News-Press reporters tape mouths shut *

News-Press staffAt today's demonstration and rally outside the Santa Barbara News-Press offices, I'm told that most of the paper's reporters many newsroom staffers including several reporters stood by with tape over their mouths. It was meant as a symbolic statement that they are barred from criticizing the News-Press or discussing the paper with other journalists. Nonetheless, they stood behind former colleagues Barney Brantingham and Scott Hadly, who discussed why they had recently quit the paper over ethical issues. I'm also told that another staffer resigned today: presentation editor Colin Powers.

LA Observed reported yesterday that the newsroom staff presented new publisher and news czar Travis Armstrong with a letter informing him of their plans to seek representation by the Teamsters union. The letter also demanded a return to ethical journalism at the paper and that the top editors who resigned recently be invited back. Editor & Publisher posted an online update today (via Romenesko.)

Noted: Karen Grigsby Bates went up to Santa Barbara for a "Day to Day" piece on reaction to the News-Press resignations.

Further noted: Sam Singer, the News-Press' PR spokesman in San Francisco, told the Chronicle that he knows departed N-P editor Jerry Roberts well and has "deep respect" for him despite his clients' attempts to smear Roberts. "My profession -- in many instances -- is to put out fires. ... So, like Red Adair, I fight fires wherever they are ... even if it means being on the other side of someone I respect," Singer said.

Noted part trois: BlogaBarbara likes that the News-Press publisher is becoming better known outside Santa Barbara, where he has been controversial for years: " have to say I feel a bit vindicated that so much information about Travis Armstrong is now coming to light after writing about it for close to a year and a half."

* Photos added: Quite the media scene in Santa Barbara this afternoon judging by the photos:

News-Press staff

Photos: AP/Michael A. Mariant

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