Election Section

Ted Fang fired as Examiner editor and publisher ... by his mother

The Associated Press
Tuesday October 30, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Examiner editor and publisher Ted Fang has been ousted by his mother, who put her own name on the masthead of the Oct. 29 edition. 

Florence Fang issued a four-paragraph statement Oct. 26 saying she had taken over as the newspaper’s editor and publisher while Ted Fang “had been relieved of all his operating duties and responsibilities for the Fang family newspapers.” 

Those duties included publisher of the San Francisco Independent and its related newspapers, giveaway weeklies delivered to doorsteps in the city and some suburbs. She said her son will remain on the Examiner’s board of directors. 

“Ted will continue to have the opportunity to consult and advise us on strengthening our businesses, and at the same time be free to pursue other interests,” Florence Fang said in the statement. 

Florence Fang is chairwoman of the Examiner’s corporate parent and the family business, ExIn LLC. 

Ted’s brother James Fang remains publisher of AsianWeek, another family paper, and Examiner Editor in Chief David Burgin “is taking more of a role in the other newspapers,” said the Examiner’s executive editor, Zoran Basich. 

Florence Fang’s office said she would have no additional comment, and calls to Ted Fang were referred to the Examiner, who said he was unavailable. Calls to his attorney, Darrell Salomon, were not returned. 

The Fangs acquired the Examiner’s name and some other assets last year from the Hearst Corp. for a token amount. The deal also included a subsidy from Hearst of up to $67 million over three years. Hearst had to give up the paper it founded in 1887 to satisfy antitrust concerns raised by its purchase of the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Ted Fang vowed to preserve a “second daily newspaper voice for the city.” The Examiner, which has a staff of about 50, hasn’t had an official circulation audit. 

Recently, the Examiner’s general manager, advertising director, circulation director and chief financial officer have left. 

Also, seven construction companies that installed the paper’s newsroom in a Fang family-owned building say they haven’t been paid, and have filed more than $1.4 million in liens against ExIn LLC, the Chronicle reported. 

Basich, who edited the paper’s editorial page before he was promoted in September, said the contractor lawsuits are “completely unrelated” to the reorganization. 

+++++ Two advertisers pull out of New York Post in protest over cartoon 

NEW YORK (AP) — Two advertisers have pulled out of the New York Post, saying they were offended by an editorial cartoon depicting Mort Zuckerman, publisher of the rival New York Daily News, as sealing an envelope bound for the Post that contained anthrax. 

The cartoon appeared Oct. 20, a day after the Post revealed that Johanna Huden, an assistant at the paper’s editorial page section, had developed anthrax on her skin after handling a suspect letter. The Post said Oct. 24 that a mailroom worker had also developed symptoms, including a sore, that were consistent with skin anthrax. 

The first panel in the two-part cartoon showed Post editor Col Allan sitting behind a desk, with a chart behind him showing increased circulation, being asked by another man: “What sort of twisted sicko would send us anthrax???” The next frame shows Zuckerman licking an envelope addressed to the Post, with a jar labeled “Anthrax” on his desk. 

Charles Chalom, who owns five area car dealerships, said Oct. 24 he decided to pull his regular advertising from the Post, which amounts to about $250,000 a year. He said it was the first time in 30 years he has suspended advertising from the newspaper. 

“They took it too far this time. This is way out of line,” Chalom said. “You’re telling the public that he’s a terrorist. It’s a time to stand together and fight a common enemy.” 

Harold Bendell, who owns about a dozen car dealerships in the New York area, has also pulled his advertising from the Post, citing the same reason. He said he normally spent up to $1 million a year on advertising in the Post. 

Zuckerman, a real estate developer who also owns U.S. News & World Report, declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the Post did not return a call seeking comment on the advertisers. 

+++++ WSJ editor who escaped collapse now in intensive care 

NEW YORK (AP) — A Wall Street Journal editor who was caught in dust and debris after the World Trade Center collapsed has been hospitalized for a week in intensive care with complications related to vasculitis. 

Rich Regis, 49, the deputy national editor, underwent surgery last week at Phelps Memorial Hospital in Westchester, said Journal spokesman Steve Goldstein. Regis has been treated for kidney failure, a perforated colon and sepsis, all apparently related to vasculitis, which is an inflammation of the blood vessels, Goldstein said. 

The hospital, in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., declined to give his condition but confirmed that he is a patient in the ICU. 

“We don’t know whether this could have been caused by anything he might have inhaled Sept. 11 or if this is a totally isolated case,” said Goldstein. “He was at the scene, but so were a number of other people who are doing just fine.” 

Regis originally sought treatment several weeks ago for swelling of the legs. He was diagnosed with vasculitis, which can be life-threatening if the blood vessels are located in vital organs. 

He arrived at the Phelps emergency room with additional symptoms last week. 

“He is doing better and we hope that he will continue to improve,” Goldstein said. 

Goldstein said anthrax has been ruled out. 

Journal employees were forced to flee their offices at the World Financial Center when the nearby twin towers collapsed, and many were caught in the choking ash and storm of debris as they escaped. 

+++++ Daily in Portland, Maine, ceases publication after 13 issues 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Portland Morning Sun suspended publication Oct. 25 after 13 issues. 

Edward G. Pickett, the Morning Sun’s editor and publisher, said individuals who were expected to invest in the paper after it launched backed out because of the unstable economy. Without more funding, the paper could not make it through the initial startup period. 

The paper, which was published Monday through Friday and distributed for free, debuted on Oct. 8 with a circulation of about 5,000 in the Greater Portland area. It had local reporters and carried news stories from The New York Times and The Associated Press. 

The paper’s largest competitor was the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, which is owned by The Seattle Times Co. and has a daily circulation of about 75,000. 

Pickett, owner and publisher of the Portland Business Journal, said advertising revenue was increasing. He said the newspaper might return at a later date. 

+++++ Auburn students will no longer elect weekly’s editor 

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Students at Auburn University will no longer elect the editor of The Auburn Plainsman, one of the last major campus newspapers still choosing its editor by popular vote. 

The student senate and a communications board voted in recent weeks to quit electing an editor at the 22,000-student campus, turning the selection over to a committee instead. 

Ed Williams, a journalism professor and faculty adviser on the Board of Student Communications, said the board will meet next month to decide on the makeup of the committee, the standards for candidates and the process of selecting one as editor of the weekly. 

He said the decision to switch leaves the University of Texas as “the only major college newspaper that elects its editor.” 

The Auburn Plainsman has been critical of some members of the Auburn Board of Trustees in recent years. The Board of Student Communications, which includes student leaders and faculty members, voted three years ago to censure then-editor Lee Davidson for the paper’s coverage of trustee Bobby Lowder, a Montgomery banker accused of trying to micromanage the school, a claim he denied. 

Williams said the change, which the board approved Oct. 11 and the student senate made final Oct. 15 in a 23-5 vote, was not in response to the paper’s coverage of trustees. “That was never even mentioned,” he said. 

Williams said the issue was thoroughly researched and the main objective was to get the editor’s post out of the political arena so candidates “won’t have to walk around, wear T-shirts and ask for votes” in a campaign alongside student government hopefuls. 

The Auburn Plainsman has a circulation of 18,000 and a $400,000 annual budget that includes no financial support from the university. It has been well regarded over the years, winning a number of national Pacemaker awards from the Associated Collegiate Press, including one when Davidson was editor.