Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ainsworth goes from Patch to PIO post

Longtime Novato journalist Brent Ainsworth, who launched Novato Patch in November 2010 and served as it editor since, has been hired by the county of Marin as its first public information officer in eight years, according to Patch. Ainsworth is a former editor and reporter at the Marin Independent Journal. He's being hired on a contract with a salary commensurate to $81,000 annually, Patch reported. (Photo from Patch)

Trail-blazing Rita Williams retires

Rita Williams said farewell to Channel 2 viewers last night after 35 years with the station and a remarkable career that blazed a trail for other women reporters in what was once a male-dominated business.

Williams in the 1980s
She told The Almanac, the paper serving her hometown of Portola Valley, that she considers herself to be tenacious, but also sees herself as bringing a woman’s feeling and warmth to her reporting.
    She recalls a news conference she covered after a child was murdered. "I remember waiting until all the guys finished yelling their questions, and I knew the police chief had kids, and asked, 'How did this case affect you?' He teared up and said, 'This is the hardest case in my 39 years; I have a kid the same age, and it hurts.'" That turned out to be the quote most of the newsmen used in their stories. 
    Another memorable story she tells is running onto the Bay Bridge minutes after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, wondering if she was putting her own life in danger, spending the night there, and then reporting on the situation from another live location well into the next day. She also witnessed the last gas chamber execution at San Quentin in 1993.
She gave notice last summer and said her boss picked Feb. 27 as her last day because it was the last day of the ratings period.

Williams in the early 2000s
In an era when reporters have short careers and bounce around from station to station, it’s unusual for Williams to have been at Channel 2 for 35 years.

“Most women who started with me back then stopped doing it. It was a tough business, lots of barriers, lots of discrimination. Sometimes, people would do their best to get rid of you. So you just worked harder than any of the guys, and you showed them you can do it, and you just did it,” she said, according to a story posted on the KTVU website.

Monday, February 25, 2013

KPIX drops 'Eyewitness News' title

KPIX has dropped its “Eyewitness News” title and stopped calling itself “CBS 5.” Now the station is simply referring to itself as KPIX, the call letters the station has used since it went on the air on Dec. 22, 1948. The “Eyewitness News” title dates back to the 1960s when the station was part of Westinghouse’s Group W. The “5” in the station’s logo, however, still is in the Anklepants font that Group W used for all of its stations. KPIX said on its Facebook page, “We’re excited about bringing the legacy KPIX call letters back into our CBS 5 television brand. Many Bay Area residents grew up watching ‘KPIX’ and have always referred to our station that way.” The switch was made on Super Bowl Sunday.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 2013 Press Club board minutes

Feb. 13. 2013 — San Mateo Daily Journal offices

PRESENT: Laura Dudnick, Kristi Blackburn, Darryl Compton, Jon Mays, Marshall Wilson, Ed Remitz, Melissa McRobbie, Dave Price and Antonia Ehlers. Guest: Jim Henderson, KHMB Radio.

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

MEMBERSHIP AND FINANCE: Darryl reported on finance and membership.

CALL FOR ENTRIES OUTREACH UPDATE: The board discussed reaching out to local news publications, making sure that people know about the Press Club Awards and encouraging them to enter. Board members agreed to reach out to journalists they know and a few had lists.

AWARDS BANQUET: Board members agreed on a target date of June 15. They also agreed to authorize Marshall to contact Dave Perlman, a San Francisco Chronicle science writer, with a lifetime achievement award.

NEWSLETTER STATUS: The board discussed effective communication with the newsletter, and possibly looking into Constant Contact. The cost would be approximately $500 per year.

CSM JOURNALISM UPDATE: Marshall, Dave and Jon met with Michael Claire and Susan Estes. They discussed the idea of combining CSM’s journalism program with Skyline’s. Classes would most likely be held at Skyline. The next step is to gauge the interest of Skyline instructors. Board members mentioned that it would be ideal if Canada could have a similar program for students who live farther south. The group agreed to continue discussions on ways to revive journalism at CSM.

SCHOLARSHIP FUND CONTRIBUTIONS: Marshall announced that thanks to Scott Summerfield of SAE Communications, $595 had been donated to the club’s high school and college scholarship fund. Summerfield held a workshop for about 45 public information officers and others from local governments. Rather than charge for his time, Summerfield asked that the participants consider donating to the scholarship fund as he fully support’s the club’s mission. The club expects additional donations will arrive by check. The Board thanked Summerfield for his contributions to the future of journalism education.

The meeting was adjourned at 8 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Antonia Ehlers, Secretary

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

SJ State j-school gets $8.7 million gift

The estate of Jack and Emma Anderson — whose Globe Printing Co. printed San Jose State's student newspaper, the Spartan Daily, for two decades beginning in the 1950s — has donated $7.8 million to the school's journalism department. The Mercury News' Sal Pizarro reports that the money will be used to create an endowment, fund infrastructure improvements and establish a Center for New Media and Social Media Research.

