By: Dave Astor
The battle to get Stephanie Salter’s San Francisco Chronicle column reinstated is continuing on several fronts.
A coalition of media, women’s, union, and other groups has planned a second rally on Sept. 24 (the first was on Aug. 28). Also, a support-Salter ad is scheduled to run in this week’s issue of the Bay Guardian and possibly in an issue of the Chronicle itself, said Jeff Perlstein, executive director of the Media Alliance, a media resource and advocacy center (and coalition member) in San Francisco. And the coalition is still trying to meet with the Chronicle, according to Perlstein.
Salter, 52, whose 16-year-old Op-Ed column was syndicated by the Hearst and Scripps Howard news services, is grateful for the support. “It’s another affirmation of what I’ve said all along: this affects so many more people than me,” said Salter, who was reassigned to a job writing for the Chronicle‘s Sunday “Insight” section.
Perlstein said Salter’s column was a rarity in the mainstream press in that it sympathetically covered issues relating to workers, women, the poor, the environment, antiwar organizing, and more. “Is there no place for a liberal column in the country’s most liberal city?” added coalition member Lani Silver, a Holocaust oral historian and women’s-studies teacher, who called Salter “a great writer.”
Chronicle Director of Public Relations Joe Brown said the paper is willing to meet with the coalition, but only “to discuss coverage, not personnel changes.” He added that newspaper ads and another rally won’t bring back Salter’s column.
Perlstein said the Chronicle reinstated “Zippy the Pinhead” several months ago after less outcry than greeted the end of Salter’s column. An estimated 1,500 e-mails have been sent in support of Salter.
“The decision to reinstate ‘Zippy’ involved more than reader protests,” said Brown. “There were some business decisions involved.” He declined to say what they were, but Bill Griffith’s comic is distributed by King Features Syndicate, which, like the Chronicle, is owned by the Hearst Corp.
As for Salter, there have been reports that Chronicle Publisher John Oppedahl wanted her column ended because it was too liberal and feminist for his tastes (see “Syndicate World,” Sept. 9). Chronicle Editorial Page Editor John Diaz has said ideology was not a factor in the decision about Salter, that there are still liberal views in the paper’s opinion mix, and that the paper wants its editorial pages to be “less predictable.”
Salter isn’t the first person to lose or stop a Chronicle column in 2002. During the winter, the paper ended Adair Lara’s 12-year-old feature column and reassigned her as a reporter. And Chris Matthews, in what was reportedly a voluntary decision so he could devote more time to TV work, wrote his farewell column Sept. 1 after 15 years.
Hanania Signs With Creators
Offers Arab-American Viewpoint
Creators Syndicate has signed Ray Hanania, making him possibly the first Palestinian-American columnist ever to be represented by a major syndicate.
“I’m really excited that an Arab-American perspective is going to be put out to American newspapers,” said Hanania, who writes a weekly column on Mideast issues for the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. In addition to that serious feature, he does a standup comedy act that thrust him into the national news late last month when Jewish comedian Jackie Mason wouldn’t perform with him.
Hanania will also write a second installment of his column each week for the Los Angeles-based Creators, which plans to start distributing him by mid-October, according to syndicate Director of Operations Lori Sheehey.
“He’s a good writer with a strong newspaper background, including the Chicago Sun-Times,” said Creators President Rick Newcombe. “And he offers a perspective that’s interesting. It struck me as a good decision to syndicate his column.”
The Chicago-born Hanania — a Christian married to a Jewish woman — has sharply criticized anti-Palestinian actions of Ariel Sharon’s Israeli government, reported on hate crimes aimed at Arab Americans and people who look like Arab Americans, and discussed other topics in his column (see “Syndicate World,” Sept. 2).
From Editor To Columnist
McGuire Discusses ‘More Than Work’
For nearly 30 years as an editor, one of Tim McGuire’s responsibilities was buying syndicated features. “Now I’m a person having his feature purchased,” he said. “Wondering if editors will buy it is a different kind of experience.”
McGuire, 53, who retired this June as editor and senior vice president of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, is writing a column called “More Than Work” that United Feature Syndicate will launch Oct. 7.
The weekly feature will discuss how people can find more meaning and purpose at their jobs, and touch on values and spirituality in the workplace. But the column won’t be religious per se.
“I don’t know the source of this, but it has been said that religion is the set of answers and spirituality is the set of questions,” commented McGuire. His column will try to guide readers to ask themselves the questions that might help them make their jobs more fulfilling.
