C.W. Nevius has more on the turmoil in Santa Barbara. The conclusion:
McCaw and the News-Press look like small time operators, who think they can turn a public trust into a country club newsletter. Roberts and the editors come across as paragons of journalism, standing up to bad bosses, censorship, and dumb editing. And everyone else around the country gets a good laugh.
One of the reasons I had heard that people wanted to work in SB was the fact that Jerry Roberts was the editor. Not only is Roberts now gone, a whole swath of potential hires have reason to suspect quality journalism is apparently under valued at the News-Press. That seems like it might hurt recruitment, which can’t really be good for the long-term health of the paper.
I once sat in a meeting with a publisher who told us that he could “get any mother off the street” to come in and write news stories. That newspaper is now out of business and, as far as I know, that publisher is out of newspapering.
The funny thing is, a lot of “mothers off the street” are part of media now, being part of that group we call the former audience, but I don’t think my old publisher quite had citizen media in mind when he made that statement.
Newspapers are community trusts. I consider the owners, whether public or private, as temporary trustees. The real owner is the community. And if you break trust with the community, the community will turn on you, or worse, forget you.