Restoring the wall in Santa Barbara

No, not that wall: the whims of owner Wendy McCaw and her boyfriend still influence news coverage at the Santa Barbara News-Press. But outside the paper's beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival building, a chain-link fence went up Friday around the staff parking lot. Green mesh privacy screening blocks the view in, leading disgruntled employees to speculate it's so that passersby won't see all the bumper stickers reading "Wendy McCaw - Obey the Law." McCaw is trying to stop newsroom staffers from being represented by the union they recently voted in. The Santa Barbara Independent calls the fence an "ugly green eyesore" that has the effect of "further separating the paper from its increasingly disenchanted and dismayed audience...It's obvious that the paper will stop at nothing to make itself the ugly duckling in the middle of Santa Barbara." Meanwhile, BlogaBarbara says the News-Press has dropped the weekly listings for Santa Barbara's two community TV stations. Seems they dared to cover the controversies swirling around the paper.

Also: Jerry Roberts, the former News-Press publisher and editor who resigned over McCaw's unethical demands, is hospitalized in San Francisco after emergency surgery to remove his spleen and gall bladder.

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