery.

According to Moore, Bush was approached by two armed men who demanded his computer and photographic equipment.

While Bush immediately surrendered the equipment and took cover, an unidentified security guard that was with Bush fired on the robbers, striking one in the leg, Moore said.

No one else was injured.

Armani McFarland, 19, of San Francisco was arrested on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy and possession of a firearm. His accomplice, John Woods, 19, also of San Francisco, was arrested on suspicion of robbery and conspiracy, said Danielle Newman with the San Francisco Police Department.

Both men are in custody.

One of the teens was treated Friday night at San Francisco General Hospital for a non-life-threatening gunshot injury he sustained during a shootout with a security guard that accompanied the news crew, but Newman did not specify who it was that was shot.

The incident is the latest in a series of brazen robberies targeting media professionals in the Bay Area, most of which have taken place in Oakland.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Merc selling headquarters for $30 million

The Mercury News reported today (Sept. 24) that it is selling its headquarters at I-880 and Brokaw Road to Super Micro Computer, which will covert the site to a manufacturing facility. The Merc said it will remain in the building until sometime next year, when it hopes to move 300 news, advertising and administrative employees to a new location "in Silicon Valley." The building’s sale price was $30.5 million. The building has been the Merc’s home since 1967, when it was built for $1 million.

Brown signs anti-paparazzi law

Gov. Jerry Brown today (Sept. 24) signed an anti-paparazzi law sought by celebrities and aimed at protecting the privacy of their children, according to the LA Times.

The legislation by Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) makes it a misdemeanor to attempt to photograph or videotape a child in a harassing manner if the image is being taken because the child's parent is a celebrity or public official.

“Kids shouldn’t be tabloid fodder nor the target of ongoing harassment,” de Leon said, adding his bill "will give children, no matter who their parent is, protection from harassers who go to extremes to turn a buck.”

The bill applies to photographs and videotape taken of children because of one of their parent’s professions, but it drew strong support from Hollywood celebrities.

Actresses Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry testified before California lawmakers recently that the bill is needed because when they take their children out in public, they are harassed by the paparazzi. The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, also increases the penalty for violators.

The current penalty for general harassment is up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The new penalty for harassment of children by photographers or video camera operators is up to one year in jail and a possible fine of $10,000.

The Times reported that the California Broadcasters Association and California Newspapers Publishers Association opposed SB 606. The newspaper group argued that the bill’s penalties infringe on First Amendment-protected newsgathering in public places where public figures have no reasonable expectation of privacy. The bill, the group wrote to lawmakers, is "overly broad, vague and infringes upon legitimate and protected forms of speech expression."

Examiner names new editor, managing editor

The San Francisco Examiner has promoted Mike Billings to the job of editor-in-chief and Max DeNike as managing editor, according to the paper's website. Billings has worked at The S.F. Examiner since 2006 as a page designer, city editor and online editor. He most recently was an assistant managing editor. Before The San Francisco Examiner, he worked at the Palo Alto Daily News as a copy editor and page designer. DeNike has worked at The San Francisco Examiner since 2007 as a copy editor and night editor. He most recently was the city editor. He came to the paper from the Santa Cruz Sentinel, where he was a copy editor and reporter. Billings replaces Stephen Buel, who is resigning after purchasing a number of East Bay magazines.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Chron editor Ward Bushee retiring

Ward Bushee announced today (Sept. 20) he is retiring as editor and vice president of the San Francisco Chronicle after five years in that post. No replacement was named.

His retirement comes four months after the retirement of Publisher Frank Vega. The paper and its digital operations are now led by Publisher Jeffrey Johnson, former chief executive of the Los Angeles Times, and President Joanne Bradford, who honed her online media skills at Demand Media and Yahoo.

Bushee, 64, came to The Chronicle in February 2008 from the Arizona Republic, where he had been editor since 2002.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 2013 Press Club board minutes

Sept. 11, 2013 — Izzy’s Steak House, San Carlos

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

The meeting was called to order at 6:40 p.m. by Marshall. Because we had six people, we did not have a quorum. Nothing was approved, although there was ample discussion about various topics.

FINANCE AND MEMBERSHIPS: Darryl reported on the club’s finances, which are in good shape.

AWARDS BANQUET DEBRIEF: This year’s Awards Banquet went very well. SF Chronicle Science Editor Dave Perlman was an excellent speaker who dazzled the crowd with his rich history and vignettes. Due to the cost of plaques, the board discussed possibly eliminating wooden plaques in the third place category. Board members unanimously agreed to replace them with paper certificates in a classy folder.

BOOT CAMP: The board discussed final details of the Boot Camp on October 25. We discussed various workshops and the fact that the number of students enrolled was lower this year than in past years.

BOARD MEETING FREQUENCY: Members were in favor of changing the meetings to once every other month, instead of once a month. More people might be interested in the vacant board seat if meetings are six times a year, rather than every month.

BOARD VACANCY: There is a vacant seat on the board. Members discussed the possibility of inviting Elaine Larsen or Jane Northrop (we need coastal representation on the board).

BARBECUE: The Press Club barbecue was planned for Oct. 6 at the home of Darryl Compton.

The meeting was adjourned at 8 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Antonia Ehlers, Secretary

Monday, August 26, 2013

Bill would protect reporters' phone records

According to the AP, state officials would be required to give journalists five days' notice before they issue subpoenas for telephone records under legislation that has passed the Assembly.

Democratic state Sen. Ted Lieu of Torrance drafted the bill after it was disclosed that the U.S. Department of Justice had retrieved telephone logs of Associated Press journalists.

California has a shield law requiring law enforcement to give five days' notice to news organizations before serving subpoenas on the organization or reporter. Lieu says the Justice Department probe shows that investigators can bypass that law by secretly subpoenaing telephone or Internet companies.

The measure would be unlikely to stop federal agencies, which could still seek records through federal courts. SB558 cleared the Assembly on Monday 78-0 and heads to the Senate for a final vote.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Patch to close as many as 300 sites, layoff 200-500

Patch, the hyper local chain of websites owned by AOL, will be firing 200 to 550 of its employees and shutting down hundreds of its websites, according to TechCrunch, which is owned by AOL.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is avoiding the word “layoffs” and calling those being shown the door “impacts.”

Armstrong said he is hoping to salvage some of Patch’s websites by finding “partners” in their communities.

Jim Romenesko said his sources say that up to 300 of Patch’s nearly 1,000 websites will close.

Today (Aug. 9) Armstrong said in a conference call with all employees that the site closings will happen over the next seven days, according to Romenesko.

Just three minutes into the call, Armstrong fired an employee, creative director Abel Lenz, who started taking pictures of the meeting, Romenesko reported.

“Something at Patch has been missing and missing for some time and that’s leadership – leadership with a capital L,” Armstrong was quoted as saying.

Selling ads on the hyperlocal websites has apparently been an uphill battle. Romenesko quoted one insider as saying that managers in some markets celebrated $150 sales each day while paying the rep $200 a day to sell these deals.

Former commercial pilot gave KTVU fake names of Asiana pilots, 2 bloggers report

Two bloggers are reporting that KTVU got the phony Asian names of pilots on the Asiana Airlines jet from a former commercial pilot who previously consulted with the station and was considered a reliable source.

Blotter Matthew Keys reported this on July 25 and Rich Lieberman had the story on Aug. 6.

The sources quoted by Keys and Lieberman wouldn’t identify the former pilot who told the station that the names were Captain Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk and Bang Ding Ow.

Lieberman said that KTVU Managing Editor Michelle Toy read the fake names prior to the broadcast and questioned their authenticity, but approved the list after she was told that they had been confirmed by the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB intern who “confirmed” the names was an intern who was later fired.

Although three KTVU employees were fired because of the gaffe, Liberman said a source at the station told him that Toy remains on the payroll because “KTVU didn't want to offend the Asian Community. They'd already did so with the fake name scandal and they were worried about a backlash." However, she is being transferred from managing editor to social media editor, Lieberman says.

