Dean Singleton honored in Harper’s Magazine for being a complete douche

The September issue of Harper’s Magazine contains a fascinating story about Dean Singleton, owner of MediaNews Group, the privately held media behemoth that currently owns 56 daily newspapers including our very own Times-Standard.

According to “The Only Game In Town,” David Sirota recounts instances when Singleton:

  • Ignored or killed stories critical of candidates he supported
  • Concealed evidence that would hurt his friends and allies
  • Strong-armed endorsements from his editorial boards
  • Ran competitors out of business and then gutted staff

The article states that Singleton also, “without a hint of modesty,” allowed the Denver Post which he owns to run an article labeling himself “the Superman of the American newspaper industry.”

Aw, shucks!

Since forcing the Post‘s competitor the Rocky Mountain News out of business, Sirota writes, “Singleton has become even more blatant in his embrace of Charles Foster Kane’s famous dictum: People will think ‘what I tell them to think.'”

What a guy. While he cuts newspapers to the bone, Singleton brags about how many ranches he has, and how good the view is from his new $85 million headquarters building in Denver.

Meanwhile, we’ve got three news reporters at the Times-Standard, an editor determined not to stick her head out of the hole for any reason, and a citizenry that knows almost nothing about what goes on around it.

As for prospects for the future, Sirota holds out little hope:

But with newspaper monopolies hanging on for now, using their trusted brands to tilt the political and cultural terrain, things will almost certainly get worse before they get better.

Times-Standard editorial even dumber than most

It’s amazing the things we can learn from the Times-Standard. Take the editorial from the Sunday edition, in which we are informed that the problem with prosecutions in Humboldt County is not that Paul Gallegos is a dumb, unethical pile of butt-stink–it’s that his office doesn’t have enough money, so we should give him more. Great idea. Maybe while we’re at it, we can give bad drivers more cars, and lousy farmers more land. Hey–let’s give child molesters more dicks, because for sure that’ll make everything better.

Previously we’ve been told that all Gallegos needed was time. Then it was experience. Then it was staff. Now, evidently, it’s money.What Gallegos actually needs is 50 IQ points and a conscience. What he has that serves him almost as well is the editorial board of the county’s only daily newspaper spending a full decade making excuses for him.

Times-Standard likely to suck even more

It’s official. (Well, it’s probably official. It’s coming from the North Coast Journal, right?)

Rumors are afloat that the area’s longstanding daily newspaper the Eureka Times-Standard, only a wispy shell of what it was a few years ago, will be outsourcing more of its content or production. Or both. Local jobs might be lost.

Will the last one out please turn the lights off?

It’s a sad day for newsfolk and yet another blow from the T-S’s corporate schmucks.

This means many Humboldt County residents will probably have to get vital news and important information in the near future from the area’s next two biggest media outlets: Charles Douglas’ Humboldt Sentinel and Humboldt State University’s The Lumberjack newspaper.

Both are stoked, but couldn’t be reached for comment. The Lumberjack’s editor graduated in May and Douglas’ mom had the phone in her basement removed because of budget cuts.

The Arcata High Journalism Club will also jockey for a piece of the pie.

I Sucking is latest craze to hit local journalism scene

While staffing cutbacks continue to plague the Times-Standard’s skeleton crew that is apparently already overburdened with reporting vital news for a roughly 3.5 thousand-square-mile county, the beleaguered braintrust at the area’s last almost daily newspaper has decided to enlisted the help of a very powerful ally.

Yeah, that’s right: you. The T-S is asking for your to help fill its sleeker, more svelte paper the only way it can. Because for God’s sake, if it’s that important, you should be there, right? Thanks T-S, we couldn’t have come up with a better solution to be informed about area events while we are at work or sleeping. And we’ll still continue to pay for it too. Brilliant!

And what exactly do you get with “I Journalism?” How about a gripping photo of a  grisly four-car collision near Ferndale. Not. Even the assistant fire chief of the Ferndale Volunteer Fire Department called this incident that made its way on to the T-S Website a “minor fender bender.” One of the vehicles involved was so badly damaged from the collision that it apparently drove out of this crime scene before this photo was taken.

U.S. CELLULAR 707-502-2760

Buy now, and get one of these for free.

Does that phone number look familiar? It appears on the Bug residence’s caller ID six or eight times a week, never with any message. But it’s a cell phone number, right? It must be someone we know!

Not so fast, friends. In fact it is a Times-Standard telemarketer, offering us a subscription we’ve said 50 times we have no fucking interest in, ever, and by the way, douchepickles, our number is on the Do Not Call registry, which means, in case this is in any way unclear, that you Do Not Call it.

I love when the Times-Standard showcases its community spirit, which seems to be all the time these days. Is there anything they do anymore that isn’t at least a little bit shitty?

Times-Standard to fill Monday news hole with 52-part series on discontinuing Monday newspaper

Here's some guy with a camera. Photo credit: The Eureka Times-Standard

The Times-Standard announced today that “Digital First” Mondays are now in effect. Modeled after North Korea’s “Military First” policy, the new approach will allow the Times-Standard to devote assloads of resources to something it has no hope of doing well, angering thousands and starving much of its staff to death in the process.

The first digital Monday featured an article about not getting a paper, a letter from the publisher about not getting a paper, and also some frequently asked questions on the subject of–what was it? Oh right. Not getting a paper. Super interesting reading all the way around.

