Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

UT Lite: Buzz Woolley, Irwin Jacobs and yet another news organization in San Diego: Investigative Newsource

Mayor Bob Filner and "philanthropist" Buzz Woolley

The San Diego Union-Tribune's Doug Manchester isn't the only guy in San Diego who is willing to pony up lots of money to influence opinion. Buzz Woolley and Irwin Jacobs are definitely less rabid than Manchester. They fund a "UT Lite" version of the news at Voice of San Diego and Investigative Newsource. However, all three news outlets conceal pretty much the same stuff.

Bob and Buzz

By Matt Potter
San Diego Reader
Jan. 9, 2013

Investigative Newsource, San Diego’s smallest nonprofit online-news operation, managed to grow its cash a bit in 2011, according to an annual charitable disclosure report filed in August with the Internal Revenue Service and recently posted online by Guidestar.Org. Newsource was put together by former Union-Tribune editor Karin Winner and her close friend and ex-U-T coworker Lorie Hearn during one of many rounds of staff cuts made by then-U-T owner Platinum Equity.

Housed in a small free office at San Diego State University, it became most famous last year for going after then-Democratic congressman Bob Filner over assertions he made in an interview that San Diego’s port had “zero commerce.”...Some Filner backers later said the mayoral candidate had been engaging in a bit of rhetorical hyperbole [Maura Larkins comment: that's pretty obvious] and claimed bias on the part of the two former U-T journalists and the TV station, whose multimillion-dollar high-tech newsroom was paid for by and is named after Qualcomm billionaire Irwin Jacobs. The influential La Jollan ended up backing GOP city councilman Carl DeMaio against Filner in the mayor’s race.

According to its IRS filing, Newsource took in $381,800 in contributions and grants in 2011. (Federal law does not require disclosure of the source of the cash.) That was up from 2010, when the nonprofit received $214,800 from unnamed donors. [I wonder who the donors are. Hmmm. Let me guess.] Newsource ended the year with assets and fund balances of $227,577, the report says. Salaries, other compensation, and employee benefits totaled $212,956. The disclosure says that no one at the organization got more than $100,000 in compensation.

A section on the form for listing compensation of “Officers Directors, Trustees , Key Employees, and Highest Compensated Employees” is blank.

Hearn didn’t respond to a request for more information left at her office.

As president of the board, Winner, who works for free (according to the disclosure), is reported to put in 15 hours a week. Other board members include Mary Walshok, the UCSD extension honcho with many other local connections who is also on the board of La Jolla’s Girard Foundation, the nonprofit run by Voice of San Diego founder R.B. “Buzz” Woolley, where she has been paid $5000 a year for her service, disclosures have shown.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Freelance journalist and American News sue San Diego Police Department for refusing press credentials

Unfortunately, stopping the practice of issuing credentials will not solve the problem of fair access for journalists. The police can still throw people out of press conferences and other news sites if they don't like their reporting.

Cops want press credential lawsuit dismissed
Dana Littlefield
January 5, 2013

SAN DIEGO — A federal judge is considering requests by the San Diego Police and county Sheriff’s departments to dismiss a lawsuit filed by two freelance journalists who claim the agencies unfairly prevented them from gathering news.

The lawsuit was filed in September on behalf of James “J.C.” Playford, a freelance photojournalist and videographer from Ramona, and Edward Peruta, owner of Connecticut-based American News and Information Services.

In it, they claim the law enforcement agencies tried to censor Playford, who files information to American News, by threatening to arrest him, taking his cameras and denying him a press credential. They also contend that by issuing the only press credentials recognized by law enforcement throughout the county, the Police Department is unfairly designating which news services receive “the most up-to-date and reliable information.”

San Diego Police Chief Bill Landsdowne has said that the press passes allow the media to get close to crime scenes and gain access to news conferences while maintaining order and preventing other citizens from interfering with investigations.

But Lansdowne said the credentialing process could use an update. He also said the department is considering whether to get out of the credentialing business.

Last week, he said the matter is on hold pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department announced last month it was discontinuing the issuing of credentials to members of the news media.

Department officials said in a statement that “with the advancement in digital media and the proliferation of bloggers, podcasters and freelancers, it has become challenging to determine who should receive a press pass.”