The station, which has apologized for the gaffe, has refused to say how it got the fake names. It's put its employees under a gag order to stop them from talking about the situation, Lieberman says.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

KGO-TV crew robbed in Oakland — even though they had a guard

Oakland police say a KGO-TV crew was robbed of camera equipment at gunpoint in broad daylight even while accompanied by a security guard.

According to KPIX-TV, police said that three men accosted the KGO-TV crew around 2:30 p.m. Friday (Aug. 2) in West Oakland. At least one had a gun.

Police say the suspects ordered the journalists onto ground before fleeing with camera gear. The crew wasn’t hurt.

The incident is the latest robbery targeting media in Oakland.

In November, KPIX photographer Gregg Welk was punched and robbed during a live broadcast outside a high school.

The incident prompted the station to hire security guards to accompany its crews when they cover news in Oakland.

Last year, Veteran Oakland Tribune photographer Laura Oda was robbed of her cameras twice.

In June 2012, a KTVU news crew was robbed of a computer, camera and tripod by several men who pushed their way into their van parked on Redwood Road in the Oakland hills.

In May 2012, a man stole a camera and tripod from a KNTV crew at 20th Street and San Pablo Avenue.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chinese-language paper denied access by sheriff's deputy after Asiana crash

The Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily reports that one of its reporters, while trying to report on the passengers injured in the Asiana crash, was thrown out of San Francisco General Hospital by a deputy sheriff. However, the deputy allowed an ABC photographer standing next to the reporter to remain in the hospital, Sing Tao reports.

The incident occurred on July 8, three days after the crash.

Sing Tao said that its reporter was told by Deputy Eric Simms that the ABC photographer could stay because hospital has a policy of allowing access based on the media outlet’s audience size. The deputy escorted the Sing Tao reporter out of the hospital.

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, in an interview after the incident, told Sing Tao that removing the reporter was “wrong” and shouldn’t have happened. He said he would follow up on the issue.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

3 fired over fake pilot names gaffe

KTVU has fired three veteran producers over the now famous gaffe in which anchor Tori Campbell read fake names for the four pilots in the Asiana Airlines crash. They are:
    • Roland DeWolk, investigative producer; 
    • Cristina Gastelu, special projects producer; 
    • Brad Belstock, producer who was not part of the gaffe but lost his job for tweeting immediately afterward "Oh Shit"
In addition, Elvin Sledge, a veteran producer who works on the noon news and was on duty the day of the gaffe, has told management he is retiring.

Media blogger Rich Liberman, who first reported the firings Wednesday, said he was told that an attorney from KTVU's owner, Cox Media in Atlanta, came to Oakland to conduct the internal investigation that led to the firings.

Matier & Ross report today that the fake names — which had been posted on the Internet for at least two days before the gaffe — came to the station via email from an expert source who had provided information to the station in the past.

News helicopter pilot arrested

A former news helicopter pilot who worked in the Bay Area has been arrested for flying without a proper license and lying to officials, according to the Department of Justice.

John Michael Dial, 57, worked under the fake name Thomas R. Cuni while making 265 flights in the Bay Area.

According to the AP, court documents say Dial provided false information to the Federal Aviation Administration for years to be able to work as a pilot for an air ambulance service in Susanville and as a news helicopter pilot in Sacramento and San Francisco.

Dial's last recorded flights were under his real name using fake FAA documents to get a job with Sacramento's KCRA-TV. Documents show Dial has used 24 other names and aliases over the past 12 years.

He faces up to five years in prison.

Friday, July 12, 2013

KTVU falls for hoax, airs racist names for pilots

KTVU fell for a hoax today when it broadcast on its noon news the purported names of the pilots of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 that crashed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday. The names, which were read by anchor Tori Campbell and shown on a Chyron, were obviously fake: "Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo," "Ho Lee Fuk" and "Bang Ding Ow." Campbell read them without batting an eye. Call it a Ron Burgandy moment. Later in the newscast, she apologized. (On the video, the names are at :43.)
    "Earlier in the newscast we gave some names of pilots involved in the Asiana Airlines crash. These names were not accurate despite an NTSB official in Washington confirming them late this morning. We apologize for the error."
The blunder occurs at a time when KTVU is airing promos boasting that the station was first on the air with the crash Saturday. The Chronicle indicates that the station isn't commenting beyond the apology.

Some obvious questions:

• How did this fake info get into the newsroom?

• Who confirmed it at the NTSB?

• Didn't the producer and anchor know that the real names of the pilots came out earlier in the week, and that announcing them now was old news?

• Why didn't anybody realize the names were fake before they went on the air with them?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Examiner sues Chronicle, alleging anticompetitive ad-pricing scheme

The parent company of the San Francisco Examiner, SF Weekly and Bay Guardian filed a lawsuit today (June 25) alleging the Chronicle slashed advertising prices to stifle competition, according to a report in the Examiner.

The suit says Chronicle owner Hearst Corp. took advantage of greater corporate resources to offer discounts to Examiner advertisers if they would quit advertising in the Ex and buy ads in the Chronicle instead. In one such instance, the suit says the Chronicle threw in $200,000 worth of free ad space in a deal with an advertiser.

The California Unfair Practices Act prohibits a business from selling goods or advertising below cost in an attempt to harm a competitor.

In 2007, the Bay Guardian, when it was owned by Bruce Brugmann, successfully sued the SF Weekly for violating the same law. After a trial, the Guardian ultimately was awarded $21 million with interest — though later accepted a much smaller, undisclosed settlement.

Ironically, both the Weekly and Guardian were subsequently acquired by the Examiner's owner, the San Francisco Newspaper Company, headed by Todd Vogt.

The Examiner's lead counsel in this suit is Ralph Alldredge, who represented the Guardian in its lawsuit.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Brown won't gut public records act

The Sacramento Bee is reporting this afternoon (June 20) that Gov. Jerry Brown is backing away from his plan to make key provisions of the Public Records Act voluntary, a move that critics had said would gut the law that gives the public and media access to government records.

A bill to weaken the Public Records Act was added to the state budget on Friday, and passed by both houses. The Brown Administration's Department of Finance said the move was necessary to cut costs even though the state is projected to have a surplus.

But a massive backlash hit the Capitol, with good government groups such as Cal Aware and the First Amendment Coalition, along with the California Newspaper Publishers Association, lobbying Brown and legislative leaders to drop the changes to the records law.

This morning the Assembly voted to remove the bill weakening the law from the budget bill. The revised budget now goes to the Senate, which is expected to pass it.

However, Brown and Senate Democrats want to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot next year that would eliminate the requirement that the state reimburse local agencies for the cost of compliance with the law.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Brown expected to sign legislation weakening open records law

A legislation that makes it optional for cities, counties, school districts and other government agencies to comply with key provisions of the California Public Records Act is expected to be signed into law today (June 19) by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The act now requires officials to respond to a request for records from a member of the public within 10 days and to make the documents available electronically. The change, which Brown requested as a cost-cutting measure, would allow the officials to skip both requirements with a voice vote once a year.

Such a vote would enable government agencies to reject requests for information without providing any legal reason, and those agencies would no longer be required to help citizens identify existing information they may want.

The LA Times says that because the legislation was attached to the budget bill, Brown would have to reject the entire bill if he were to block the open-records restrictions, and his administration has indicated that he intends to sign it.

Brown's proposal, by making compliance with those provisions optional, would gut key pieces of the law, opponents said.

But according to the Times, the measure sailed though both houses of the Legislature during Friday's budget debate with just one Democrat, Leland Yee of San Francisco, voting against it.

Yee, who is running for secretary of state next year, said the measure was "just the latest indication this nation is moving backward in terms of being open and transparent." He said many of his fellow Democrats share the blame for that trend.

