Metro Silicon Valley and North Bay Bohemian report this week that Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s husband was a major beneficiary of military appropriations blessed by a subcommittee that she headed, parent company Metro Newspapers announced today in a press release. Feinstein (D-Calif.) approved billions of dollars in military construction expenditures awarded to two firms that were controlled by an investment group headed by the senator’s spouse, financier Richard C. Blum, according to the investigative story by Metro's Peter Byrne. The story "examines the many ways in which Sen. Feinstein committed repeated breaches of ethics as (the subcommittee) chairwoman or ranking member from 2001-2005," according to the release.

Continue ReadingAlt-Weeklies Reveal Sen. Feinstein in Conflict on Military Contracts

Bill Jensen (pictured) will take the reins at the Boston Phoenix as part of its parent company's effort to assemble a staff with the right "mix of experience and youth," the Boston Globe reports this morning. Jensen was hired as the Phoenix's associate editor last year. His predecessor, Peter Kadzis, says "Bill is the hip, happening guy" who will focus in part on pop culture. Kadzis had been editor for 16 years; he now will become executive editor for Phoenix Media, which owns a radio station and a mobile marketing firm in addition to the Phoenix weeklies in Boston, Portland (Maine) and Providence (R.I.). The company's multiple operations and ability to strategize marketing across platforms may be the key to its survival in the future, Vice President Brad Mindich tells the Globe.

Continue ReadingPhoenix Media/Communications Restructures, Names New Boston Editor

"Everyone has their opinions. But I get paid for mine," film critic Peter Keough told students at Brandeis University last weekend. The Justice, the university's student newspaper, recounts Keough's description of job perks such as publicity swag and press junkets, as well as techniques to have your review quoted in a film's advertising: "Any time you use the word 'best,' or any other superlative other than the word 'worst,' you have a chance," Keough told the students.

Continue ReadingBoston Phoenix Film Critic: Job Has Interesting Advantages

Bill Lueders (pictured) wrote the lyrics based on his own troubles with records requests, then convinced Wisconsin musician Peter Leidy to write music and record the song in time for Sunshine Week, a national observance of the public's right to information about its government. "It's a topic with contemporary resonance," says Lueders, who is also the president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council. Isthmus won two open records lawsuits against the Madison Police Department, in 1996 and 1998. "The Open Records Blues" can be downloaded here and is free for broadcast.

Continue ReadingIsthmus News Editor Pens ‘The Open Records Blues’

The Boston Globe reports that a jury awarded $950,000 to plaintiff Marc Mandel, a Maryland prosecutor, in his suit against the alt-weekly. In January 2003, Mandel was involved in a bitter custody dispute when the Phoenix published an article detailing allegations that he had sexually abused children from two marriages. He sued for libel in April of that year. According to his attorney, the jury found two of Mandel's claims actionable, one of which was a subheadline reading, "Losing custody to a child molester." Phoenix editor Peter Kadzis says the paper plans to appeal.

Continue ReadingBoston Phoenix Article Ruled Libelous

Seven Days has joined a lawsuit over Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's refusal last fall to release his daily schedule. The suit was originally filed by the Rutland Herald/Times Argus. David Rocchio, counsel for the governor, says “legal exceptions” in the state’s public records law exempt the governor’s schedule from disclosure, to protect his security or his ability to obtain frank policy advice. "Baloney," writes Seven Days columnist Peter Freyne. "We say there aren’t any “legal exceptions” in state statute allowing Vermont’s chief executive to operate in such secrecy. It’s against the law."

Continue ReadingSeven Days Joins Suit Over Governor’s Schedule