Gary Webb, an award-winning investigative journalist and Sacramento News & Review political reporter, was found dead in his home on Friday morning of apparent self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head, reports the Sacramento Bee. Webb is best known for his work at the San Jose Mercury News, specifically a controversial series of articles called "Dark Alliances," which reported connections between crack dealers in South Central Los Angeles, the Nicaraguan Contra rebels and the Central Intelligence Agency. The News & Review hired Webb in August 2004 to cover politics and state government. He is survived by three children.
Sacramento News & Review president and CEO Jeff von Kaenel was sick of the Sacramento Bee offering advertisers huge discounts in Ticket, the daily's arts and entertainment weekly insert, reports Sacramento Business Journal. So he sent out 250 letters to Bee advertisers that weren't getting discounts -- that is, Bee advertisers that hadn't been poached away from the News & Review -- citing the cheaper rates and asking, "Are you paying this?" Von Kaenel tells SBJ that he sees the discounts as the Bee's attempt to "take us out," and that the daily is "engaging in practices I believe are suspect."
Gary Webb is the newest reporter at the Sacramento News & Review, where he will cover politics and state government. Webb has won more than 30 journalism awards, including a Pulitzer Prize given to the editorial staff of the San Jose Mercury News for its coverage of the 1989 Bay Area earthquake. He is the author of "Dark Alliance," a book based on his series of articles for the Mercury News in which he exposed connections between Los Angeles crack dealers, Nicaraguan Contra rebels and the CIA.
It turns out that Arnold Schwarzenegger views being governor of California as just another movie promotion: Give the press five minutes, tell them what the questions will be about, and move on. The press isn't any too happy about it, Jeff Kearns reports in Sacramento News & Review.
Sacramento News & Review contributor Harmon Leon hopes he'll get a closer relationship with the FBI when he attends FBI Media Day at the agency's Sacramento headquarters. Instead he suffers a case of blushing bladder after being escorted to the restroom, beats the polygraph test when he lies, and leaves his thumbprint and footprint for who knows what purposes. But he and other reporters do get an FBI official's assurance that the Patriot Act has "minimal effect" on what the agency does.
Scott Hassenflu moves from the San Francisco Bay Guardian to take over the News & Review's flagship Sacramento paper. He replaces Dave Schmall, who returned to Minneapolis as associate publisher of Tom Bartel and Kris Henning's new monthly, the Rake. Meanwhile, Terry Garrett, former publisher of the Weekly Planet in Tampa, is moving to Marin County after being named sales director at Pacific Sun.
Tom Walsh, editor of the Sacramento News & Review, remembers his time in Afghanistan, when another war was raging. "I remember looking at the Toyota long-bed truck and wondering if this would be where I would die," Walsh writes. Obviously he survived, but others did not come back from the war against the Soviets. One of them was Jim Lindelof, who wrote: “I know this trip is crazy, but for the pictures and the story we’re after, it’s worth the risk; that is, as long as we don’t get killed.” Lindelof was killed on his way out of Afghanistan with what he believed was the first-ever film of a CIA-supplied Stinger missile knocking a Soviet fighter jet out of the sky. His film was never found. Now Walsh sees the journalists pouring back into Afghanistan and wonders if that country will ever know peace.
A freelance writer for the Sacramento News & Review booked a round-trip flight from Sacramento International to LAX for a story on airport security. He stumbled into war-against-terrorism hell.