“My search will be different than your search,” he said. “I don’t give prescriptions, but I do give tips.”
McGuire, not wanting to scoop his own column, declined to offer examples of these tips. But he’ll often discuss the importance of people treating other people well in the workplace. And McGuire said people can find more meaning in their jobs even if they have problem bosses.
While today’s faltering economy makes it tough to launch a new feature, McGuire thinks his column might resonate at a time when people are searching for more meaning in their lives after the Sept. 11 attacks and the corporate-corruption scandals. So far, United has already sold “More Than Work” to papers such as The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, the Denver Rocky Mountain News, The Oregonian of Portland, The Sacramento Bee, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It also doesn’t hurt that many in the business know McGuire from a high-profile career that included a term as immediate past president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
He’s also a lay preacher in a Catholic church who has taken courses on work and spirituality at St. Thomas University in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
McGuire — who credited United National Sales Director John Matthews for suggesting he turn his work/spiritually interests into a column — is also spending his post-Star Tribune time speaking and writing two books.
Why did he leave the Star Tribune? “I was there 22 years,” he replied. “It was time for the second phase of my life.”
Syndicated Comics Mark Sept. 11
About 25% Have Anniversary Themes
About 25% of America’s more than 200 syndicated comics included Sept. 11 themes last Wednesday — with approaches ranging from subtle to direct.
“Mutts” by Patrick McDonnell of King Features Syndicate showed his dog character saying, “Heal.” The “One Big Happy” strip by Rick Detorie of Creators Syndicate pictured the names of the Sept. 11 dead among the stars in the sky.
“Mallard Fillmore” by Bruce Tinsley of King printed the Pledge of Allegiance in white letters against a black background. “Gasoline Alley” by Jim Scancarelli of Tribune Media Services showed the Statue of Liberty and the words “Permit us to pause a moment to remember and pray.”
And Aaron McGruder — a rare mainstream-press voice questioning American hyperpatriotism last fall — wrote in his Universal Press Syndicate-distributed “Boondocks” comic: “Today, the Freeman clan observes Sept. 11 in what is quickly becoming the new American way to celebrate all days of major national significance. … Which basically involves sitting in the safety of their home anxiously hoping disaster doesn’t strike, while people on TV talk about how brave and resilient we are as Americans.”
NYTNS Offers 9/11 Section
It Ran In Nine Foreign Papers
The New York Times News Service marked the one-year anniversary of Sept. 11 with a special supplement carried by nine prominent newspapers around the world.
Included in the supplement was New York Times news coverage, commentary, color photos, graphics, and archival material. The section was in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, and ranged in size from eight to 24 pages depending on the paper.
The nine papers carrying the package were Le Monde in France, El Pais in Spain, La Repubblica in Italy, Reforma and El Norte in Mexico, O Estado de S. Paulo in Brazil, El Pais in Uruguay, Diario de Hoy in El Salvador, and Listin Diario in the Dominican Republic.
Also, six other papers in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Kuwait, Portugal, and Saudi Arabia created their own sections from Times coverage.
The New York Times News Service has more than 600 clients in 50 countries.
More To Attend Column Seminar
‘Ethics And Excellence’ Will Be The Topic
The National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ “Seminar on Ethics and Excellence in Column Writing,” initially planned as a meeting of 15 grant-funded attendees, is now also open to all columnists paying a registration fee.
Attendees at the Nov. 1-3 gathering in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., will hear the Poynter Institute’s Keith Woods, Committee of Concerned Journalists Chairman Bill Kovach, columnist/author W. Bruce Cameron (“8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter”), and other speakers.
The seminar (www.columnists.com) has a sign-up deadline of Oct. 1. It is hosted by columnist Bill Campbell of the Northwest Florida Daily News in Fort Walton Beach and partially underwritten by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation in Oklahoma City.
Et cetera …
Editorial cartoonist Randy Bish of the Tribune-Review in Pittsburgh and Greensburg, Pa., is now being distributed by United Feature Syndicate (UFS). …
The commentary column by Cokie and Steve Roberts, with UFS since 1994, is now also part of the Newspaper Enterprise Association package. UFS and NEA are divisions of United Media. …
War Torn: Stories of War from the Women Reporters Who Covered Vietnam (Random House) includes a chapter by UFS columnist and former Associated Press writer Tad Bartimus. …
“Blondie” by Dean Young and Denis Lebrun of King Features Syndicate won a recent poll conducted by the Youngstown, Ohio, Vindicator.