Wendy McCaw's News-Press ran a front page story today alleging that 15,000 pornographic images, including child porn, were found last summer on the computer hard drive of the former editor that the News-Press is suing. Jerry Roberts, whose resignation over ethics last July set off a mass exodus of staffers and readers, called the latest attack by McCaw a smear and denied any connection to the porn. He is holding a press conference at his lawyer's office up there this afternoon. Nothing yet at Santa Barbara Newsroom, the union-sponsored site started by eight fired Roberts colleagues, but the Santa Barbara blogs are all over it.
* 5:45 pm Update: Roberts "absolutely, 100 percent and unequivocally" denies knowing anything about the images, threatens to seek massive damages from McCaw, and his wife calls the N-P's report "outrageous." Roberts:
"As a journalist, it is notable that this cowardly story was published without a byline and without any attempt to contact me in advance of its publication."
The editor of the Santa Barbara Independent, which has been a strong critic of McCaw's running of the News-Press, said "this is an unspeakable outrage. There’s no news story here. This is disgusting." Roberts' attorney called the story "a really black day for Santa Barbara." He also said the hard drive was bought used by the N-P and had been used by staffers before Roberts joined the paper.
News-Mess gets messier