Wednesday, February 07, 2007

From Salsipuedes to Quarantina

It seems being filthy rich makes it mighty easy to ignore anyone else, as if each added zero to one's wealth squeezes out any sense of empathy. (It also seems that this disease can extend to those who drink too much bottled water, or just the corporate kool-aid.) Wicked Witch Wendy McCaw learns of a banner flown above the freeway and in a snit tells six more veteran journalists to hit the highway. Now before Nelville Flynn or some equally snide psuedonymster shows up and says, "It's her paper, she can do what she wants with it," let me say, "But she can't do whatever she wants to employees." Do people really believe employers are all-powerful and that employees must bend to their every whim? That people give up their free will, sense of reason, and personal and professional values when they walk into their place of employment? Sure, they can get out of there while they can. Or they can try to fix things, make things better, for themselves, the workplace, the product. Speaking of that, a newspaper is no ordinary product--it owes something to its community, too. But it seems Wendy and her minions feel like they owe nothing to nobody.

But I've got an idea. While McCaw doesn't seem to care if she has no writers, or if anyone respects the paper, or if she's become a national laughing stock, or if the whole town drops its subscriptions, she has to have news to cover. After all, in both her letters and Travis's editorials, they talk about their desire to cover more local news. So what we need to do is quarantine the News-Press.

What would happen if every news source refused to deal with the N-P until she agreed to sit down and bargain with the union and cut out the vituperative, vengeful bs? What if not a single newsmaker agreed to be interviewed by a N-P reporter? If all arts organizations didn't set up interviews, provide tickets for reviewers, ship in their information for the calendar? Sure, a reporter could still cover open meetings, but without any access, what could they really write about?

Of course, right now it's unclear who could write any N-P stories, with the newsroom so short. But starving the paper from news--and it's our news, our events, so we can control them--right Wendy?--might be one way to get her attention. In some ways she's quarantining herself, as it's impossible to establish the usual, steady, helpful realtionships that generally form between writers and news sources, when, for example, the paper burns through 3 higher education reporters in 9 months. It's hard even to know who to pitch stories to, let alone learn how to be most helpful.

So right now some tough love, as Dr. (of Physiology) Laura might put it, is necessary. Newsmakers, let's act like the News-Press doesn't exist. Maybe then someone might notice she does need other people a teensy bit.

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Anonymous Quarantina said...

Yes, this already is happening, but not enough.

The City and County really should be pressured to stop sending ads and notices that way.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was physiologist Laura fired? They do bond over union bashing and putdowns of Wendy's obsessions. Not morals, she did make a point of her moral difference to Wendy. How can we ever forget those local columns? Physiologist Laura runs a large staff of satisfied workers. Good salaries, great medical and vacation, integrity, an eager and satisfied work envirnoment is a living example. This is the advice she could share with Wendy!

I don't have a paper to cancel, I have tried to stay away from associates of the paper, Arthur and physiologist Laura. I hope the business community comes up with something on a bigger scale. We don't have a daily paper in Santa Barbara, how will the tourist know if it's safe to visit?

1:42 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

This story actually made the national news. Clearly the community has to boycott this lunatic, and do it soon.

At this point, every writer for the paper should start seeking other employment before she fires them.

6:34 AM  

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