Sunday, February 18, 2007

Help Jerry Roberts

Former editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press, Jerry Roberts is being sued for $25 million by the paper's eccentric billionaire owner, Wendy McCaw. (She got her money from divorcing cellular telephone pioneer Craig McCaw). What used to be a solid newspaper has been sent into turmoil by McCaw's crusade to install her hand-picked loyalists. The paper's best reporters and editors have left or have been fired, choosing to be loyal to their principles and journalistic ethics, not McCaw's distorted understanding of journalism and craving for servility.

Roberts is not only fighting McCaw's attempt to financially ruin him, he is fighting non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. McCaw, who is very much concerned with preventing cruelty to animals, appears rather less compassionate to humans who run afoul of her.

You can help by contributing to Roberts' legal defense fund. (H/T: LA Observed.)

For more news about Santa Barbara and McCaw's latest antics at the Santa Barbara Independent (which McCaw is also suing), BlogaBarbara and Craig Smith's Blog.

McCaw's loopy allegations that the former employees were violating journalistic standards have not convinced the journalistic community. Last year, the Society for Professional Journalists gave an award to nine former News-Press employees for their support of journalistic ethics.

McCaw tried to convince the SPJ not to give the former News-Pressers the award, but there's some things even her money can't buy. Journalistic respectability is one of them.

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