Ventura College Press Staff Members Prepare Paper’s Last Edition

Posted Posted in Education, Media, VCCCD

Today’s Ventura County Star (free registration required) has the story on the closure of the Ventura College Press, Ventura College’s student run newspaper:

For Chris Martinez, it was like being back in college as he sat with a group of student journalists last week planning another edition of the Ventura College Press.

Martinez last worked for the campus paper in the late 1960s, a turbulent era when tens of thousands of young Americans were killed in an unpopular war halfway around the world. The war, the civil rights movement and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy provided the then-young cartoonist with plenty of fodder for his college paper, then known as “The Pirate Press…”

Nearly four decades later, grayer but no less idealistic, Martinez, 58, now a freelance cartoonist from Ventura, was compelled to put pen to paper for his old college weekly after hearing it was closing after 80 years in print.

Flap previously reported the VCCCD Board of Trustees’ decision to close the Ventura and Oxnard College newspapers and to consolidate them at Moorpark College. Read those stories here.

…Ventura County Community College District officials blame the paper’s closure on budget problems and low enrollment in the college’s journalism program. Officials also are closing Oxnard College’s student paper, The Campus Observer. They plan to replace both papers with a districtwide publication run out of Moorpark College.

But many, including Lara Shapiro Snair, managing editor of the Ventura College Press, don’t think a districtwide paper will accurately reflect the issues of Oxnard and Ventura students.

“This newspaper is the voice of the campus,” said Shapiro Snair, as she sat at the table with Martinez and others. “That voice can’t be heard from Moorpark.”

Students protested the closures a number of times after district trustees announced the closures in March…

The VCCCD Trustees should be more heavily criticised for their financial mismanagement of district’s resources. Flap is certain that the Ventura County Grand Jury will not have kind words for the VCCCD in July.

…The Ventura College Press has won numerous awards over the years, including a statewide general excellence award last month from the Journalism Association of Community Colleges.

Rob O’Neill, a member of the association and a journalism instructor at Pierce College in Los Angeles, said student papers are important because they inform everyone about events. They also serve as laboratories, training young people in the skill and craft of journalism, O’Neill said.

“Campuses that don’t have their own newspapers are poorer places,” he said.

O’Neill said news will travel with or without a newspaper because people’s curiosity and need to know is as old as the caves. But forced to survive as rumor, facts often become quickly distorted with little or no connection to the truth, he said.

District officials are vowing not to let this happen at either the Ventura or Oxnard campus.

Dennis Cabral, executive vice president for student learning at Moorpark College, has worked on the plan for a districtwide newspaper. Cabral said he knows it will be a challenge but the district is committed to making it work. One way to do that is by making sure the paper is open to students from all campuses, Cabral said.

But students at Oxnard and Ventura remain skeptical.

Without their own campus paper, Shapiro Snair predicted, one or more underground newspapers will soon sprout up.

“It’s just a matter of time if we can’t keep this paper or the one at Oxnard going,” she said.

Meanwhile, current and former staff members of the Ventura College Press will gather Thursday evening for the paper’s annual banquet. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Seaside Park’s Derby Club in the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

Well that is a wrap – shameful as it is!

AOL Offers Way to the Blogosphere

Posted Posted in Blogosphere, Media

CNet has this story:

America Online has expanded access to its blog pages, offering anyone who signs up for AOL’s free instant-messenger service the opportunity to create, read and post to the online journals, the company announced on Friday.

Company officials said that while signing up for an IM screen is a requirement for access to the previously proprietary AOL Journals section, Journals users are not required to download AOL’s client software to access the screen name. The blogs can be created in public or private modes, allowing individuals to choose whom they wish to share their online journals with.

Launched in 2003, the blog pages have since attracted more than half a million users, AOL representatives said. The company expects that by opening the service to a far wider audience, it will see that figure rise quickly.

“The blogging phenomenon grows stronger each day and has especially taken hold among our community of members,” Bill Schreiner, AOL’s vice president of community, said in a statement. “AOL Journals is one of our most popular community-building tools and has created an active forum where users can share their thoughts and opinions and participate in online discourse.”

The move marks the latest effort by the company to expand beyond its base of paying Internet services customers. For years it has offered AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) service for free to anyone willing to sign up for an account and download AOL’s desktop software. The company estimates that there are more than 20 million active users of the IM service. AOL’s primary rivals, Google and Yahoo, also maintain free blogging sites.

Flap was linked earlier in the week on an AOL blogroll and entertained many new visitors.

Welcome all to the blogosphere!

Pajamas Media

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Blogosphere, Media

A week ago Tuesday Flap attended a media conference event at the L.A Athletic Club featuring Hugh Hewitt et al.

It has been reported here.

Pajamas Media was launched.

Now, Michelle Malkin has this piece on Pajamas Media Mania:

The New York Sun has an article about the effort by Roger Simon and others to launch a blogger news network:

In a dramatic sign that Web logs are going mainstream, three of the largest political blogs are banding together to form what is believed to be a first-of-its kind ad-supported network.

To broaden their appeal beyond national security issues, the three –,, and – will receive editorial advice from the owner of one of the most heavily trafficked blogs,’s Glenn Reynolds, among others.