The Mercury News said in an editorial
    Without the state Public Records Act, we would never have known about the Santa Clara County supervisor who used public funds to feed his gambling habit or the sheriff who issued concealed weapons permits to campaign contributors and out-of-county residents. 
    We would be ignorant of broken bolts on the Bay Bridge, the cover-up of Moraga teachers sexually abusing students, a BART train operator who collected salary and benefits totaling $193,407, the former BART general manager who received $420,000 the year after she was fired or the Port of Oakland executives who spent $4,500 one night at a Texas strip club.
    As the state Legislature declared in the preamble to the records law, "access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state."
    Yet the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown are gutting the law.
The Fresno Bee said in an editorial:
    The unbridled arrogance of government is on full display, here in California and across our great land. In the name of security and the war on terror, the federal government is prying ever deeper into the lives of law-abiding Americans, eroding civil liberties and owning up to the deeds only after a whistle-blower calls them to the public's attention.
    Meanwhile, in California, a Legislature controlled by a Democrat supermajority and in concert with Gov. Jerry Brown, wants citizens to know as little as possible about the workings of local government.
    On Friday, lawmakers approved a pair of budget trailer bills (SB 71 and AB 76) that would free local governments of the obligation to comply with certain aspects of the California Public Records Act. The bills zipped through the Legislature with little or no committee review. Lawmakers clearly wanted to rubber stamp potentially embarrassing legislation under cover from prying eyes.

Filming to start on movie about former Merc reporter Gary Webb, who exposed CIA-cocaine link

Filming is set to begin this summer on “Kill the Messenger,” the story of former Mercury News reporter Gary Webb, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who committed suicide after being smeared for exposing the CIA’s role in helping Nicaragua’s Contra rebels import cocaine into California in the 1980s.

Jeremy Renner, star of “The Hurt Locker,” has been cast to play Webb in the film being produced by Focus Features International, a unit of Universal, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

OC (Orange County) Weekly managing editor Nick Schou, author the book “Kill the Messenger,” writes:
    The movie will portray Webb as a courageous reporter whose career and life were cut short when the nation's three most powerful newspapers piled on to attack Webb and his three-part Mercury News series on the CIA's crack-cocaine connection. 
    The New York Times, Washington Post and L.A. Times each obscured basic truths of Webb's "Dark Alliance" series. 
Reporter Gary Webb in 1997.

    But no newspaper tried harder than the L.A. Times, where editors were said to have been appalled that a distant San Jose daily had published a blockbuster about America's most powerful spy agency and its possible role in allowing drug dealers to flood South L.A. with crack. 
    Much of the Times' attack was clever misdirection, but it ruined Webb's reputation: In particular, the L.A. Times attacked a claim that Webb never made: that the CIA had intentionally addicted African-Americans to crack. 
    Webb, who eventually could find only part-time work at a small weekly paper, committed suicide.
With filming of the movie moving ahead, former LA Times reporter Jesse Katz apologized in this May 22 Los Angeles magazine article for being one of Webb’s media detractors:
    At the L.A. Times we enlisted 17 reporters — I was one — to put Webb’s series under a microscope. 
    Rather than advance what he got right, we aimed our firepower at his shortcuts, lambasting him for each omission and overstatement. It was a tawdry and defensive exercise, all these august institutions piling on a lone muckraker. 
    In 1998, the CIA’s inspector general confirmed that Webb had been on the right trail, that the spy agency often “did not act to verify” allegations of Contra drug trafficking and, even when it did, such revelations “did not deter” the CIA from using traffickers as assets. By then our scrutiny had ruined Webb’s career. In 2004, he shot himself in the head.
Schou said that the NY Times and Washington Post buried the inspector general’s report and the LA Times didn’t acknowledge its release for months.

Because Webb shot himself twice in the head, with the first bullet going through his cheek, many have claimed that the CIA killed him. As Schou put it, “Katz, if not the rest of the Times crew, knows, it wasn't the CIA that helped load the gun that killed Gary Webb.” (Photo credits: Renner is a handout photo; Webb by Randy Pench, Sacramento Bee)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bill Workman, longtime Chronicle reporter who was 'larger than life,' dead at 77

Bill Workman, an award-winning San Francisco Chronicle reporter who covered the Peninsula for decades, has died after a nearly year-long battle with prostate cancer. He was 77.

He died early Tuesday morning after watching his beloved Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 10-8 in extra innings the night before, his wife, Marla Lowenthal, told the Post yesterday.

“I am positive that’s what did it,” Lowenthal said. “He watched the Red Sox win and I know he thought to himself ‘I can die happy now.’”

Workman was diagnosed with Stage Four prostate cancer last October and doctors gave him only two months to live.

Lowenthal recalled Workman saying that it wasn’t enough time and vowing to hang on as long as he could.

“He never, ever lost his spirit,” she said. “He was the same old Bill all the way to the end.”

Workman’s longtime friend Marshall Wilson, president of the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club, which Workman helped to build, said the journalist was “larger than life.”

“He was a legend around the county,” Wilson said. “He seemed to know everybody and he knew the history of every place he went.”

Born William Spears Workman, Jr., on May 20, 1936, in Malden, Mass., he graduated from Malden High School in 1954 and immediately joined the army. After the Army, he studied journalism at Boston University where he graduated in 1961. He worked briefly as a reporter for the Albany, N.Y., Knickerbocker News and the Boston Globe before moving West to work for the San Francisco Chronicle in 1970.

He covered many major news stories from the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident in which a female passenger was killed when U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge to the 1976 Chowchilla kidnappings in which 26 school children were abducted and imprisoned in a buried bus.

Lowenthal said Workman threw himself fully into his work and that he loved everything about being a journalist.

“We had that old time 1940s or 50s view of a reporter fighting the extremists and fascists, but every one loved him,” Lowenthal said. “When you visualize an old school reporter with the press sign in his hat — that was Bill.”

She recalled his 1974 coverage of the Patty Hearst kidnapping and said Workman had a way with sources.

“After that, he was on personal terms with Patty Hearst and could call her whenever he wanted and she’d take his calls,” Lowenthal said. “Like when she played a voice on Frasier.”

She said in 1984 he made multiple TV appearances on local news stations and Court TV during his coverage of the Billionaire Boys Club scandal, a story involving an investment-and-social club that got wrapped up in Ponzi schemes and murder.

For many years Workman served as president of the Peninsula Press Club, a social club for news professionals throughout the Bay Area to come together and share their ideas and opinions on the day’s news.

Wilson, who currently is president of the club, said Workman had a way with words that made him stand out among his peers.

“I remember an article he wrote about a man who was 79 years old and made miniature ships,” Wilson said. “Bill wrote this line about how the rigging lines were the size of gnats and the pulleys were the size of a match head. It’s just such a great example of his visual writing.”

While at the Chronicle, Workman reported on various beats, including city hall. He was on the Oakland night beat for a while and was a general reporter before focusing on the Peninsula and Stanford.

Lowenthal said she met him in 1990 when he was in charge of the Chronicle’s Peninsula bureau, covering government, Stanford, crime and various other stories. She said he was one of the first reporters covering the first attempt by the 49ers to move to Santa Clara.

For five years he had his own column “Along the El Camino” covering stories and unusual people on the Peninsula. “He had the unique ability to find interesting, quirky people doing extraordinary things,” Wilson said. “He loved life, and it was infectious.”

In addition to his wife, Workman is survived by his son, Joshua Workman, of Fairfax. He was preceded in death by his parents William Spears Workman and Anne Utley and sisters Lillian Pearson and Catherine Moore.

A memorial service will be held on July 7 at the Kings Mountain Community Center from 2 to 6 p.m.

(Written by Jeramy Gordon, associate editor of the Palo Alto Daily Post.)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

36th Annual Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards

Bay Area print and online journalists, photographers, radio and television personnel and public relations professionals were presented with 211 awards of excellence in nine divisions and 41 categories at the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club's 36th Annual Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards dinner tonight (June 1).

