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.