The venture will be called Pajamas Media, a not-so-subtle reference to the September remarks of a CNN executive, Jonathan Klein, who said a typical blogger has “no checks and balances” and is just “a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas.”

Impeccable timing: The news of this groundbreaking venture comes as newspaper circulation figures plummet. Here’s how to get in on the action if you haven’t already signed up.

Flap will be joining this venture and urges everyone in the blogosphere to at least check it out….here.

Patterico Exposes Critical Errors in L.A Times Reporting

Posted Posted in Media, Politics

Patterico has the Los Angeles Times (free registration required) dead to rights in his expose on the March 4 shooting by U.S. soldiers of a car bearing Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena:

It is truly astounding that the paper’s editors now see fit to hide from their readers the fact that satellite footage proves the car was speeding. The paper in the past understood that this is a critical issue in the controversy. What possible justification is there for the suppression of proof resolving that issue?

Times editors? What do you have to say?

Read about it here.

Well, Times Editors?

Update #1

Michelle Malkin has a great revisit of the entire SGRENA AFFAIR. Read it here:

There have been several new developments in the probe of the Iraqi checkpoint shooting involving Italian anti-war Communist writer Giuliana Sgrena. On Saturday night, the U.S. military released its official investigative report of the incident (details of which were leaked earlier in the week). Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, the ground commander in Iraq, has approved a recommendation that soldiers who participated in the shooting not be disciplined. The Sunday New York Times reports:

According to the report, 11 bullets fired by one American soldier hit the Italians’ car, killing [Italian agent Nicola] Calipari, after the car failed to heed the warnings. The car was traveling about 50 miles per hour – faster than other cars that night – as it approached the checkpoint and did not slow until struck by the bullets, the report said.

The driver “was dealing with multiple distractions including talking on the phone while driving, the conversation in the back seat, trying to listen for threats, driving on a wet road, focusing on tasks to be accomplished, the need to get to the airport, and the excited and tense atmosphere in the car,” the report found. He shouted, “They are attacking us” into his phone when the firing began, the report said, adding that it was “highly unlikely” that any shots were fired after the car stopped. The fusillade lasted four seconds, it said.

The soldier who fired the shots complied with the military’s rules of engagement, the report concluded. “After operating the spotlight, and perceiving the oncoming vehicle as a threat, he fired to disable it and did not intend to harm anyone,” it said.

The timeline reconstructed by the U.S. military can be viewed here.

According to a CBS News report on Thursday, a US satellite reportedly recorded the Sgrena incident–and was used by investigators to reconstruct how fast her car was traveling when U.S. troops opened fire. CBS News reported that US investigators concluded from the recording that the car was traveling at a speed of more than 60 miles (96 km) per hour.

As noted by LGF, Captain Ed and others, the military satellite evidence torpedoes Sgrena’s claim that her car was going no faster than 30 miles an hour. (The Jawa Report, it should be noted, expresses some skepticism about CBS News’ reportage.)

Strangely, as Patterico notes, the information about the satellite data was edited out of a Reuters story published by the LA Times–which had repeatedly emphasized Sgrena’s claim that the car was traveling at low speed. LGF notes a similar omission in the latest CBS coverage of the incident–even though it was CBS that broke news of the satellite evidence.

No surprise. We’ve seen this selective editing and MSM whitewashing of key details in the Sgrena case before: See here and here.

Meanwhile, the Italians are having a hissy fit over the U.S. report and Sgrena’s newspaper, Il Manifesto, is clamoring for a pullout of 3,000 Italian troops stationed in Iraq. Beleaguered PM Silvio Berlusconi has signaled withdrawal by September. Al Jazeera is playing up the bad blood. Rome prosecutors are continuing their own investigation and 18 police scientists will begin forensic examination of the Toyota Corolla car in which Sgrena and slain Italian agent Nicola Calipari were traveling.

We’ll see what the Italians come up with, but Sgrena’s tale seems to be melting faster than butter on a hot plate of linguini.


And the MSM complains about the blogosphere?

Governator: Billboards Should Come Down

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Media, Morons

New billboards for a Spanish language newcast are creating a FLAP in Los Angeles. KESQ News has the story here and KFI AM radio in Los Angeles have links here.

When driving home from the dental office tonight I was listening to John and Ken interview California Governor Schwarzenegger. The Governor thinks these billboards are inappropriate and should come down.

Flap agrees – take them down! This is Los Angeles, California and the United States of America – NOT MEXICO

Here is the LA Times article on the billboard.

And Michelle Malkin has this piece here.

MSM: You Gotta Get It Right!

Posted Posted in Humour, Media, Morons

n Wednesday’s paper, the Tribune ran a photo of a man on a bike and identified him as Joseph “the Clown” Lombardo. In fact, the man in the photo was Chicagoan Stanley Swieton, shown here at his home Wednesday. Read how the misidentification occurred.

This photo of Stanley Swieton was mistakenly identified in Wednesday’s Tribune as being of Joseph Lombardo.
(Photo by Valerie Carpenter)

Read this funny story from the AP about the Chicago Tribune.

Wonder if the college student photographer was wearing pajamas?

Check out the Chicago Tribune’s retraction/correction story here.

But, then again if you are a former U.S. Senator and the MSM makes you unhappy you can do this (not for young children).