The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club's Annual Professional Journalism Awards Competition dinner was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Foster City.

The winners were selected from 463 entries from media professionals in the 11 Greater Bay Area counties. Awards honored work done in 2012. Entries were judged by the Press Clubs of Cleveland, Florida, Houston, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Orange County, and San Diego.

The San Jose Mercury News received a total of 24 plaques inclucding Overall Excellence for both Print and Broadband. Other Overall Excellence first place winners included The Palo Alto Weekly, Scene Magazine, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, KCBS Radio, and National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

The Press Club presented its first Lifetime Achievement Award to David Perlman, Science Editor for the San Francisco Chronicle for over 70 years. He delighted the audience with his career reflections.

Two $1,500 scholarships in the name of the late San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen were awarded. The high school recipient was Juwairiya Syed, Santa Clara High School. The collegiate scholarship was presented to Samantha Masunaga, University of California, Berkeley.

Special recognition was given to the General Excellence winner of the Press Club’s High School Journalism Contest, co-sponsored by the Hillsdale Shopping Center. The Outlook newspaper of Aragon High School, San Mateo was represented by its co-editors Olivia Marcus and Paniz Amirnasiri.

The complete list of award winners follows:


Overall Excellence
    First Place: San Jose Mercury News, Mercury News Staff
    Second Place: The Daily News, Daily News Staff
    Third Place: San Mateo Daily Journal, Daily Journal Staff
    First Place: The Press Democrat, “Of anonymous money and sleazy politics,” Jim Sweeney
    Second Place: San Mateo Daily Journal, “A missed opportunity and a lack of leadership,” Jon Mays
    Third Place: San Mateo Daily Journal, “The reason for the garbage rates,” Jon Mays
    First Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Columns by Scott Herhold,” Scott Herhold
    Second Place: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Columns by Jon Mays,” Jon Mays
    Third Place: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Columns by Michelle Durand,” Michelle Durand
    First Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Columns by Mike Cassidy,” Mike Cassidy
    Second Place: The Daily Post, “Columns by Dave Price,” Dave Price
    Third Place: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Off the Beat-Michelle Durand,” Michelle Durand
    First Place: Bay Area News Group, “Columns by Monte Poole,” Monte Poole
    Second Place: San Mateo Daily Journal, “The Sports Lounge-Nathan Mollat,” Nathan Mollat
    Third Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Tim Kawakami columns,” Tim Kawakami
Breaking News
    First Place: Oakland Tribune, “7 Dead In Oakland School Shooting,” Oakland Tribune Staff
    Second Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Lynch acquitted in priest beating,” Tracey Kaplan, Scott Herhold, LiPo Ching
    Third Place: The Press Democrat, “'Barrage of gunfire',” Mary Callahan, Lori Carter, Julie Johnson
News Story
    First Place: The Press Democrat, “New face of heroin,” Randi Rossmann
    Second Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Who Was Abel Gutierrez?,” Mark Emmons
    Third Place: Oakland Tribune, “Urban Exodus: West Oakland classrooms empty amid black exodus,” Katy Murphy
Continuing Coverage
    First Place: San Francisco Examiner, “Company neglects safety, SFO baggage screeners say,” Niko Kyriakou
    Second Place: The Press Democrat, “Continuing coverage of pensions,” Brett Wilkison, Teresa Meikle, Randi Rossmann, Janet Balicki, George Manes
    Third Place: San Mateo County Times, “Mountain lion cubs in downtown Half Moon Bay shot by wardens,” Aaron Kinney
    First Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Cost of Dying,” Lisa M. Krieger, Dai Sugano
    Second Place: The Press Democrat, “Kerry Benefield series on school choice in Santa Rosa,” Kerry Benefield, Martin Espinoza, Teresa Meikle
    Third Place: The Daily Post, “Councilwoman under investigation,” Jeramy Gordon
Feature Story of a Light Nature
    First Place: San Mateo County Times, “Shout about sprouts,” Aaron Kinney
    Second Place: The Daily News, “Getting a helping hand,” Jason Green
    Third Place: San Jose Mercury News, “For Connoisseurs, Birds' Nests Are Nothing to Spit At,” John Boudreau
Feature Story of a Serious Nature
    First Place: The Press Democrat, “Becoming whole again,” Mary Callahan
    Second Place: Oakland Tribune, “Three Dead Boys, No Real Answers,” Scott Johnson
    Third Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Lockyer reveals sordid details,” Julia Prodis Sulek
    First Place: Contra Costa Times, “Pension reform bill has massive loophole,” Daniel Borenstein
Business/Technology Story
    First Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Apple Banks on Global Vendors,” John Boudreau
    Second Place: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Locals turn to crowd funding for needs,” Heather Murtagh
    Third Place: San Jose Mercury News, “A Raise in Pay,” George Avalos, Patrick May
    First Place: Santa Cruz Sentinel, “All hail, Dick Dale,” Sean McCourt
    Second Place: San Jose Mercury News, “The tweet seats,” Karen D'Souza
    Third Place: The Daily Post, “Eaglesmith rocks old school in '6 Volts',” Jamie Morrow
Specialty Story
    First Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Prime Time for Pyramids,” Jackie Burrell
    Second Place: San Mateo County Times, “Shout about sprouts,” Aaron Kinney
    Third Place: The Daily Post, “New Indian concept Tava to open in PA,” Jamie Morrow
Sports Story
    First Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Down and Dirty,” Daniel Brown, Mark Emmons
    Second Place: The Press Democrat, “Baseball friendship spans 35 years,” Phil Barber
    Third Place: The Daily News, “Born To Run,” Vytas Mazeika
Sports Game Story
    First Place: San Jose Mercury News, “PERFECT!,” Alex Pavlovic
    Second Place: The Daily News, “NorCal's Best,” John Reid
    Third Place: The Daily News, “Weathering the storm; Sacred Heart Prep,” Vytas Mazeika
    First Place: The Daily Post, “No thanking heaven for 7-Eleven,” Dave Price
    Second Place: The Daily Post, “You've got bail? Not so fast,” Dave Price
    Third Place: The Daily Post, “Parking pandemic plagues Palo Alto,” Jeramy Gordon
Graphic Design
    First Place: San Mateo Daily Journal, “The Quakes March In,” Julio Lara
    Second Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Fiscal Cliff,” Doug Griswold, Karl Kahler, Ken McLaughlin
    Third Place: San Mateo Daily Journal, “We're Ready,” Julio Lara
Page Design
    First Place: The Press Democrat, “Sweeeet!,” Lisa Ostroski, George Millener
    Second Place: San Mateo Daily Journal, “Mickey returns to the Wasteland,” Erik Oeverndiek
    Third Place: San Mateo Daily Journal, “'Shadows' favors visuals over story,” Erik Oeverndiek
Editorial Cartoons
    First Place: Daily News-Cartoon, “Meanwhile, at the downtown Palo Alto Post Office...,” Stephen Curl
    Second Place: Daily News-Cartoon, “...And in Mountain View, Plastic Bag Ban comes into focus,” Stephen Curl
    Third Place: Daily News-Cartoon, “IPO Feeding Frenzy...,” Stephen Curl

