Can a Publisher Meddle in News Coverage?

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Six years ago, editors and reporters at the Santa Barbara News-Press and Publisher Wendy McCaw declared war on each other. Did she illegally interfere with their journalistic practices and fire them for trying to form a union? The National Labor Relations Board said, "Yes." But this week, the federal appeals court in Washington, DC overturned that ruling on the grounds that a publisher — not a reporter -- has "absolute authority to shape a newspaper's content." Tom Bolton was editor of the paper when McCaw bought it. He was fired, and he's now executive editor of the online news site Noozhawk in Santa Barbara. (He is not part of the ongoing legal confrontation with Wendy McCaw.)




Warren Olney