More on the Case of the Uncovered Bay Area Newspaper Monopoly

Pub date August 2, 2006
SectionBruce Blog

1. It was good to see today’s Chronicle run a big front page, above the fold story on a 24-year-old freelance cameraman (Josh Wolfe) upholding journalistic principle and going to jail rather than disclosing unaired tapes of a 2005 anarchist demonstrations in which protestors clashed with police. This once again shows the power a daily paper can wield in punching up a serious Freedom of Information/First Amendment issue. Wolfe’s courageous decision as an individual contrasts nicely with the institutional moves by the nation’s biggest newspaper chains to impose quietly on the Bay Area a Singleton/Hearst regional monopoly conglomerate, with McClatchy, Gannett and Stephens aiding and abetting, no competition allowed, for the duration. (See Bay Guardian editorials and my previous blogs).

Since these publishers have mangled and blacked out the coverage of this story, let me lay out the documents below in the Clint Reilly court filings for you to judge for yourself. Pay particular attention to the Alioto filings, which detail the real monopolizing strategy of the publishers:

Read the Alioto Legal Documents:

Gannett-Stephens_Opp_to_ TRO.pdf







2. Just in: A breathless editorial in today’s Contra Costa Times (“Times’ bright future”), welcoming Dean Singleton and his brand of journalism, by some folks who want to keep their jobs. Click here. Their line is presented without blushing: “…the joining of these suburban newspapers under the Media/News flag creates a Bay Area publishing constellation that makes each paper stronger by giving it access to the best that the others have to offer. This is another chapter in a classic American success story: how MediaNews CEO Dean Singleton grew his enterprise from a single, small daily newspaper in New Jersey to the fourth largest publishing company in the country.” The rousing conclusion: “As we said, it has been a difficult eight months for everyone at the Times, but all of that is about to be behind us which allows us to turn our attention fully to the job at hand. Creating informative, entertaining and compelling content for the Times dailies, our weeklies and Contra Costa Times.”

Impertinent question: we always thought the CCT was a damn good community newspaper, so recognized by the California Newspaper Publishers Association with its 2002 and 2003 General Excellence awards. Does anyone over there really think the paper will get better under Singleton? Which Bay Area paper has Singleton made better after he took it over? Let me say for the record: I like Dean Singleton personally and have had some dealings with him and I would like to hope for the best but…Keep me posted on developments in Singletonland.

3. The nation’s journalism and mass communications professors are communing this week at the Marriott Hotel under the banner of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). Will any of the professors or panels take up the issue of accelerating media concentration, perhaps the most serious problem in the newspaper business, and in particular the issue of the emerging Hearst/Singleton conglomerate right here in San Francisco? This is a tough one for journalism/mass com departments who depend on newspaper and broadcast companies for money and jobs. B3