Overall Excellence
    First Place: Palo Alto Weekly, Palo Alto Weekly Staff
    Second Place: Central City Extra, Central City Extra Staff
    Third Place: Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, Business Journal Staff
    First Place: San Francisco Business Times, “Cities should keep their hands out of firms' wallets,” Jim Gardner
    Second Place: San Francisco Business Times, “Marin's position on the Q fails leadership test,” Jim Gardner
    Third Place: Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, “Political criticism a wake-up call for business chamber,” Moryt Milo, Shana Lynch
    First Place: Bay Area Reporter, “Political Notebook,” Matthew Bajko
    First Place: Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, “Jermy Lin scores points for gifted geeks,” Moryt Milo
    Second Place: San Francisco Business Times, “Columns by Steve Symanovich,” Steve Symanovich
    First Place: Pacifica Tribune, “Columns by Horace Hinshaw,” Horace Hinshaw
News Story
    First Place: East Bay Express, “Radioactive Isle,” Ashley Bates
    Second Place: San Francisco Business Times, “Nurses take contract fight to homes, offices,” Chris Rauber
    Third Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “Saving the shelter,” Gennady Sheyner
Continuing Coverage
    First Place: East Bay Express, “Feinstein's Folly,” Robert Gammon
    Second Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “Downtown's growing pains,” Gennady Sheyner
    First Place: East Bay Express, “Oakland Police Department,” Ali Winston, Darwin BondGraham, Joaquin Palomino, Robert Gammon
    Second Place: India-West, “Adoption from India: Challenging Journey for Indian Americans,” Lisa Tsering
    Third Place: Central City Extra, “Tenderloin Stars,” Tom Carter
Feature Story of a Light Nature
    First Place: Central City Extra, “It's a shoe-in at Shiekh,” Jon Newman
    Second Place: Silicon Valley Community Newspapers, “Giving of Her Time,” Marianne Hamilton
    Third Place: j. The Jewish News Weekly, “Calendar makers want a second helping of mensch,” George Altshuler
Feature Story of a Serious Nature
    First Place: Central City Extra, “Free food for sale,” Jon Newman
    Second Place: Silicon Valley Community Newspapers, “Getting High,” Marianne Hamilton
    Third Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “Coming to the rescue,” Sue Dremann
    First Place: East Bay Express, “From Brown to Green,” Darwin BondGraham
    Second Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “Palo Alto's Ticking Time Bomb,” Gennady Sheyner
    Third Place: Central City Extra, “Poet's Tenderloin Tour,” Ed Bowers
Business/Technology Story
    First Place: East Bay Express, “The Digital Sweatshop,” Ellen Cushing
    Second Place: San Francisco Business Times, “Chinese pay to play visa game,” Ron Leuty
    Third Place: Silicon Valley Community Newspapers, “Tech Savvy,” Marianne Hamilton
    First Place: East Bay Express, “Traveling Bands Do Not Cross,” Ellen Cushing, Rachel Swan
    Second Place: San Francisco Bay Guardian, “Teese and thank you,” Sean McCourt
    Third Place: Silicon Valley Community Newspapers, “The Grand Dell,” Marianne Hamilton
Specialty Story
    First Place: San Francisco Business Times, “Crowdfunding is restaurants' new startup recipe,” Renee Frojo
    Second Place: East Bay Express, “The Shrinking Stage,” Rachel Swan
    Third Place: Central City Extra, “Diabetes Central,” Tom Carter
Sports Story
    First Place: East Bay Express, “Moneyball 2.0: The Pitching Whisperer,” Kibby Kleiman
    First Place: Central City Extra, “No ifs or ands in litter — but plenty of butts,” Geoff Link
    Second Place: Central City Extra, “Free food for sale,” Geoff Link
    Third Place: San Francisco Business Times, “When it's OK to drink a loan. Restaurants pop collectors' corks,” Steve Symanovich
Page Design
    First Place: Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, “Wealthiest ZIP codes,” Ryan Lambert, Linda Taaffe

Spot News
    First Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “Driver Trapped in three-vehicle crash,” Veronica Weber
    Second Place: Bay Area News Group, “Occupy Oakland erupts in chaos,” Jane Tyska
General News
    First Place: Contra Costa Times, “End of watch,” Karl Mondon
    Second Place: The Daily News, “East Palo Alto: Candlelight vigil for slain resident,” Kirstina Sangsahachart
    Third Place: The Daily News, “Flying with the greatest of ease in Redwood City-and getting fit,” Kirstina Sangsahachart
    First Place: Bay Area News Group, “London Eye,” Karl Mondon
    Second Place: The Press Democrat, “Autumn gold,” Kent Porter
    Third Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “Pursuing Perfection,” Veronica Weber
Sports Action
    First Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Off To London - Douglas, Weiber head strong U.S. team,” Nhat V. Meyer
    Second Place: San Jose Mercury News, “One Wild Win! 49ers just a victory away from NFC title,” Jim Gensheimer
    Third Place: The Daily News, “NORCAL'S BEST - Sacred Heart Prep,” Tony Avelar
Sports Feature
    First Place: Bay Area News Group, “No giving in,” Karl Mondon
    Second Place: Bay Area News Group, “Raining champs,” Karl Mondon
    Third Place: San Jose Mercury News, “San Francisco Giants lose to Arizona Diamondbacks,” Nhat V. Meyer
Photo Series/Picture Story
    First Place: Bay Area News Group, “Matthew's wait,” Jane Tyska
    Second Place: Bay Area News Group, “Occupy Oakland erupts in chaos,” Jane Tyska
    Third Place: Bay Area News Group, “Local clergy and community members gather for peace rally in east Oakland,” Jane Tyska

Overall Excellence
    First Place: Scene Magazine, Katharine Fong
    Second Place: Traditions Magazine, Antonia Ehlers, Michelle Wilkinson
    Third Place: Mills-Peninsula Health Services, “Healthpoint Magazine,” Healthpoint Staff
    First Place: The Spectrum, “As I was saying . . .,” Steven Penna
    First Place: Scene Magazine, “Thirsty Girl: Women & Wine,” Leslie Sbrocco
Continuing Coverage
    First Place: San Francisco Daily Journal, “Funding problems plague state courts,” Saul Sugarman
    Second Place: San Francisco Daily Journal, “Unprecedented presiding judge race in San Francisco court,” Saul Sugarman
    Third Place: San Francisco Daily Journal, “Apple vs. Samsung infringement trial,” Saul Sugarman
Feature Story of a Light Nature
    First Place: Scene Magazine, “The Strider: Cris Chater,” Mandy Behbehani
    Second Place: Traditions Magazine, “The Power of Prayer: Padres Visit Lourdes,” Antonia Ehlers
    Third Place: Traditions Magazine, “Homes with Heart,” Antonia Ehlers
Feature Story of a Serious Nature
    First Place: Traditions Magazine, “Frisella Legacy Lives On,” Antonia Ehlers
    Second Place: Scene Magazine, “Home Run: Jennifer Loving,” Bonnie Wach
    First Place: San Francisco Daily Journal, “Diversity lacking among mediators, some attorneys say,” Saul Sugarman
    Second Place: San Francisco Daily Journal, “Food companies targeted for misleading consumers in class actions,” Saul Sugarman
Specialty Story
    First Place: Scene Magazine, “You Must Remember This...,” Melinda Sacks
    Second Place: Scene Magazine, “Multiple Choice: Many Kinds of Wonderful in Monterey County,” Katharine Fong

Overall Excellence
    First Place: KCBS Radio, “KCBS All News 740 AM & 106.9 FM,” KCBS News Team
Breaking News
    First Place: KGO Radio, “Oikos University Shooting,” KGO Radio Staff
    Second Place: KCBS Radio, “May Day Rallies,” Anna Duckworth, Doug Sovern, Chris Filippi
Feature Story of a Light Nature
    First Place: KGO Radio, “Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary,” Jenna Lane
    Second Place: KGO Radio, “Lizzy's Dream,” Bret Burkhart
    Third Place: KCBS Radio, “Tenderloin Tour,” Mike Sugerman
Feature Story of a Serious Nature
    First Place: KCBS Radio, “Watching What You Eat,” Doug Sovern
    Second Place: KGO Radio, “Sex Slaves: Innocents Betrayed,” Scott Lettieri
    Third Place: National Radio Project, “California's Prison Guard Union-How a 'Model' Union Rose to Power,” JoAnn Mar, Andrew Stelzer, Lisa Rudman
Sports Story
    First Place: KGO Radio, “Spotlight: Karim "Hard Hitta" Mayfield,” Scott Lettieri
    Second Place: KCBS Radio, “Old Ball Players,” Mike Sugerman
Public Affairs Program
    First Place: KCBS Radio, “Teen Violence,” Jeffrey Schaub
Special Program
    First Place: KCBS Radio, “Giants Parade,” Stan Bunger, Steve Bitker
    First Place: KCBS Radio, “Sunnydale,” Doug Sovern
Use of Sound
    First Place: KGO Radio, “Broadcast Legend: Stan Burford,” Bret Burkhart
    Second Place: KCBS Radio, “Sounds of the Golden Gate Bridge,” Doug Sovern