Despite their thoroughness overall, however, they did come up a bit short on the Q and A. Sure, they got the big ones: “Where’s the crossword?” “Where are the ads?” “Where’s the Sudoku?” and “Where are the comics?” (“Where’s the news?” came in at question number five, right before the one about not getting your money back even though you paid for seven newspapers a week and now they’re giving you only six.)

So here are a few things we would like to know:

1. What will happen to the penetrating commentary that normally graces the Monday editorial page?

2. When will you begin printing on flushable newsprint?

3. What will you do with Monday’s marijuana graphic?

4. Do you know where I can get a bird that shits only six days a week?

For the hardliners out there who absolutely must know what’s going on every day, Publisher Dave Kuta announced that the news that would have been printed in Monday’s paper will now appear in either the Sunday or Tuesday editions, either before it happens or after you no longer care.

Times-Standard announces it will suck one day less each week

As part of its ongoing effort to run itself into the ground, the Times-Standard announced that after the first of the year it will cease publication of its Monday edition.

Media News Group, the Times-Standard’s parent company, will additionally shutter the Humboldt Beacon, a weekly that managed to serve the Eel River valley just fine for more than 100 years before MNG took it over in 2005.

In a Monday memo, Publisher Dave Kuta wrote, “None of these decisions were made easily, and had I routed this announcement through copy editing instead of going it alone so I could spring it on staff, someone would have caught the subject-object disagreement at the beginning of this sentence.”

Okay, okay, we made that last part up.

This news comes on the heels of a reported blow-out between Times-Standard Managing Editor Kim Wear and City Editor Dave Rosso, who had returned to the daily after its previous city editor came down with a heroin addiction. Following the fight with Wear, Rosso is said to have stormed out and returned the next day to tender his resignation.

So what does all of this mean for Humboldt County? As much as we enjoy making sport of the Times-Standard’s sometimes glorious fails, we don’t wish job loss on anyone, and losing another community newspaper can’t be good news for any of us.

Read the longer second-day article here.

Times-Standard Paradox

Times-Standard bids farewell to Southern Humboldt with one last laughably sanctimonious editorial

All ye rural residents of Humboldt County, know this: The Times-Standard cares about you. A lot.

No, really!!

That’s why the county’s only local daily newspaper has taken up your cause against those rat bastards from the Postal Service who want to close a handful of your small rural post offices.

Have a look at this impassioned editorial from Saturday’s paper:

These closures are about more than just numbers. The people in the communities of Korbel, Blocksburg, Honeydew, Kneeland, Weott, Phillipsville, Redcrest and Samoa depend on their post offices for more than just mail. They serve as community centers, places to share news and keep in touch. Most of these residents don’t have the option of home delivery. This is their only landline to the outside world, and the mail there brings more than letters and bills — it brings needed supplies. They simply depend on the post office in ways those of us who live in more urban areas do not.

So maybe the Times-Standard is just trying to help by ensuring that in Blocksburg, Honeydew, Weott, Phillipsville, Redcrest and many, many other communities there will be quite a bit less news to share–because the T-S is discontinuing delivery to all of Southern Humboldt effective August 31. So much for landlines to the outside world!

The editorial notes that if the post office in Honeydew is closed, the nearest post office would be 15 miles away in Petrolia. By comparison, after the Times-Standard ends delivery, Honeydew residents would have to travel two or three times that distance to get to the nearest news box.

Not that anyone would. It is, after all, the Times-Standard.

But really. Mediocrity is no excuse for hypocrisy.

Not that the Times-Standard has ever needed an excuse for that before.

Times-Standard provides one more reason to stop reading it

As part of its strategic plan to reduce costs by downsizing itself into oblivion, the Times-Standard announced a new price structure that requires separate payments for print and online subscriptions.

The announcement was accompanied by a polished ad campaign that showed a photo of a bustling newsroom, beneath which read, “More money, more suck. Promise.”

The new pricing scheme appears to have confused some readers, who wonder why, if they already have a print subscription, they will be billed again to read the same news online. As commenter A Guy said on the North Coast Journal blog,

They’ve already collected the news, written it up, and not had it copy edited or spell checked, so where’s the additional cost?

Netflix outraged thousands of people several weeks ago when it announced separate subscription rates for DVD and digital delivery. Times-Standard Publisher Dave Kuta noted that the two price models are similar, “except Netflix isn’t crap.”

Kuta added, “Increasingly businesses are recognizing that digital content can demand a premium. They’re learning that there’s stuff on the Internet worth paying for. Not our stuff, obviously, but someone’s.”

To make stories even less comprehensible, Times-Standard tries using bylines as headlines

WTF?

State budget cuts force Sheriff to house inmates in fire engines

Or maybe Media News Group budget cuts force Times-Standard to use just whatever the hell photo happens to be handy. Either way.

Remember what Chekhov said about guns? Yeah. The same principle likely applies to big-ass photos of fire engines in stories about correctional facilities.

No thanks necessary–we’re just here to help.

Times-Standard uncharacteristically stoic about latest environmental threat

A fish 36 feet long? This thing's got dioxin written all over it.

Times-Standard lets people spend money to look unimaginative in print

We know it would seem like C is the logical choice--honest, direct, sincere--but guys, trust us on this one. Save that extra dollar and choose something stupid instead.

Fat Guys reunion increasingly unlikely

James Bryant Faulk

Even we recognize that the humor curve on heroin addiction is a bit flat, but it’s worth noting anyway that the former Times-Standard web editor and newswriter is once again a newsmaker–and not in a good way.

James Faulk, 35, has reportedly been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Who ever thought Chris Durant would end up looking like the successful half of that duo?

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