Santa Barbara Saga  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  Letters
From AJR,   December/January 2006

Santa Barbara Saga   


As someone who is in the business of news, I look forward every two months to the arrival of your publication in the interest of a dutiful study of salient issues facing our industry. Despite the long gaps in publication cycles, AJR has kept up on these matters with vigilance and competence. Which is why I was surprised I didn't see anything, either in the August/September issue or the most recent October/November edition, about the mass exodus of editors that took place at the Santa Barbara News-Press on July 6. At the time, nine editors, including the editor, managing editor and deputy managing editor, resigned, protesting, among several supposed transgressions, the newspaper ownership's interference in editorial operations and the owner's overt favoritism toward local celebrities.

The initial story was published in 150 newspapers worldwide, a breadth of coverage that seems unprecedented. Vanity Fair wrote a lengthy article about the resignations in its October issue. Since then seven more employees have quit, perhaps more to come, and the newsroom staff has recently voted to unionize itself. This does not even begin to mention the saga of arguing, backbiting, threatening and litigating that has elapsed throughout these last few awkward months. Where has American Journalism Review been on this story?

Guillaume Doane
Managing editor
Montecito Journal
Montecito, California

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