Overall Excellence
    First Place: Mills-Peninsula Health Services, “Healthpoint TV,” Angela Anderson, Bobbi J. Fagone, Rocky Robinson
Feature Story of a Light Nature
    First Place: KQED 9, “International Orange,” KQED Staff
    Second Place: KTVU Channel 2, “The Legend of Tom Sweeney,” Greg Grinsell
    Third Place: KQED 9, “Occupy Art,” Lori Halloran, Scott Shafer, Josiah Hooper, Linda Peckham
Feature Story of a Serious Nature
    First Place: KQED 9, “The Photography of Doug Rickard,” Cynthia Stone, Linda Peckham, Blake McHugh, Joanne Elgart Jennings
Public Affairs Program
    First Place: KGO ABC 7, “Beyond the Headlines,” Carlos La Roche, Cheryl Jennings, Mimi Kwan, Laura Kutch
    Second Place: KQED 9, “This Week in Northern California: California Schools in the Crosshairs,” KQED Staff
    Third Place: KQED 9, “This Week in Northern California,” KQED Staff
Interview or Talk Show
    First Place: KQED 9, “This Week in Northern California,” KQED Staff
    Second Place: Peninsula TV, “The Game - 190 - Comic Will Durst,” Mark Simon, Garett Thomas, Rocky Robinson
    Third Place: Peninsula TV, “One on One - 1118 - Darby Anderson,” Garett Thomas, Dani Gasparini, Rocky Robinson, Dan Lu, Katie Roletto
Special Program
    First Place: KQED 9, “Heat and Harvest,” KQED Staff
    Second Place: KQED 9, “Prison Break,” KQED Staff
    Third Place: Peninsula TV, “County of San Mateo STEM Innovation Programs 2011-12,” Josephine Yu,Garett Thomas,Dann Bergman,Rocky Robinson
    First Place:, “Bollini Videography Composite,” Chris Bollini
    First Place:, “Bollini Editing Composite,” Chris Bollini

Overall Excellence
    First Place: National Acadmey of Television Arts & Sciences, “San Francisco/Northern California Chapter,” Javier alencia, Keith Sanders, Sultan Mirza, Darryl Compton
    First Place: NATAS SF/NorCal, “Off Camera,” Keith Sanders, Kevin Wing, Linda Giannecchini, Darryl Compton
    Second Place: Broadcast Legends, “Broadcast Legends Newsletter,” Jim Schock, Ed Vasgersian, Peter Cleaveland, David Jackson, Darryl Compton
Press Releases
    First Place: Palo Alto Medical Foundation, “PAMF Breast Health Center,” Cynthia Greaves
    Second Place: Mills-Peninsula Health Services, “Safe Demolition of Old Hospital is Under Way,” Cynthia Greaves
    Third Place: NATAS SF/NorCal, “TV Academy Press Releases,” Darryl Compton, Terry Lowry, Linda Gianecchini
Annual Reports
    First Place: Palo Alto Medical Foundation, “Moments That Matter-A Foundation Built on Compassion,” Jill Antonides

Overall Excellence
    First Place: San Jose Mercury News, “,” Mercury News Staff
    Second Place: San Francisco Business Times, Business Times Staff
    Third Place: The Press Democrat, “,” Press Democrat Staff
Overall Excellence, Web only
    First Place: California Healthcare Foundation, “California Healthline,” Amanda Wolfe, Kate Ackerman, Matthew Wayt, George Lauer, David Gorn
Breaking News
    First Place: Palo Alto Weekly, “Palo Alto police arrest suspect following manhunt,” Veronica Weber, Sue Dremann, Jocelyn Dong
    Second Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Election Live Blog,” Paul Rogers
    Third Place: India-West, “$3 Million Fraudster Sentenced to Five-Year Prison Term,” Sunita Sohrabji
News Story
    First Place:, “Local Scientists Bask in Higgs Boson Celebration,” Charles Burress
    Second Place: Bay City News, “The Disturbing Facebook Postings of Mission Serial Sexual Assault Suspect,” Dan McMenamin, Melissa McRobbie
    Third Place:, “City Sues State, County Over $1.76 Million 'Demand for Payment',” Charles Burress
Continuing Coverage
    First Place: Bay City News, “Proposition 8 case,” Julia Cheever
    Second Place: California Healthline, “Concerns Raised Over Adult Day Health Care Transition, Assesments,” David Gorn
    Third Place: Bay City News, “Joseph Naso quadruple murder trial,” James Lanaras
    First Place: Bloomberg News, “America's Great State Payroll Giveaway,” Bloomberg Staff
Feature Story of a Light Nature
    First Place:, “What Holiday Are We Celebrating Today?,” Charles Burress
    Second Place: Bay City News, “Christmas Bird Count Gearing up in Bay Area,” Julia Cheever
    Third Place: Bay City News, “Oakland Plans to Party for "End of the World" Dec. 21,” Sasha Lekach
Feature Story of a Serious Nature
    First Place: New America Media, “As End Nears, Cancer Patient Struggles With Cost of Long Term Care,” Viji Sundaram
    Second Place: New America Media, “How an infamous Berkeley human trafficking case fueled reform,” Viji Sundaram
    Third Place:, “Cyclist Says He Couldn't Avoid Elderly Woman in Fatal Collision,” Charles Burress
    First Place: Bay City News, “Art Deco Preservation Ball Celebrates Bygone Era,” Sean McCourt
Sports Story
    First Place:, “Jeremy Lin,” Bryan Chu
    Second Place: Bay City News, “Matt Cain Pitches First 'Perfect Game' in SF Giants History,” Scott Morris
    Third Place: Bay City News, “San Francisco Celebrates with SF Giants,” Sean McCourt
    First Place:, “Space Rock's Demotion to Earth Rock Reversed,” Charles Burress
    Second Place:, “Invader from Another Climate Lands in El Cerrito,” Charles Burress
    Third Place:, “El Cerrito's Wheat Farmlet Doubles Acreage ... Or Footage,” Charles Burress
Multi Media/Interactivity
    First Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Cost of Dying Videos,” Dai Sugano, Lisa Krieger
    Second Place: Bay Area News Group, “Matthew Ouimet, 21 months, awaits liver and kidney transplant,” Jane Tyska
    Third Place: Bay Area News Group, “Oakland's innocent blood,” News Group Staff
    First Place: The Press Democrat, “Inside the 49ers,” Grant Cohn
    Second Place: San Jose Mercury News, “Good Morning Silicon Valley,” Levi Sumagaysay
    Third Place: The Press Democrat, “BiteClub Eats,” Heather Irwin
Best use of Twitter
    First Place: San Jose Mercury News, “,” Mercury News Staff
    Second Place: Mills-Peninsula Health Services, “,” Erin Macartney
    Third Place: Palo Alto Medical Foundation, “,” Erin Macartney
Lifetime Achievement Award
    David Perlman, San Francisco Chronicle
$1,500 Collegiate Sscholarshps
    Juwairiya Syed, Santa Clara High School
    Samantha Masunaga, University of California, Berkeley
High School Journalism Overall Excellence First Place
    The Outlook, Aragon High School, San Mateo: Olivia Marcus, Paniz Amirnasiri, co-editors

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Senate, Assembly budget committees split over proposed court file fee

A proposal to impose a $10 fee for every court file requested by the public has been approved by a state Senate panel, the Palo Alto Daily Post reported today (May 29).