Newsman Harry Press dies

Harry Press
Harry Press, who worked as a reporter and editor at several newspapers and went on to start Stanford’s alumni newspaper and serve as associate editor at the Stanford News Service, died Feb. 6 in Palo Alto at age 93.

According to an obit from Stanford, he was the managing director of the university's Professional Journalism Fellowships (PJF) Program. Harry Press' son, Tony, told the Stanford News Service that the last few weeks had been hard on his father and all of the family after the recent death of his daughter Lindi Press.

Press graduated from Stanford in 1939 and worked on the Anaheim Bulletin, Palo Alto Times, SanFrancisco News, where he was city editor, and San Francisco News–Call Bulletin. Here’s the Chronicle’s obit. (Photo credit: Chuck Painter, Stanford News Service)

Merc writer, critic Jack Fischer dies

Jack Fischer
Jack Fischer, who spent 20 years at the Mercury News as a local news reporter, investigative writer and visual arts critic, died Feb. 8 at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View after a two-year fight with lung cancer, the Merc reports. He was 59.

As a reporter, he wrote an award-winning 1991 series on guard brutality against inmates at the Santa Clara County Department of Corrections. He did feature stories on such topics as the reopening of San Francisco's de Young Museum and downtown San Jose's Green Rice Art Gallery, a small space exhibiting works by local Vietnamese artists.

"I've worked with several art critics, including some fairly respected hotshots at the L.A. Times," said Tony Lioce, a former Mercury News assistant features editor who worked with Fischer, "and, of them all, none would get as excited, touched, moved or thrilled as Jack, whenever he'd find something worthy in a gallery or museum. He saw the task of conveying that pure joy as a sacred trust." (Photo credit: The Fischer family via the Merc)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Burglars hit homes on CC Times' vacation hold list

Police and the Contra Costa Times are investigating how a newspaper hold list ended up in the hands of suspected burglars who used it to target homes while families were on vacation.

The Times reports that the list was recovered in Livermore earlier this month inside a car stolen from a Walnut Creek home. The home was included on the list. Two men were arrested in Livermore in connection with the burglary, and police say they were outside a second home they intended to burglarize.

On Jan. 30, the LA Times reported that four men were arrested on suspicion of burglarizing the homes of its subscribers who were on vacation. The burglars allegedly stole $1 million in property over the last three years.

The unanswered question in both cases is how did the burglars get the list? Did they hack the newspapers’ computer systems or have help from an employee?

LA programmer replaces Hosley at KGO-KSFO

ESCARSEGA and report that Paul Hosley, operations manager at Cumulus Media's KGO-KSFO, will be replaced by Ron Escarsega from the company's KABC-AM in Los Angeles. Prior to KABC, Escarsega was with CBS Radio's KLSX in Los Angeles. “I’m excited for the new challenge to work with two iconic stations KGO and KSFO. I appreciate the confidence Cumulus has shown in me and look forward to the new challenge," Escarsega said in a statement. Cumulus News/Talk/Sports Corporate Program Director Jim Mahanay added, "Ron has done a great job for us in Los Angeles. We’re excited at the skills he brings north to the Bay Area."

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Former KGO, KSFO host Lee Rodgers dies

Former KSFO-AM morning host Lee Rodgers died Thursday during heart bypass surgery, according to his wife Susan and his longtime co-host, Melanie Morgan.

Rodgers began his broadcasting career at WIND in Chicago in 1963 as a disc jockey and sportscaster, followed by stints at stations in St. Louis and Miami. He was the evening host on KGO 810 for 10 years. He went north to KIRO in Seattle for a year and then returned to San Francisco in 1996 to take over the morning show on KGO's conservative sister station KSFO. In 2010, he was forced out of his job.

"After 25 years with ABC in San Francisco (KGO & KSFO) I was pushed into retirement by Farid Suleman of Citadel last year," he wrote in 2011. "He thought I was making too much money (upper six figures) and there was unhappiness that I took a harsh line against Muslim terrorism. Since trade gossip has it that Cumulus, the new owners of ABC Radio, will make Farid look like Mother Teresa, I'm glad to be out of the industry and living happily in Arizona."

"Lee Rodgers was a real radio guy," said Jack Swanson, Rodgers former boss at KSFO and KGO. "He worked very hard, didn't always play well with other children, but always made our industry proud."

Press Democrat will endorse candidates again

Bruce Kyse, publisher of The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, says his paper will start endorsing candidates again. The PD had endorsed candidates for all offices until last year, when it was purchased by the Halifax Media Group, which has a no-endorsement policy. Halifax has since sold the paper to a group of local investors, and Kyse said the no-endorsement policy has been dropped. Kyse says endorsements will return as early as Tuesday with a recommendation for a vacancy on the Santa Rosa City Council.