Proposed by the Judicial Council, the $10 fee is one of 17 items attached to a proposed state budget, called a “trailer bill.” The bills are heard concurrently when the Legislature takes up the state budget.

The Senate budget subcommittee heard the proposal on Thursday and proposed an amendment that would exempt the press from the fees. The subcommittee adopted it.

The Assembly’s budget subcommittee, however, rejected the idea of the fee altogether.

Now, the proposed fee goes to a conference budget committee where the differences between the Senate and Assembly versions are worked out.

Jim Ewert, general counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association, opposes the fee, even with the amendment that would exempt the press. Ewert has been lobbying at the Capitol against the fee.

Ewert said that although he has not yet seen the language of the amendment, it would still affect the general public and some people such freelance journalists or members of syndicated news services.

Even with the exception, he said, the general public would be at a great disadvantage.

He said fees would hurt press coverage of the court system as some reporters need to pull files on a daily basis. He said a court reporter who requests nine court cases would be charged $90.

“Pretty soon, there would be less written about the courts and the public is going to be even more in the dark about one of the mysterious branches of government,” he said.

Judicial Council spokesman Peter Allen said that Gov. Jerry Brown decided to pursue 11 of the 17 proposals by council, including the $10 fee. The fee would generate about $6 million a year.

Chron president Adkins transferred to Beaumont

The SF Weekly reports that Mark Adkins, who has been the Chronicle’s president since 2008, has been transferred to a less prestigious Hearst paper in Beaumont, Texas. The SFWeekly’s Erin Sherbert writes, “The company put out a small blurb, congratulating Adkins on a "promotion" that would be very hard to sell as even a lateral move. On top of the fact that the Beaumont Enterprise has a weekly circulation not quite a quarter of the Chron's, Beaumont makes Bakersfield look like Barcelona.” The move was announced just before Chron publisher and chairman Frank Vega announced he was retiring and that Hearst was hiring two people from outside the company to lead the San Francisco paper.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Talk show host Gene Burns dead at 72

Gene Burns
Longtime Bay Area radio talk show host Gene Burns died today (May 25) at age 72, according to his former station, KGO-AM.

Known for his Libertarian views, distinctive voice and perfect grammar, Burns was a top-rated host on KGO in its news-talk heyday.

But he was let go in a November 2011 cost-cutting purge along with Gil Gross, John Rothmann and Bill Wattenburg. Burns was hired by Clear Channel’s KKSF-AM 910 for the afternoon drive, but he never made it on the air. He suffered a stroke that affected the speech center of his brain.

“I am enthusiastic and thankful for the progress I have made,” he said on the Talk910 website in April 2012. “Most days, I have speech therapy and visits from great friends and colleagues.”

Before arriving at KGO in 1994, Burns worked in Baltimore (WCBM), Philadelphia (WCAU-AM), Boston (WRKO) and New York (WOR) and Orlando (WKIS).

Friday, May 24, 2013

Leadership change at Chronicle, Vega retires

Johnson and Bradford
Frank Vega, 64, is retiring as president and publisher of the San Francisco Chronicle and two top executives have been appointed to head the Hearst-owned newspaper. Joanne K. Bradford, 49, formerly chief revenue and marketing officer for Demand Media, is the Chronicle’s new president, and the new publisher is Jeffrey M. Johnson, 53, previously operating partner at The Yucaipa Companies focusing on media investments. Before that, he was president, publisher and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Times from 2005 to 2006. Prior to being publisher, Johnson served as senior vice president and general manager of the Times from 2000 to  2004. Vega will stay on as chairman through the management transition, the Chronicle said in this announcement. Photo credit: The Chronicle.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thieves in Oakland target both KGO van and the car of news crew's guard

Thieves broke into another news van in Oakland today, but this time a reporter chased them, the Chronicle reports. The break-in happened shortly before noon when a KGO-TV news crew was interviewing the owner of Loakal, an art gallery and boutique at 2nd and Clay streets at Jack London Square.

While the crew was inside the store, thieves broke windows of the news van and a Chevrolet Cobalt belonging to a guard KGO hired. No cameras or expensive gear was taken, just personal items including an iPhone.

Reporter Nick Smith chased the thieves, who jumped into a green Jaguar. No arrests have been made.

This is the latest in a series of robberies and break-ins targeting the media in Oakland. News stations have begun to hire guards to accompany crews while covering stories in Oakland.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Press Club honors high school journalists

Aragon High School in San Mateo took top honors at the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club’s 2013 High School Journalism Awards, which were presented Thursday afternoon at the San Mateo County History Museum in Redwood City.

Aragon’s newspaper, The Outlook, was recognized as the first-place winner in the General Excellence category. The Outlook received a total of 13 awards, topping last year’s record of 12. The paper’s editor and advisor will be honored at the Press Club’s Evening of Excellence June 1 at the Crowne Plaza in Foster City.

In all, 10 Peninsula high schools participated in the competition, each with a first place plaque or second and third place certificates. The competition drew 370 entries in 12 categories from 182 students. Twenty nine individuals received awards.

The contest was judged by professional journalists who are members of the Press Club and is co-sponsored by the Hillsdale Shopping Center, San Mateo.

Here is a complete list of the winning entries:

News Story 
First: Francisco Alvarado, Jefferson Tom Tom, Jefferson High School, Daily City
Second: Utkash Dubey, The Oracle, Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Alto
Third: Harry Patino, Woodside World, Woodside High School, Woodside

Feature Story 
First: Brandon Liu, The Aragon Outlook, Aragon High School, San Mateo
Second: Wyatt Cooper, The Aragon Outlook, Aragon High School, San Mateo
Third: Paniz Amirnasiri, The Aragon Outlook, Aragon High School, San Mateo
Honorable Mention: Regina Wen, The Aragon Outlook, Aragon High School, San Mateo
Honorable Mention: Anna Wheeler, The Highlander, Carlmont High School, Belmont
Honorable Mention: Jamauri Bowles, The Eastside Panther, Eastside College Preparatory School, East Palo Alto
Honorable Mention: Catalina Zhao, The Oracle, Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Alto
Honorable Mention: Alexis Carlos, Haley Sheetz, Woodside World, Woodside High School, Woodside

Sports Story 
First: Bryan Anderson, The Burlingame B, Burlingame High School, Burlingame
Second: Edward Perez, The Eastside Panther, Eastside College Preparatory School, East Palo Alto
Third: Jacob Rudger, The Highlander, Carlmont High School, Belmont

First: Jessica Liang, Andrea Icaza, Kelly Henseley, The Thunderbolt, Mills High School, Millbrae
Second: Juhie Desai, The Bearcat, San Mateo High School, San Mateo
Third: Gianna Dimick, The Highlander Staff, The Highlander, Carlmont High School, Belmont

First: Mitch Donat, The Oracle, Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Alto
Second: Jack Herrera, The Aragon Outlook, Aragon High School, San Mateo
Third: Jacob Ng, The Thunderbolt, Mills High School, Millbrae

News Photo 
First: Marika Rundle, The Burlingame B, Burlingame High School, Burlingame
Second: Melissa Moy, The Aragon Outlook, Aragon High School, San Mateo
Third: Alex Furuya, The Aragon Outlook, Aragon High School, San Mateo

Feature Photo 
First: Paniz Amirnasiri, The Aragon Outlook, Aragon High School, San Mateo
Second: Valerie Perez, The Aragon Outlook, Aragon High School, San Mateo
Third: Karenna Meredith, The Highlander, Carlmont High School, Belmont

Sports Photo 
First: Brittney Chew, The Aragon Outlook, Aragon High School, San Mateo
Second: Bobby Lyon, The Highlander, Carlmont High School, Belmont
Third: Jason Mai, The Aragon Outlook, Aragon High School, San Mateo

Layout and Design 
First: The Raven Staff, Raven Report, Sequoia High School, Redwood City
Second: The Panther Staff, The Eastside Panther, Eastside College Preparatory School, East Palo Alto
Third: The Outlook Staff, The Aragon Outlook, Aragon High School, San Mateo

Web Site Design 
First: Victoria Xiao, Jonathan Slowey, The Bearcat, San Mateo High School, San Mateo
Second: Jonathan Staryuk, The Aragon Outlook, Aragon High School, San Mateo
Third: Andrea Icaza, The Thunderbolt, Mills High School, Millbrae

Web Site Content 
First: The B Staff, The Burlingame B, Burlingame High School, Burlingame
Second: Erica Valbusa, The Highlander Staff, Scot Scoop News, Carlmont High School, Belmont

Third: Victoria Xiao, Jonathan Slowey, The Bearcat, San Mateo High School, San Mateo

General Excellence 
First: The Outlook Staff, The Aragon Outlook, Aragon High School, San Mateo
Second: The Oracle Staff, The Oracle, Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Alto
Third: The Highlander Staff, The Highlander, Carlmont High School, Belmont

Tickets on sale for awards dinner

Tickets are now on sale for the Press Club’s 36th annual awards dinner, which is set for Saturday, June 1, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City.

The reception (no host) is set for 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7. At 8 the awards presentation begins with a lifetime achievement award being presented to David Perlman, science writer, San Francisco Chronicle.

Tickets are $60 for Press Club members, $65 for non-members. Parking is free. Payments can be made using PayPal (at right).

Noncommercial KCSM-TV's days are numbered

Noncommercial KCSM-TV (over-the-air channel 60, cable 17) will be shutting down next year after 49 years of broadcasting from San Mateo.

The San Mateo County Community College District, which has been losing about $1 million a year on the station, agreed Wednesday to accept a bid from LocusPoint Networks, which wants to sell off the station’s spectrum space at an FCC auction next year.

The deal, which was outlined at Wednesday night’s meeting of the college district’s board, calls for LocusPoint to pay up to $3.6 million over the next four years in annual installments of $900,000.

The FCC is planning late next year to conduct an auction for TV spectrum space that broadcasters aren’t using. Companies like Sprint, Nextel, AT&T and Google are expected to buy the bandwidth, yielding a windfall for broadcasters who want to give up some or all of their spectrum space.

LocusPoint, owned by the private equity firm Blackstone Group, has bought stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay in anticipation of the auction.

Under the deal, LocusPoint would get 36.5% of the auction proceeds for KCSM’s bandwidth and the rest would go to the college district.

The college district received four bids for the station and a team of district employees recommended the LocusPoint offer.

The college district withheld the amounts of the bids prior to Wednesday night’s meeting, and only announced the numbers after the public hearing.

Former KRON 4 reporter Henry Tenenbaum, speaking during the public hearing, asked why the public was not able to see the offers and the bid amounts before the meeting.

"I'm concerned about the absolute lack of transparency," he said. "This issue is not going to go away."

Tracy Rosenberg, executive director of Media Alliance, an Oakland-based social justice and media advocacy nonprofit, also took issue with the secrecy surrounding the bids.

“This asset belongs to the public. You ask them first. What you’re doing is wrong,” Rosenberg said.

She said there were more lucrative options that would allow the noncommercial station to continue broadcasting.

District board member Dave Mandelkern said that the district’s job is to educate students, not run a TV station.

The board has been seeking a buyer for KCSM for more than a year so that it can use the funds to operate the station in the classroom. Under the deal, KCSM-TV would continue to operate until the spectrum space is sold at the auction. KCSM-FM is not being sold.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Foster City paper's new owners drop cat's column

The San Mateo County Times’ John Horgan reports that Foster City’s weekly newspaper, The Islander, has a new owner, who continues to cover all things related to that bayside community in a fresh format. But one of the paper’s quirkiest features, an advice column by a cat named Cleo, no longer appears in The Islander. “Along with a folksy, homespun weekly piece by Sam Felser on any subject that intrigued him, Cleo's helpful hints from a friendly feline perspective became a regular, weird staple of the publication through the decades,” Horgan writes. Feiser, who died a year ago, started the paper 40 years ago. Felser's daughter, Margorie, sold the paper earlier this year. The new publisher is Mark Watson, an attorney.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Merc publisher moves on to Denver

Mac Tully, president and publisher of the Mercury News and group vice president of the Bay Area News Group, has been named president and CEO of The Denver Post.

Both the Merc and the Denver paper are owned by Digital First Media.

Tully has also been named an executive vice president of Digital First Media responsible for operations in Colorado, Texas and New Mexico. Tully’s replacement hasn’t been announced.

Since 2008, Tully has headed the Bay Area News Group, which includes The Mercury News, The Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County Times, Contra Costa Times, East County Times, San Ramon Valley Times, The Daily News, Pacifica Tribune, Marin Independent Journal, Santa Cruz Sentinel, The Argus, The Daily Review, the West County Times, and the Tri-Valley Times.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Cooper promoted to ME of Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle Deputy Managing Editor Audrey Cooper has been named managing editor, the first woman in the paper's 148-year history to fill that role.

Cooper, 35, joined the paper in 2006 as an assistant metro editor. She had previously worked at the Tri-Valley Herald, the Associated Press and the Stockton Record, where she served as metro editor.

At the Chronicle, Cooper has helped launch a weekly Health section, create a breaking news team and develop investigative projects.

She succeeds Stephen Proctor, who became managing editor of the Houston Chronicle last year.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Merc boots Teamster printers

The Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that the San Jose Mercury News has issued layoff notices to 118 of its Teamster press operators and production workers. Publisher Mac Tully told the Journal that an undetermined number of those workers will be offered jobs at the company’s other non-union printing plants in Hayward and Concord. He said those who are rehired will receive compensation similar to what they receive now. The move comes two weeks after the Merc announced it would be selling its site at Brokaw Road and I-880, and print the paper at the other Bay Area plants. The Chronicle dumped its 220 Teamster printers in 2009 by outsourcing the paper’s printing to Transcontinental, a non-union operation.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Merc puts its building up for sale

The Mercury News announced today that it is putting its 36-acre campus at I-880 and Brokaw Road in San Jose up for sale and will move its news, advertising and business operations to a location to be determined.

The Merc will be printed by the company’s presses in Concord and Hayward, which should give the San Jose paper more color capability and the ability to increase page count.

The timing of the move depends on when the Merc can find new office space.

"Our current campus is simply too large and too expensive to operate for our current business operation," Publisher Mac Tully said in a note to employees. 

The Merc has been located at 760 Ridder Park Drive since 1967. At the time, it was billed as the world’s largest one-story newspaper plant. The 312,000-square-foot main building held more than 1,000 employees at one time.

The move seems to be part of a trend of large metro newspapers putting their buildings up for sale. Last month, The Washington Post said it was exploring the sale of its headquarters and the Detroit News-Detroit Free Press have announced they would sell their downtown building.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sterling promoted to editor at IJ

Robert Sterling, who served as Marin Independent Journal city editor for more than 12 years, has been named editor of the newspaper, Publisher David M. Rounds announced Tuesday (April 9).

Sterling, 56, replaces Doug Bunnell, who recently left the Independent Journal to pursue a business opportunity. Bunnell worked at the Independent Journal for 24 years, including the past four years as executive editor.

Sterling was named editor of social media and community engagement in November, part of a move to increase emphasis on delivery of local news in a variety of electronic forms. Brad Breithaupt, a longtime IJ opinion page editor and reporter, replaced Sterling as city editor, but will now return to his previous role as opinion page editor, Rounds said. Rounds said Sterling will direct local news coverage pending the hiring of a new city editor.

Sterling has worked as an assignment editor for the European Stars and Stripes, a city editor and reporter for the Mail Tribune in Medford, Ore., and a reporter for the Davis Enterprise in Davis. He holds a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.